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Peter began his career within the food industry as a chemical engineer at Kraft after graduating from Penn State University, unlike many food safety experts; now 26 years in the industry, Peter heads a multinational food safety and quality team at Glanbia Nutritionals. In his career, he had a lot of big pivots that took him to where he is now. He joined the R&D department at Kraft Foods at the start of his career, and made the decision to move and Switzerland to take over the European quality team of the company. He returned to the United States after three years overseas, where he assisted in breaking Kraft into Kraft Foods and Mondelez International. Today, he also heads the company's COVID response squad, in addition to his current job at Glanbia. He affirmed that he made all the right choices after taking a look back, and was happy he did not say no to any chances that emerged.
Peter urged young female practitioners to be careful during the interview and to stop getting in a panic. "Also, you are excited about seeking a career path:" If you are passionate, all of the obstacles or problems will pass, "he said. Don't be opposed to trying new positions, though, especially early in your career. Be open to those other opportunities, and later on they will benefit you. "Therefore, don't believe that the first opportunity will be the only career direction you'll get." And if you switch from R&D to marketing or procurement, the expertise will benefit you. It gives a new way of looking at issues. "Nothing you do would be lost." On this point, I can't agree more.
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During the November 5 episode of the 2020 Food Safety Consortium Interactive Conference Series, Peter Begg will attend a panel discussion on Professional Growth & Women in Food Safety.
Peter had a unique point of discussing the two common choices as we spoke about food science job options for students: R&D and Food Safety and Quality. Peter differentiated them by the sense of seriousness of certain positions and their difficulties. A R&D project is typically six months to a year, with deadlines to finish the project; while a project could be one day or one week in terms of safety and efficiency, and is also impossible to anticipate, since something different arrives every day. "If you are a person who enjoys surprises and improvements, then more food protection and quality successes will be found," he added. "Every day, I love the range of challenges, and this is the reason I have not returned to R&D."
"A tip that Peter may have given to his younger self was one thing that resonated with me long after the conversation:" Don't sweat the small stuff. You learn to rely on the things that make the actual difference as you gain more knowledge. I know that sounds trite, but in triaging and knowing what is critical, you have to get better,' he explained.