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Using Every Hour of Every Day to Focus on Customers

July 27, 2015

For Alicia Vega, our Director of Research & Development and Junior Flavorist, serving our customers is the focus of her day. Whether she’s developing applications, visiting plants to better understand unique needs or bringing a scientific perspective to projects, customers are her highest priority. See why Edlong’s first employee in Mexico was destined to work with dairy flavors!

Alicia Vega
Director of Research & Development
Jr. Flavorist – Latin America
Joined Edlong in 1997

How would you describe your typical day?
Busy and full of many different activities! Each day starts with a team meeting, where we review what we’ll be working on and our priorities. From there, we work hands-on to develop applications for our customers, which includes brainstorming ideas, trying different approaches, sourcing raw materials and ingredients and of course, tasting. Customer communication is very important, so we also talk with our customers and sales team to fully understand the needs and objectives of each project. While we primarily develop applications for customers in Mexico and Latin America, we communicate often and work very closely with colleagues in other Edlong locations around the globe.

What’s your favorite part about working at Edlong?
The people. I work with great people and enjoy getting to know our customers.

Tell us about a special memory you have of your time with Edlong.
I have been fortunate to have so many wonderful experiences with Edlong. I began my career at the Chicago headquarters, and then went back to Mexico to start our R&D operations there. I’m so proud of how we’ve grown—and I’m proud to have been Edlong’s first employee in Mexico!

Besides working in the U.S. and Mexico, I was also honored to spend time working in the U.K. I had the opportunity to play a part in helping to grow Edlong’s business and culture in another country which was very special to me—not just professionally, but personally as well. I was able to bring my family and we all had such an amazing experience.

How do you impact Edlong’s customers?
We interact a lot with our customers, and I hear a lot of good comments from them. When something gets stuck or we need to understand their products or operations better to help them develop the best solution, we go to their plants to work with them. Our clients really appreciate that we go to them and help them figure things out. It’s important that we’re able to do things quickly for our customers—we do everything we can to solve their problems in less time than they’d spend on their own. We even help our clients look beyond our flavors to how they’re used in their formulations. For example, sometimes they’re looking for a raw material and we may have a great supplier to recommend. We offer that advice because we want to help them find the whole solution.

How does your work make Edlong better?
While I spend most of my time developing applications, I have experience with our flavor lab and bring a scientific perspective to projects. I identify opportunities to improve applications with our flavors, and ways to improve our flavors for specific applications. It’s important to me to find the best, most efficient and practical way to do things, to help our company and customers. Having experience with both flavor science and applications really helps.

What’s your favorite food?
I love everything! Mexican and Indian cuisines are my favorite—I love the full flavor. If I really had to choose one thing, it would be samosas.

What’s your favorite thing to do for fun?
I love to cook, especially when I have family at home and I can put them to work so we can make something together.

What’s one thing your customers might not know about you?
I grew up on a farm! My dad taught me how to milk cows and make cheese. I was destined to work at Edlong!