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  • Mitchell: A worthwhile destination

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    A couple of hours in the car each day is time well spent for Teresa Sternhagen, of Tabor.

    “If you love what you do, the drive is worth it,” said Teresa, the director of supply chain management for Toshiba in Mitchell.

    Teresa and her family love the small-town connectedness of living in her husband, Dean’s, hometown of Tabor, but she also knew that working for a large company was her career choice.

    A native of Tyndall and graduate of Dakota Wesleyan University, she spent the first years of her career working for manufacturers in Yankton and Sioux Falls as a buyer and materials manager.  Keeping her eyes open to opportunity with larger companies, she applied and was hired at Toshiba in 2008.

    As the director of supply chain management, Teresa is responsible for customer forecasts and scheduling of six production lines and eight packaging lines.  The Mitchell plant is the largest toner manufacturer for the international company, and she has customer interactions daily.

    “We have such an impact on so many customers, and for many people, I’m the direct contact for our facility,” said Teresa. “My job is never the same two days in a row.”

    In addition to the variety in her workday, she is also appreciative of the culture at Toshiba. 

    “As a management team we’re focused on a safe environment for our employees; our people are our greatest asset.” she said.  “We are also committed to continuous improvement as a company, and have been recognized for our efforts by our corporate office in Lake Forest, California.”

    Teresa suspects there are misconceptions about working for a manufacturer, and specifically for Toshiba.  Most people think of electronics when they hear “Toshiba,” and they don’t realize that toner production requires some expertise in the sciences and specifically, chemistry.  She says the clean, comfortable working environment and the excellent holiday and vacation plan make for an atmosphere that is focused on the desires of today’s workforce.

    While it’s possible that the Sternhagens may someday move closer to Mitchell, they have one daughter in high school and one in college, and her stepson is completing his training as a C-130 pilot; like many parents, their lives revolve around their children and their activities.  As a family, they enjoy time on the Missouri River, visiting the Black Hills, and Teresa has also coached the Bon Homme cheer team.

    Dean sells fire equipment from a home office, providing flexibility since Teresa spends weekdays in Mitchell.  Together, they are active volunteers for a project that is important to them: keeping alive a memorial to Rich Schild, a family friend and member of Charley Battery, 147th Field Artillery unit based in Yankton, who was killed in 2005 by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq.

    “Rich loved fireworks, so we raise money for a firework display in his memory during Czech days,” said Teresa. 

    Regardless of her destination – the large company where every day is different and rewarding, or the small community where “everyone knows everyone” – Teresa’s windshield time always seems to be taking her in the right direction.
  • Whether you are relocating to Mitchell, planning a weekend getaway, or adding us to your vacation itinerary,
    the Mitchell Guide to Everything is here to help plan your stay in Mitchell, SD!

    View or download your digital copy here.

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