Roquette builds community from the inside out

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For agronomist Jennifer McCombe-Theroux, one of the best things about working at Roquette Canada is watching the North American arm of the France-based natural ingredients company grow.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/03/2022 (206 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

For agronomist Jennifer McCombe-Theroux, one of the best things about working at Roquette Canada is watching the North American arm of the France-based natural ingredients company grow.

“It’s a unique opportunity to be able to start at a business from the ground up,” says McCombe-Theroux, who began working at the company three years ago, even before its pea protein plant started operations at the end of 2020.

“Roquette is a very innovative company,” says McCombe-Theroux. As an agronomist specializing in the organic program, she provides knowledge and support to farmers, and in this case pea farmers from Saskatchewan and Manitoba whose product is turned into high-quality pea protein isolate. “It’s always looking for the future, for opportunities to grow, improve and develop.”

Roquette Canada is committed to innovation and always looking toward the future for opportunities to grow, improve and develop.

McCombe-Theroux, who went to school at the University of Manitoba, grew up on a hobby farm and is now married to a farmer, says the company’s support for staff includes programs such as Wellness Wednesday (workshops to learn about mental health); a benefit package with zero cost to the employee; nutritious snacks in the lunchroom; a gym; and, in her case, help after returning from a maternity leave.

It also reaches out to the farmers and the Portage la Prairie community where the plant is located.

“People are the heart of Roquette,” McCombe-Theroux says. “What I really respect about Roquette is how they invest in their people and support the community they work in.”

Roquette supplied masks to the community at the beginning of the pandemic and provided Christmas hampers to those in need. It also funds programming for kids and families in marginalized communities, offers winter crisis supplies and donates to local food banks.

Trish Clark, head of human resources in Canada, says Roquette is about family and putting people first.

The Canadian plant, the largest of its kind in the world, was built during the COVID-19 pandemic, which added challenges to the project but didn’t stop it.

Safety was the No. 1 priority, not just for staff, but for the more than 1,000 construction workers who built the state-of-the-art facility.

“Roquette offers a culture that looks after everyone,” Clark says. “We kept everyone safe.”

It meant that Roquette adhered to COVID-19 safety protocols and embraced new technology such as smart glasses to train people remotely.

“We had to be resourceful,” Clark says. “Everyone worked hard to build a team mentality despite people working from home much of the time. We are in this together, and we will build this plant together.”

Clark says what is also exciting about working at Roquette is that processes are unique to the high-tech company, meaning while skilled, everyone at the company was specially trained.

“Everyone is learning and growing,” Clark says. “That offers energy and excitement to people.”

It also offers an opportunity for people to grow within the company, not just in Canada, but the 100 or so other countries where Roquette has a presence.

McCombe-Theroux says Roquette invests a lot in its people, providing opportunity for growth and development.

“I have learned so much in the past couple of years it’s unbelievable,” she says.

But beyond what Roquette does for her, McCombe-Theroux says she is grateful to work at a company that prioritizes farmers and building relationships.

“I love working with farmers. I appreciate being in a position where the goal is a long-term relationship with farmers. I have a lot of respect for farmers and for what they do, and to work at a company where that relationship is important to them is rewarding.”

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