Florence Smith Powers, co-founder of Birko and the company's former president, CEO and chairman until retiring in 2001, died Feb. 8, 2012, in Denver after a long illness. She was 94.
Along with her first husband, Ward Harris Smith, Powers co-founded Birko in 1953 in their Ogden, Utah, garage. The first Birko products were alkaline cleaners and Tripe Wash for use in federally-inspected meat plants. Ward died in 1977.
"Florence had the foresight of looking to the future for Birko," said Kelly Green, Florence's granddaughter, Birko's current chairman and third generation owner. "She was a pioneer for women in a field traditionally dominated by men and was recognized in 1994 by the National Meat Association as Industry Person of the Year."
As an increased value add to the firm's customers, Powers launched Birko's transportation division in order to provide premier customer service and on-time delivery.
Birko's current CEO, Mark Swanson, said, "Florence and Ward found a niche in creating value added chemistry for the food industry. The culture that they created has accountability to the customer as paramount to everything we do. This culture remains the key to our success."
Memorial services will be at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Feb.18, 2012, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, University Hills Ward, 2710 S. Monaco Pkwy., Denver, CO 80222. Memorial contributions can be made to the Ward Harris Smith Memorial Scholarship program at Texas A&M, the National Meat Association Scholarship Foundation, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.