Ronald Yanku, 25 Over Fifty-five

FACTORY CERTIFIED: Ronald Yanku has been credited with boosting Edesia Inc.’s production of lifesaving nutritional packets with robotics, while cutting costs and maintaining jobs. He’s plant operations director for the nonprofit.
 / PBN PHOTO/DAVE HANSEN
FACTORY CERTIFIED: Ronald Yanku has been credited with boosting Edesia Inc.’s production of lifesaving nutritional packets with robotics, while cutting costs and maintaining jobs. He’s plant operations director for the nonprofit.
 / PBN PHOTO/DAVE HANSEN

25 Over Fifty-Five 2019 Award Winner
RONALD YANKU | Plant operations director, Edesia Inc.


RONALD YANKU’S 34 YEARS in manufacturing all led to his most prized job yet: saving the lives of children around the world with nutritional peanut butter packets as Edesia Inc.’s plant operations director.

“With our ever-increasing production since 2010, we have to date provided full treatments to 9.6 million children,” said Yanku. “That, in itself, is pretty satisfying if not downright unbelievable.”

In 2016, Edesia, a nonprofit, moved to a new factory with increased automation at Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown. Yanku also introduced X-rays into the assembly line to check for contaminants, setting the standard in the industry.

- Advertisement -

Still, he didn’t want automation to replace any of Edesia’s 105 employees. It didn’t. Thanks to the company’s mission of improving people’s lives and its high-level training, former “box-filling people” operate robotic cells and have taken leadership roles in training others. Job satisfaction and wages have increased.

“I’m so proud that this fantastic factory is operated by many of the same fantastic employees that it started with and that the winning culture continues with the many that have joined us,” he said.

Before joining Edesia 10 years ago, Yanku worked for several manufacturing companies, honing his skills in safety management, new technologies and lean manufacturing.

He participates in Polaris MEP, a statewide nonprofit that’s an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership and a business unit of URI Ventures.

“It is [Yanku’s] ingenuity and leadership that allows us to break records every quarter both in quantity of product produced but also in cost savings,” said Edesia CEO and founder Navyn Salem. “Every quarter since we started, he has found a way to reduce the cost of our humanitarian product so we can reach more children with the same dollars.”

No posts to display