Jen Berkebile is the the Materials Program Manager at Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO). Jen sat on a training panel related to material review at the 2018 ACA Training in February and was recently elected to the ACA Board of Directors. We want to offer our members the chance to get to know Jen and the work she does at PCO. Here’s what she has to say:
“PCO is headquartered in a repurposed school building in the vibrant Penns Valley area, which is in the southeastern edge of Centre County, Pennsylvania. Although PCO certifies nationally, most of our operations are located within the mid-Atlantic region. This region is home to diverse landscapes and operations, both in size and character, and that is reflected in PCO’s client roster, which spans all four scopes (crops, wild crops, livestock and processing). In addition to organic certification, we proudly offer grassfed certification and forest grown verification programs, both of which have provided our clients with value-added opportunities and continue to grow. PCO is also particularly proud of our materials department, and I’m proud to have the task of managing such a great team. Sabine Carey has been completing material reviews for PCO for over 10 years, and Adam Dalo has been a material review workhorse since he joined us over a year ago. PCO is pleased be able to offer a published list of approved materials to our clients as well as to other certifiers. Our materials team is a shining example of PCO’s commitment to excellent customer service.
In my position, I complete material reviews, create our annual materials lists, create and update our material review policies, and manage our wonderful materials team. From discussing the manufacturing process of a particular material to employing investigative strategies in order to track down ingredient information, I enjoy how varied and challenging my role can be. I am constantly learning about the nuances of reviewing certain materials. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with other material review specialists from the organic industry to develop best practices on tough materials issues for presentation at the ACA training. These opportunities for learning, and the collaborative nature of my role with my own team and with other material reviewers, make this job and industry truly rewarding.”
The ACA will be doing a series of “spotlight” segments to help our members get to know one another. Look for further information about leading figures in organic certification in future postings.