Senior Automation Engineer at Jack Link's Protein Snacks (Minneapolis, MN)

| Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN
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Company Description

When it comes to being wild, we know a thing or two. We’re not afraid of trying something new or the hard work it takes to make it happen. It’s in our DNA. We’ve turned a family recipe into a new snacking category. And the wilderness into the world’s largest meat snack business, that’s still proudly family owned and operated.

We’re a company built by innovators, and are driven to not only satisfy your hunger, but to also feed your journey – whether that journey is on the road, on the run, at the campground, at the playground, in the office or in the moment. It’s a journey we share with you. It’s the journey forward of our people, of our communities, of our category…with a reverence for quality and an irreverence for the status quo.

At Jack Link’s Protein Snacks, we see every moment of every day as an opportunity to move forward, to forge new ground. To realize our vision of becoming the World’s #1 Protein Snack Company. We never give up. You never give up. Together, we keep going. Are you wild enough to join us?

Jack Link’s Protein Snacks is a global leader in snacking and the No. 1 meat snack manufacturer worldwide. Family-owned and operated with headquarters in Minong, Wisconsin, Jack Link’s Protein Snacks also has a large corporate hub in Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company is made up of over 4,000 passionate team members, across 11 countries, who share an uncompromising commitment to delivering awesome products and feeding the journey of those who move things forward. The Jack Link’s Protein Snacks portfolio of brands includes, Jack Link’s, Lorissa’s Kitchen, MATADOR Jerky, BiFi and Peperami.

Job Description

The Automation Controls Engineer will provide automation controls leadership and support in the development of engineering led solutions for the most complex consumer product production challenges, i.e. new product introductions or line installations, custom machine solutions for unique packaging or product making needs, or systems analysis leading to throughput and efficiency gains. You will be responsible for technical and functional leadership of Automation Controls & Electrical Systems supporting a business platform. Under limited supervision, this person will support major automation and controls projects across the platform consistent with the strategic direction. This role serves as a key subject matter expert and resource for Equipment’s Controls


The duties and responsibilities of this position shall consist of, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Support as an expert, implementation of strategic automation control projects.
  • Develop and implement automation controls to support plant floor strategies, efficiency, productivity improvement, and innovation.
  • Supports the team with the development and execution of project scope, costs, and schedule from concept through vertical start-up.
  • Ensures that projects meet operating expectations and are completed within authorized budgets and schedule constraints.
  • Help lead, implement & support MES (Manufacturing Execution System).
  • Drives technical solutions by evaluating and recommending new technologies that can help reduce/eliminate issues associated with equipment performance.
  • Supports the development of the long-range controls capital plan and manage obsolescence
  • Perform root cause analysis specific to system controls breakdowns.
  • Collaborate with project teams, and internal/external technical resources to assess opportunities for application of innovative designs, performance improvements, technical advantages, speed to market and capital efficiencies ensuring optimum business value is achieved during capital project activity.
  • Coaches and mentors Automation Engineers to build technical capability and leadership behaviors consistent with our stated goals.
  • Strong control systems back-ground with experience in servo motion control, stepper motors, etc. and safety standards.
  • Experience in programming PLC’s e.g. Allen-Bradley, Siemens or Mitsubishi using ladder logic
  • Experience with setting up and using fieldbus such as Ethernet I/P.
  • Strong working design experiences with multi-threaded applications.
  • Strong analytical and proven problem-solving skills and attention to details.
  • Working experience with source control software.


  • Bachelor’s Degree required preferably in Electrical Engineering
  • 6+ years’ experience in Automation, Manufacturing and Packaging Technologies in electrical & control systems within Consumer-Packaged Goods – preferably within the Food Industry
  • Project engineering including scope definition, cost estimation and tracking is required
  •  Previous experience with manufacturing food and beverage or consumer packaged goods companies is strongly preferred.
  •  Previous experience in plant operations and corporate engineering environment strongly preferred.
  •  Demonstrates project management leadership, problem-solving, decision making, troubleshooting, communications, and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work with a team and influence diverse groups at various levels and across functions.
  • Ability to teach the fundamentals of electrical automation and control systems.
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of the primary codes and safety requirements applicable to controls safety systems, robotics, and power distribution equipment and systems.
  • Strong ability to utilize application, programming, and integration experience through a variety of hardware/software.
  • Experience with AB PLC / Rockwell Automation is plus.
  • Ability to troubleshoot PLCs at the code level and troubleshoot equipment and wiring.
  • Knowledge and experience in AutoCAD with the ability to create and read electrical & control schematics
  • Strong understanding of low and medium voltage power distribution and associated equipment is preferred.
  • Must have advanced knowledge of processing, packaging & facility systems along with thorough understanding of manufacturing, engineering, quality, and research functions.
  • Familiarity with TPM, Six Sigma, LEAN or other vigorous Continuous Improvement Methodologies preferred
  •  Demonstrates compliance with USDA, FDA, OSHA, EPA, City and/or State agencies, etc. for both manufacturing processes and building requirements.
  • Must be proficient in the use of Microsoft Office applications, including Microsoft Project, Word and EXCEL
  • Experience successfully performing engineered designs for large scale projects and leading project teams required.
  • Job assignments are complex in nature and require excellent planning, project leadership, technical skills and communication to be successful in meeting project objectives. Must be able to coordinate and resolve both interpersonal and technical problems and work independently.
  • Effective oral and written communication skills, acute attention to detail, excellent time and project management skills and the drive to complete projects thoroughly required
  • Ability to handle multiple priorities in a fast-changing work environment.
  • Must be a creative thinker with good interpersonal relationship skills, strong project management and process improvement skills, as well as strong cross-functional teamwork skills.
  • Qualified candidates will be able to present and detail a successful automation project that they have led from concept to completion.
  • Ability to travel 30 - 40% of the time.
  • Position location Minneapolis, MN – open to other Jack Link’s locations


Able to support and lead Jack Link’s vision, purpose, mantra, and values:

OUR VISION - Be the World’s #1 Protein Snack Company

OUR PURPOSE - We Feed the Journey

OUR MANTRA - We Feed Your Wild Side


BE REAL - I am humble and authentic, and I contribute to a fun work environment

SPEED MATTERS - I drive results with innovation, creativity, and a clear sense of urgency.

STEWARDSHIP - I act like an owner to build, improve and protect the quality of the brand and its people.

RELATIONSHIP DRIVEN - I foster collaboration with internal and external partners, and respect diversity, because people matter.

SELF DISCIPLINE - I am accountable for my responsibilities and driven to exceed short- and long-term expectations.

SHOW AWESOME CHARACTER - I am optimistic and enthusiastic while acting with honesty and integrity.

Additional Information


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to be successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job the employee is regularly required to sit, use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to stand, walk and reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally lift and/or more up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. The work environment is a plant / office setting with varying degrees of temperatures and noise levels. Exposure to manufacturing equipment movement and wet / slippery floors. However; the vast amount of work is conducted in a climate-controlled office.

Jack Link’s provides equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, veteran status, or any other characteristic that is protected by federal, state or local law.

Jack Link’s is participant in the federal E-Verify program to confirm the identity and employment authorization of all newly hired employees. For information about the E-Verify program, please visit:

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

More Information on Jack Link's Protein Snacks
Jack Link's Protein Snacks operates in the Food industry. The company is located in Minong, WI, Minneapolis, MN, New Glarus, WI, Makato, MN, Lauren, IA and Alpena, SD. Jack Link's Protein Snacks was founded in 1986. It has 974 total employees. It offers perks and benefits such as Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Disability Insurance, Dental Benefits, Vision Benefits, Health Insurance Benefits and Life Insurance. To see all 12 open jobs at Jack Link's Protein Snacks, click here.
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