Employee Spotlight: 10 Things to Know About Johnny Rivas, Cooling and Receiving Manager

Johnny Rivas started working at Ocean Mist Farms nearly 10 years ago, and has been our Cooling & Receiving Manager over the last 2 years! We caught up with Johnny to learn about his job and the important work his team does to maintain our Gold Standard cut-to-cool policy and product traceability. Keep reading to learn more!

1. How did you get started at Ocean Mist Farms?

I started working here nearly 10 years ago as a Box Rotator, a position responsible for ensuring all product entering our cooler is loaded on a first-in-first-out (FIFO) basis. Eventually, I started working as a Shipping Clerk, which allowed me to work my way up to Shipping Supervisor prior to becoming Cooling & Receiving Manager. Over the last decade, I've learned about our business' supply chain processes from the inside-out, and continue to learn something new every day!

2. Tell us about your current job as Cooling & Receiving Manager?

I manage Receiving and Cooling, which are two departments under one umbrella. My primary job is to ensure our Receiving and Cooling operations are running efficiently at full capacity. My team is responsible for getting approximately 80,000- 100,000 daily cartons accurately entered into our database and cooled to maintain Ocean Mist Farms' 4 hour cut-to-cool policy. 


Hydrovacs (pictured above) and Ice Injector equipment are at the heart of our cooling operations. If a piece of equipment breaks down, it's my responsibility to communicate and resolve issues with our service technicians so that our Cooling operations can resume at full-capacity.

3. Tell us more about the Receiving department.

Within Receiving, our Receiving Supervisor, Jorge Gutierrez, oversees 5 Receiving Clerks responsible for auditing Product Traceability Initiative (PTI) labels (pictured below, right). A PTI label is a scannable label applied to every product carton containing our Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), lot number, pack date, and harvesting crew number. By ensuring the accuracy of every PTI label, Receiving has an important role maintaining field-to-retailer supply chain traceability for quality assurance and food safety reporting.

Learn more about Ocean Mist Farms' product traceability initiative with our GS1 Case Study.

PTI and Receiving Labels

Not only does our Receiving team check the data contained within each PTI label, they also apply color-coded Receiving tags (pictured above, left) to every pallet indicating scan-in time and select PTI label information. Having color-coding by day and Receiving scan-in times ensures product is promptly cooled and correctly loaded on a first-in-first-out (FIFO) basis.

4. Now tell us more about the Cooling side of operations.

Our Cooling department has two Cooling & Inventory Control Supervisors, Mario Gutierrez and Ruben Rocha, who manage the day-to-day operations of 22 employees made up of Hydrovac Operators, 12-Pallet Forklift Operators, and Ice-Injector Operators.

  • Hydrovac "Tube" Operators (shown above) operate the 5 Hydrovacs, which "vacuum" the heat out of the freshly harvested product and cool the product down to 34-36oF before going into the cooler. The Hydrovac operators are also responsible for recording temperature and water pH metrics for Food Safety purposes.
  • 12-Pallet Forklift Operators (shown above) unload the product from the harvesting trucks up to 12 pallets at a time for cooling.
    OMF_Ice Injector
  • Ice-injector operators use the Ice-Injector equipment (shown above) that injects ice directly into every carton on a pallet of select products. 25 to 30 pallets of product can be iced per hour!

5. What does a typical day in the life of the Cooling and Receiving look like?

Our typical Monday through Saturday begins when the first harvesting truck rolls in around 10:00 AM. Our typical day ends after the last harvest for the day comes in, which ranges from 8:00 PM to 11:00PM! Our Receiving team cross-checks PTI labels, applies Receiving tags, and enters product information into our system. With Receiving's approval, the 12-Pallet Forklift Operators move the product for cooling before going into the cooler.

6. What other departments do you work with on a daily basis?

We work closely with Harvesting for estimating product receiving times and reconfirming PTI label information. We coordinate with Food Safety and Quality Assurance upon receipt of product for reporting purposes. We also communicate with Shipping and Sales, who rely on our Receiving and Cooling timelines for order fulfillment.

7. How has your team adapted to the COVID-19 landscape over this last year?

This past year, my team modified processes to maintain social distancing within the office and outside on the plant. We closed off our offices to outside harvesters and other visitors from entering to limit contact, enforced face mask wearing, installed temperature check and hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, and digitized reports as much as possible.

8. Three words to describe your job?

Fast-paced, detail-oriented, and fun because of the team I get to work with every day!

9. Any hobbies you've picked up during the pandemic?

Since the pandemic, I brushed up on the mechanic work I learned in high school and have spent a lot of time in the garage working on my '37 Pontiac!

10. Last move or show you streamed that you'd recommend?

The last binge-worthy show I watched is Narcos. Very action-packed and highly recommended!

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Julie Criswell
Julie has been connected to Ocean Mist Farms for half of her life! When she was 9, she participated in the Artichoke Festival’s Agro-art competition for the first time, and every year until she went to college in Chicago. Now, two years after her summer internship with us, she’s officially aboard our marketing team full-time. Enjoy her perspective of life in the produce lane!
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