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Influential Women: Lisa Stowater, Hy-Vee

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — A 32-year veteran of Hy-Vee, Lisa Stowater has spent her entire career working at the company’s distribution center in Cherokee, Iowa, and mastering the challenges of supply chain. 

influential womenHer varied roles working in human resources, transportation and distribution operations have shaped her into a well-rounded supply chain leader and have prepared her for her role as senior vice president of distribution for the warehouse.

“Our role is to support our retail operations by providing on-time, quality deliveries, which ultimately result in a seamless shopping experience for our customers,” said Stowater.

Stowater oversees the distribution of millions of items each month to Hy-Vee’s more than 285 retail stores, which are positioned across eight Midwestern states.

The 665,000-square-foot Cherokee warehouse is a central storage and dry distribution facility and primarily houses general merchandise, convenience store stock and a portion of the grocery item assortment for the $13 billion retailer.

“To remain efficient, accurate and profitable, we are always working to reduce the number of times we touch an item by leveraging insights and coming up with new and innovative ideas on how to operate,” Stowater said.

Lisa Stowater

Lisa Stowater

Coming out of the pandemic, Stowater and her team have formed strong partnerships with Hy-Vee’s supplier manufacturing facilities to help monitor consumer purchasing trends and mitigate potential delays in production and delivery.

During her career, Stowater helped implement a new warehouse management system that created greater efficiencies across all of Hy-Vee’s distribution centers, including visibility of other facilities for cross-dock purposes, product traceability, improved reporting capabilities, and more. 

Stowater’s distribution center in Cherokee, Iowa, employs approximately 545 warehouse and transportation employees.

In recent years, Stowater has made an effort to recruit bilingual leaders to help recruit and retain more employees from various backgrounds.

Stowater also provides opportunities for employees to learn different roles and expand their overall supply chain knowledge.

“Over the years we have built a very strong, inclusive workforce, where our employees feel motivated, welcomed and valued,” she explained. “We are a team that operates as one unit, which is why we invest so much in our people and our workplace culture to help us reach our goals.”

Stowater has also spearheaded several sustainable practices throughout her career at the distribution center.

Under Stowater’s leadership, for example, the Cherokee facility has remained TRUE Zero Waste certified since 2018. That certification, by the Green Business Council, means that 99.02% of all waste from the facility over the past year was diverted from landfills through a variety of sustainable practices.

 The campus has also added an electric yard truck to reduce emissions and has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill award program. 


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