Richmond's Pepperidge Farm is
an exemplar of cultural diversity
By Jason A. Givens
September 25, 2006 | RICHMOND -- Pepperidge Farm is
not just a factory making cookies and little goldfish-shaped
crackers. It is a melting pot of diversity.
Inside that melting pot are the faces of a changing
world, faces of a world growing smaller, faces of people
searching for a better life. The diversity at Pepperidge
Farm is extensive. People from all over the world work
there. There are people from Germany, Spain, Cambodia,
Vietnam, Laos, China, Ghana, Somalia, Chile, Mexico,
Peru, Brazil and many other places.
The diversity can be seen in more than just ethnic
backgrounds or country of origin. Diversity in religion
is present as well. There are Muslims, Buddhists, Christians
and people who don't believe in God. There are gay and
lesbian people and straight people too.
Even that guy who played the bully in the film Napoleon
Dynamite works there.
One of the faces that can be seen in the melting pot
is that of Savrin Eng. Eng has worked at Pepperidge
Farm for 25 years. He came to the United States as a
refugee from Cambodia. Eng said he had to run for his
He said he liked Cache Valley and decided to stay
here because it is small and he felt safe here. He said
he also liked it because he could attend Utah State
University and learn more about American culture.
Eng said he likes Pepperidge Farm because they pay
pretty good for the area and when compared with the
cost of living in other places he can make a good living.
He said he's able to save money, has good benefits and
Pepperidge Farm helped pay for his education through
a tuition assistance program.
Another face in the melting pot is that of Frank Okyere.
Okyere is from Ghana and lived in Italy for several
years before coming to the U.S. He said he speaks five
different languages. He has lived here for eight years
and began working at Pepperidge Farm about a month ago.
Okyere said he worked at E. A. Miller in Hyrum for seven
years. He said he likes his new job a lot better and
that he makes more money in one week now than he did
in two weeks at Miller's. Okyere said when he worked
at Miller's he would come home so tired that he couldn't
eat and now he eats like a cow.
"If you have a sense for what diversity really means
you won't think about race, but inclusiveness," Albert
C. Jones said, speaking to a journalism class at USU
on Thursday. Jones is the publisher of The Diversity
Times, a new monthly newspaper covering diversity
He said a lot of people are trying to embrace diversity
and trying to embrace people who are different than
they are. "We enlarge ourselves by being accepting of
other people," Jones said.
Susan Owen, manager of human resources and employee
relations at Pepperidge Farm, said there are 460 employees
at the Richmond plant and that the total minority population
at the plant as of April 2006 is 23.7 percent. She said
it breaks down to 0.2 percent black, 11.3 percent Hispanic,
11.5 percent Asian and 0.7 percent Native American.
Owen also said 60 percent of their workforce is female.