John Davidson stands in front of a PowerPoint presentation as he talks to a group of students sitting around a table.

Joy Cone administrator discusses the multiple dimensions of human resources

John Davidson spoke at the eCenter @ LindenPointe to Shenango VenturePointe and business students on November 1, 2018.

Since 2015, he has been the Director of Human Resources/Chief Human Resources Officer at Joy Cone Co. Joy Cone is the world’s largest ice cream cone manufacturer. The company, which is celebrating 100 years in business, is based in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. Joy Cone has a second manufacturing location in Flagstaff, Arizona. The company recently acquired BoDeans Baking Group, which is based in LeMars, Iowa.

Davidson spoke about the multiple dimensions that human resources serve in corporations. He described how today, human resource managers take an active role in the strategic planning and decision making within their organizations. Leading organizations recognize that they can achieve a sustained competitive advantage through its people. Davidson gave practical examples as he spoke about all areas of human resources at Joy Cone, from recruitment, to training, and development.

He spoke about the importance of retaining and motivating employees in the process and how skills that are vital to managers of all levels are in their abilities to engage with people in an effective way to help steer the organization towards successfully achieving their strategy and goals. These skills include maintaining a strong understanding of the external economic and socio-cultural factors that affect one’s business.

An example he gave was in Joy Cone's management, how understanding and respecting the different cultures and priorities of people working in Joy’s Hermitage plant versus their Flagstaff manufacturing plant. He broached topics from healthcare to social media and to the current challenges present.

Davidson also discussed the challenges and opportunities graduating students will face when it comes to today’s human resource management environment. He explained how the challenges exist both for those who will become HR managers and for all who work in other functional areas of business as managers or as top executives.

He responded to many questions by the students, including, “Why have you been in human resources for your entire career?” To this question, Davidson replied, “Because I like working with people and I like that no two days are ever the same.”

Davidson began his 34-year career at Sharon Regional Health System in 1981 as the assistant director of Personnel. He became vice president of Human Resources in 1988 and remained with the hospital until 2015, when he started at Joy Cone.