CASS Students Tour New Simmons Facility

CASS students recently stepped outside the classroom to better understand how the skills they are learning are essential to companies like Simmons Foods when it comes to keeping operations running smoothly and efficiently. CASS, which stands for the Career Academy of Siloam Springs, has an ongoing partnership with Simmons’ engineering and maintenance teams that includes regularly scheduled visits to Simmons operations facilities. During their most recent visit on March 6, 17 students in the CASS Industrial Maintenance Technology program toured Simmons’ existing Decatur Processing Facility, the Decatur Feed Mill, and the new facility currently under construction in Benton County.

cass edited 3.png
These are talented students. We’re proud to be involved with the CASS program and introduce them to what the future of industrial maintenance technology looks like.
— Mike Davis, Senior Director of Engineering and Maintenance, Simmons Foods

Before touring the facilities, the students were given an overview of what Simmons does and learned of the five core values, including a strong emphasis on the first core value, Putting People First. When touring the new Benton County facility, they were shown how the facility was designed with the People First value in mind, ultimately creating a better environment for team members. Students also learned the value of maintenance and education.


Mike Davis added, “We asked students, “What do you think our industrial maintenance technicians do? They replied, “They fix equipment when it breaks.” I then explained that we actually focus on preventing breakdowns, what we call preventative maintenance. We strive to be more predictive instead of reactive by planning our maintenance work to avoid downtime. We want them to understand how we approach maintenance and reliability at Simmons because it’s more than fixing things when they break – at Simmons, we don’t want them to break, and that’s why we implement a preventative approach.”

They love getting a peek into the life of a maintenance worker and seeing how Simmons’ maintenance program is run. The tour was engaging and the Simmons guides were very knowledgeable. We appreciate the opportunity!
— Jarred Wyatt, CASS Instructor at Siloam Springs High School

Kendra Woodlee, another CASS Instructor at the High School, also accompanied students on the tour, “I think that these tours were the best we have been on so far, especially in regards to learning about what an industrial maintenance job entails. My students said their favorite parts were touring the processing plant to see exactly how all of the machinery worked and getting to see the maintenance shop. They also enjoyed talking to employees who work there. Overall, it was a great experience.”

Simmons is proud to partner with the Career Academy of Siloam Springs. Click here to read more on the worthwhile partnership between Simmons and CASS.