The members of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 exemplify not just a depth and breadth of knowledge in meat science, product development, and food safety -- but also an ongoing commitment to sharing their knowledge for the betterment of the meat and poultry industry and, ultimately, for the health and eating enjoyment of the public.

Join us in celebrating these six pillars of the industry as we welcome them to the Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

Steve Campano

2022’s Meat Industry Hall of Fame Supplier Inductee Steve Campano, began his tenure in the meat industry by working at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat Science Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., before going on to work at a number of companies, including Viskase Corp. (formerly Union Carbide Corp. Film Packaging Division), Greenwood Packing Co., Central Soya Co., and Trumark. Inc. His current role is vice president at Hawkins Inc.

Campano has fostered a new approach to food safety and food ingredients, with his leadership impacting not only the growth of Hawkins’ food ingredient business but the meat industry as a whole. His contributions include pioneering low-inclusion antimicrobial technology, and developing and securing regulatory approval for ingredients to enable clean-label meat and poultry products. His antimicrobial knowledge helped in the creation of a mold inhibition system for hay production, enabling improvement in hay quality with reduced spoilage.

Campano also has contributed to the industry through serving in the American Meat Science Association (as president, treasurer, and other roles) as well as Phi Tau Sigma – The Honor Society of Food Science and Technology.

Gordon Davis

Dr. Gordon W. Davis has served the industry as a leader and educator to the meat science community through his work with students. Davis’ company, CEV Multimedia, has reached countless students, allowing them to learn about and, ultimately, find success in the meat industry.

Davis served as a meat science professor at the University of Tennessee and at Texas Tech University, where he continues serving in an adjunct role. During his time as an academic meat scientist, Davis published journal articles, book chapters, technical articles, abstracts, and video productions. Meat judging was a particular passion for Davis, who co-founded the Cargill High Plains Meat Judging contest in 1981, which has hosted more than 4,500 collegiate students from 40 colleges and universities. He also hosted the first A Division Southeastern Meat Judging Contest at the University of Tennessee. While in academia, he advised and encouraged students to become interested in meat judging, graduate school, and careers in the industry. Among the students he guided through graduate school were Terry Rolan and Rody Hawkins, co-project managers for Oscar Mayer’s Lunchables production; Mark Miller, Tommy Wheeler, and 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee, Chris Calkins.

In 1984, Davis created CEV Multimedia (he remains in the chairman role) with the goal that online training would reach more students while offering high-quality meat industry education. Davis and CEV have reached students in secondary and post-secondary education and helped teach the instructors at the same time.

Davis has contributed nearly $5 million toward meat science endowments and a similar amount through three educational endowments in other agriculture areas.

Davis has been an AMSA member for 48 years and has been recognized with some of the organization’s top awards: Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award, Signal Service Award, and the Mentor Recognition Award. He also was awarded the first Industry and Organizational Leadership award from AMSA.  

Merlyn Eickman

This year’s Small Processor Inductee Merlyn Eickman got his start in the meat industry working at plants in Rockford, Ill., and Pecatonica, Ill., eventually establishing Eickman’s Processing in Pecatonica in 1953. Now located in Seward, Ill., Eickman’s Processing now is run by Merlyn’s grandson, Tom Eickman, who took over the reins from his father, Mike, (Merlyn’s son) in 2020. The company provides custom processing services to farmers in Northern Illinois. In addition to award-winning cured products that the company sells at its own market, Eickman’s supplies fresh meat cuts to restaurants, producers, and distributors throughout Northern Illinois.

Tom Eickman credits his grandfather for laying the groundwork for Eickman’s current success, including his cure mixture. “I still refer to this as ‘grandpa’s cure,’ and it is the same cure that we have been working with as long as I have been here.” Tom says. “We still utilize the old smokehouses that grandpa had. He taught me to run them, and they keep putting out the same quality as they always have.”

Merlyn won his first cured meat award in 1956, at Frozen Food Locker National Ham Show (Class III 3rd Prize). Eickman’s still uses many of the recipes that were developed by Merlyn Eickman, and they have been winning state, national and international awards for more than 50 years.

Merlyn was an active, longtime supporter of numerous FFA groups in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, hosting contests and education sessions. He did the same for 4-H groups by hosting carcass shows and buying at auctions. He judged cured meat competitions at AAMP and in Wisconsin and Illinois. His industry awards include AAMP Achievement Award (1989); Cured Meats Hall of Fame (1993); Outstanding Service Award, Illinois Association of Meat Processors (2009); and Wisconsin Meritorious Service Award, the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors (2013)

His meat association service includes service as IAMP president (1966-67), Illinois Board of Livestock Commissioners (1978 – 2013), AAMP Board of Directors (1978-81), AAMP president (1980-81), and IAMP treasurer (1997–2013).

David McDonald

David McDonald currently serves as president and chief operating officer of OSI Group, a premier global food provider that operates nearly 60 facilities across 17 countries. 

Dave began his career with OSI shortly after graduating from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. In his 35 years with the company, Dave credits OSI’s family-like atmosphere and values-based culture as the foundational tenets of his professional development. Dave also cites the hard work of OSI’s impassioned team members as the catalyst to building the company into a respected, vital partner to the world’s leading foodservice and retail food brands. This recognition is a true result of the many exceptional teams with which he has worked.

Dave serves on the Board of Managers for OSI Group and many of its companies. He also served as the chairman of the American Meat Institute, the first chairman of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), and is currently an active member of the Executive Board of NAMI.

Dave thanks his family for their incredible support throughout his career. Spending time with them remains his favorite thing to do.

Andrew Milkowski 

Andrew Milkowski was born in Munich, Germany to parents displaced by World War II. His family soon immigrated to the U.S. and settled near Chicago, where he was raised. He received a bachelor’s of science degree chemistry at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Milkowski joined Oscar Mayer in Madison (now a division of Kraft-Heinz) as a research scientist initially working on by-products as raw materials for pharmaceuticals. At Oscar Mayer Foods, he led the Applied and Basic research programs. In 2006, he joined the Animal Sciences Department at University of Wisconsin-Madison as an adjunct professor and member of the Food Research Institute Executive Committee. He is a member of the American Meat Science Association and is a past member of AMSA’s board. Milkowski has provided his guidance to the North American Meat Institute as chairman of the Sodium Nitrite Advisory Committee, educating scientists and regulators about the safety of sodium nitrite as an essential ingredient in cured meat

Milkowski is a food safety expert in the processed meats industry, with his expertise and leadership in food safety research exemplified by efforts of Oscar Mayer to address Listeria monocytogenes in processed, ready-to-eat meats. His efforts led to the effective use of lactate, diacetate, and other antimicrobials to prevent the growth of this pathogen while preserving food quality.

For his efforts in affirming the essential role nitrite in cured meats for protecting public health, Milkowski and the committee garnered the American Meat Institute’s Industry Advancement Award. His other awards include: Superior Achievement and Presidents Awards, Kraft Foods; AMSA’s Meat Processing and Signal Service Awards;  Scientific Achievement Award, American Meat Institute Foundation; Outstanding Leadership Award, Wisconsin Association of Food Protection; and induction into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

John Richardson 

Chairman of the Board of Sugar Creek Packing Co. John Richardson has more than 46 years of experience working in the meat industry as an innovative entrepreneur. As a teenager, he held various operations positions in his family’s business, manufacturing private-label bacon. After graduating from college, Richardson became a plant manager of a new facility and went on to take over the business after his father’s retirement.

Expansion plans under Richardson’s leadership focused on product and customer diversification. He remodeled plants and built new plants, including the 2016 Food Plant of the Year in Cambridge City, Ind. He made major investments in manufacturing technology and added several lines of ready-to-eat, fully cooked bacon, sausage, and other meat products, including sous vide proteins for the retail and foodservice. Sugar Creek’s diversified portfolio of products and customers has contributed to sales approaching $1 billion in annual revenue.

Richardson is respected in the industry for his collaboration with equipment and packaging manufacturers to provide input on improving quality while still keeping manufacturing costs down. His efforts have been key in developing of state-of-the-art bacon slicers for raw and fully cooked products, along with pioneering technology to detect and remove foreign material in RTE products.

Richardson is a longtime member of the North American Meat Institute Board of Directors and supporter of NAMI’s educational programs and the IPPE expo. He has supported the University of Wisconsin Meat Science Foundation.