LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Each day between 11 a.m. and noon, nearly 500 employees at Foxconn Ohio converge in the cafeteria of its Lordstown complex, a large bright and open concourse that invites interaction.
On the surface, it’s simply a lunchroom. On another level, the place presents the opportunity for employees to communicate with one another – a forum that enables top managers and supervisors, production workers, engineers, and maintenance workers to converse and exchange ideas.
“We get to watch the interaction and people engaging during lunch,” says the manager of culinary and events at Foxconn, Earl Ross. “All of our team members come together. And I think that’s really great for the culture.”
Each month, Foxconn hosts a company barbecue where everyone can participate, Ross says, since it is sometimes difficult for those working in the paint shop or the west plant to make it for lunch. Those meals are delivered to their sites, he says.
Ross, who also owns Ross’ Eatery and Pub in Lordstown, has done business in the community for 25 years and says it’s exciting to see new faces in the region because of renewed activity in the plant. “I’ve always tried to make people feel comfortable,” he says.
Foxconn, as a global company, attracts guests and business people from all over the world to its Ohio plant, Ross says.
As such, he’s conscious of the variety of tastes that accompany a more diverse workforce and international visitors.
“We try not to make our menu too bland,” he says. Cultural and ethnic foods are integrated into the meals. “We include every significant holiday even outside our culture in America.”
Menus change every day and new menus are planned each month, Ross says. In October, for example, the dishes ranged from apple butter grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches to jambalaya, curry, stir-fry, stuffed shells, roasted tofu and hamburgers. All of the meals are made from scratch and employees eat at no charge, he says.
“Daily, you have your choice of a salad or a vegetarian option,” he says, underscoring a dedication to healthful eating. “People seem to appreciate it.”
Pictured at top: Earl Ross is the manager of culinary and events at the Foxconn plant.