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Break Boundaries in MSP

Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP) is the problem-solving capital of the new economy. Facing challenges and breaking boundaries is what we do best. That’s what makes us a magnet for problem-solvers like you. Join us and discover leading opportunities to grow your career.

Hometown: Matteson, IL

Ashley McCray

R&D Engineer, General Mills

What problem(s) are you working to solve?
I’m working on a variety of problems. 1: How can we deliver convenient and exciting food solutions for the everyday person? I ponder and work on this problem every day that I go to work on Old El Paso (Tex-mex) products. 2: What packaging configuration is ideal for our consumers’ pantries, our customers’ store shelves and our production facility’s equipment? 3: What’s the product that our consumers are missing and don’t know it yet? Is it a new taco shell, new seasoning or even a new flavor of salsa?

What makes the Minneapolis and Saint Paul region (MSP) a great place to grow your career?
There are so many resources and people in MSP. In the food industry alone, we have giant companies (General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Cargill) miles away from huge customers (Target, Supervalu, etc.). It’s the perfect “starter city.” It’s small enough to have tight relationships but large enough to keep growing as an individual, business and organization.

What do you think surprises people about MSP?
People are surprised by how fruitful our industries are here. We have the health sector, CPG companies, marketing, creative spaces, non-profit strength and a growing political force. The beauty of Minneapolis-Saint Paul always surprises people who only envision blizzards—not clear lakes or waterfalls. Finally, people are genuinely surprised by how nice Minnesotans are. We have small town vibes but in a metro area.

What advice do you have for women engineers starting in their careers?
I recommend finding your support system. But, don’t have blinders on. Men or non-minorities (if you’re a minority) can and will be your allies/sponsors. So, please find great people for your circle regardless of their gender, race, etc. It’s easy for us women to find solace in each other, but in order to continue to climb, grow and prosper, you need to search for diversity in your life.