TheMeat Industry Hall of Fame is proud to announce the Members of the Class of 2015. A record number on nominees were on this year's ballot, and a record number of votes were cast by current Members and the organization's Board of Trustees.

"The final tally was extremely close with more than a dozen extremely well-qualified people within just a few votes of becoming one of the six new members," said Chuck Jolley, Meat Industry Hall of Fame President and Principal of Jolley & Associates, Kansas City. "A tie in the voting resulted in an unprecedented seventh person joining this year's group of honored individuals."

Among the qualifications for nomination to the Hall, candidates must have contributed significant innovation, achieved notable business success or otherwise positively impacted their organization, institution or larger industry segment. In addition, those nominees chosen for induction have undertaken significant community service or philanthropy during their careers and upon retirement.

Among the Meat Industry Hall of Fame Members inducted since the organization's founding in 2008 are such household names as Dave Thomas, Frank Perdue, Ray Kroc, Don Tyson and Jimmy Dean, along with such well-known industry leaders as Dick Knowlton, Temple Grandin, Gary Smith, Rosemary Mucklow and Ken Monfort. To date, a total of 70 Members have been inducted, not including the Class of 2015.

"This year's Class of 2015 is a stellar group that includes some of the most successful business leaders in the meat and poultry industries," said Dan Murphy, Meat Industry Hall of Fame Executive Director. 

"It also includes two of the most innovative equipment manufacturers in the food business, whose engineering and technological contributions continue to impact product quality and operational efficiency to this day. We are proud to welcome all our new Members into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame."

The 2015 Induction Ceremony will take place on Nov. 2 at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C., when the Meat Industry Hall of Fame's current Members, Trustees and officers will welcome William Bucker, Jo Ann Smith, William McMillan, Edward C. Jones, James Lochner, Laurence Bettcher and Wolf Ludwig as the newest and distinguished members of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

The career highlights of these distinguished new Inductees are summarized below:

William (Bill) Buckner, President of Cargill Meat Solutions
William (Bill) Buckner serves as one of five members of Cargill's leadership team, where he will retire in August, capping a 28 year career with that company. From the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak of 1993, to the discovery of BSE in the United States in 2003, to the more recent controversy about lean, finely textured beef, Buckner has helped lead the beef industry in dealing with its share of challenges.

During his career at Cargill, Buckner served as Corporate Vice President of SA/NV, Senior Vice President of Cargill Limited and President of Cargill Meat Solutions. In addition, he served as a Director of Teys Australia Pty. Ltd. and as Director of MetaMorphix Inc. from September 2003 to October 24, 2006. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Jo Ann Smith, Former President, National Cattlemen's Association
Jo Ann Smith became deeply involved in the beef industry as a member of the Florida Beef Council and later as an appointee to USDA's Animal Technical Advisory Committee on Livestock and Livestock Products, the Foreign Animal Disease Advisory Committee and the Meat Pricing Task Force.

But her greatest accomplishments arguably came when she was elected in 1985 as the first woman president of the National Cattlemen's Association. In that role, she was widely regarded as one of the industry's most effective leaders and was credited with persuading producers to establish the Beef Checkoff, which launched a new era of marketing and promotion. She was the founding chairperson of the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board that developed the programming for the Checkoff.

Smith also served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Inspection Services, and often shares fond memories of her close relationship with then-President George H.W. Bush.

C.W. "Bill" McMillan, National Cattlemen's Association Vice President for Washington Affairs
Bill McMillan has had a profound influence, often behind the scenes, on the US beef industry and on international trade. His career began as a County Agent near Fort Collins, Colo. Later, he joined the National Cattlemen's Association, rising by the 1960s to Vice President for Washington Affairs. In that role, he was a key architect in the political maneuvering that resulted in passage of the Meat Import Law by Congress in 1964, which resulted in significant trade benefits for the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

McMillan was also a key player in negotiations leading to the Wholesome Meat Act in 1967, which brought radically structural change to meat plants in the United States and abroad. During the 1970s, he was involved in two landmark events with long-term industry impact:

  • The inaugural conference in 1975 of the Four-Nation Beef Group - the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Later, Mexico was added to what became the Five-Nation Beef Group, which still meets annually to address key industry and trade issues.
  • Co-founding, along with then-American Meat Institute President Richard Lyng, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, now the pre-eminent organization in global meat trade.

Edward C. Jones, President of Jones Dairy Farm (inducted posthumously)
Ed Jones played a major role in the development of Jones Dairy Farm, a Wisconsin-based pork processing company renowned throughout the industry for its high quality and innovation in processed meats. During his tenure at the helm of the family-run company, Jones was responsible for strong growth and expansion of the firm's operations. He initiated an aggressive quality-control program and instituted national advertising exposure that led to opportunities for distribution in supermarkets and retail outlets in all 50 states and even a few foreign countries.

In the 1950s, as the pork industry was responding the growing demand for meatier animals, he played an important role in helping to educate producers about the differences among breeds of pigs. He provided animals for University of Wisconsin Extension for live and carcass evaluation clinics, and for many years he opened plant facilities for conducting pork carcass contests.

James V. "Jim" Lochner, Tyson Foods Chief Operating Officer (retired)
As Tyson Foods COO, Jim Lochner led thousands of team members responsible for producing high-quality foods safely, with a focus on humane handling and care for the land and the environment. After a long career at IBP Inc., which was acquired in 2001 by Tyson, Lochner retired in 2014.

During his tenure, he oversaw the company's poultry and fresh meat production operations, food processing, international divisions and renewable products. He also led several divisions that supported Tyson's key business units, including transportation, information services, product development, and environmental, health and safety services.

Lochner held numerous leadership roles Tyson Foods, including Senior Group Vice President for the fresh meats division, and Senior Group Vice President over margin optimization, purchasing and logistics. Prior to that, he served as President and COO of IBP Fresh Meats.

Laurence A. Bettcher, Bettcher Industries Chairman & CEO (Retired)
Laurence Bettcher served as the President of Bettcher Industries since 1979, before retiring in 2014. He currently holds directorships at Bettcher Industries, First Citizens Banc Corp. in Ohio, and The Citizens Banking Company.

A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, he developed his company into a premier manufacturer of cutting tools used in food processing and other industrial applications. Under his leadership, Bettcher developed the first mechanically powered hand-held meat trimmer in 1954. Since then, the company has introduced successive generations of trimmers sold under the Whizard and Bettcher Quantum brands, tools that are used in meat processing plants across the United States and in more than 50 foreign countries.

The company's important new product introductions during the past 25 years included the AirShirz air-powered scissors, a major advancement in scissors technology; a line of automated batter-breading machines for making fresh-breaded products in food service kitchens; and a power knife for slicing meat cones for the popular gyros sandwiches.

Wolf Ludwig, Founder of Wolf-tec and WTI
Wolfgang Peter Ludwig immigrated to the United States from West Germany in 1967 at age 23 with his wife Ursel and two young sons Ralf and Peter. He had been trained as a master sausage maker in a small Black Forest town near Baden-Baden, and he used that knowledge to launch a career in meat processing. After a decade of learning English while working for various U.S. processors and supplier companies, he pursued his dream of becoming an industry-leading manufacturer. Just 10 years after arriving in the United States, he started the company that now bears his name - in his garage and with only $1,000 in start-up money.

During the next 30 years, Ludwig built Wolf-tec Inc. into a respected manufacturer of meat processing systems and equipment. He also introduced a completely different theory of protein extraction and curing that revolutionized processed meat manufacturing. He discovered that protein extraction is optimized at very low temperatures, but higher temperatures are required to obtain the best possible distribution of curing ingredients and to assure uniform color. His company designed and patented an automated meat massaging process, plus other equipment that allows for temperature manipulation during curing, which assures the production of consistent quality processed meat products.

Source: Meat Industry Hall of Fame