–By Angela Labrecque, Marketing & Communications
Cherie started on Andersen’s production floor in the Anprolene building on July 25, 1988. At that time the company was moving, department by department, from Oyster Bay, New York, to Haw River, North Carolina. Just two weeks after Cherie started, the company’s line of hospital surgical drains and pumps relocated, and she was promoted to supervisor. These devices are used in life-saving operations throughout the U.S. and in over 50 countries around the world.
The production manager brought with her from New York a yellow legal pad with handwritten notes on how to make Andersen’s tubes and pumps. The newly forming team learned to make their products based solely on these notes.
“It was a great challenge,” said Cherie. “I’ve always liked a challenge. We were selling 4,000 to 5,000 pumps a week at that time and we had to be up to speed as soon as possible.”
In 1989, the Sterijet machine also moved to Haw River. It was used to sterilize the tubes and pumps as well as for contract sterilization. Cherie was trained on the Sterijet personally by Dr. H.W. Andersen, known to everyone as simply “Doc.”
“He was so patient!” she said. “And, of course, he knows everything about it. So, he was the perfect person to be trained by.”
In 1990, Cherie became Assistant Production Manager and then, in 2005, she took on the role of Production Manager along with her responsibilities as supervisor of Tubes & Pumps.
From 2010 to 2021, she also served as a member of the Quality Assurance team and as the company’s Safety Officer. In 2016 her son, Allen, joined Andersen and took over her responsibilities as Supervisor of Tubes & Pumps.
Andersen stopped manufacturing hospital tubes and drains in 2021 when foreign alternatives appeared at price points below Andersen’s cost of raw materials.
“Our founder Dr. H.W. Andersen chose to close this part of our business rather than move production overseas,” said Ted May, Andersen Products CEO. “We have always been totally committed to keeping our production here in North Carolina.”
Since then, Cherie has served in several roles, first on the operations team and then helping service and shipping.
“Cherie is one of the key people who helped define Andersen’s strong family-like corporate culture,” said Ted. “Whether organizing potluck lunches, coordinating the company picnic and Thanksgiving celebration, or raising money for local families in need, Cherie has always been at the center of events that bring us together.”
Cherie said of her retirement on November 1, “It’s bittersweet. I have had a valuable time at Andersen in every way. There have been aggravations, as with any job. But all in all, they have been good and beneficial years.”
As she looks to the new chapter in her life, Cherie is particularly excited to finish a book she’s writing. She hopes her book will help young women avoid some of the pitfalls in life she’s encountered. She is also determined to learn to play an antique banjo given to her by her great uncle. International travel is also on the docket, and she intends to start by revisiting several places in Europe. One exciting event on the horizon is taking her granddaughter to Paris for her high school graduation gift.
Cherie, we thank you for three and a half decades of dedicated service! We will miss you but wish you all the very best in your retirement years.