March 7, 2022
This month, Donnie Longino of GSF Conyers retires after 46 years with Golden State Foods. During his four decades with the company, Donnie experienced a focus on continuous learning, a strong culture of innovation, and a stable work-life balance that shaped his long tenure with GSF.
“GSF has always had opportunities for growth and advancement along the way and has enabled me to have a great family life outside of work,” says Donnie. “My kids have all grown up and never had to worry about stability or hardships due to the fact that GSF has always been such a stable business in the community and in our lives.”
Donnie joined the company’s Conyers, Georgia food production facility in the 1970s about six months after it opened. As part of the beef deboning operation, he supported the hamburger patty production process that GSF operated to supply quick service restaurants in the U.S. He later pursued new opportunities in other roles, such as operating lifts and machines, and eventually moved into Liquid Products to help make sauces, jams, and dressings for iconic QSR brands.
In the late 1990s, Donnie transitioned to inventory control in the warehouse. A few years later, he joined the Product Development team and spent the last 22 years of his career supporting GSF customers with innovative, safe, quality food products. His most recent role as Product Development Lab Supervisor involved the day-to-day oversight of operations in the Product Development lab with an emphasis on customer support through in-restaurant tests and lab-based pilot runs.
“I’ve always loved learning new skills, and I want to know why something works and how can it be made better,” said Donnie. “GSF has provided great training both on and off site, as well as allowing me to apply what I know and have learned to make my department and the company a better place to work.”
Having the supportive trust of others to make decisions and improve processes was what Donnie enjoyed most about his work. Some of the most fulfilling initiatives he pursued with his team included launching a new Product Development Lab and collaborating on the pilot lab design to source new, better, and more innovative equipment to make GSF’s vision a reality.
Through the years, Donnie’s passion for learning and drive toward continuous improvement helped the Conyers team successfully support its customers, grow the business, and earn well-deserved recognitions. In addition to numerous Supplier of the Year Awards from various QSR customers, Food Processing magazine honored GSF Liquid Products North America with the 2021 R&D Teams of the Year Award. Donnie and the entire Conyers facility team also won back-to-back 2011 and 2012 Chairman’s Challenge Awards, GSF’s highest company honor for top-performing facility teams.
When asked about what career advice he would share with others, Donnie says, “If you enjoy work that is ever-changing and can be fast-paced, this could be for you. It has changed so much since I started. With so much more innovation, I’m sure it’s only going keep on!”
On what Donnie describes as the “bittersweet” occasion of his retirement, he adds, “I actually will miss my GSF family very much. When you spend two-thirds of your life at one place, it’s nearly impossible to just turn off the work mode and turn on the retirement mode. I will give a serious effort though, I promise.”
GSF congratulates Donnie on his impressive milestone with sincere gratitude for his dedication and valued contributions to the company over the past 46 years. Happy retirement, Donnie!