Hall of Famers

Hall of Famers

Dell M. Allen, Ph.D.

Vice President of Technical Services and Food Safety, Excel Corp

Click for More: Dell Allen was responsible for coordinating all Total Quality Management and Training company-wide, Quality Assurance for beef and pork and the Customer Service Department at Excel Corp. He served as Food Safety Coordinator for the entire Cargill Meat Sector. His insistence on bringing meat science and the meat business together has greatly benefited Excel and the entire meat industry.

John W. “Jack” Allen, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Food Marketing, Michigan State University

Click for More: John W. “Jack” Allen, Ph.D., a proud former officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, earned his doctoral degree at Cornell University, where he taught in the food industry management program. He served as Director of Retailer Relations for the American Meat Institute during its tenure in Chicago and later joined the Michigan State University faculty.

At the university, Allen was a member of the Department of Marketing, Broad School of Business, and the Department of Agricultural Economics. For most of his academic career, he led the Food Industry Management Program at Michigan State, which provides a system-wide perspective of managerial problems confronting firms in the food industry. Under Allen’s leadership, the program became a catalyst for industry innovation in marketing and creating consumer value-added, recognizing the increasing interdependence among companies throughout the food chain.

Allen later became a member of the Michigan State University USAID project, “Partnerships for Food Industry Development” where he participated in projects in Guatemala, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and South Africa. The goal of these projects was to link small-scale produce farms to the global marketplace in sustainable business relationships that would raise agricultural incomes in these countries and provide foodretailer export customers with distinctive, high quality products.

Allen was an early proponent of improving the retail merchandising of meat and poultry products, and helped industry participants identify new opportunities in the natural and organic foods segment. He spent many years advocating for implementation of case-ready systems, which have become the industry’s dominant packaging mode. He spent many years delivering impactful presentations on those subjects to large and receptive audiences at retail and meat-industry trade shows.


Allen was the first recipient of a meat industry Lifetime Achievement Award presented in conjunction with the Food Marketing Institute, the American Meat Institute and the National Grocers Association. Allen and his associates conducted several seminars at meat industry conferences, explaining consumer research that they had developed, which provided outlook for retailers, wholesalers, and meat processors.

Clarence Becker

President, Becker Food Company (posthumous)

Click for More: Clarence Becker was born in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1917. He received his B.A. degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and joined the family wholesale meat company in Milwaukee in 1939. He became president of the company in 1944 and chairman in 1983. Becker died in 2006.
Known as “Mr. Purveyor,” Becker was named to the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame in 1995 because of his dynamic, untiring and far-sighted leadership of the purveying industry.

A pioneer of the portion control concept, he obtained registered trademarks for “portion cut” and “portion carve,” which were used widely in his company merchandising efforts. He worked tirelessly with the restaurant industry, promoting the concept of portion-controlled meat cuts that are visually uniform and prepared by professional meat cutters to specified weights or thicknesses. This was an innovative concept that permitted foodservice professionals to identify their exact meat portion costs, and thus to be more effective in pricing menu items and satisfying patrons with uniform portions.

Becker served as president of NAMP in 1957-58 and earned every major award offered by the association. He has undoubtedly done more to advance the purpose of the North American Association of Meat Purveyors (NAMP) than any other single individual. He became famous among meat purveyors for the creation of the NAMP “Bull Session,” an activity he personally conducted 77 times over a period of 42 years.

In 1960-61, he was part of the original NAMP Standards Committee that developed the Meat Buyer’s Guide — now translated into six languages for international use. Since its inception, the Meat Buyer’s Guide has been an invaluable resource for foodservice meat buyers, educators and students. Now, the entire meat industry worldwide uses the Guide as the authoritative text.

Clarence Becker was a leader, an innovator and a positive promoter of the meat industry. Although his home base was in Wisconsin, his impact has been clearly felt across the nation.


Becker devoted his career in service to the industry, not only as a NAMP stalwart but as a long-term, dynamic member of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association and the Wisconsin Livestock and Meat Council. He was also active in his community in various civic and philanthropic affairs.
Becker received the following awards and honors:

  • NAMP Awards – Achievement Award (1959), Angus Award (1963), NAMP Award (1984), all for lasting and significant contributions to the association and the meat industry
  • Mt. Sinai Hospital, Milwaukee (Trustee)
  • Founding member, Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Wisconsin Restaurant Association (Honoree)
  • The Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame (1995)

Lawrence Bettcher

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Bettcher Industries
Bio coming soon

Dr. A. Dewey Bond (Deceased)

Senior Vice President, American Meat Institute

Click for More: Dr. Bond worked for 40 years on behalf of agriculture and the meat industry, first for the American Farm Bureau Federation and then the American Meat Institute. He went to work for the American Meat Institute in 1953 and retired in 1993 as its senior vice president.

Bond was a 1947 horticulture graduate of Ohio State University. He received a master's degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and a doctorate, also in agricultural economics, from Michigan State University.

Dr. Bond served from 1962 to 1993 as executive secretary of the National Meat Canners Association and was a former president of the Washington Society of Association Executives.

He was a member of several statewide environmental panels, including the Virginia Board for Professional Soil Scientists, to which he was appointed a citizen member by Gov. George Allen (R).

He was elected five times to the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District Board and served for 15 years as its chairman. He also served for 12 years as a member of the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council and was a 14 year member of the Fairfax Tree Commission. Since 2004, he had served as a member of the Fairfax Water board of directors.

Richard Bond

CEO, President and Director, Tyson Foods, Inc.

Click for More: Low profile, outstanding results

Dick Bond, the former Board Chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods, Inc., implemented efficiency measures, that insured that the merger of Tyson Foods and IBP, Inc. would succeed and helped the new business aggressively expand in key markets outside its North American base.

“He was honest, consistent and loyal. Even when (the company) was struggling, he kept everyone focused on the job that had to get done.”

J. Patrick Boyle

President & Chief Executive Officer, American Meat Institute
Bio coming soon

John H. Bryan

Former Board Chairman and CEO, Sara Lee Corp. (retired)

Click for More: John H. Bryan Jr. was born October 5, 1936, in West Point, Mississippi. His grandfather had owned a small meat market there, and Bryan’s father and uncle had built the store into a full-scale meat processing plant by the time he was born. His desire to work in — and better — the family business led him to Rhodes College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and business.

Bryan began working for the family business at age 24, and was so successful in growing the operation that eight years later (1968) Fortune 500 company Consolidated Foods acquired Bryan Brothers Packing and Bryan became president of Bryan Foods. He rose quickly through the ranks of the new company, being named chief executive officer in 1975 and chairman of the board in 1976. In 1985, the company changed its name to the Sara Lee Corporation. He remained CEO until 2000 and chairman until his retirement in October 2001.


  • Through Bryan’s leadership, on Nov. 5, 1998, Sara Lee Corporation received the prestigious National Medal of Arts award. President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton personally presented the award to Bryan on the White House lawn.
  • Previously chaired the Grocery Manufacturers of America, is a past vice chairman and current member of The Business Council, and served as co-chairman of the World Economic Forum’s annual meetings in 1994, 1997 and 2000.
  • Widely known as a champion of the arts and of workplace diversity.
  • Upon his retirement from Sara Lee Corp., Bryan was listed as one of America’s most powerful people in Forbes magazine. He still serves on the boards of Goldman Sachs and General Motors Corporation.


Bryan is a Life Trustee of The University of Chicago; a past chairman and Life Trustee of the Board of Trustees of The Art Institute of Chicago; chairman of the Board of Directors of Millennium Park, Inc.; past chairman and a current member of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and past chairman of Americans United to Save the Arts and Humanities. The headline of a July 15, 2004 Chicago Tribune article highlighting Bryan’s activities on behalf of arts and culture in Chicago called him “a one-man fundraising machine.”

William Buckner

President, Cargill Meat Solutions

Click for More:

William (Bill) Buckner served as one of five members of Cargill’s leadership team where he capped a 28 year career when he retired in August. During his lengthy career, he served as Corporate Vice President of Cargill SA/NV and Senior Vice President at Cargill, Inc. until February 2015. He served as Senior Vice President at Cargill Limited and President of Cargill Meat Solutions and Corporate Vice President of Cargill. He was also President at Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation since April 1998. He served as a Director of Teys Australia Pty. Ltd. and MetaMorphix Inc. from September 2003 to October 24, 2006.

Mr. Buckner started his career with Canada Packers, the largest food processing company in Canada.  In the summer of 1987 Cargill asked if he would be interested in building a beef business in Canada. He accepted and moved to Cargill’s meat business headquarters in Wichita, Kansas. The ensuing years would see him work in a variety of leadership positions in Canada and in the US as he helped create a significant position for the company in both countries as well as internationally.

Throughout his career, Buckner was an optimist who looked for opportunities and loved to work with others who shared his belief and passion for work. “It’s about creating high-performance teams and coaching them and empowering them and giving them the opportunity to create magic,” he says. He considers himself a servant leader with a mission of serving his team, their customers, supplier companies and communities.

Barry C. Carpenter

Chief Executive Officer, North American Meat Association
Bio coming soon

Zerle Carpenter, Ph.D.

Professor of Animal Science, Texas A & M University
Bio coming soon

Ralph Cator

LLPOC, Founder and Chairman, Cardinal Meat Specialists Limited

Click for More: He was at the forefront of the Canadian food service business

Ralph Cator founded Cardinal Meat Specialists in 1966 to serve the rapidly growing Canadian food service market. Focusing on being an innovative player, he sought out the best minds in each field and capitalized on their skills. Always seeking new and better ways to improve production efficiencies, he was often the first to incorporate new technologies

Phil Clemens

Chairman, Hatfield Quality Meats

Click for More: Clemens is the chairman of Hatfield Quality Meats, a major regional player in the Northeast for pork and deli products and a national player in foodservice. Hatfield is the only pork packer left in the Northeast and New England, surviving where others have closed up shop with a combination of astute business management, proactive employee policies and strong leadership in the boardroom.

The company was founded in 1895 by Clemens’ grandfather, John C. Clemens and originally named Pleasant Valley Packing. Eventually, the name was changed to Hatfield, the name of the small town where the business is still headquartered. Clemens started at Hatfield at age 12, earning 75 cents an hour, but after graduating from Pierce College, he started in the firm’s HR department, working his way up to vice president and later CEO. About 10 years ago, he took the bold step of challenging the family ownership to take a hard look at the business, which had doubled sales but seen profits stagnate in the 1990s. Clemens spearheaded the transition from family business to a company run by a business family.

Today, the company operates on the core values of integrity, ethics and stewardship. Working with Temple Grandin, Clemens reformed the treatment of the livestock and presented “Creating an Animal Welfare Mindset in Your Company” at the 2002 Animal Handling Conference.

With employees, the company’s generosity is legendary. Among other benefits, the company since 1951 has shared one-third of profits with the work force and donated 10% of profits each year to charity.


In the meat industry and within the larger business community, Clemens has been an outspoken proponent of worker safety, employee training and proactive animal welfare as “the right thing to do.” He and his company have been generous contributors to community and philanthropic causes.
Clemens is a

  • Member and Past President of the North Penn United Way board
  • Elected Official on the Souderton Borough Council and member of the Harleysville Savings Bank board.
  • Member of the economic summit team of Gov. Edward Rendell (D-Pa.).
  • Member of Advisory Board at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pa.
  • Vice Chairman of the Lancaster Bible College Board of Trustees.

Clemens has also helped raise funds for the Indian Valley YMCA and the Indian Valley Library. Clemens received the following awards:

  • 2007 — Knowlton Award from Meatingplace magazine for his legacy of industry contributions to food safety, animal welfare, water conservation and financial performance.
  • 2008  — Honorable Citation for Excellence by Pennsylvania Speaker of the House John M. Perzel and State Rep. Bob Godshall for his commitment to Pennsylvania agriculture, his leadership in industry and his longstanding commitment to the community.

Mel Coleman, Sr.

Rancher and Founder, Coleman Natural Beef (posthumous)

Click for More: Mel Coleman was not only a pioneer in raising hormone- and antibiotic-free cattle, especially after the DES controversies surfaced in the mid-1970s, he also promoted sustainable production practices throughout his career. When rotational grazing first emerged, Coleman was one of the first ranchers to work with the U.S. Forest Service to implement the program.

Louis ‘Mick’ Colvin

Founder, Certified Angus Beef

Click for More: ‘Mick’ Colvin, CAB Executive Director for 21 years, took the concept of identifying and marketing beef with consumer-focused quality specifications to a worldwide brand. CAB product became the benchmark for quality within the food industry and a catalyst for consumer-driven approaches to cattle production and beef marketing. During 2008, 634 million pounds of CAB products were sold to consumers throughout the United States and in 45 other countries.

Joe Cordray, Ph.D.

Professor and Extension Meat Specialist, Iowa State University
Bio coming soon

Dr. H. Russell Cross

Administrator and Professor, Texas A&M University

Click for More: Dr. H. Russell Cross has more than 35 years of scientific and management experience, one of the few people anywhere in the industry to hold positions of significance – and accomplishment – in government, academia and the private sector. He had a significant influence on meat safety during his tenure as Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and later working as a food-safety educator and innovator.

Jimmy Dean (1928-2009)

Founder, Jimmy Dean Sausage Co.

Click for More: Jimmy Dean was one of the consummate American entertainers of the 1950’s and 1960’s: He was one of the very few celebrities who successfully launched a food company that not only traded on his fame but actually became a category leader in its own right.  By 1972, Jimmy Dean Sausage had opened a new plant in Osceola, Iowa, and Dean took a more active role in marketing and operations. By 1984, when he sold his company to Sara Lee, the Jimmy Dean brand was the No. 1-selling breakfast sausage.

Michael Dikeman, Ph.D.

Professor of Meat Science, Kansas State University
Bio coming soon

Paul Engler

Founder, Cactus Feeders

Click for More: Paul Engler was instrumental in shaping the modern cattle feeding industry. He is most recognized as founder and chairman of Texas-based Cactus Feeders, the largest privately owned fed-cattle producer in the United States. Engler devoted his career to improving beef production practices. He has been characterized by colleagues and competitors alike a man whose leadership and vision has fueled much of the industry innovation that is still evolving today.

Jeffrey Ettinger

Chief Executive Officer (Retired), Hormel Foods

Click for More: Jeffrey M. Ettinger served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hormel Foods until his retirement in October, 2016. Ettinger joined Hormel Foods in 1989 and has served in a variety of roles, including senior attorney, product manager for Hormel® chili products and treasurer. In 1999, he was named president of Jennie-O Turkey Store - the largest subsidiary of Hormel Foods, based in Willmar, Minn.

Under Ettinger's leadership, Hormel Foods has grown through strategic acquisitions and a continued focus on new product innovation. In 2012, Ettinger was named Responsible CEO of the Year by Corporate Responsibility magazine. In addition, Ettinger is the founding chair of the company's diversity and inclusion council, which aims to meet the growing needs of its diverse workforce and consumer base.

Ettinger is a native of Pasadena, Calif., and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. He served as law clerk for the Honorable Arthur Alarcón, U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit. Ettinger attended the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School.

He serves on the boards of The Toro Company, Ecolab, North American Meat Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, The Hormel Foundation, The Hormel Institute and the Minnesota Business Partnership. He and his wife, LeeAnn, have two sons and two daughters.

William D. “W.D.” Farr

Founder, Farr Company (posthumous)

Click for More:
Cattle feeder leader and innovator
A Colorado cattleman, he was one of the key contributors to the modern system of cattle feeding. He was a pioneer in fence line feeding and a leader in developing northern Colorado’s water resources for both agricultural and municipal use.
“W.D.’s ideas were far-ranging, and some of his innovations are still in use today. He was truly a pioneer, and a great man who stood tall among the leaders of the industry.

William G. “Bill” Fielding

CEO of HeartBrand Beef and former executive of several leading meat companies, including Cargill, Inc., ConAgra Fresh Meat Companies, and Farmland Industries

Click for More: Bill Fielding spent more than 25 years running divisions of several meatpacking giants, as president of Cargill’s Meat Sector; president of ConAgra Fresh Meat; and president of Farmland Refrigerated Foods. He has also managed smaller, more specialized operations, serving as chief operating officer of Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, CEO of Meyer Natural Foods, and now CEO of HeartBrand Beef.

Fielding joined Cargill after graduating from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. Following its acquisition of Excel Corporation, Cargill tapped Fielding, then just 34 years old, to be its president. In 1992, he was promoted to president of Cargill’s Meat Sector, including all of its meat operations worldwide.

Seeking a change, Fielding left Cargill in 1995 to become president of ConAgra Red Meat Companies. Three years later, he departed ConAgra to assume the presidency of Farmland Industries’ Refrigerated Foods division.

At Farmland, Fielding led major initiatives including a revamping of the co-op’s pork division. He orchestrated the sale of several aging properties, including Farmland’s Dubuque, Iowa, pork processing plant to Smithfield Foods, and refocused the division on expanding Farmland’s branded portfolio. In addition, Fielding was instrumental in cobbling together a unique partnership between his firm and several other major packers to pursue joint development of an e-commerce platform that would enhance efficiencies in sales and sourcing. “We are trying to make a more seamless system, yielding efficiencies to all participants,” he said at the time.

In 2003, Creekstone Farms gave Fielding an opportunity to go back to focusing on optimizing beef quality, but it also plunged him into a controversy over Japanese demands that 100 percent of cattle going to slaughter be tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or “mad cow” disease). Fielding sought to pursue that testing protocol, but USDA rejected the plan. Certifying some beef for Japan as disease-free, the department said, might confuse American consumers into thinking that untested beef was not safe. As Creekstone’s Japanese customers held firm on their position that they would resume buying if all the company’s beef was tested for BSE, Fielding ordered a laboratory to be built five feet from the chain that carries beef heads. His staff was trained in BSE testing, using a rapid system that delivered results in seven hours, while the carcasses are still in the cooler.

USDA refused to sell Creekstone enough kits to test all its cattle, and the company sued the agency (unsuccessfully) in 2006. Fielding then signed on as CEO of Meyer Natural Foods, which has operations in Lexington, Kentucky and Loveland, Colorado. Meyer offered Fielding considerable flexibility as to where he worked, but eventually his desire to be near his central Texas ranch led him to his current position as CEO of HeartBrand Beef.


Fielding has served on the boards of numerous commercial and charitable organizations. Today he is on the Board of Miniat Corporation and the Board of Advisors of Trinity Capital, where he is described as an “acknowledged expert in the domestic and international food industry, with extensive expertise in the meat and protein sector.”

Fielding was chairman of the American Meat Institute in 1992.

Graeme Goodsir

Industry Executive & Publisher
Bio coming soon

Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

Author, Entrepreneur and Professor, Colorado State University

Click for More: Temple Grandin used her unique ability to “see” the world as animals do to launch a successful livestock handling equipment design firm responsible for facilities in which half of all U.S. cattle are handled and consulting for such firms as Cargill, Swift & Company, Burger King, McDonald’s and others. She consults and speaks around the world on both autism and animal-handling issues and is author of the seminal books “Animals Make Us Human,” “Animals in Translation,” and “Thinking in Pictures.”

Robert A. “Bobby” Hatoff

Chairman, Allen Brothers

Click for More: The Hatoff family has a strong legacy in the meat industry spanning four generations, and during his tenure, Bobby Hatoff proved to be a gentle leader with a powerful vision for both his company and his industry.

Since the early 1980s Bobby had led Allen Brothers, which originated in Chicago’s historic Union Stockyards 112 years ago and has become a leading supplier of USDA Prime beef to the nation’s top steakhouses and restaurants. Hatoff was a pioneer of portion control and guided Allen Brothers toward the Prime and high-Choice foodservice market.

Hatoff, working closely with his son Todd in recent years, was instrumental in helping to position Allen Brothers as one of the nation’s leading meat purveyors. In addition to being a high-end supplier to fine dining establishments, the Hatoffs pursued the consumer-direct market for dry-aged and wet-aged steaks. They implemented and drove innovative marketing tactics, and their uncompromising product standards have made the Allen Brothers brand name synonymous with consistently high quality.

Capitalizing on their excellent relationships with independent restaurateurs and renowned chefs, the Hatoffs invited their steakhouse customers to be a part of a marketing campaign. Those who provided their brand names, logos and testimonials gave credibility to the initiative. The company then launched a direct mail campaign, telling customers that if they enjoyed the steaks at some of the nation’s top steakhouses they could now enjoy those same steaks at home as well, via mail order. With that, Allen Brothers’ adopted the tagline, “The Great Steakhouse Steaks.”

In addition to his stewardship of Allen Brothers, Bobby was involved with meat industry groups as a longtime member of both the National Meat Association (NMA) and the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP). While serving as President of NAMP, Bobby was instrumental in facilitating the merger of these two organizations earlier this year, effectively unifying and strengthening the ability to provide greater levels of support to the industry in the areas of regulation, legislation, food safety, science and other key issues. Years earlier, Hatoff played another influential role, as a member of the NAMP committee that updated a foodservice “bible”: the Meat Buyers Guide.


Bobby Hatoff was a hands-on kind of guy, as evidenced by his involvement in culinary associations and numerous Chicago-area charities and community organizations. Hatoff was also an Honorary Fellow of the American Culinary Federation; a member of Les Amis d’Escoffier Society of Chicago, the Chicago Chefs Association and the Illinois Restaurant Association; and a two-time sponsor of the Culinary Olympics.

Hatoff worked tirelessly to help those less fortunate than himself. He supported the Chicago Police Department Memorial Foundation, the Chicago Fire Department Burn Unit, the Jewish United Fund along with dozens of other civic and charitable organizations too numerous to name. Hatoff also served our country as a member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces from 1962 to 1968. Bobby’s dedicated service to his country and his community even earned him a Papal Blessing from John Paul II.

Chuck Hendryx

Vice President, Meat, H -E -B Grocery Company
Bio coming soon

James H. “Jim” Hodges

Executive Vice President, American Meat Institute (AMI); President, AMI Foundation

Click for More: Born and raised in Missouri, Hodges first became involved in the livestock industry by working on his family’s farm. He received a B.S. in food science from the University of Missouri and an M.S. in meat science from Ohio State University. Early in his career, he worked for various meatpacking and agribusiness companies in Missouri before joining the Boston-based supermarket chain Stop & Shop as director of technical services. In that position, he conducted research and development programs and oversaw quality assurance activities for the chain’s meat plant operations. From there, Hodges moved to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, where he led the Quality Control and Inspection Procedures Evaluation Branch.

Hodges joined AMI in 1983 and has since served in a variety of roles, including senior vice president of regulatory affairs. In that position, he was responsible for the management of all regulatory programs and representing the interests of the meat and poultry industry to Congress, federal agencies and other organizations. Hodges was appointed president of the AMI Foundation in 2009, a post he still holds today in addition to being executive vice president of the overall Institute. As president of the private, non-profit foundation, he oversees a broad range of initiatives to continually improve operational efficiency, product quality and food safety, including scientific and public opinion research, industry and consumer education, and public information.

Some of Hodges’ most notable accomplishments include spearheading AMI’s nationwide effort to implement Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) in federally inspected meat plants, leading the development and implementation AMI’s award-winning Listeria Intervention and Control Programs and initiating a multi-million dollar research program to identify commercially viable ways to eliminate or reduce harmful pathogens in meat and poultry products. These efforts have dramatically improved product safety and significantly reduced the incidence of foodborne illnesses associated with meat and poultry products.

Hodges’ expertise on animal health and animal disease issues is widely recognized. He was instrumental in coordinating the industry’s response to the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in 2003. Since that time, he has testified in public meetings and met with foreign governments in an effort to restore U.S. beef exports. He is also an expert in processed meat production and safety, and has led the Shelf Stable Food Processors since 2000.


Hodges is a professional member of the American Meat Science Association (AMSA), Institute of Food Technologists, American Society for Quality, United States Animal Health Association and the International Association for Food Protection. He has served on several advisory boards, including the AMSA Board of Directors and the USDA National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection.

His honors include the AMI Industry Advancement Award, AMSA’s Signal Service Award, the University of Missouri Agriculture Alumni’s Citation of Merit and the Distinguished Alumni of The Ohio State University College of Agriculture.

Donald L. Houston

Administrator, Food Safety and Inspection Service (1979-1987)

Click for More: Houston was born in East St. Louis, Illinois on September 14, 1934. After receiving his bachelor’s and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from the University of Illinois, Dr. Houston served as a captain in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps from 1959 to 1961. He then joined USDA as a veterinary meat inspector in East St. Louis.

Houston moved to Washington, D.C. in 1965 and held various positions within the inspection service until 1979, when he was appointed administrator of the Food Safety and Quality Service, the predecessor of FSIS. He held that post until October, 1987, when he was named administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). His distinguished career was cut short by cancer; he died on February 19, 1988, after a brief illness.

Upon Dr. Houston’s death, tributes poured in from prominent government and industry officials, including Carol Tucker Foreman, Dr. Sanford Miller, Rosemary Mucklow, and U.S. Representatives Charles Stenholm, Kika de la Garza and Pat Roberts.


  • Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine; member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Veterinary Hygienists and the National Association of Federal Veterinarians; and U.S. Representative to the Codex Committee of the United Nations
  • Twice received the highest awards given by the U.S. Government to career Federal officials, the Meritorious Executive Rank Award in 1980 and the Distinguished Executive Rank Award in 1984. Also received USDA’s highest recognition, the Distinguished Service Honor Award, in 1982.
  • Dr. Houston was cited numerous times for his efforts to promote opportunities for women and minorities in the Federal government. He initiated the Executive Staff Officer training program and the Career Development Program for Women.
  • The Donald L. Houston Building at Texas A&M University was named for him.

Dale Huffman, Ph.D.

Professor and Researcher, Auburn University (retired)

Click for More: Dale Huffman was born on a livestock farm near Churchville, Va., and grew up on a dairy farm in central New York State. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1959 from Cornell University and a master’s degree in 1960 and a Ph.D. in meat and animal science in 1962, both from the University of Florida.

Huffman joined the research staff at the Swift and Company’s R&D Center at the Chicago Stockyards, where he researched ante-mortem injection of enzymes to improve beef tenderness. Swift and Co. marketed this patented technology as Proten beef.

In 1963, Huffman left Swift to join the animal science department at Auburn University, where he taught undergraduate meat science and maintained active consulting arrangements with various companies that facilitated application of research findings. One project resulted in two patents and new beef and pork products, including McDonald’s McRib sandwich. Another project led to breakthrough lean ground beef technology and resulted in the McLean Deluxe hamburger marketed by McDonald’s.

Following his retirement in 1995, he formed a private consulting firm to serve clients in the fast food industry and in the food safety arena.


  • The Signal Service Award, the Distinguished Meat Processing Award and the 2006 RC Pollock Award (all from the American Meat Science Association)
  • Induction into the Alabama Livestock Hall of Fame
  • Auburn University Agricultural Alumni Association’s “Special Recognition Award”
  • Progressive Farmer magazine’s Man of the Year in Service to Agriculture
  • Recognition by Southern Living magazine as a “Southerner who made a difference”
  • The Food Technology Industrial Achievement Award (Institute of Food Technologists)


Huffman serves on the Board of East Alabama Food Bank and on the Board of Storybook Farm, a therapeutic horseback riding program for special needs children. He was instrumental in forming a new church in Auburn, active in Rotary International, where he was named a Paul Harris Fellow. He also provides leadership for Therapeutic Summer Camp for special needs children and adults in Auburn.

Melvin Hunt, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Kansas State University
Bio coming soon

John Jacobson (Deceased)

Chairman of the Board of Directors & Chief Executive Officer, National Beef Packing Company

Click for More: John Jacobson attended Worcester public schools and Boston University, where he was in the ROTC. In 1940, he enlisted in the Army and went to Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia, where he married Georgia Schwanda in 1942.

In 1944 he was sent to England to prepare for the invasion of France, and spent the next two years as quartermaster to Gen. Patton in France and Germany. He remained in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1946-1953.

He and Georgia moved to Massachusetts in 1946, where he rejoined the family company. In 1962, they moved to Kansas City, Missouri to close a family owned packing plant; instead he expanded it, moving the company to Liberal, Kansas.

Jacobson was Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of National Beef Packing Company and Chairman of the Board of Idle Wild Foods Inc. Under his leadership, Idle Wild Foods became a Fortune 500 company. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Meat Institute, Co-founder and Board Member of the Meat Importers Council of America, and in 1983 was elected as a lifetime board member.

He served as vice president and director of the Kansas Association of Commerce and Industry for six years. He was chairman of the United Fund and Red Cross, and on the Board of Trustees of Southwest Medical Center in Liberal, KS. He died April 13, 2017 at the age of 106.

H. Kenneth Johnson

Vice President-Meat Science, National Live Stock & Meat Board

Click for More: Guiding force behind the Meat Buyer’s Guide

Ken Johnson was a key player in the USDA’s meat composition and labeling program, collaborated on the industry’s “Random Weight Code” format, developed computer software for Direct Product Profitability to improve retailer gross margin and served as project leader for the National Association of Meat Purveyor’s Meat Buyer’s Guide.

Joel W. Johnson

Chairman, President, and CEO, Hormel Foods Corporation (retired)

Click for More: Success at every stop

Joel Johnson’s career was noteworthy at every step. Under his leadership, Hormel delivered a total return of 220%, grew revenues by 53%, paid a total of $548.3 million in dividend and shared more that $114 million in profit with employees. His tenure firmly established the company as one of the nation’s leading food companies.

“He had quite a career even before he came to Hormel, but he succeeded there at a level that was nothing short of remarkable.”

Edward. C. Jones

President, Jones Dairy Farm

Click for More: Edward C. Jones played a key role in the development of Jones Dairy Farm, a pork processing company famous for its top quality products. He was responsible for continuous growth and expansion of the operation. Initiation of an aggressive quality control program and national advertising exposure led to distribution in supermarkets and retail outlets in all fifty states and some foreign countries.

In the 1950’s, when the industry recognized the growing demand for meatier hogs, Mr. Jones played an important role in helping to educate producers about differences among hogs being produced for slaughter. 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. He shared the responsibility for the development of “meat type” hogs in Wisconsin.

He was a continuous and strong supporter of the University of Wisconsin, making facilities available for research and personnel available to assist the researchers. He assisted with the education of students, farmers, vocational agriculture instructors and agricultural county agents.

He was extremely active in volunteer work and community service programs. He was one of the industry leaders who established the Wisconsin Livestock and Meat Council in 1957 and served as director and as president of the organization from 1963 to 1981. During his tenure, the organization developed programs for consumer education, promotion, research and information. He was also responsible for developing a scholarship program for college students majoring in the Animal Sciences curriculum of the University of Wisconsin.

He was a director of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Wisconsin Manufacturers Association, a member of the Governor’s Board for Economic Development and served as president of the Defense Orientation Conference Association, Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital Association, and the Fort Atkinson Chamber of Commerce.

He was a director of the American Meat Institute (now the North American Meat Institute) for 33 years, served as treasurer from 1964 to 1968 and as chairman from 1968 to 1971. In his honor NAMI now annually recognizes a deserving industry company with the “Edward C. Jones Community Service Award”.

Sam Kane

Founder, Sam Kane Beef Processors
Bio coming soon

Steve Kay

Editor & Publisher, Cattle Buyers Weekly
Bio coming soon

Clarence Knebel (Deceased)

Owner, Knebel's Processing Plant

Click for More: Clarence Knebel operated Knebel's Processing in Belmont, Wisconsin, and in 1969 was honored by the American Association of Meat Processors (then known as the National Institute of Locker and Freezer Provisioners) with its annual Achievement Award. This was and is the highest recognition bestowed by the organization for a lifetime of service to the meat industry.

Clarence was inducted into the AAMP Cured Meats Hall of Fame as a member of its inaugural class in 1991 for his years of demonstrated abilities in the production of cured meats, competition success and sharing of processing skills with others in the industry.

In 1994, AAMP's Cured Meat Championships established the Clarence Knebel Best of Show Award to honor the producer of the cured product judged as the most outstanding entry in all the grand champion award winning classes of products for that year. This is still regarded as the highest award in the AAMP cured meat competition after more than two decades. Clarence was inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame in its inaugural class in 1993. Clarence passed away in December of 1993.

His dedication to the meat industry led him beyond his community and his plant and into national service for the meat industry. His activities beyond the management of the processing plant were extensive and indicative of his leadership qualities.

He served as vice-president of the State Meat Inspection Advisory Board with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. He was a registered lobbyist for the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors, of which he was extensively involved in its growth to become one of the nation's premier state meat processor organizations. He served as a director for 30 years and as one of its presidents. He served also as a member of the American Association of Meat Processors Governmental Affairs Committee and their research committee, was a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., a former President of the American Association of Meat Processors, and a director of the National Livestock and Meat Board and the Wisconsin Livestock and Meat Council.

His outstanding service has been recognized through: Honorary Recognition from University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; a National Award from American Association of Meat Processors for outstanding leadership and meritorious service in the Locker and Freezer Provisioning Industry; the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Award for distinguished service to agriculture; the Outstanding Service and Leadership Award from Wisconsin Livestock and Breeders Association; the Lafayette County Outstanding Businessman of the Year Award and National FFA distinguished service award, State FFA Farmer Award and local FFA Chapter Awards.

Richard L. Knowlton

Former Chairman, President and CEO, Hormel Foods

Click for More: Dick Knowlton managed Hormel Foods to consistent profitability and propelled the company into the future by spearheading a company-wide emphasis on development of value-added, convenient food products.  In one 18-month period in the late 1980’s, Knowlton spurred Hormel to introduce 134 new products.  On his watch, Hormel acquired turkey processor Jennie-O Foods and Chi-Chi’s brand line of ethnic and Mexican foods, vastly expanding the company’s shelf presence, market share and top and bottom lines.

Alfred S. “Al” Kober

Director of Retail, Certified Angus Beef, LLC; Meat Director, Clemens Supermarkets

Click for More:

Al Kober, former director of retail for Certified Angus Beef, began his 58-year career as a 14-year-old, bagging groceries, and became a respected national authority on meat merchandising, promotions and food safety.

A neighbor got Kober his first job in 1952 at a Kulpsville, Pennsylvania-based unit of Clemens Supermarkets, for which he would work for the next 50 years. Working his way up through the ranks by sweeping and stocking shelves, Kober eventually became a meat cutter at 18. He was then promoted to assistant meat manager in 1964, meat and deli manager in 1969, and meat supervisor in 1973.

As Clemens Supermarkets’ meat director, Kober launched a close-trim program for all meat cuts, years before the practice became an industry norm.
After working for 50 years with Clemens, Kober wasn’t ready to retire yet and accepted a position as retail director for the Certified Angus Beef brand, for which he had previously consulted, in Wooster, Ohio. In his eight years with the company, he channeled his retail experience into providing customer-driven merchandising, training and marketing programs. Kober’s focus on “the customer first” helped retail stores nationwide grow from a combined 24 million pounds in sales per month in 2002 to more than 30 million pounds per month in 2009.

Over the years, Kober developed a well-deserved reputation as a retail wizard whose expertise was often called upon for speaking engagements in the meat industry. He was also a frequent contact for media in the retail and beef cattle industries.

In addition, Kober served on the American Meat Institute/Food Marketing Institute’s Annual Meat Conference Planning Committee, and was the first to propose including poultry groups at meetings to ensure a more meaningful discussion on all protein issues. He also served on the National Pork Board’s Retail Advisory Committee and Safety Committee and led National Grocers Association workshops on food safety. Kober treasured his role as an educator and as a servant to fellow retailers.

A devout Christian, a day never passed that Kober didn’t praise the Lord for being alive, often sprinting to his destination for no other reason than “because I could.”

After a brief illness, Kober passed away in April 2010 at the age of 72.

Through everything, Kober remained thankful for his wife of 54 years, Judith, their nine children and 19 grandchildren.


  • AMI/FMI Annual Meat Conference, Planning Committee
  • National Pork Board’s Retail Advisory Committee and Safety Committee
  • National Grocers Association workshops on food safety
  • Adult Bible Fellowship teacher at The Chapel, Green, Ohio

Mohammad Koohmaraie, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer, Meat Division, IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group

Click for More: Mohammad Koohmaraie immigrated to the U.S. from Iran in 1978, shortly after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Pahlavi University. He then earned a Master of Science in Meat Science from Texas A&M at Kingsville (formerly known as Texas A&I University) in 1980 and doctorate in Animal Science (focused on Meat Science and Muscle Biology) from Oregon State University in 1984.

Following a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC; affiliated with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Michigan State University), in Clay Center, Nebraska, Koohmaraie joined the USMARC staff as a research physiologist. In 1991 he became research leader of the Meats Research Unit at USMARC and then in 2005 the Director of USMARC.

During his career, Koohmaraie has focused his research in three major areas: combating pathogenic contamination of beef; the biological mechanisms regulating beef tenderness; and meat quality measurement, including the development of non-invasive instrumentation for carcass yield and quality classification.
His research has provided the industry with answers to longstanding challenges. For example, in the early 1990s, results from Koohmaraie’s lab helped to establish that the calpain system is responsible for postmortem proteolysis and meat tenderness.

Koohmaraie worked closely with key stakeholders in the meat industry to assess the prevalence of key foodborne pathogens and devise strategies to combat them. His research team not only developed the first rapid tests for detecting pathogens on beef, pork and poultry carcasses, but also provided techniques to greatly reduce or eliminate E. coli O157:H7 in red meat. In the late 1990s, he and his team demonstrated the efficacy of using steam vacuuming as an alternative to knife trimming for beef carcass decontamination. He provided the data that FSIS needed to approve its use. Steam vacuuming is now a common practice in beef processing plants, as a cost-effective tool for improving meat safety. Later they demonstrated that the hide is the principal source of E. coli and other pathogens, which led to development of hide interventions.

After 24 years as a USDA scientist, Koohmaraie left the public sector to pursue his passion for ensuring beef safety and quality in the private sector. In April 2008, he joined IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group as chief executive officer of the Meat Division. At IEH, he continues his longstanding efforts of working closely with the industry to help companies produce the safest meat possible.


The value of Koohmaraie’s research is reflected in the impressive array of honors he has received, including:

  • Agricultural Research Service’s Scientist of the Year Award – 1992 and 2001
  • Distinguished Research Award from the American Meat Science Association – 1993
  • Meat Research Award from the American Society of Animal Science – 1994
  • USDA Secretary’s Award – 1995 and 2001
  • Outstanding Senior Scientist of the Year Award – Agricultural Research Service – 1997
  • Outstanding Performance Award – Agricultural Research Service – multiple years from 1987-2008.
  • Technology Transfer Award – Agricultural Research Service – 2004 and 2008
  • Professional of the Year Award – National Meat Association – 2005 (“In recognition of your dedication and valuable service to the meat and poultry industry”)
  • Signal Service Award – American Meat Science Association – 2005 (“In recognition of your devoted service”)

Ray Kroc (1902–1984)

Founder and Chairman, McDonald’s Corporation (posthumous)

Click for More: An American icon

Ray Kroc created a new kind of fast food experience, implementing an assembly line concept and using standardization to ensure every burger tastes the same, worldwide. He revolutionized the world of franchising and founded a company that has become a $52 billion global presence.

“He was an original, and so is the company he created.”

Steve Krut

Executive Director (retired), American Association of Meat Processors

Click for More: Steve Krut, a former newspaper reporter, used his communication skills to help small processors and unite trade organizations with one voice as long-time Executive Director of the American Association of Meat Processors.

Although Krut had worked at a local A&P in high school — even helping out in the meat room — his first job was as a newspaper reporter after graduating with a journalism degree from Penn State University in 1964. He then worked for newspapers in Pennsylvania as a reporter and feature writer for five years.

From there, he changed gears and was hired as the public relations director of the Pennsylvania Manufactured Housing Association and Pennsylvania RV & Camping Association. In 1974, he moved over to the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) as its public relations director, eventually being promoted to Executive Director in 1981. He would serve in this position until retiring in 2007.

The ’70s and ’80s were, in particular, a rough time of transition for small locker plant owners as they shifted to further-processing operations and handled new regulations. Krut is credited by many as helping small processors save and grow their businesses. He used his communication skills and industry knowledge to help AAMP members raise their game, improve the quality of their products and secure resources to survive in an increasingly consolidated and competitive business sector.

Through his tireless efforts, the AAMP became North America’s largest meat trade organization. Membership includes more than 1,500 medium-sized and smaller meat, poultry and food businesses. In addition, Krut was a registered lobbyist for AAMP and served on USDA’s National Advisory Committee for Meat & Poultry Inspection under three Secretaries of Agriculture.

He appeared on dozens of television programs, from the History Channel to ABC’s “20/20,” and was a regular presenter at the National Association of State Meat & Food Inspection Directors.

Fourteen years ago, a Stephen F. Krut Scholarship was established by AAMP and has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to support the higher education of students in meat science, processing, and business management.

Krut is married to Cindy, with three children and 11 grandchildren. In his retirement, he has returned to his reporting roots and writes a monthly column for Meat & Poultry magazine.


  • 2007 American Association of Meat Processors Achievement Award
  • Inducted into the Northwest Meat Processors Association Hall of Fame in 2006
  • Master Butcher Award from the Belgium Butchers Association
  • A founder and first Chairman of the International HACCP Alliance
  • Helped establish the Cured Meats Hall of Fame for meat processors
  • Helped establish the Meat Association Council, which includes representatives from all major North American meat trade organizations to coordinate U.S. meat and poultry industry policy positions to government agencies such as the USDA, FDA, and the Centers for Disease Control
  • A volunteer for ACDI/VOCA, which is the merged group of the Agricultural Cooperative Development International and the Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance
  • Past President of the Pennsylvania Society of Association Executives
  • Past President of the Mechanicsburg Lions Club
  • Deputy Regional Manager for the Loyal Order of Moose in Pennsylvania, and Governor for the Elizabethtown Moose Family Center 596

Sheldon Lavin

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, OSI Group, LLC
Bio coming soon

James V. Lochner

Chief Operating Officer (Retired) Tyson Foods

Click for More: James Lochner, who served as Tyson’s COO since 2009, retired in 2014, moving to support the company’s fresh meat business in Dakota Dunes, SD where he will continue to serve the company in an advisory capacity through 2017.

As Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Lochner led thousands of team members responsible for producing high-quality food in safe operations with care for the animals, the land and the environment. His responsibilities included oversight of Tyson’s poultry and fresh meat production operations, food processing, international divisions and renewable products. He also led divisions that supported the company’s business units through transportation, information services, product development, and environmental, health and safety services.

During his career at Tyson, he held many positions, including senior group vice president for the Fresh Meats division and senior group vice president over Margin Optimization, Purchasing and Logistics. He joined the company in 2001 as part of Tyson’s acquisition of meat processor IBP, Inc., where he was president and COO of IBP Fresh Meats.

Devoted to the agriculture industry as a means to feed the world quality food, Jim oversaw the company’s poultry and fresh meat production operations, as well as food processing, international divisions and renewable products. He also led divisions that support the company’s business units through transportation, information services, product development, and environmental, health and safety services.

Mr. Lochner has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in meat and animal science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he is a faculty member with the Department of Animal Sciences.

Herbert Lotman

Founder, Keystone Foods

Click for More: Herbert Lotman, the inventor of Chicken McNuggets, grew up as a butcher’s son in Philadelphia. He eventually built the family beef-boning plant into a multinational organization managing the food manufacturing and restaurant distribution for McDonald’s and supplies for other fast-food chains.

Lotman’s Keystone Foods orchestrated several key breakthroughs in the restaurant industry during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. The company was one of the first to install a cryogenic freezing system for mass production of pre-formed hamburger patties. It was also one of the first to create a total distribution concept, in which restaurant customers received their entire inventory off a single truck. In addition, the company developed McDonald’s famous Chicken McNuggets.

The former South Philly plant became a $4-billion-plus principal supplier to McDonald’s Corp. and consequently opened 58 processing and distribution centers across the United States, Australia, China, France, Israel and Malaysia, among other countries. Keystone also utilized quality-control and food-safety initiatives to improve its 1.7 billion pounds of poultry and meat product every year.

In 2010, Lotman sold Keystone to Brazil’s Marfrig Alimentos for a reported $1.26 billion. Lotman’s creativity in business has also been matched by his generosity. He is a co-founder of the McDonald’s LPGA Championship, which benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities. He serves on the Ronald McDonald House Charities International Board, among many other philanthropic organizations or science-based companies such as Children’s Cancer Research Foundation, Strategic Diagnostics Inc., and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Closer to home, he and his wife Karen founded the Macula Vision Research Foundation (MVRF) in 1997 to improve treatments and cures for all retinal diseases, after Karen’s mother’s macula degeneration diagnosis. Some of the greatest vision breakthroughs of the last decade have been funded by their MVRF grants, which total $17.2 million so far.

Lotman and his wife have a daughter and son.


  • Co-founder of McDonald’s LPGA Championship
  • Co-founder and board member of the Macula Vision Research Foundation
  • Board member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities International Board
  • Board member of Strategic Diagnostic Inc.
  • Board member of Children’s Cancer Research Foundation
  • Director of Getty Petroleum, Packaging Coordinators Inc., and First Union National Bank

Wolfgang Ludwig

Founder, Wolf-tec and WTI, Inc.

Click for More: Wolfgang Peter Ludwig immigrated to the United States in 1967 at age 23 with his wife Ursel and two young boys. He had been trained as a master sausage maker in a small Black Forest town near Baden Baden, Germany.  He came driven by big dreams of America and although he spoke no English, was confident of his prospects.  He used his knowledge and intense interest in meat processing to begin his journey into the unknown US market. After a decade of learning the language while working for processors and suppliers in America, he felt it was time to begin another journey. This journey began with 1-man and a dream of becoming a leading company, able to provide his customers with products and services that were better than they had ever experienced before. Just 10 years after arriving in the US, he broke ground on the company that now bears his name.

During the next 30 years, Wolf built his company, Wolf-tec, Inc. into a successful and respected manufacturer of meat processing equipment.  One of his many contributions to the meat industry was a completely different theory of protein extraction and curing that revolutionized the processed meat manufacturing in the US. He discovered that protein extraction is optimum at very low temperatures, but higher temperatures are required to obtain the best possible distribution of curing ingredients and therefore, uniform color. His company designed and patented an automated massage process and other equipment that allows for the manipulation of temperature during the curing process and the production of consistently excellent processed meat products.

Mr. Ludwig’s company has been awarded 10 patents and received the “Spirit of Excellence” award from Hormel Foods Co. on seven separate occasions.

His sons, Peter and Ralf, now manage Wolf-tec, but Wolf did not simply retire. He placed his focus on the food ingredient business through a second company he founded – World Technology Ingredients (WTI). His new venture is based in Jefferson, GA and produces anti-microbial ingredients based on natural components. Like Wolf-tec, WTI has become a successful business and is leading the industry in innovate anti-microbial technologies.
Wolfgang Ludwig is truly a renaissance man. He and his family have contributed greatly to the meat industry.

Joseph Luter III

Chairman and CEO, Smithfield Foods

Click for More: Joseph Luter took over the family business in 1975 with the company was in severe financial distress. At the time, the company had sales of $115 million, debts of $20 million, a net worth of less than $1.0 million and stock that was trading as low as 50 cents a share. He pioneered vertical integration in the early 1990’s. In 2000 Smithfield became the world’s largest producer of hogs. Today’s Smithfield is a multi-national company with major operations in France, Poland, Romania and Mexico.

Richard E. Lyng

Former USDA Secretary; former President, American Meat Institute (posthumous)

Click for More: Richard “Dick” Lyng was named AMI President in 1973, a post he held until 1979.  He served as Secretary of Agriculture under President Ronald Reagan from 1986 to 1989.  During his term, he dealt with many pressing farm issues, including a devastating 1988 drought, for which he helped push a $4 billion relief bill for farmers and livestock producers through Congress.

Robert L. Madeira

Executive Director, American Association of Meat Processors

Click for More: Robert L. Madeira was the former executive director of the American Association of Meat processors (AAMP) . He spent more than 30 years running the Elizabeth, Pa.-based organization, which represents the nation’s smaller meat packers and processors. As the premier trade group for that industry segment — and the largest meat industry group in terms of membership numbers — AAMP under Madeira’s leadership grew into a large and successful service organization that also embraced dozens of well-organized state associations within its membership.

Madeira was most responsible for initiating changes to the USDA inspection system that allowed smaller companies to remain competitive and stay in business while converting to full-time processing from what was a dying food storage trade. Many AAMP members operated so-called “locker plants,” where customers paid to rent space for storage of large quantities of meat. As home freezers became commonplace, supermarket meat cases more extensive and average family sizes smaller, the need for large quantities of meat under frozen storage dwindled.


Madeira was “a great industry motivator and leader,” according to one nominator, someone who provided vital leadership at a time when the nation’s smallest meatpacking operations were virtually disappearing. He not only helped pave the way with USDA to help locker plant owners with to specialty meat processing, but gave AAMP the legacy of a strong voice in Washington, D.C., representing the thousands of small butcher shops and meat companies that had needs and challenges distinct from the bigger packers.

Launa Stayer-Maloney

Vice Chairman, Secretary / Treasurer of the Board, Johnsonville Sausage

Click for More: Launa Stayer-Maloney served as Vice Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Johnsonville Sausage, LLC for more than 30 years, after she and her brother (Ralph C., also inducted this year) took over the business from their parents. She hired, developed and coached the first Johnsonville national sales force. During her tenure and leadership of the national sales force, she developed the concept of “customer brands” or private label to fully utilize Johnsonville’s resources. Her direction resulted in the opening of major U.S. markets outside the State of Wisconsin for the brand, helping make the Johnsonville brand into the only global brand in sausage. Stayer-Maloney was a member of the AMI Board of Directors for 15 years.

Stayer-Maloney has served on the board of trustees for Mount Mary College as head of their marketing development committee, and is currently on the board of trustees for The King’s College in New York City. She also worked to develop Spaceport Sheboygan in an effort to encourage children to pursue education and employment in the areas of science, technology, and mathematics.

Stayer-Maloney held the position of board member during the formative years of the Sheboygan County Development Corporation (SCDC), worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, and presided as President of the Children’s Charities of Sheboygan County, the Wells Fargo Local Area Board, and board member of Spaceport Sheboygan. Source: The King’s College Web site.

Dr. Roger Mandigo

Professor of Animal Science, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Click for More: Pioneering researcher

Dr. Roger Mandigo’s lengthy and productive career has helped develop practical ways to add real value to meat products, opened new avenues for meat utilization and created an array of new food products. His research with restructured meats has received national and international recognition.

James Marsden, Ph.D.

Regents Distinguished Professor of Food Safety & Security, Kansas State University
Bio coming soon

C. W. “Bill” McMillan

Vice President for Washington Affairs, National Cattlemen’s Association and Co-Founder, U.S. Meat Export Federation

Click for More:
Bill McMillan has had a profound influence, often behind the scenes, on the US beef industry and on international trade. His career began when he became a County Agent in Colorado. After working with Swift & Co’s Agricultural Research Department, he joined the American National Cattlemen’s Association, later becoming Vice President for Washington Affairs. In that role, he helped pass the Meat Import Law in 1964 with great initial trade benefits for the US, Australia and New Zealand.

He was a key player in negotiations leading up to the Wholesome Meat Act in 1967, which brought important structural changes to meat plants in US and abroad. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed Mr. McMillan to the position of USDA Assistant Secretary for Marketing and Inspection Services.

During the 1970s, he was directly involved in two landmark events with long term impact on the industry:

  • Participatingin the inaugural conference of the 4-Nation Beef Group      (US, Canada, Australia & New Zealand, with Mexico added later, to become 5-Nation Beef group, which still meets annually to address key industry and trade issues.
  • Becoming a co-founder, together with AMI President and member of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame, Richard Lyng, of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, an organization that has become the pre-eminent body in world meat trade, with enormous benefits for all red meat groups in the U.S.

Kenneth Monfort

CEO, Monfort Inc. (posthumous)

Click for More: Ken Monfort was one of the first to begin fabricating beef right at the plant, a radical departure from the norm of shipping “swinging beef” to retailers or butcher shops. He spearheaded the evolution of his company into a vertically integrated corporation involved in feeding cattle and lambs; running a meatpacking plant and fabrication operations for restaurants, institutions and supermarkets; and transporting and distributing its products to customers.

Rosemary Mucklow

Executive Director Emeritus, National Meat Association

Click for More: Rosemary Mucklow is one of the meat industry’s most prominent leaders and a vigorous advocate for the interests of the nation’s meat and poultry packers and processors, both large and small.  From 1982 until 2007, she served as the Executive Director of the National Meat Association. During that time, she was tirelessly engaged on a variety of critical industry issues, such as HACCP implementation, inspection reform and food-safety initiatives

Earl B. Olson

Founder, Jennie-O Foods (posthumous)

Click for More: Olson started Jennie-O Foods in the 1940s when he was a Minnesota entrepreneur and part-time turkey grower. He served as President and CEO of the company until 1974, when he became Chairman of the Board. His forward-thinking was perhaps best expressed in the development of the Jennie-O Turkey Store, the industry’s most extensive line of further processed products and one of the pioneers in providing value-added turkey year-round to American consumers.

Frank Perdue

Board Chairman, Perdue Farms (posthumous)

Click for More: Frank Perdue started his first processing plant in in 1968, making Perdue Farms one of the earliest integrated poultry companies. It gave him the opportunity to do something never been before done: put his name on what had been formerly a commodity product. Perdue Farms became the nation’s No. 3 poultry company, with more than 20,000 associates, operations in 15 states and production of more than 50 million pounds of poultry a week.

Robert L. Peterson

Former Chairman and CEO, IBP Inc. (posthumous)

Click for More: Bob Peterson was named IBP’s Chief Executive in 1980 and Chairman in 1981. He was instrumental in re-shaping the economics of the entire meat business. During the 1970s, he turned the company’s innovative “Cattle Pak” boxed beef concept into the industry standard. Peterson lead the way to centralizing slaughter, fabrication and vacuum packaging at a single plant, and in the 1980s, spearheaded a similar high-volume, streamlined breaking and packaging process in the pork industry.

Ellard Pfaelzer, Sr.

Co-founder and President, Pfaelzer Brothers (posthumous)

Click for More: Ellard Pfaelzer, Sr. was born in Chicago in 1896, and three generations of Pfaelzers before him had worked in the meat industry. He too was drawn to the industry, and at age 14 he left high school and started his own business, selling beef livers from a horse-drawn cart.

By 1929, Ellard and his brothers, Monroe and Leonard, had started Pfaelzer Brothers, which would eventually become one of the nation’s largest meat purveyors. Ellard then married Oliva Block in 1931, and their children, Ellard Jr. (“Butch”) and Elizabeth, were born in 1933 and 1935, respectively.

As Pfaelzer Brothers grew, it pioneered innovations such as portion-controlled steaks and chops, “assembly line” steak cutting, and the use of dry ice for interstate shipping. The company had customers in all 48 contiguous states and specialized in selling top-quality meat to hotels, restaurants, and airlines. It was also among the first to sell high-quality meat by mail order.

In 1959, Armour & Company acquired Pfaelzer Brothers, retaining both Ellard Sr. and his son, Butch. Ellard Sr. continued with the company until his retirement in 1963.

After retiring from Pfaelzer Brothers, Pfaelzer Sr. was appointed as a special consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. He traveled extensively in Europe from 1965-67, promoting U.S. meat products and helping to increase the volume of American meat sold in the European market. He died in 1973, while wintering in Southern California.


Pfaelzer Sr. supported the meat industry in a number of ways. He was a judge at the International Livestock Exhibition for 23 years, and was a successful bidder for the grand champion steer on numerous occasions. During World War II, he served on the War Meat Board, working with the U.S. Office of Price Administration. He was one of the founders of the National Association of Hotel and Restaurant Meat Purveyors, the forerunner of NAMP (the North American Meat Processors Association). He was President of the group in 1943-44 and earned its highest honor — The Angus Award — shortly after it was established.

Besides the meat business, Ellard Sr. and his son Butch shared a passion for community service. Ellard Sr. held positions on the Board of Trustees of Michael Reese Hospital, The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, The Jewish Children’s Bureau, Chicago Sinai Congregation and the Community Fund of Chicago.

Ellard “Butch” Pfaelzer, Jr.

Chairman Emeritus, The Bruss Company (retired)
Bio coming soon

Thomas Pierson, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University
Bio coming soon

C. Larry Pope

President and Chief Executive Officer, Smithfield Foods
Bio coming soon

James 'Bo' Reagan, Ph.D.

Vice President, NCBA Research and Knowledge Management Center
Bio coming soon

Roger Reiser

President, Robert Reiser & Co., Inc.
Bio coming soon

E. M. “Manny” Rosenthal

Chairman Emeritus, Standard Meat Co. (posthumous)

Click for More: E. M. “Manny” Rosenthal spent his career making a difference in the meat industry, in his community, and in his faith. He was actively involved in many philanthropic, religious, cultural and education endeavors, and cared so much for others in everything he did.

Rosenthal worked in the family hotel, restaurant and institutional meat supply business after school and summers while in junior high school and until his graduation from Texas A&M University in 1942. He became president of the company in 1959 and chairman in 1965. He retired from Standard Meat Company in 1988.

Rosenthal’s business principles were simple and straightforward – give the customer what they want and work tirelessly to be a great partner with them. He pioneered the concept of marketing to large, multi-unit chains so that his company could streamline production and minimize waste. This philosophy of “selling, then cutting” rather than “cutting, then selling” served Standard Meat Company well so that it could concentrate on providing customers with the exacting products they demanded rather than cutting many different products and trying to get them sold profitably and in a timely manner.
Rosenthal’s attention to detail and service to his customers helped land accounts with some of the largest foodservice companies in the country with the growth of casual dining concepts and the pizza revolution in the 1970s and 1980s. Many of the current business models in the meat industry can trace their history to the influence of Manny Rosenthal’s models he developed throughout his career.

Rosenthal’s service to Texas A&M was legendary. In 1987, he and his wife Roz donated the first endowed chair in the Departmentof Animal Science and the first chair in the United States designed to support research and education in meat science – The E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chair. Later, the Manny and Roz Rosenthal Endowed Fund in the Department of Animal Science was established by them to further support the teaching, research, and extension/outreach/service activities of the meat science educators and students at Texas A&M.

Manny Rosenthal was a larger-than-life man whose influence continues to impact many different businesses, organizations, and educational institutions.


  • Texas A&M University Chancellor’s Century Council and Campus Partners Program (Member)
  • Texas A&M O.D. Butler Chair in Animal Science (Committee Member and Fundraiser)
  • National Association of Meat Purveyors (Member)
  • Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Vice-Chairman and Honorary Lifetime Vice-Chairman)
  • Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association (Past-President)
  • Temple Beth-El, Jewish Federation of Fort Work and Tarrant County (Past-President)
  • Advisory Council of the College of Business at the University of Texas at Arlington (Past-President)
  • United Jewish Appeal-Southwest Region (Co-Chairman)
  • National Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal (Member)
  • The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Member)
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Association of Former Students Texas A&M University
  • Fort Worth Jewish Man of the year – 1975
  • Tarrant Co. (Texas) Chapter of the National Conf. of Christians & Jews Brotherhood Citation — 1988
  • Keeper of the Flame Award from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations — 1992

The Texas A&M University Board of Regents named the E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Meat Science & Technology Center in his honor.

Eldon Roth

Founder, BPI Inc.

Click for More: Eldon Roth is an inventor and innovator, who started Beef Products Inc. (BPI) in 1981 to commercialize a pioneering method he developed for producing 95 percent lean ground beef from fatty beef trimmings that would otherwise have little value. Today, BPI is the world’s largest manufacturer of boneless lean beef and its product is found in the majority of all ground beef produced in the United States.

Roth’s process is estimated to have added 10 cents a pound to the value of beef trimmings, adding $10 in value to every market steer and heifer produced in the United States, or an additional $250 million-plus to the value of U.S. market cattle each year. BPI’s South Sioux City, Neb., plant — and three others like it in Kansas, Texas and Iowa — were called by the Washington Post, “A testament to the sensibilities and eccentricities of Eldon Roth.”
A recent $400 million expansion of its South Sioux City complex, which created some 300 high-paying jobs, will allow the company to produce its own lean beef products, from patties to meatballs to pizza toppings.

Roth has always been a believer in industrial technology. His answer to the problem of foodborne illness is usually of his own devising. He conceived of or customized almost all of the equipment in his company’s plants. When he built his first meat plant in Amarillo, Texas, it was modeled on dairy plant design, with bricks on the floors to withstand cleaning agents and the use of pipes instead of conveyor belts because it was more sanitary.

Roth discovered that his process for separating meat from fat had the unintended effect of making lean beef more alkaline and thus less conducive to bacterial growth. That prompted a search for a more effective way to rid meat of microbial pathogens, including the use of ammonium hydroxide. The challenge was calibrating the ammonia level so that it produced the bactericidal effect without affecting the flavor or appearance of the meat.

After several years of experimenting, they developed a method in which the meat leaves centrifuges, passes through a pencil-sized tube where it is exposed to a minute amount of ammonia gas that combines with moisture in the meat to form ammonium hydroxide and eliminate acidity.

Current clients include the leading fast-food chains, and supporters of Roth’s process include such industry critics as Carol Tucker Foreman of the Consumer Federation of America and Nancy Donley, president of Safe Tables Our Priority.


Eldon Roth and his wife Regina, the company’s Secretary-Treasurer, have personally shared their good fortune, contributing to a number of civic and charitable endeavors in the tri-state (Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa) area.

Robert E. Rust

Professor Emeritus, Iowa State University

Click for More: International authority on meat processing

Robert Rust was responsible for extension education programs and the longest running series of meat industry short courses in the U.S. His research projects covered meat processing, marketing, product quality and product safety. He has authored or co-authored hundreds of papers for scientific journals, reference books and technical publications.

Mel Salomon

Chairman, Allen Brothers (retired); one of founders of the North American Meat Purveyors Association

Click for More: Mel Salomon is one of the true pioneers of the meat purveying industry. He began his industry career in 1932, becoming president and chairman of Allen Brothers in Chicago for an incredible 61 years, from 1940 until his retirement in 2001. During that time he was one of the founding fathers of NAMP (originally called the National Association of Hotel and Restaurant Purveyors) in the 1940s and was a major proponent of efforts that led to the correction of the problems brought on by the imposition of price controls and rationing during World War II.

Along with fellow NAMP member Clarence Becker, Salomon was one of the leading advocates for development of the NAMP Meat Buyer’s Guide in 1961. After nearly 50 years, the Guide still serves as the premier resource for foodservice purchasing of meat cuts. During his years of involvement with the organization, Salomon also helped author the NAMP Code of Ethics.

He helped preserve the integrity of the USDA grading system by chairing an ad hoc coalition of purveyors, retailers, foodservice operators and members of academia to successfully defeat efforts by packers and USDA to change meat grading standards that would have lessened the quality of foodservice beef.


  • President of NAMP (1965-1966)
  • Member of the Jewish Federation
  • Chairman of the Chicago Jewish Charities
  • Recipient of the Angus Award, NAMP’s highest honor (1968)
  • Recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s Man of the Year (presented by then-New York Mayor John Lindsay)

Col. Harland Sanders

Founder, Kentucky Fried Chicken (posthumous)

Click for More: From young cook to KFC’s famous colonel Harland Sanders began the KFC chain in 1930 with a service station in Corbin, Kentucky. Selling complete meals, he invented what’s now known as “home meal replacement.” He began franchising the concept in 1955 and in less than 10 years had more than 600 franchises in North America.

Dr. Jeff Savell

Regents Professor, Meat Science & E. M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chair in Animal Science, Texas A&M University

Click for More: A talent for teaching

Dr. Jeff Savell, a long-time member and former president of the American Meat Science Association, championed investment in research to improve the quality of beef, pork and lamb. He is a skilled and talented educator who has received more than a dozen awards for excellence in teaching and research.

Deven L. Scott

Vice President, Member Service, American Meat Institute, Executive Vice President, North American Meat Processors Association

Click for More: Food safety visionary

Deven Scott left the American Meat Institute after a decade of service as Vice president of Member Services to become the head of the North American Meat Purveyors where he coordinated and implemented NAMP’s legislative and regulatory programs. He was instrumental in implementing HACCP and fostering a cooperative spirit between USDA and the meat industry.

Joe Sebranek, Ph.D.

Professor, Iowa State University
Bio coming soon

Philip M. Seng

President and CEO, U.S. Meat Export Federation

Click for More: Philip Seng oversees U.S. Meat Export Federation operations worldwide, providing direction for USMEF strategies and priorities in international programs, research, technical services, industry relations and global communications. He also serves as the primary spokesman for USMEF and other exporting interests to government and private entities regarding international trade policy and foreign market development issues.

Alan Simon

Chairman and CEO, Omaha Steaks (retired)

Click for More:
Alan Simon graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics. He is married with two married children. With his brothers Frederick and Stephen, Alan Simon helped build their grandfather’s meat business into the industry leader and innovator that it has become today. The three Simon brothers each brought a different dynamic to the company; Alan’s focus is on production.

Alan Simon has been actively involved in the growth of Omaha Steaks as well as his city and state. Today, Omaha Steaks sells its products to customers through mail order catalogs/promotions, online and at the more than 80 company-owned retail stores in 26 states.

In his role as an industry leader, Alan Simon has been a member of the Board of Directors of the American Meat Institute (AMI), The Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo), and the National Association of Meat Purveyors, now known as the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP). Giving back to the community, Simon has been actively involved in various civic, charitable and cultural organizations both locally and nationally. He has volunteered his time with the Boy Scouts of America, Goodwill Industries, the Salvation Army and Omaha Children’s Hospital.

Alan Simon serves as chairman of several committees/councils:

  • Productivity Committee, National Association of Meat Purveyors (Chairman)
  • Workforce Investment Council (Chairman)
  • Nebraska Job Training Coordinating Council (Chairman)
  • Nebraska Presidents Association (Past Chairman)

Simon is also a member of the following organizations:

  • Chief Executives Organization (CEO)
  • Board of Trustees, Creighton University
  • YPO-G (California YP0 graduates)
  • Nebraska Presidents Association (Past Chairman)
  • World’s President Organization (WPO)
  • Judicial Nominating Committee for County and District Judges for the State of Nebraska
  • Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO)
  • Advisory Board Orange County, CA Drug Court
  • Safety & Health Council of Greater Omaha Executive Committee
  • Board of Directors – American Meat Institute
  • Board of Directors – National Association of Meat Purveyors (Past Member)

Donnie Smith

President ∓ Chief Executive Officer (Retired), Tyson Foods

Click for More: Food safety visionary
Donnie Smith's enthusiasm for Tyson Foods and his self-effacing humor are contagious. Appointed to his role as president and CEO in 2009, his passion is the hallmark of his tenure at the company, which he joined in 1980. Daily, he guides Tyson Foods to be a company with a conscience, focused on feeding the world great, affordable food, while also making a positive difference in people's lives.

Through his career, Donnie has worked to learn every angle of the business. He joined Tyson, working in poultry operations for seven years in Tennessee before moving to the company's headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, where he started as a commodity buyer. He was named director of commodity purchasing in 1991 and during the next several years added complementary responsibilities to his management portfolio.

He was named senior vice president of logistics, purchasing and information systems in 2006. In 2007 Donnie was named group vice president of operation services, which included oversight of engineering, food safety and quality assurance, as well as environmental health and safety. He moved into the company's consumer products division in 2008 and was named senior group vice president of poultry and prepared foods in early 2009, the same year he was appointed as president and CEO. He retired at the end of 2016.

Dr. Gary C. Smith

Professor, Colorado State University

Click for More: Food safety visionary
Dr. Gary C. Smith occupied the Monfort Endowed Chair in Meat Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins from 1990 until his retirement in 2010 . In addition to his many honors, he has devoted his time to industry associations and to many companies in the meat industry as a speaker, consultant and expert. A scientist of note, he is also an accomplished researcher, a gifted teacher, and a legendary mentor to literally dozens of academicians and technical specialists throughout the industry.

Jo Ann Smith

President - National Cattlemen’s Association

Click for More: Jo Ann Smith started her involvement with the beef industry in the late 1960s when she became a member of the Florida Beef Council, the USDA Animal Technical Advisory Committee on Livestock and Livestock Products, the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Advisory Committee and the USDA Meat Pricing Task Force. From 1970 to 1972, she served as president of the Florida Cattlewomen’s Association.

In 1984, Smith was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on the Future of Florida Agriculture. As part of the task force, she studied the issues affecting the sustainability and viability of Florida’s agriculture industry. She advised and provided direction to the Florida Legislature regarding future laws, programs and funding.

In 1985, Smith became the first female president of the National Cattlemen’s Association, and she is now widely regarded as one of the most effective leaders in the organization’s history. During her tenure, she made countless appearances on behalf of the cattle industry before Congress and on national television.

Smith’s leadership in the agriculture industry has earned her many awards and honors. In 1982 and again in 1988, she was named Man of the Year in American Agriculture by Progressive Farmer magazine. In 1985 she was selected Woman of the Year in Agriculture by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In 1987 the Western States Meat Association honored her with the E. Floyd Forbes Award for Outstanding Service to the Meat Industry.

Smith served as assistant secretary for Marketing and Inspection Services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1989 to 1993. Her leadership role on important issues such as groundwater quality, rural development and animal welfare regulation had a positive impact on farmers and consumers all across the country.

In 1990 she was given the Golden Spur Award by the Ranching Heritage Association. In 1992 she received a Good Government Award from the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, and an Outstanding Contributions to American Agriculture Award from the National Agricultural Editors Association. This year, she has received the Swan Leadership Award by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and is being inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Smith was the founding chair of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, spearheading and developing the highly successful Beef Check-off Program. A national advertising campaign funded by the Check-off has proven remarkably effective, improving the public’s perception of beef’s nutritional value.

Lawrence D. Starr

Chairman and CEO, Koch Equipment LLC (posthumous)

Click for More: Lawrence Starr turned Koch Equipment into a world leading supplier of food processing and packaging equipment. He was recognized as a pioneer in introducing vacuum packaging technology in the United States, but his global vision led him to focus on international opportunities, and Koch eventually built meat-processing facilities in the former Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republics, China, Micronesia, Trinidad and Mexico.

Sam Stein

Founder and Chairman, Chef’s Pantry and Sam Stein Associates
Bio coming soon

John Story

Vice President of Meat Marketing, Fairway Foods (retired)

Click for More: John Story has been a major influence on the meat industry for half a century. He brings a unique perspective to the industry as he understands and appreciates all segments of the livestock and meat industry from “farm to fork.” He attended Michigan State University and holds a degree in marketing.
John has worked for 48 years in various areas of the industry, including retail, wholesale, distribution and meat processing for Armour & Co., Michigan; IGA Food Stores, Chicago, Illinois; Supermarkets Interstate, Omaha, Nebraska; and Fairway Foods of Minnesota. John Story is often referred to as the “Legend or Dean of the Retail Meat Industry.”


  • Expanding IGA Table Rite – an industry leading private label program
  • Establishing Operational Training Programs including HACCP for: IGA, Supermarkets Interstates and Fairway Foods
  • Articles for IGA magazine, 1961-1967
  • Meat related articles with “Meat & Seafood Merchandising” (2001-2005)
  • Created and implemented program with Processor Standards for closely trimmed beef and pork (1988)
  • Assisted National Cattlemen’s Beef Association with industry supported research gathering of Vitamin E cattle feeding program, allowing increased case shelf life for beef cuts (1994)


  • Board of Directors of the National Livestock & Meat Board (National Grocer Association Representative)
  • Chairman of the Industrywide Standards Committee that oversees the Uniform Retail Meat Identity Standards Program, which led to Universal Product Code (UPC)
  • Meat Board’s Retail Advisory Committee for Value Based Marketing (Member)
  • The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Long Range Planning Committee (Chairman)
  • The Center for Beef at the University of Minnesota (Board Member)
  • Partner in 4H Award, 4H Foundation, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN (1992)
  • Holiday Companies Hero Award for extracurricular charity work, Bloomington, MN (1995)
  • Lifetime Service Award, Annual Meat Marketing Conference, given by AMI & FMI, Nashville, TN (1996)
  • Board of Directors Award, National Livestock and Meat Board, Chicago, IL (1996)
  • Lifetime Service Award, Minnesota Livestock Breeders’ Association and 4H of Minnesota (2011)

Ralph Stayer

Chairman of the Board (Retired), Johnsonville Sausage

Click for More: Ralph C. Stayer retired April 1, 2015, after 47 years as chairman of the board of Johnsonville Sausage.Stayer's parents, Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, co-founded a little butcher shop near Sheboygan Falls in 1945 and eventually began turning out sausage using family recipes dating to 19th-century Austria.

The business was incorporated in 1968, the same year their son began a manufacturing and wholesale branch. Under his leadership, the company has grown into a multimillion-dollar business and has become the No. 1 national brand of sausage, available in all 50 states and 40 countries.

Stayer became known for his business philosophy, which is based on empowering employees to take ownership of business results. In 1990, Mr. Stayer established the Leadership Dynamics consulting firm, which specializes in coaching leaders of large organizations on strategy and execution through people. In 1990, he wrote "How I Learned to Let My Workers Lead" that was published in the Harvard Business Review and is one of the publication's top 100 most reprinted articles. In 1993, he co-authored the business bestseller Flight of the Buffalo, published by Warner Books.

Stayer has been an Independent Director at Brunswick Corporation since 2002. He serves as Director at Johnsonville Sausage LLC. Mr. Stayer is the National Trustee of Boys and Girls Clubs in the Midwest region. He serves as the chairman of the Marian College Board of Trustees and a Board member of PAVE, an organization dedicated to improving education for urban students in Milwaukee. Stayer graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in finance.

David M. “Dave” Theno

Senior Vice President/Chief Food Safety Officer, Jack in the Box Inc. (retired)

Click for More: David M. Theno, Ph.D., is currently CEO of Gray Dog Partners, Inc., a Del Mar, California-based technical consulting business specializing in food safety, food manufacturing, restaurant operations, supply chain management, and strategic planning.

Before joining Gray Dog Partners in early 2009, Theno was senior vice president and chief food safety officer for Jack in the Box, Inc. He had joined Jack in the Box as vice president of quality assurance and product safety in March 1993 at the request of top management after the chain’s burgers were blamed for a massive foodborne illness outbreak in the Pacific Northwest. E. coli O157:H7 (in ground beef supplied by Vons) was found to have caused the illnesses, and Theno responded by developing a comprehensive Hazard Analysis Critical of Control Points (HACCP) plan for the chain, as well as a finished product testing protocol that initially irked his former meat industry colleagues.

Prior to Jack in the Box, Theno had been managing director and CEO of his own consulting firm, Theno & Associates, Inc., and before that he had managed food safety and quality programs at Foster Farms, Kellogg’s, Armour Food Company, and Peter Eckrich & Sons, Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology and science journalism from Iowa State University, and earned both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in food microbiology and animal sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Theno’s lasting contribution to the meat industry was his leadership in responding to the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. He was instrumental in demonstrating how the scientific community and the meat industry can work together to solve food safety challenges. Theno was a peer reviewer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Food Safety and Inspection Service’s HACCP study and has authored numerous scientific and trade publications on food safety and HACCP applications.


Theno is or has been actively involved in numerous food industry and scientific organizations, including the American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians, American Meat Science Association, International Association of Food Protection, International Meat & Poultry HACCP Alliance, Institute of Food Technologists, National Advisory Committee on Meat & Poultry Inspection, National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria for Foods (1989 – 1994), National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo), National Meat Association (and its predecessor, the Western States Meat Association), and the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Solving the E. Coli O157:H7 Problem, sponsored by the National Livestock & Meat Board.

In 2004, Jack in the Box was awarded the prestigious Black Pearl Award by the International Association of Food Protection. Personally, Theno received the Innovator of the Year Award (2000) from Nation’s Restaurant News, andthe California Environmental Health Association’s Mark Nottingham Award (1997), for “recognizable and significant contributions in the field of environmental health.” Also in 1997, Nation’s Restaurant News named Theno one of its “Top 50 Players” for his leadership in defining a new standard for foodservice safety procedures.

Dave Thomas

Founder and CEO, Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers (posthumous) 

Click for More:

Genial burger baron

Dave Thomas achieved fame and success in building Wendy’s into the #3 fast food chain in America, employing his affable personality in a series to over 800 TV commercials that made him a familiar face to over 90% of Americans. In 2003, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for “especially meritorious contribution to…  cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Raymond T. Townsend

Founder and former Chairman, Townsend Engineering

Click for More: Ray Townsend founded Townsend Engineering in 1946 as a meat and food processing equipment manufacturer. Over the next three decades, Townsend’s inventions were legendary, including the Frank-A-Matic and the Automatic Sausage Linker, which revolutionized the production of skinless frankfurters and became an industry standard.  Townsend’s company became the largest designer and manufacturer of skinning, stuffing and injection machinery for meat, poultry and seafood processors worldwide.

Donald J. Tyson

Senior Chairman of the Board, Tyson Foods

Click for More: Don Tyson was named president of Tyson’s Foods, Inc. in 1966, and president and CEO in 1967. He led the company through a period of major expansion, largely via acquisition. Renamed Tyson Foods in 1971, the company entered the hog production business the following year and became America’s largest hog producer by 1977. Tyson Foods became the nation’s No. 1 poultry processor in 1986.

Frederick “Fred” Usinger III

Chairman of the Board (retired), Usinger’s Famous Sausage

Click for More: Frederick Usinger III was born May 20, 1917, in Milwaukee. The grandson of Frederick D. Usinger, who had founded the company in 1880, Usinger began working in the family business at age 16. Intent on learning every facet of the sausage business, he purposely started at the bottom — washing floors, moving meat, cleaning casings, and hanging sausages in the smokehouse. As time passed, he mastered trimming, stuffing and cooking duties before tackling the mission-critical task of sausage mixing.

In 1940, Usinger married Lois Dahlstrom, and over the years the couple had five children: daughters Karen, Barbara, Heidi and Debra, and son Fritz (Frederick D. Usinger IV). In 1941, Usinger became plant superintendent, but when America became involved in World War II, he joined the U.S. Army for a stateside stint. After the war, Usinger returned to the company, and in 1946 he was named vice president. By 1953, having added bookkeeping and office management experience while still honing his sausage-making skills, Usinger was promoted to president and given the title “Meister Wurstmacher” (Master Sausage-Maker).

The following year, Usinger originated the practice of selling sausage assortments in attractive gift boxes for the holidays, long before other food marketers entered the field. The company’s Christmas gift business has multiplied many times over and has become an integral part of its total volume.
It was important to Usinger to keep the company headquarters at its original site on Third Street in downtown Milwaukee. The facility features a 19th-century sausage shop where murals of the company’s trademark sausage-making elves overlook marble deli counters featuring a selection of Usinger products. The murals pre-date the elf’s role as a company symbol, however; Usinger hit upon that idea in 1956. The shop is considered a local attraction and a key element in the city’s history, as evidenced by its commemoration in a walk-through display at the Milwaukee Public Museum.
Usinger ceded the roles of president and CEO to his son, Fritz, in 1988, entering semi-retirement but remaining chairman of the board until 2004. He passed away on December 6, 2006.


Usinger was involved in numerous community organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, Friends of Art (Milwaukee Art Center), Friends of the Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee County Zoological Society, Wisconsin Business Council, and the Young Presidents’ Organization. He served on the boards of several charities, including the Easter Seal Society, Kiwanis Club, Curative Care Network, and Milwaukee Rehabilitation Center, Inc.
Several of those organizations honored his service; his awards included: The Silver Beaver Award (Boy Scouts of America, 1968); Milwaukee University School Alumni Association Merit Award (1973); Milwaukee County Historical Society Preservation Award (1978); Milwaukee County Historical Society Preservation Award (1981); Children’s Outing Association “Father of the Year” Award (1982); and the Mount Mary College “Pro Urbe” Award (1983).
The American Meat Institute gave Usinger its Community Relations Award in 1980, and in 1993, he was elected to the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

Marvin J. Walter

Chairman and a founder of Dayton Road Development Corporation, W&G Marketing Company Inc., Stage Coach Stables LC and Walter & Associates LLC

Click for More: Raised on a 200-acre livestock farm near Watkins, Iowa, Marvin J. Walter never lost his interest in animals, and he used it to guide the many meat-related businesses he founded.

After graduating from high school in Blairstown, Walter attended Iowa State University and graduated with two degrees in Animal Science in 1962 and 1964.

His first job out of school was working for the American Meat Institute in public relations and then as an assistant to the President. Next, he purchased a membership and became a commodity broker on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In 1968, he moved back to Ames to start a meat-related business with two partners. They purchased land on the edge of the city and built Dayton Road Development Corp. and several affiliated businesses through the years, such as Carriage House Meat & Provision Company Inc., Ames Processed Foods Co. Inc. and Webster City Custom Meats Inc.
Walter also was involved with several state and national organizations related to the livestock and meat industry. In particular, he served as the director, President and Chairman of the board for the National Association of Meat Purveyors; director of the U.S. Meat Export Federation; director and Chairman of the Iowa Agricultural Products Advisory Board; and director of the Iowa Friends of Agriculture Board.

Walter was a very active member of the community, serving on boards and in organizations. For a number of years, he was on the First National Bank board and Chairman of the Board of Ames National Corporation. In addition, he was a Rotary member and President, and served a number of years on the board of the Mary Greeley Medical Center.

He had a special interest in mentoring young people and supported 4-H programs, as well. Walter was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho agriculture fraternity and cherished the lifelong friendships he made as a fraternity member, as well as the help he could provide to active fraternity members. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Alpha Gamma Rho Hall of Fame.

Walter was involved in many Iowa State activities. He was on the Board of Governors and received the Order of the Knoll award for Distinguished Service. He also received the Floyd Andre award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture, and served as President of the ISU Alumni Association.
He is survived by his wife, Janice, two daughters, three grandsons and two step-grandchildren.


  • 1989 National Association of Meat Purveyors’ Hall of Fame Award
  • 1990 Small Business Person of the Year — Ames Chamber of Commerce
  • 1993 American Meat Institute’s Edward D. Jones Award for Community and Industry Service
  • 2003 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vision Award
  • 2004 Iowa Cattlemen’s Association — Hall of Fame member

George Watts

President, National Chicken Council (retired)

Click for More: George Watts is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism and a minor in political science. Watts served as Administrative and Legislative Assistant for two Members of Congress, both of whom served on the House Committee on Agriculture, before joining the National Chicken Council (formerly the National Broiler Council) in 1972.

Watts has made definable contributions that have advanced the broiler industry. He has labored diligently and efficiently on behalf of the industry, and his touch can be seen and felt on many of the initiatives and programs that have contributed to the industry’s success. He has been a visionary in evaluating the industry’s future needs and has acted to address those needs. Watts is well respected within the industry and his legacy will be felt for many years to come.

Watts has been influential in leveraging industry effectiveness through the development of partnerships and collaborations with other trade associations. Under his direction, a single Environmental Committee and Human Resources and Safety Committee now represents the interests of NCC, NTF, and USPOULTRY. His determination to enhance these partnerships extended beyond making the National Chicken Council successful, to making the entire industry and affiliated organizations successful. The hallmark of his career has been the integrity which forms the foundation of every relationship he cultivates. George’s voice is heeded, respected and trusted by friend and opponent alike, in good times and in bad.

George Watts serves on:

  • Board of Directors International Poultry Development Program — joint-venture broiler project in Russia (Elinar Broiler).
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board (2006-2009)
  • Georgia State Society (Past President)
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce Food and Agriculture Committee (Former Member)
  • Commodity Club of Washington (Former President & Director)
  • Food Group (Former Chairman)
  • University of Georgia Alumni Society (Former out-of-state Vice President & Director)
  • American Society of Association Executives (Member)

Watts received the following awards:

  • Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award (2011)
  • Merial Distinguished Poultry Industry Career Award (2009)
  • Poultry Industry Lifetime Achievement Award (2002)

David E. “Dave” Wood

Chairman of Beef Operations, Harris Ranch

Click for More: Born to be a cattleman, Dave Wood began raising his own cattle at age 14 after his grandfather helped him obtain a loan to purchase 20 cows. He received a B.S. in animal science from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in 1970 and immediately thereafter obtained a position as a pen rider at Harris Feeding Company. He moved up to feed yard manager in 1978, then became the company’s chief operating officer and, since 1989, has served as chairman of beef operations. In addition, Wood also owns extensive cow-calf and stocker operations in six western states, and is a partner in a 70,000-head feedlot in North Platte, Nebraska.

Wood helped Harris Ranch build a uniquely integrated beef production system that provides control of all aspects of beef production. From the western ranches where cattle are raised through feeding and processing, Harris Ranch focuses on quality from start to finish. Founded in 1963 near Coalinga, California, Harris Feeding Company is one of the largest cattle finishing facilities in the Western U.S. Today the feeding operation covers nearly 800 acres and has a one-time capacity of 120,000 head. The facility’s central California location, which enjoys limited rainfall and relatively mild winters, provides an environment in which cattle perform exceedingly well. Livestock welfare practices include shaded pens and sprinklers to reduce dust and cool cattle in summer months. Pens are routinely scraped and waste material composted for later use in our farming operation.

Once cattle reach optimum weight and quality, they are harvested at Harris Ranch Beef Company. Owning a beef processing facility allows a complete “closed loop” quality control process. Harris Ranch established one of the first branded beef programs in the U.S. in 1982 and offers an expansive product line including fresh boxed beef, value-added ground beef, fresh seasoned beef and fully cooked beef entrees.


Wood has served as chairman of the following organizations: Western States Meat Association (1992); California Beef Council (1992 and 2002); the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board (1995); and the California Cattle Feeders Association (1997-1998 and 2006-2010). In addition, he served as president of Cattle-Fax in 2009.

Through direct involvement in cattle, meat and culinary organizations at the state, national, and international levels, Wood has made significant contributions to the beef industry. He was a financial contributor to the new Meat Processing Center at Cal Poly.

Awards he has received include:

  • California Livestock Man of the Year (2001)
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Environmental Stewardship Award (2001)
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Vision Award (2003)
  • National Meat Association’s E. Floyd Forbes Award (2006)
  • Richard L. Knowlton Innovation Award (2008) — Meatingplace
  • Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame inductee (2011)

Edward T. Woods

Owner & President, Woods Smoked Meats

Click for More: Edward T. Woods earned a degree in Food Science and Nutrition with an emphasis on meats from the University of Missouri. After graduation, he worked at Wilson Certified Foods in Kansas City. He left to go into business with his father, stipulating they would have to build a smokehouse and curing cooler to begin the production of hams and bacon.

With the addition of smokehouses and more efficient equipment, the quality of the cured meats and sausages improved dramatically. Woods started winning awards at the State Meat Processors Convention, State Fairs, the American Cured Meat Championships and the prestigious IFFA Show in Germany.

In 1986, he was elected as a director for the American Association of Meat Processors where he served as 1st Vice President and Treasurer. He was AAMP's President in1991- 1992. He served on the Executive Board for six years and was on the Building Committee for AAMP's new office building in Elizabethtown, Pa. While President, Woods was instrumental in obtaining the 100,000 lb. exemption for small processors as it applied to nutritional labeling.

In 1993 Ed and his wife, Regina, led an AAMP sponsored trip to the Peoples Republic of China, serving as hosts and leaders of the trip. Ed has also done consulting work for different meat related companies in the U.S. and Indonesia. In 1995 Ed, along with Morris Burger, Burgers' Country Hams, California, Mo. volunteered for an overseas assignment with Winrock International. This organization sends agriculture volunteers to Third World countries to promote production of crops, dairy and meat.

His meat products have won almost 650 awards, including 27 medals (13 gold, 8 silver, 6 bronze), and a Cup of Honour from the German Butchers Competition at the IFFA Show in Frankfort, Germany. He has been awarded 102 plaques from the American Cured Meat Championships at the AAMP conventions, numerous first places at the Missouri and Illinois State Fair, hundreds of awards from the Missouri & Illinois Meat Processors Associations, 5 Best of Show awards and many 1st and 2nd place awards from the Hermann, MO. Wurstfest.

Clayton Yeutter

Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture
Bio coming soon

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