Innovation Manager (St. Louis, MO)

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This opportunity is located within our AFB International business, the global science and technology leader in pet food palatability. We develop and produce a full range of liquid and dry palatability enhancers using high-quality ingredients proven to optimize companion animal response and consumption. Click here to learn more.

Job Description


A successful individual in this role is an enthusiastic champion of people and bold new ideas. Further, this individual, manages the strategic initiatives and daily operations of AFB international North American Innovation team

by performing the duties personally or through subordinates. You are part of a global team inclusive of Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific thus a global mindset is must.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned.
  • Responsible for the North American Innovation team by embracing the innovation process to enable a space for creativity. Once the innovation process is set on its course, then oversees formulation, process, scale, and scientific rigor of the disruptive breakthrough solutions technologies coming through the process.
  • Participates in global collaboration (cross-regional) projects within Innovation, Teacher of best practices within R&D innovation.
  • Leads the execution of the innovation strategy by working with Project Management and Scientists.
  • Proactively works with Senior R&D leadership to develop near term and long-term innovative strategies, inclusive of palatability research, and avenues within the pet food flavor industry.
  • Steward of IP strategy and engages in external partnerships to drive development and impact of innovation.
  • Manages schedule plans according to variety of methods to be used, availability and quantity of resources, and types of testing to occur.
  • Provides strong individualized coaching, development, and leadership to the team members.
  • Analyzes and resolves work problems and/or assists workers in solving work problems.
  • Drives innovation decision-making regarding research priorities and provides information on feasibility of prospective projects.
  • Visionary presence within innovation R&D, with industry and insight expertise that can fuel external connections
  • Presentation, communication, and collaboration with key stakeholders globally as part of business opportunity development.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

This position will have direct reports and indirect relationships with global innovation team members. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.


  • Bachelor's Degree from a four-year-college or university in Animal Nutrition, Food/Flavor Science, Food Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or related field of study, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • 3+ years' experience in managing/directing a team of scientists with demonstrable innovation business impact and excellent customer-facing experience (communication, presentation).
  • 5+ total years in R&D product development, food process development, and/or innovation within consumer products / pet products.

  • M.S. or Ph.D., or other advanced degree (e.g., MBA) related to Animal Science, Food/Flavor Science, Food Engineering, Chemistry, pet food industry.
  • 5+ years experience in managing/directing a team of scientists with demonstrable innovation business impact and excellent customer-facing experience (communication, presentation).
  • Experience in palatability and/or other sensory evaluation, data science, analytical chemistry, product testing, flavor chemistry, manufacturing process

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

To perform this job successfully, an individual should have the following knowledge, skills and abilities:
  • Expertise in executing and teaching of food science, food technology and safety principles for formulation development and execute trials at lab scale and pilot plant scale on multiple projects according to project deadlines.
  • Expertise in executing and teaching the structure, function of ingredients and materials involved in formulation as well as the skill to safely handle them.
  • Expertise in Design of Experiments
  • Skill in developing and managing intellectual property
  • Ability to maintain accurate records relating to projects as they are planned performed and completed.
  • Proficiency with electronic means for recording data is required.
  • Familiarity with statistical analysis
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills to interact effectively with peers, co-workers, scientists, researchers, supervisors, customers, and vendors as required.
  • Awareness of general regulatory requirements within the industry
  • Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions.
  • Ability to effectively present information to team members, top management, and/or public groups.
  • Proficient skill level in MS Office Applications such as Word and Excel.
  • Excellent ability to work cooperatively and cultivate a strong team environment.
  • Ability to build relationships and foster a collaborative team environment.
  • Ability to prioritize and oversee multiple projects in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrates superior judgment.
  • Demonstrated leadership capabilities, including people development/coaching, objective setting, and measurement skills.
  • Demonstrates the capacity to manage changing priorities and ambiguity while remaining calm and controlled.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.

AFB International is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, national origin, or veteran status.
More Information on Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc.
Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc. operates in the Aerospace industry. The company is located in Denver, CO, Longmont, CO, Longmont, CO, San Rafael, CA, St. Charles, MO, Simsbury, CT and Portland, ME. Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc. was founded in 2022. It has 1001 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 4 open jobs at Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc., click here.
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