Theresa Spandl loves variety. In fact, she is quick to say that the best part of her job is that every day is different from the last. That was certainly true recently when she was tapped for the inaugural Pride of the Jersey award at the Long Prairie, Minn., location of Dan’s Prize.
“I started to get nervous when I realized I was the one,” she says. “I started to cry.”
Upon announcing the honor, President Jeff Tobak cited Theresa’s many contributions to the company in her previous jobs and current role in quality control. When new employees come to the Dan’s Prize Long Prairie location, Theresa is one of the first people they see. She reviews manufacturing processes with all new hires.
“I think a lot of it [receiving the jersey] is that most people remember me because I’m one of the first ones they see when they start,” she says.
For Jeff, it’s much more than that. “She’s a go-to person at our location. Theresa really does a great job of keeping the labels and preprinted bags organized at each of the company’s two facilities. She also prints labels that are done in house. If Browerville needs a new label, she will create it and send it over,” he says.
Theresa has been part of the Dan’s Prize team since 1989. That was the year she began working second shift on the brisket production line. Her son, Jake, was a toddler then. When Theresa came in from work, he would smell the brisket on her, she remembers.
That job soon led to others, one of the many reasons Theresa feels fortunate.
“I’ve been very lucky. I’ve done lots of things here,” she says.
Life in Long Prairie
Theresa has also been blessed with her marriage to Brian and with their children, Jake, now 30; and Brianne, 26. Theresa drops good-natured hints about wanting grandchildren, but in the meantime, she is grateful to have five great-nieces and -nephews nearby. With seven siblings and parents who live in Long Prairie, Minn., she is rarely at a loss for family connections.
It’s one of the reasons Theresa returned to her hometown of Long Prairie nearly 30 years ago. She and Brian married after high school and moved to North Dakota for seven years. As they were beginning a family of their own, it became more important to have relatives close by.
Theresa enjoys reading in her free time and is well-known for always having a book with her. “If I’m bored, I find a book,” she says, adding that mysteries and romance novels are among her favorites. She also loves to tend to her garden while Brian works with metal antiques. The two scour flea markets and antiques shows for treasures.
Which just goes to prove the old adage: It takes one to know one.