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When a Legend Retires


You may think this legend is just another one of the founding employees of Blentech and yes, that’s also true; however – did you know that the 1950 Winner of The Frog Jumping Contest of Calaveras County has been walking these halls for more than 30 years?

Our very own John Malcolm Lennox, III won this contest at 7 years old with a frog named “X-100”. That frog jumped 14 feet and 9 inches. He was even invited to appear on the Art Linkletter show “House Party”.  And, made the front page of The San Bernardino County Daily Sun newspaper on May 22, 1950.

 

But that’s just part of the story….

As told by our Chairman and founder, Darrell Horn, “My plan when I started Blentech was to manufacture winery equipment since my business experience was the development of mechanical grape harvesters and I knew all of the winery owners. I bought the manufacturing equipment from a food equipment company that was going out of business and hired some of their employees including John Lennox, their talented mechanical engineer. John and I worked well together.

 

 

I would come to him with a ‘bad’ idea for a new equipment invention and he would figure out how to turn my ‘bad’ idea into a functional, innovative machine that actually worked.

 

Through good times and bad times, I could always depend on John to step up and give me good advice on the necessary steps forward to solve problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the formative years of Blentech, John was responsible for the design of a string of new inventions that have transformed the production of food in the poultry, beef, rice and sauce industries.

 

 

 

 

 

He was responsible for the design of the VersaTherm, BlenTherm, VersaWok, ContinuTherm, ContinuBlend, SteamTherm, HydraTherm and most recently the InfinityCooker.”

 

 

John’s office is just outside the factory, accessible to all who went to him for his knowledge and problem solving skills. Other than his yearly trip to Disneyland with his grandchildren or roaming the countryside in his RV, in his office is where all could always find him for counsel.   Always.

 

As Mark Cook, 30+ year Blentech employee, tells it “His projects were always fun and challenging. I liked working with John because he was very detail oriented and thorough.

He was always thinking about how we could make things easier and more foolproof to fabricate.

 

And in later years he actually listened to my input.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the years, John became the mentor for so many. Including, Jack Sloane, Research and Development Manager. “John Lennox has been one of my major sources of mentorship and inspiration. He creatively bridged the fields of mechanical design and applications engineering and brought extensive experience and pragmatism to defining problems and applying engineering principles to real world food processing challenges. He was always generous with his time and knowledge, imparting these skills to the larger team. Being under his wing for much of my 8 year tenure with Blentech has provided me with confidence and a solid foundation. He’ll be missed around here, but his influence and legacy will be long lasting.”

 

 

He was impressionable on all who met him and worked with him.   Says Nancy Corriveau, Director of Operations, also a 30+ year employee of Blentech, “I fondly recall the early days we spent, wearing many hats, which fostered the strong camaraderie that helped create our Blentech culture today.”  Dr. Zhengjun “Jerry” Xue says of John, “He’s truly a mentor to me. His guidance and encouragement helped me thrive in a very fast paced and competitive environment at Blentech. He will surely be missed.” 

Our CEO, Daniel Voit sums it up perfectly:

 

 

“Leadership Gurus often say “no one is irreplaceable.” Those experts, never met John Lennox.  He brought a one of a kind mix of engineering skill, focus, creative, project management and drive to the Blentech team.  Not a week goes by when I don’t eat something that was made on a machine he originally designed or patented.  He is a dynamic engineer and more than that, he was friend and mentor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for everything you did for the Blentech team, for Santa Rosa, CA and for the global food industry.”

Enjoy your well earned retirement, John. 

Your legendary presence here will be missed.

A Year in Review

As this year draws to a close, we thank you for being a part of all these great experiences – how will we connect with you in 2018?

See you in 2018!

 

 

Happy Holidays!

 

The holiday spirit is agitating through the Blentech factory!

 

Blentech wishes you and your families a
very happy holiday season!

 

Our office will be closed at noon PST on Friday, December 22nd and will reopen at 6 am PST on Tuesday, December 26th.

Thank you for partnering with us this past year. We look forward to blending our expertise and innovation to help you engineer a solution – let’s start a conversation in the new year!

Blentech Holiday Party: A time for reflection and Jenga ninjas

The Blentech Holiday Party was held recently and we had much to reflect on this last year.  Our team gathered with our significant others to share a meal and some good cheer in traditional holiday style.  It was a great event with many happy faces of our Blentech family around each table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Chairman and Founder, Darrell Horn, made a few remarks and presented a video message from our CEO, Daniel Voit.

Our CEO spoke about our Blentech family and how we all have a history, common goals and sense of community.  The strength and perseverance of our team members through these last few months has been a shining example of the best of our Blentech culture.

 

 

On each table in a clay pot there was a sprig from a tree and a few acorns from the oak trees that survived the fires on the property of long time Blentech employees where their home used to stand.

These acorns signify hope and renewal in our community and for our Blentech families affected by the devastating fires.

Our team will do our part to rebuild and repair the scarred landscape around us and feel part of helping our Blentech family and community heal, together.

Let the acorns sprout into trees that will signify growth and progress.  A great way to welcome in 2018 with hope and renewal and strength.

 

 

 

The night ended with some serious Jenga competition that included many different departments; however, we learned of a new skill our incredibly smart, resourceful and problem solving applications engineers also have – wicked ninja Jenga skills.

 

 

 

 

Blentech wishes you a very happy holiday season and when you’re in need of a Jenga Ninja, you know who to contact.

Blentech Perspective: Plan B

Matthew Hartman, Senior Automation Sales Manager

I like to push myself, mentally and physically.   I like to challenge myself to be a better version of me, time and again.  Particularly when it comes to fitness.  Over Thanksgiving I had a little tumble, an unexpected accident.

While in Oklahoma visiting family, I set out to go “rucking” at Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. Rucking is hiking with a weighted backpack. In my case, a 30-pound steel plate. The plan was to complete a 5 mile ruck through this very hilly beautiful area and complete it in a faster time than last Thanksgiving.  At around mile 2.5, descending down a 30 degree, heavily eroded trail, I rolled my ankle on a rock and went face first down the trail.   Followed immediately by my 30-pound weighted backpack, my ruck, coming over my head bashing my face down into the trail.   Not exactly how I saw this ruck going!  A little stunned, I got up, checked for broken bones (luckily I had none), took a few deep breaths, put my ruck back on and pushed on to the back half of the loop to the trail where my car was.

Yes, I lost a little time in completing my ruck.  And, I was surely a little more bruised and banged up, but it didn’t stop me. Yes, I took a moment to assess if I was okay and then yes, I continued on my way and still completed my ruck as intended – albeit, many minutes longer than I had planned.  Plan B at this point, was to just get up and going again and complete it.

 

 

Me falling and getting banged up, is an experience our customers can relate to.  They set out with a desired goal, have all the equipment/gear needed to accomplish the goal and BAM! something happens and suddenly you’re falling down a mountain getting your head bashed into the ground!

 

 

 

 

As a company, Blentech understands that our customers find themselves in situations where things don’t go according to plan.  That often in the middle of accomplishing a goal, the wheels literally and figuratively fall off; yet, you need to get back up and going and push on to completion.

At Blentech, we are here to help you determine what those “plan B” solutions can be to help you deliver the best outcomes.  Contact us today and let us coach you to through a successful Plan B.  We can ruck through it together.

 

New Blentech Employee: Connor Edman

 

Blentech draws many smart and talented employees from all over the world.  We recently welcomed Connor Edman to our Service Team.  Connor is a UC Davis graduate, one of nearly a dozen UC Davis graduates at Blentech, who brings food safety knowledge, tenacity and a team focused attitude.

Connor holds down the Service phone line from our California corporate headquarters allowing our customers to “Stay Connected”. Whether working through a complex service issue or pulling essential parts to be shipped overnight, Connor is here for Blentech’s customers.

 

He works closely with our Indiana office to ensure our customers know that Blentech is there to connect with – whether they are on the east coast, west coast or any location around the globe. Connor also helps facilitate the details for visitors to run trials in our Innovation Center.

 

 

Let Connor help you “Stay Connected” to Blentech for all your service and parts needs by calling our service line at (707) 523-5949 extension 111 or email him at service@blentech.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Whether it’s a service or parts request, the Blentech team has been there for its customers for over 30 years.  Contact us today to learn more about Blentech products and technologies and become part of the Blentech Experience.

“Black Friday” – a Day to Enjoy the Outdoors?

Team Blentech on top of Taylor Mountain, Sonoma County, California

Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving is a big shopping day.  “Black Friday” sales are all around.   In our part of California, the day after Thanksgiving is also a day to get outside with your family and go for a walk or a hike with friends.  We here at Blentech like to be active and enjoy the beautiful area we call home, Sonoma County.

Even when we are on the road …we stay active as a team…

 

 

Yet, we are always happy to be back home in the San Francisco Bay area to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

Contact us today to schedule time to test your concepts in our Innovation Center in the heart of Sonoma County and you too can enjoy the outdoors of all that the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer while you’re here – and maybe do a bit of shopping as well.

Blentech is thankful – What are you thankful for?

The Blentech team has a lot to be thankful for this year.

Last week, we gathered to share a meal and talk about how thankful we are in light of the recent fires to our area.

We are thankful that we all could gather together in our thriving business and give thanks that we have our lives and our family’s lives, as many were not so fortunate.  We are thankful that the Blentech offices and factory were unaffected by the fires so that we all could come to our jobs that we put our heart and soul into, other businesses in our community were not so lucky.

We are grateful for a long standing Blentech tradition of handing out turkeys, hams and steaks to all Blentech employees!

 

                                                               

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Rebuild Sonoma County Job Fair

Blentech participated in the Rebuild Sonoma County Job Fair last week to help those in our community who were so severely affected by the devastating fires last month find new employment.

 

Blentech was one of over 170 employers who attended looking to recruit candidates from all over the county.  It was our honor to meet a great number of you who stopped by to see what Blentech is all about.  If you missed us at the job fair, check our career section of our website where we post our current openings.

Come be a part of the Blentech Team.

 

 

 

Girl Scouts Visit Blentech

Recently, we had the honor to host a local Girl Scout troop to come tour our corporate offices and factory to study its energy efficiency.  Our Applications Engineer, Erin Whelan, a Girl Scout herself, answered all kinds of questions about the building and its history.  Our building was built in 1991 and updated in 1994.

 

 

 

Blentech is now a 100% solar power operated facility.

 

All of our operations are powered by harnessing the energy of the sun through 580 LG solar panels and repurposing the energy that is not used, thereby driving down our operating costs.

 

Our solar is so efficient we actually send the excess energy back to PG&E to use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were questions about how the facility’s hot water is heated (it uses electricity) and to what temperature it is heated (120 degrees) and if the walls were insulated (they are) and if the facility is cooled (the offices, yes but the factory, no).

The girls also had questions about our equipment and how they worked and what types of foods they processed.  A dad of two of the girls was especially equipped to explain how this particular machine makes A LOT macaroni and cheese (exactly 609.92 gallons).

Just another great day at Blentech.  Contact us today to schedule your tour!

 

 

 

 

We have found the Blentech cooker to be more versatile than our standard cooking kettles. Our yields and product quality are excellent with the Blentech technology and the cycle times exceeded our expectations! The robust construction of Blentech equipment is unparalleled..

Bruce Cihonski
of Tyson Foods

Blentech Gets Published!

Blentech is published in "Thermal Processing of Ready-to-Eat Meat Products."

By: Darrell Horn and Daniel Voit