Hall of Famers



Dell M. Allen, Ph.D.

Vice President of Technical Services and Food Safety, Excel Corp

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

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


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.


Lawrence Bettcher

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Bettcher Industries

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

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

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


Dr. A. Dewey Bond

Senior Vice President, American Meat Institute


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.


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.”

Rod A. Bowling, Ph.D.

Ag Marketing Specialist, USDA-AMS; Owner, AgriFood Solutions International

Rod A. Bowling is known as a visionary applied scientist whose more than six decades in animal agriculture has included work in the show circuit, production, feedlots, ranching, academics, packing and public service.

Dr. Bowling majored in Range Animal Science and Chemistry at Sul Ross State University. He earned his Master of Science degree in Meat Science and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Meat Science and Muscle Biology, both from Texas A&M University. After graduate school, Dr. Bowling became Assistant Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. After transitioning to the beef-packing industry, Dr. Bowling developed a statistical process control system for beef slaughter, fabrication, and ground beef. In the mid-1980s, he pioneered both the use of HACCP protocols in slaughter and fabrication processes and the use of competitive exclusion bacteria to control pathogens. He holds 13 patents that pertain to food safety. Additionally, he instituted several corporate chaplaincy programs to serve as liaisons between plant personnel and management.

In 2006, Dr. Bowling founded AgriFood Solutions International, LLC, to address energy and clean water needs to provide safe food production and technical uplift in countries with undeveloped and inefficient supply chains.

Dr. Bowling joined USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service in 2014 as a Marketing Specialist. In 2017, he transitioned to the position of Beef and Lamb Grading Analyst.

The International Livestock Congress elected Dr. Bowling to the International Stockmen’s Educational Foundation Hall of Fame in 2004, and he has received numerous distinguished awards and honors from his alma mater, Texas A&M University.


J. Patrick Boyle

President & Chief Executive Officer, American Meat Institute

In 1990, Patrick Boyle joined the American Meat Institute after serving as administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Before that, he worked as an attorney at several food trade associations and as agricultural legislative assistant to former Senator Pete Wilson (R-CA).

“Under Patrick’s twenty-four years of leadership, AMI has been an influential voice for the meat and poultry industry successfully addressing numerous public policy challenges. He has led AMI’s efforts that have enhanced the safety of our products, the protection of our workers, the welfare of our animals and the preservation of our environment,” said AMI Chairman Nick Meriggioli, president of Kraft Foods, Inc./Oscar Mayer.

During Boyle’s tenure, AMI formally petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to require nutrition labels on meat and poultry products and to promulgate a regulation requiring that meat and poultry plants implement HACCP-based food safety controls. USDA subsequently issued final regulations on both proposals.

Boyle joined AMI prior to some of the industry’s most notable recent challenges. When E. coli O157:H7 emerged as a new pathogen of concern in the early 1990s, Boyle led the reestablishment of the AMI Foundation, which made its mission to reduce and ultimately eliminate E. coli O157:H7 in raw ground beef and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat products. During his tenure, the Foundation’s research and education programs have made substantial contributions towards the substantial food safety progress that is evidenced by the declining levels of bacteria on many meat and poultry products.

During the 1990s, Boyle and his team also were the early adopters of the animal welfare approach of Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, who contended that “you manage what you measure.” AMI first partnered with Grandin in 1991 on its Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines for the Meat Industry and later on an animal welfare audit program that has become the global standard around the world and is a condition of doing business with many leading foodservice and retail customers.

Also under his leadership, the AMI Board voted to make key issues non-competitive, including food safety, animal welfare, worker safety and the environment. These decisions fostered a collaborative approach within the industry that has enhanced food safety, improved animal handling in meat plants, reduced worker illnesses and injury and made progressive environmental practices part of doing business.


John H. Bryan

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

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

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.


Morris F. Burger

Chairman of the Board, President, Burgers’ Smokehouse

Morris F. Burger led Burgers’ Smokehouse for more than 40 years, during which time he worked with family and others to build a nationally recognized business with an impeccable reputation. Their accomplishments continue to have profound influence decades later.

He perfected a process to cure country ham using environmentally controlled rooms and created diversified product lines and sales channels. He traveled to Turkmenistan to teach modern meat-processing practices through a program sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development. Morris received AAMP’s Achievement Award for Leadership and Service for his accomplishments in the industry.

He successfully transitioned the family business to the 3rd generation in 2000, but remains active in the business and community to this day.



Chris Calkins

Professor of Animal Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Chris Calkins, Professor of Animal Science at the University of Nebraska, is a world-renowned meat scientist who specializes in meat quality. He’s been a major professor to more than 50 graduate students who have excelled in academia, industry and government.

Dr. Calkins co-led the muscle profiling research that identified the Flat Iron steak and other value cuts with an annual U.S. impact of $1.5 billion. He is widely published and holds five patents. A former president of the American Meat Science Association (AMSA), Dr. Calkins has given numerous invited presentations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.


Steve Campano

Hawkins Inc.

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

Campano has fostered a new approach to food safety and food ingredients, with his leadership impacting not only the growth of Hawkins’ food ingredient business but the meat industry as a whole. His contributions include pioneering low inclusion antimicrobial technology, and developing and securing regulatory approval for ingredients to enable clean label meat and poultry products. His antimicrobial knowledge helped in the creation of a mold inhibition system for hay production, enabling improvement in hay quality with reduced spoilage.
Campano also has contributed to the industry through serving in the American Meat Science Association (as president, treasurer and other roles) as well as Phi Tau Sigma – The Honor Society of Food Science and Technology.


Barry C. Carpenter

Chief Executive Officer, North American Meat Association

Some people happen upon an opportunity to achieve greatness. Others spend a career pursuing it. And for a familiar few, it seems to come with the territory.

2013 Meat Industry Hall of Fame Member Barry Carpenter has a lengthy and distinguished résumé: As a high-ranking federal official, he spearheaded changes that helped transform the marketing of meat and poultry products. And as the current CEO of the dynamic new North American Meat Association, he has simultaneously brought innovative thinking and a calm, collaborative tenor to the volatile, often troubling issues that impact meat companies and their customers.

Barry acquired his in-depth knowledge and his easy familiarity the honest way: He worked at it. “I was probably 10 years old when I first started working in a meat plant,” he explained. “My dad ran a full-line, multi-species packing plant near Ocala, Fla., and I got to do all kinds of jobs—sometimes for 25 cents an hour!”

Eventually, as he got older, Barry worked in every department from grading to sausage stuffing to smoking bacon—or as he put it, “Basically, whoever didn’t show up for work, I got to do their job.”

In 1970 he joined USDA as a meat grader. He wasdrafted into the Army and became a meat inspector. After he was discharged, he continued his career at USDA, and by the early 1990s had risen to become a deputy administrator at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, where he administered the Livestock and Seed Program.

That career lasted 37 years, during which practically everyone in the business had a chance to meet him at a conference or trade show and he became a go-to guy when people needed answers or advice. he spearhead several critical developments that—without exaggeration—re-shaped the industry:

  • Process Verified. As far back as the early 1990s, Barry was pushing AMS to adopt a parallel program to ISO 9000 that was quickly becoming the standard across Europe. “I knew it was the wave of the future,” he said. “Whether it’s grassfed, source-verified or other claims, we needed a program to allow companies to make those claims with credibility.”
  • HACCP. Twenty years ago, the HACCP mandate raised plenty of hackles among numerous industry leaders and the impact spilled over to AMS certification programs, especially USDA food purchase programs.  Barry proved adept at smoothing people’s agitation and brokering discussions that eased what was an often painful transition for many organizations.
Beef Grading. “No one understood how graders felt about their expertise better than me,” he said, “and I was able to bring people around to realizing that in the end, machines are more consistent than graders”.

“I’ve spent my whole professional life in the meat industry, and I’m proud to say that I’ve made a lot of friends over the years,” he said. “But although I was extremely honored to be voted into the Hall of Fame, I never considered anything I’ve done to be something special. I just always tried to do what was right, to find things that were good for the people you work with.

I’m not sure I belong in that group, but I consider it the highest honor to be in the Hall of Fame, to be included among some of the greatest leaders in our industry.”


Zerle Carpenter, Ph.D.

Professor of Animal Science, Texas A & M University

Dr. Zerle Carpenter began his career at Texas A&M University as an assistant professor of meat science in 1962 and rose to the rank of full professor of animal science in 1971. He served as head of the Department of Animal Science beginning in 1978, and director of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in beginning 1982. In 1988, he was named associate vice chancellor for agriculture for the Texas A&M University System. Dr. Carpenter retired in 1997 after providing leadership to the Texas Extension Service for 15 years.

The Texas Agricultural Extension Service is the largest state Extension Service in the country. Under Dr. Carpenter’s leadership, the agency’s programs, delivered primarily through county Extension agents, served all 254 counties, provided research-based, practical information and education for agricultural producers, agribusinesses, consumers, families and youth. Carpenter gained national attention for innovative leadership in 1985 when he launched issue-based Extension programming in Texas. This new approach sought greater involvement by local citizens in planning and developing local Extension education programs.

Carpenter’s issues approach became a model for redirecting Extension programming efforts for other states and at the national level. Carpenter served Extension on a nation level in numerous capacities. He was influential during the 1990’s in the reorganization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has served in a key advisory capacity of the executive committee of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economic Advisory Board.

Under Dr. Carpenter’s leadership in meat science, the foundational research for USDA grades of beef, pork, lamb, and goat was updated. The value of all livestock produced in the United States is based on this research, and it established U.S. meat products as the world standard.

He has won numerous awards recognizing his many contributions in research, teaching and extension. Among them are the 1996 Distinguished Public Service Award; 1995 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Administration, Texas A&M University System; 1995 National Distinguished Service Ruby Award, Epsilon Sigma Phi; 1991 Distinguished Service Award, Environmental Protection Agency; and 1983 R.C. Pollock Distinguished Service Award, American Meat Science Association.

Honoring his contributions to the University and the meat industry, The Department of Animal Science established the Dr. Zerle L. Carpenter Award in Meat Science, which is presented to a meat science graduate student whose outstanding leadership skills has contributed significantly to the section’s teaching, research, and extension activities.


Ralph Cator

LLPOC, Founder and Chairman, Cardinal Meat Specialists Limited

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

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


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

‘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

Dr. Joe Cordray, a professor and extension meat specialist at Iowa State University, is responsible for the dissemination of information on Meat Science and Meat Technology (including sausage manufacture, sanitation, food safety and HACCP, carcass fabrication, carcass evaluation, livestock harvest, merchandising, packaging, product handling, storage, business sustainability and food defense) and coordinating meat science and technology short courses for both domestic and international meat industry personnel. He has taught thousands of meat science students and industry personnel with his courses.

Apart from his teaching duties, Dr. Cordray has also written for several industry publications, most recently the Independent Processor, which has published his columns for the last nine years. He has delivered more than 100 presentations to meat processor groups or organizations and is a regular presenter at industry trade shows. Dr. Cordray is also a technical advisor to the American Cured Meat Championships, held every year in conjunction with the annual AAMP Convention.

For his service to the industry, he has received awards from numerous associations, including the American Meat Science Association, American Association of Meat Processors, North American Meat Processors (now North American Meat Institute) and many state associations.

For more than 40 years, Dr. Joe Cordray has been an invaluable resource for those in the meat industry or students interested in joining it. With his positions in the academic world, writing for industry publications and working for industry supplier A.C. Legg, Dr. Cordray has helped processors improve their products, find new market niches, keep aware of industry issues or policy changes and generally become more successful. It would be practically impossible to calculate the number of companies he has advised or the number of individuals he has taught, mentored and brought into the industry.


Dr. H. Russell Cross

Administrator and Professor, Texas A&M University

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.


Gordon Davis

CEV Media/ Texas Tech University

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

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

In 1984, Davis created CEV Multimedia (he remains in the chairman role) with the goal that online training would reach more students while offering high quality meat industry education. Davis and CEV have reached students in secondary and post-secondary education and helped teach the instructors at the same time.
Davis has contributed nearly $5 million toward meat science endowments and a similar amount through three educational endowments in other agriculture areas.
Davis has been an AMSA member for 48 years and has been recognized with some of the organization’s top awards: Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award, Signal Service Award, and the Mentor Recognition Award. He also was awarded the first Industry and Organizational Leadership award from AMSA.


Jimmy Dean

Founder, Jimmy Dean Sausage Co.


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.

Dr. Michael Dikeman, Ph.D.

Professor of Meat Science, Kansas State University

Dr. Michael Dikeman and his wife Earline earned Bachelor’s degrees in Animal Sciences & Industry at Kansas State University, the institution where Dikeman’s career began more than 40 years ago. He later earned a Master’s degree at Michigan State University and returned to earn a Ph. D. at KSU in 1970.

He taught 13 different courses at K-State to over 9,000 undergrads and dozens of graduate students, coached the Meat Judging Team and served as a Block & Bridle advisor and an Ag Student Council advisor. As a result of his teaching excellence, Dikeman won two K-State research scholar awards and nine college, regional and national teaching awards, including a USDA-National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges award.

“If I were asked what was the highlight of my career, I’d have to say that I’m most proud of the balance I was able to achieve between research, teaching, service to the industry and helping students develop their leadership skills.”

In his research, which spanned the entire farm-to-fork spectrum in beef production, he said he’s pleased by the significant progress that he and others have helped industry achieve. The impact of the Germ Plasm Evaluation and Utilization research at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and his work with several breed associations to develop the first EPD's (Expected Progeny Differences) for beef tenderness have been ground-breaking in their impact on beef quality and consistency.

He retired from KSU this year, but remains engaged with the issues that formed his career. “We still need to improve beef quality overall,” he points out. “Too many cattle still go to market from producers who aren’t applying genetics, who don’t use technology or who aren’t using the latest technology. That’s our challenge for the future.”

He’s optimistic about the coming generation of students and young scientists, many of whom he’s personally taught or influenced.

“As long as we continue to integrate instruction with hands-on experiences, I believe we can prepare students for the problems they will face in the industry. I’ve always tried to give students practical challenges, such as justifying the use of gestation crates or discussing whether harvesting horses is acceptable. Learning to deal with those issues is how they prepare for the challenges that will impact their careers.”

He speaks with emotion about two subjects. One is his passion for “cattle, beef and the challenge of improving its quality all the way from farm to fork.” As the owner of some 45 Simmental registered cattle, he plans to pursue that objective even in retirement.

The second is his heartfelt reaction to being elected as a Member of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame. “I’m highly honored,” he says. “It’s very gratifying to know that people feel I deserve to be included among an outstanding group of industry leaders. It is truly is the mountaintop, the peak of my entire career.”

A Resume of Service

  • President of the American Meat Science Association (AMSA)
  • Chairman of the AMSA Reciprocal Meat Conference
  • President of the Federation of American Societies of Food Animal Sciences

His awards include The American Society of Animal Science Fellow Award (2013), a lifetime achievement award presented to animal scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the industry.



Merlyn Eickman


Eickman's Processing

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

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

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

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

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


Paul Engler

Founder, Cactus Feeders

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

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


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

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.



Kerri B. Gehring

Professor, Presidential Impact Fellow Texas A&M University; President/CEO, International HACCP Alliance

Dr. Kerri B. Gehring is a professor of meat science in the Department of Animal Science and serves as president/CEO of the International HACCP Alliance.

She has been actively involved with the HACCP Alliance since it was formed in March 1994, and has contributed to the growth and accomplishments of the Alliance. Dr. Gehring has impacted thousands of people by teaching industry HACCP/food safety courses and has disseminated food safety information across the world by serving on multiple professional and educational panels and programs.

Her food safety research has focused on various post-harvest antimicrobial interventions to reduce the presence of pathogenic microorganisms, such as E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella, on the surface of meat products. Additionally, data from collaborative research efforts on the nutrient composition of beef have been used to update USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Dr. Gehring’s efforts and dedication to food safety and the meat industry are recognized on a national and international basis.


Neil Genshaft

Owner and CEO, Fresh Mark, Inc.

Neil Genshaft has led the vast growth and diversified business strategies at Fresh Mark since 1979. He is a third-generation owner who was responsible for transforming the company’s business operation from livestock harvesting to processing in his early years of ownership. Neil has spent his career leading the evolution of Fresh Mark’s production capabilities and product offerings within the ever-changing landscape of the meat industry.

Under Neil’s leadership, Fresh Mark has grown from a regional provider to an international supplier of American-made bacon, ham, hot dogs, dry sausage and deli meats sold in grocery stores and food service operations around the world. One of Fresh Mark’s legacy retail brands— Superior’s Brand Meats—was founded by the Genshaft family in 1933 and maintains a presence in grocery stores today. Fresh Mark’s other brand—Sugardale—is a leading brand in the retail and food service industries and celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020.

Neil currently sits on the Board of Directors with the North American Meat Institute. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago. He and his wife, Marie, of 28 years, have two children, Isaac and Naomi. Isaac currently serves as a vice president at Fresh Mark, representing the next and fourth generation of the Genshaft family in the meat industry.


Graeme Goodsir

Industry Executive & Publisher

Graeme Goodsir has had an extraordinarily broad range of experience in the international meat industry and continues to effectively advise and inform his U.S. readers and clients about an industry which has become increasingly global in nature.

Goodsir's direct involvement with the industry began in 1956, when he joined the London firm of Dalgety & Co. to work in its Sydney office as a management trainee in accounting/finance, livestock marketing & auctioning, and wool brokering. He was promoted to their meat export division in 1958 and was assigned to the London office.

In 1963, Goodsir joined the Australian Meat Board (AMB) as Market Development Officer for export trade. Under his leadership, trade between Australia and partners in the Middle East and Asia grew dramatically. In 1970, he played a key role in shipping 100,000 tons of frozen Australian beef and mutton to the USSR, a project he considers the most rewarding business experience of his career.

The AMB transferred him to their New York office in 1972 to manage Australia’s main export market. He was responsible for Australian meat exports to all the Americas - from Canada to Chile. In this capacity, he traveled extensively in North and South America.

As a result of his success in promoting international business, Goodsir was invited to join Canada Packers — the country’s largest meat and food company. Appointed General Manager of its U.S. operations, he was responsible for imports coming into the U.S. from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, and Yugoslavia.

He established his own business in 1988 advising, assisting and consulting exporters in Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. In 1990, he initiated Canada's first major pork trade with Russia. From 1991 to 1995, he acted as a sub-contractor to Sparks Research, working on livestock and meat projects in Canada, US, and Brazil. In 1994, Goodsir became the U.S. representative for the British Meat and Livestock Corporation, acting as liaison between the British meat industry and the U.S. government and meat industry.

He was a contributing editor for Meat International magazine and he contributed to a book on the history of the Australian meat export business. Today, he is well-known as an effective researcher of meat industry trends and issues. His daily publishing of industry news and analysis of international meat industry trends is highly respected.


Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

Author, Entrepreneur and Professor, Colorado State University

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.”


John Harris

Chairman/Owner, Harris Ranch

Harris Farms, Inc. was founded in 1937 by John Harris’ parents, Jack and Teresa. John Harris graduated from the University of California-Davis in 1965 with a degree in Agricultural Production, and when his father passed away in 1981, he continued to grow the diversified agricultural businesses. He expanded and revitalized beef processing and the sales force and expanded the feedyard.

Under John’s leadership, Harris Ranch has pioneered several innovations, including creating one of the first branded beef programs in 1982 more closely focusing on uniform cattle on feed, launching a line of fresh and frozen ground beef products in 1995, and pioneering the development of heat-and-serve beef entrees in 2000.

Harris Farms sold its beef operations to Central Valley Meat Co. in April 2019, but Harris continues in livestock ventures today. Harris is proud to be an advocate for cattle ranching and beef production, hosting many industry and educational groups at his ranches, and he stresses that beef is a wonderful nutritious product that can also benefit the environment.


Robert A. “Bobby” Hatoff

Chairman, Allen Brothers

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

Two descriptions consistently surface when people talk about Chuck Hendryx: innovator and humanitarian. His innovations and his philanthropic efforts continue to benefit H-E-B. The stores of this privately held retailer sell more meat sales per square foot than any other retailer in this country.

In the early 1970’s HEB was still breaking beef and pork carcasses in stores and selling whole and store-cut bone-in chicken parts. Because of Hendryx’ experiences in the Kroger company, where he led the development of the Carcass-to-Box retail program, he knew that moving to boxed-beef and chill-pack chicken could drive sales and efficiencies. At HEB, Mr. Hendryx led the design and build out of the first retail case-ready facility in the Southwest and staffed it with store-trained meat supervisors working with the first “skin-pack” machine prototypes available. He is credited with recognizing that portioned, vacuum-packaged meats held significant benefits for customers. Never one to rest on his laurels, he expanded offerings into seasoned and marinated meats. The profiles for HEB Beef and Chicken Marinated Fajitas are still on shelf and remain top sellers.

Since his retirement, he has extensively consulted with both domestic and international companies to introduce the latest merchandising and marketing concepts for a sustainable, customer-driven meat business.

Mr. Hendryx has always been community minded. While working at H-E-B, he was instrumental in creating the H-E-B Tournament of Champions charity event which began in 1986 and is still in operation today. Over its 30-year history, the tournament has raised more than $80 million for organizations that focus on children and education throughout the State of Texas. Chuck’s leadership, foresight, big heart and continued involvement in this effort has made a huge impact on the lives of children and their families across Texas.

He has received numerous awards in recognition of his outstanding work and extraordinary service to the meat industry and his community. He served as co-chairman of the Annual Meat Marketing Conference sponsored by AMI, FMI and FDI. The American Meat Institute honored him with their Lifetime Achievement Award presented at The Meat Marketing Conference.


James H. “Jim” Hodges

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

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)

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)

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

Dr. Melvin C. Hunt joined the Kansas State University Meat Science faculty in 1975 and was assigned to teach the critical first course in Meat Science, a course important in getting students, who range from traditional farm/livestock/FFA/4-H background to totally urban, to seriously consider the meat/food industry for a life career choice. Dr. Hunt’s effectiveness in reaching young people has helped attract many of them to the industry.

His teaching-related responsibilities have included chairing K-State’s Undergraduate Food Science Program and teaching the Food Science Senior Seminar. With his guidance, the University’s undergraduate Food Science Program has grown to become one of the largest in the U.S.

Dr. Hunt also has been extremely productive in research and he responds to many inquiries from both small and large processors as well as the public, especially about his specialties in meat color and packaging. His research on premature browning in cooked ground beef patties impacted food safety policy of the U.S.D.A.

Dr. Hunt is well known internationally for his contributions to research and to programs at the International Congresses of Meat Science and Technology. He has served on Ph.D. committees for students completing degrees in Sweden, Norway, Estonia and Ireland. He is the official representative of the American Meat Science Association to the International Congress of Meat Science and Technology and served on the host committee in 2005 when it was held in the U.S.

He is a member of the American Meat Science Association (AMSA), serving as its Reciprocal Meat Conference Chair; and as President at a critical time of change in the organization. This year at AMSA’s Reciprocal Meat Conference, he received the prestigious International Award, usually given to scientists from other countries. In 2012, he was awarded their R. C. Pollock award. He also has served as Chair of the Muscle Foods division of the Institute of Food Technologists and as Chair of the Meat Science-Muscle Biology Section Program of the American Society of Animal Science.

Dr. Hunt has the soul of a teacher, but also conveys the excitement and knowledge of a productive researcher. He is recognized by his peers as a unique individual who has made major contributions to Kansas State University and the international meat science community.



John Jacobson

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


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

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)

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

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


Sam Kane was born to Leopold and Berthe Kanengiesser in Spisske Podhradie, Czechoslovakia, One of 12 children in a Jewish Orthodox home, he graduated from Rabbinical College in Galanta and helped his mother run the family grocery store after his father’s death.

In 1939, Hitler rolled his armies into Poland and it wasn’t long until they took over Czechoslovakia, segregating Jews. Kane joined the Slovakian army in 1942 along with his brother, Bernard, and was placed in a segregated unit of 1,000 Jews. He deserted a few months before his two-year enlistment ended, escaping to Hungary for three months and made a living selling porcelain and glass items.

In 1945, Kane married Aranka. The couple immigrated to the United States in 1948, after the Communist Party came to power in Czechoslovakia.

“We had relatives in the area who sponsored us,” Jerry Kane said. “My dad didn’t speak English and worked as a plumber’s assistant, but his pay didn’t cover the rent.”

Kane decided to pack his family and leave Corpus Christi to find better opportunities, but a conversation with the ticket agent at the bus stop changed that plan.
Getting his start running a small meat counter in a grocery store, he learned the trade and began custom-cutting meat and eventually grew his small business into the seventh largest meatpacker in the world, according to his son Jerry Kane.

Kane introduced grain-fed beef to South Texas, a concept he took from beef producers in Denver. The product was a boon for his business.

He was a hard worker and a firm believer in God, his son said. His daily life as a young adult was about faith, he added. Businessman Robert Adler knew Kane for about 60 years, from the time spent at the synagogue and through Sam Kane Beef Processors. “He did so many wonderful things that not everyone knows about,” Adler said. “His legacy would be of service to the community and hard work. He was a rational thinking and an outstanding man.”

Until his last day, Kane always said two things, Jerry Kane said. “He’d say, 'God Bless America' and 'People love beef.'”


Steve Kay

Editor & Publisher, Cattle Buyers Weekly

Steve Kay is a 41-year veteran of daily newspaper, weekly magazine and newsletter journalism in three countries. He writes monthly columns for publications and Web-based outlets in the U.S., Canada and Australia, and has been the Contributing Beef Editor for Meat & Poultry, a major U.S. meat industry magazine, since 1987. He is widely quoted by print and broadcast media in North America and worldwide.

An active and prolific journalist, he writes columns for the Western Livestock Journal, Canadian Cattlemen Magazine, Lean Trimmings (the North American Meat Association’s weekly newsletter), BEEF Magazine, and BEEF CENTRAL (Australia). He is best known as the writer and publisher of Cattle Buyers Weekly, a marketing and business newsletter for the North American and global meat and livestock industry. Widely read by people associated with the cattle industry around the world, it focuses on supply and demand issues and trends, industry structure and performance, food safety and other important industry issues.

Kay was awarded one of The American Meat Institute’s highest honors, its Industry Achievement Award, “in recognition of your exceptional coverage of beef industry issues through Cattle Buyers Weekly and the helpful insights and analysis you provide to reporters and others.”

He grew up on a dairy/ beef/sheep/hog farm on Banks Peninsula, New Zealand. He earned a Master of Arts in History and Politics and received a Post-graduate Diploma in Journalism from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

His lengthy list of career accomplishments include writing for a New Zealand daily newspaper, the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune, focusing on the meat industry. He spent seven years with Farmers Weekly, London, UK, Europe’s largest agricultural publication and wrote extensively about world dairy and meat industries, and European food policy.

Kay reported on the advent of the European Union’s ban on beef produced with growth promotants and on the first BSE case in the UK. His U.S. experiences include 26 years writing about the North American and global meat and livestock industry as CBW Editor & Publisher. He’s been a keynote presenter and moderator to industry groups worldwide, including producer and processor groups in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

For the past twenty five years he’s also served as a research and marketing consultant on the North American industry. His clients have included international governments, U.S. financial institutions and private investors, U.S. corporations, and cattle raising, meat processing and supplier companies around the world.


Clarence Knebel

Owner, Knebel's Processing Plant


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

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


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

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

Founder and Chairman, McDonald’s Corporation


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

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

Sheldon Lavin’s meat industry career could be defined by saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Lavin entered the industry more than 43 years ago as an “outsider” having had a successful career as an investor and executive in the banking industry and owning his own financial consulting firm.

Since then, Lavin became Chairman and CEO of the OSI Group, LLC and has transformed the small, “McDonald’s-centric” burger supplier into a worldwide supplier of food products to a variety of foodservice and retail brands. OSI Group, LLC includes OSI Industries, LLC and OSI International Foods, LLC in the U.S. and OSI International, Inc., which is the holding company for all of the OSI Group’s international investments.

OSI Group numbers nearly 20,000 employees globally, and Lavin is most proud of the employees and the corporate culture he has been able to filter down through the ranks of the company. “We have a culture at OSI that is rather unique - it’s very family-oriented, and we have a tremendous amount of longevity in our workforce. We have very little turnover and, to me, the people are the most important part of the business.” Lavin’s path to meat industry success began in 1970 when he arranged financing for Otto & Sons, the predecessor company of OSI Industries, LLC. Otto & Sons had an opportunity to build a meat processing facility and become the Midwest supplier of hamburgers to McDonald’s Corporation but needed help to secure funding. Lavin was requested by the bank to have an ownership position in Otto & Sons, but he initially declined because it wasn’t what he did in his consulting practice. Lavin, however, did agree to act as a consultant and set the caveat with the Otto family that, if he ever did come in as a partner, his financial investment would be with the same degree of leverage as they had.

In 1975, Lavin was becoming substantially more involved as Otto & Sons began to look at overseas investments. He became a partner with the two sons as the father had retired from the business. In the late 1970s, McDonald’s asked that Lavin come into the business full-time in order for OSI (now the new name of Otto & Sons) to continue to grow wit hMcDonald’s. With a deep appreciation for the business culture and strategies employed by McDonald’s, Lavin agreed and joined the OSI Group full-time.

OSI Group continued its expansion throughout North America and Europe in the 1970s, and, in the 1980s, expanded into South America and Taiwan. In the early 1980s, Lavin gained half of the controlling interest in OSI Group after one of the original partners decided to sell out. The last remaining partner retired more than 13 years ago, and Lavin gained 100% voting control. “When I really took control in the 80s, I decided there was no reason for me to stay if I didn’t build OSI into something big. I might as well go back to finance. I wouldn’t have stayed if I couldn’t have grown it.”

Expansions into the Philippines, China, Australia, Japan, India and South Africa followed. This growth added to the substantial presence the OSI Group already had in Europe and Brazil.

Today, at age 81, Lavin is still actively pursuing further growth for the OSI Group with particular focus on Asia and Europe. “Expanding and diversifying the business was probably the single most exciting part,” he says. “I’m proud of the fact that we have circled the globe and that we’ve carried the OSI culture overseas, all the while, growing substantially our McDonald’s business to where we are, currently, the largest protein supplier in the world to the McDonald’s system.” Today, OSI has more than 55 facilities in 16 countries supporting McDonald’s and other customers around the globe.

Lavin is a contributor to and active in many charities including Ronald McDonald House Charities (for which he is Chairman of the current capital campaign), the Inner City Foundation of Chicago, Jewish United Fund and numerous other Jewish charities, Evans Scholarship Fund, Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, United Negro College Fund, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and many other national and local charities.

Lavin survived his wife of 55 years, with whom he raised three children, all of whom are married with children of their own He also very much considers the employees of OSI to be part of his global extended family.


  • Trustee for Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • Board member of the Goodman Theatre
  • Board member of Rush University Medical Center
  • President and Director of The Sheba Foundation, a family charitable foundation
  • Many awards received for his numerous business and non-profit activities

James V. Lochner

Chief Operating Officer (Retired) Tyson Foods

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

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.

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

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


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

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

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

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

The appellation “smartest guy in the room” is never more accurate than when it’s applied to 2014 MEAT INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME Member James L. Marsden, Ph.D. Dr. Marsden has authored some 100 publications and presentations covering biosecurity, food safety, public health, processed meat technology and quality management— not to mention book chapters on food safety and product quality. He has received major awards for research and teaching and serves on a number of advisory boards for companies providing food-safety technologies to the food industry.

He serves as Regents Distinguished Professor of Food Safety and Security at Kansas State University, and Senior Science Adviser for the North American Meat Association. He is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists, American Society for Microbiology, American Meat Science Association, American Society for Quality Control, and the American Society of Animal Science.

He has conducted extensive research on controlling E. coli O157:H7 in fresh ground beef and processed beef products, helping develop and implement several successful interventions. His research has led to pasteurization technologies for pathogen control on carcasses and subprimal cuts, and helped spur a number of food safety interventions currently employed by packers and processors worldwide.

None of that fully captures Marsden’s passion to advance food safety, his focus on how companies can produce safer, better, more wholesome products to consumers nor his commitment to engage in the regulatory process so that the rules of the game will benefit both industry and consumers.

The best measure of Marsden’s impact on the industry takes place at the meetings, seminars and conferences he attends each year: In short order he’s surrounded by other scientists, seniors executives and business owners who know that a few minutes with him is worth hours of time spent doing something else.

One of his former KSU graduate students, now a meat scientist, said, “Some 14 years after my departure from Kansas State University, Dr. Marsden still continues to mentor me. I have been fortunate to work on numerous food-safety initiatives with him, and I’ve watched in amazement at the passion and the expertise he has for meat science and food safety.”

That comment is an apt summary of what has made Dr. Marsden one of the industry’s most knowledgeable, dedicated and accomplished advocates – not just for food safety, but for the advancement of everyone in the meat and poultry processing industry.


David McDonald


David McDonald is currently president and chief operating officer of OSI Group LLC, where he has been employed for 36 years. He grew up on a farm in Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s of science degree in animal science. During his last year at Iowa State, Dave interned at OSI and upon graduation, he began his career with the company.

He serves on the Board of Directors for OSI Industries and many of its group companies, and he previously held a seat on the Board of Directors of Marfrig Alimentos SA in Brazil, one of the largest fully integrated protein companies in the world. He also has served as the chairman of the American Meat Institute, the meat industry's largest association, and the first chairman of the North American Meat Institute. He continues as an active member of the Executive Board of NAMI.


C. W. “Bill” McMillan

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

Pioneering researcher
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.

Andy Milkowski

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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

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

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

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


Ronald Miniat

Chairman of the Board (retired), The Miniat Companies


Ronald Miniat was an entrepreneur with more than 60 years of experience in the meat and animal fats & oils industry. After graduating from St. Joseph College and serving in the U.S. Army, Miniat joined his family business selling meat to local butchers in Chicago in the early 1950s. The business progressed over the years from breaking cattle for large grocery stores to selling boxed beef to supermarket chains and hotels / restaurant suppliers, as well as rendering and refining animal fats for restaurant use.

Miniat is known for his pioneering spirit and advocacy on behalf of others. His company was one of the early adopters of vacuum packaging for meats. With the use of this technology, Miniat became one of the first to offer and deliver boxed and boned beef on a large scale; a dynamic change in the meat industry.

Miniat was a supportive member of the North American Meat Institute for many years. He also lobbied Congress and the USDA as an advocate for his customers, the meat industry at large and particularly for smaller meatpackers.

In January 2018, Miniat was honored with the E. Floyd Forbes Award – the highest honor bestowed by the Institute – which recognizes visionary leadership, excellence and dedication to the meat industry. In February 2018, Miniat retired as Chairman of the Board of The Miniat Companies, a family company more than 100 years old, now employing its fifth generation of family members. Miniat passed away Dec. 20, 2018, at age 89.


Kenneth Monfort

CEO, Monfort Inc.


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

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.

Elsa A. Murano, Ph.D.

Director, The Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture; Professor and President Emerita, Texas A&M University

A graduate of Florida International University in Biological Sciences, Dr. Murano received an M.S. in Anaerobic Microbiology and a Ph.D. in Food Science & Technology from Virginia Tech. She began her career as an Assistant Professor in food microbiology at Iowa State University in 1990. In 1995, she joined the faculty at Texas A&M University as Associate Professor, leading the university’s Center for Food Safety as director.

In 2001, Dr. Murano was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Undersecretary for Food Safety at the Department of Agriculture. As a result of her policies and leadership, the Centers for Disease Control’s Healthy People 2020 goals of reducing foodborne illnesses were met six years ahead of schedule, decreasing the rate of illnesses due to E. coli O157:H7 by 42 percent and the number of recalls of meat products by 74 percent.

In 2005, Dr. Murano was appointed Dean and Vice Chancellor of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M. In 2008, Dr. Murano became the first woman and first Hispanic president of Texas A&M University.

As a research scientist, Dr. Murano received an average of ~$750K/year in extramural funding, published an average of 4 scientific articles per year, and a total of 7 book chapters in the field of food safety.

Since June of 2012, she has been serving as Director of the Norman E. Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, a premier institution within Texas A&M which conducts development projects to lift small farmers out of poverty and hunger in Asia, Latin America, Sub Saharan Africa and the Middle East.



Earl B. Olson

Founder, Jennie-O Foods


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


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.


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


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

Ellard “Butch” Pfaelzer Jr.’s professional experience and contributions to the industry include multiple leadership tenures on the business and association sides of the industry.

From 1957-65, Pfaelzer began full-time employment at family-owned meat purveyor Pfaelzer Bros. upon receiving honorable discharge from the U.S. Army. Pfaelzer Bros. was a leading national supplier of high quality products for the foodservice industry. During his employment, he had a variety of responsibilities in a number of operational areas, including territorial sales management, buying, costing, management of the mail order division, and assistant general manager. Armour & Co. purchased the firm in 1959, and from that point until leaving in 1965, Pfaelzer was given a wide range of responsibilities and training for eventual management with the parent organization.

From 1965-66, he owned and managed Columbia Corned Beef Co., a small local manufacturer of corned beef products. He sold the company after returning it to profitability. Pfaelzer was active in the ownership and growth of The Bruss Co. from 1966 until Dec 31, 2000. He served as co-president of the Chicago-based producer of portion control, high-quality meat products for foodservice from 1966-89. While serving in that role, he was instrument.al in growing the company to a $35 million national purveyor of value-added meat products. The company was sold in 1989, at which time he became vice chairman, concentrating on general management and development of the export marketing program. Pfaelzer served as chairman and CEO from June 1994 to May 1997, when the company was sold to IBP. He served as chairman emeritus from May 1997 through December 2000. In this position, he mentored and advised management on operations and oversaw purchasing, costing and export activities. From 2000-01, he served as a consultant to The Bruss Co.

On the association side, Pfaelzer served as an intern at The American Meat Institute for the summer of 1953. From 1996-97, he was chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. He Served on USMEF’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee prior to serving as chairman. As an officer of USMEF, he served on the Beef Oversight Committee of the National Cattleman's Beef Association, shepherding the consolidation of the major beef industry producer groups. From 1976-77, he was president of the National Association of Meat Purveyors, and before becoming president, he served on NAMP’s Board of Directors and chaired a number of committees, including the Executive Committee, the Program Committee and the Standards Committee. In 1990, he was asked to again chair the Standards Committee, which wrote and published the definitive product guide for the industry. This guide combined the specifications for standardized meat cuts with those for portion control cuts and has since been expanded and is now recognized worldwide. Pfaelzer received numerous awards while serving on the NAMP Board and various committees, including The Angus Award, the association’s highest honor.

From 1967-68, he held the role of president of the Chicago Association of Meat Purveyors, and from 2000-02 he served as an export consultant to the Certified Angus Beef program His community and board affiliations include leadership roles with numerous charitable and philanthropic organizations including: The St. Croix Foundation, a community funding organization in the U.S. Virgin Islands; The Women’s Coalition of St. Croix; The Merit School of Music; Executive Service Corps of Chicago; Michael Reese Health Trust, Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, and Michael Reese Health Plan; Lifesource, a Chicago blood service provider; Highland Park Hospital and Lakeland Health Services; Jewish Vocational Service, an affiliate of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; Young Peoples Division of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; the Chicago Board of the ADL; the North Shore Association for the Retarded; Trustee Nominating Committee, Amherst College; the Jewish Community Centers of the Jewish Federation; and Hull House Association.

In addition to his involvement in business and associations, Pfaelzer graduated cum laude from Amherst College in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in history, and he also attended the MBA night program from 1963-64 at the University of Chicago School of Business.

He served active duty in the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps from 1955-57, where he wrote meat specifications for armed forces procurement. From, 1958-64, he did U.S. Army Reserve duty in the :Quartermaster Corps.


Thomas Pierson, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University

Dr. Tom Pierson, who retired from Michigan State University in 1997 as Director of the Food Industry Management Program, dedicated his career to teaching food marketing with a food system perspective encompassing producers, processors, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers. He distinguished himself in these endeavors—particularly with respect to service to the meat industry.

Dr. Pierson collaborated professionally with his colleague Dr. Jack Allen, a member of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Much of their work was at the request of food industry groups seeking answers or additional knowledge and information about current industry problems and developments. He was a co-presenter of a ground-breaking research project entitled, “The State of the Meat Industry” to an audience of over 800 meat industry executives in 1980, the first in a series of joint industry presentations over a twenty year period.

During his career at Michigan State, Dr. Pierson conducted research and made approximately 50 presentations to food industry audiences every year, totaling over 1,000 during his service to the food industry. Those presentations addressed new opportunities for enhanced marketing of meats, produce and fresh prepared foods.

He played a leading role in the conduct of research and established creative ways to communicate knowledge to industry audiences. The approach was to identify progressive practices in their early stages and to document them with photos and evidence of economic feasibility.

Those joint presentations, presented in tandem with Dr. Jack Allen, came to be called the “Tom and Jack” dialogues. A good example was a study which was undertaken to demonstrate that the meat industry would benefit by reducing the fat trim of retail cuts from one-half inch to one-quarter inch or less.

Dr. Pierson played a key role in demonstrating the merits of central packaging and a host of other programs and products that added value and convenience for consumers. An important aspect of many studies and presentations was the Consumer Value Equation which focuses on understanding the true wants and needs of different types of consumers. He recognized that changes in meat products and services in response to consumers’ wants and needs required investments and aptly demonstrated that greater profits could be achieved by efficiently responding to those wants and needs.

Dr. Pierson was a major contributor to the welfare of the meat industry’s producer, processor, wholesaler, and retailer segments. His work was always done based on careful research into issues and problems, followed by the development of effective visual and spoken communication tools to contribute to the knowledge base of his meat industry colleagues.

Awards and accomplishments
Established in Dr. Pierson’s honor, The Dr. Jack Allen and Dr. Tom Pierson Scholarship Endowment benefits students enrolled in Michigan State’s Food Industry Management program to support their travel expenses associated with participation at professional conferences, seminars, and meetings. The scholarship also supports study and travel abroad connected to a course of study where language studies (non-English speaking) and cultural orientation will precede the travel abroad experience.


C. Larry Pope

President and Chief Executive Officer, Smithfield Foods

C. Larry Pope has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Smithfield Foods since 2006. He previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer from 2001 to 2006 and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 2000 to 2001.

Mr. Pope’s 30 year career at Smithfield spans a variety of senior management roles and responsibilities which bring an in-depth knowledge of the company and the industry and broad experience in operational, finance, accounting and risk management matters. Further, as Smithfield’s CEO, Mr. Pope has expertise in corporate strategy, organizational leadership and international operations. A statement upon his retirement:

“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead Smithfield over the past nine years,” said Mr. Pope when he retired late last year.

“This planned leadership transition comes at a time of strength and growth for Smithfield. 2014 and 2015 have been the two best years in Smithfield’s history for financial performance and I believe the company is primed for ongoing success.

Since February, the Smithfield family has been hard at work implementing our ‘One Smithfield’ initiative aimed at solidifying the company’s position as a global leader in branded packaged meats. During this time, we have unified Smithfield and made the company stronger and more efficient to better support our people, brands and customers. We have also put in place the next generation of leadership to ensure Smithfield’s success long into the future. I am extremely pleased with what we have achieved during my tenure as CEO and think the future is even brighter with the management team that we have put in place over the past two years. As such, I believe now is the right time for me to retire and allow this team to bring new excitement, energy, ideas and perspectives to the company.”

Mr. Pope concluded, “I want to thank the great people we have working at Smithfield for their dedication and loyalty to the company. Your hard work has always been — and will continue to be — the cornerstone of Smithfield’s success.” “Larry has made significant contributions to Smithfield’s development,” said Mr. Wan Long, chairman of the board. “Smithfield has achieved good results under Larry’s leadership. I sincerely appreciate what he has done for the company, and wish him all the best in his retirement.”



James 'Bo' Reagan, Ph.D.

Vice President, NCBA Research and Knowledge Management Center

Dr. James “Bo” Reagan is a friendly, approachable guy. He’s always been someone whose favorite pastime was sitting down with an industry audience and talking business.

Bo Reagan is well-known for his down-to-earth discussions on topics as technical as it gets. He earned that reputation during more than two decades he spent helping re-shape the beef industry as Executive Director of Science & Technology for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a post from which he just officially retired this year.

“I had been at NCBA for more than 20 years,” he explained, “and I felt it was time to step away and let some of the younger folks have a chance to make their mark.” “Making a mark” was something Bo did with authority when he was on the way up. Consider just a few career highlights: • He served 16 years at the University of Georgia, where he attained the rank of Professor of Meat Science • He authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific publications covering food microbiology, and beef and pork quality. • He was named Director of Research at the National Live Stock & Meat Board, with responsibility for product enhancement and beef safety.

Those last two areas were in need of significant improvement back in the early 1990s when Bo joined the Meat Board. Consumer surveys consistently revealed dissatisfaction with the often uneven quality of supermarket beef. The emergence of E. coli O157:H7 as a pathogen in ground beef triggered several serious recalls, too, that shook the industry to its foundations. Some serious changes were needed, and one evening at a conference in Houston, Bo and two colleagues, Nick Nickelson and Meat Industry Hall of Fame Member Dave Theno, held a strategy session. Theno drew plans on the proverbial cocktail napkin for a collaborative, cross-sector industry organization to tackle food safety head-on. That organization eventually came into being as the Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo).

“Of everything I’ve done in my career, I’m most proud of the work we did with BIFSCo,” Bo said. “The progress on beef safety that organization helped to achieve has meant so much to so many our industry, and the fact that food safety became a non-competitive issue, with open sharing of data, was a major step forward for everyone in the business.”

Awards and accomplishments

  • The Meat Processing Award from the American Meat Science Association
  • The Outstanding Research Faculty award from Sigma Chi
  • An award for being a “Top Ten” grant recipient in the UGA College of Agriculture

Dr. Reagan lists two other milestones: The success of the Muscle Profiling project, which led to the development of new beef cuts, such as the now-famous Flatiron Steak; and his push over many years to get USDA to approve instrument grading of carcasses. In the end, though, his most lasting contribution may well be in the food-safety arena, and no finer compliment to the impact of the research he spearheaded can be found than a comment from a top official at USDA when the produce industry first ran into trouble with E. coli contamination.

A produce industry trade group official approached USDA for help. “He asked the USDA administrator to tell them what they should do,” Bo recalled. “He gave them some advice: Go talk to the beef industry, they’ve got it figured out.”


Robert Rebholtz Jr.

President and CEO, Agri Beef

Robert Rebholtz Jr. is the President and CEO of Agri Beef, headquartered in Boise, Idaho. He manages and directs the strategic vision for the company his father founded.

As the company grew into a major beef slaughter and fabrication operation — with its processing facility in Toppenish, Wash. — Rebholtz has ensured that the company maintain the highest standards for livestock and meat processing and command respect in the Pacific Northwest, where it is based. In addition, Rebholtz has served on the Board of Directors and as president of the National Meat Association, and has been Chair of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Long Range Planning Committee.


Roger Reiser

President, Robert Reiser & Co., Inc.

Robert Reiser & Co, Inc. can trace its origins back to when the Reiser family immigrated to the United States in 1941 where Roger’s father, Robert Reiser, continued his career in the wool industry by opening up his own company in Boston, Massachusetts. In the 1950’s he saw the impending demise of the U.S. textile industry and founded Robert Reiser & Co., Inc. to supply European food processing equipment to the meat industry.

After Roger’s sophomore year at Yale University, his father suggested that he take one year off from school and work for Reiser. Within a few weeks, Roger knew that he had found his passion. He enjoyed his fellow employees and, most of all, the incredible “characters” that make up the meat industry.

After his one year at Reiser, Roger returned to Yale and graduated in June 1966. Roger then enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves, but just four months later, Robert Reiser died unexpectedly and Roger entered the business full time in January 1967. In the years since, Reiser has grown from a very small business into one of the most respected suppliers of processing and packaging equipment in the food industry.

The company has always followed the guidelines of its Reiser Vision Statement:

  • Robert Reiser & Co. will serve the food industry and other selected markets by selling and supporting equipment that provides solutions to customer needs.
  • Every customer contact will result in an improved relationship with that customer.
  • We will continuously strive to strengthen our supplier partnerships.
  • We will encourage our fellow employees to reach their potential.
  • Therefore, we will earn a fair profit and ensure our future.
Roger attributes the company’s growth and success – past, present and future – to its committed employees and to the constant focus on Reiser’s core values.

Roger states, “Our goal is to have Reiser become the most trusted supplier in the industry by bringing the highest possible value to our customers. And, we are working continuously to become easier and more fun to do business with.”

Today, the Reiser Group also includes several prominent manufacturing companies, including Vemag, Holac, Ross Industries, and AMFEC, as well as sales and service companies in numerous countries around the world. The worldwide Group has more than 1,000 employees and, with its agents, serves customers in more than 100 countries.

Roger Reiser brings a passion and commitment to his job that is rarely seen in any industry. He is supported by his wife Hanne, who accompanies him to most tradeshows, conferences and business meetings.

As Roger explained, “I love my wife. I love my job. I love this industry. I am incredibly lucky – this is what I love to get up and do everyday. I never thought of any of this as ‘work’ and I have no intention of ever stopping.”


John Richardson

Sugar Creek Packing Co.

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

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

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

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


E. M. “Manny” Rosenthal

Chairman Emeritus, Standard Meat Co.


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.


James Riemann, Ph.D.

Assistant Secretary (retired), Kansas Dept. of Agriculture; Past President, Certified Angus Beef LLC

James Riemann received all of his degrees from Kansas State University in Agricultural Education (BS 1966), Animal Science (MS 1973) and Food Science (Ph.D. 1974). Upon completion of graduate school Dr. Riemann joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He received three College of Agriculture Outstanding Teacher Awards. His research work focused on meat animal composition, meat palatability, packaging and further processing.

He entered private industry in 1992, becoming director of a new beef R&D program for Excel Corp. (Cargill) at Wichita, Kansas. Strong emphasis on creating new food safety technologies led to creation of the beef carcass steam pasteurization system, resulting in two patented processes, and placing the company in an industry-leading role in food safety. In addition, much was accomplished to improve consistency in ground beef composition and temperature control for significant shelf life extension.

In late 1998, Dr. Riemann accepted an opportunity to become involved in marketing. He moved to Wooster, Ohio, and became president of Certified Angus Beef LLC, succeeding the founder of the oldest and largest branded beef program. This marketing program promotes the Certified Angus Beef® brand in nearly 50 countries. During Dr. Riemann’s tenure, CAB® Natural and CAB® Prime brand extensions were created, and the marketing program increased customer focus by establishing regional representatives in strategic geographic areas. He retired in late 2006.

In January 2011, Dr. Riemann left retirement to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Kansas Dept. of Agriculture, overseeing nine regulatory programs within the agency. He retired again in late 2013.


Eldon Roth

Founder, BPI Inc.

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

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

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


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.

Mike Satzow

Executive Vice President, North Country Smokehouse

Mike Satzow is a 3rd-generation butcher, trained and mastered in the “Old World” style. He founded and built North Country Smokehouse in the same place his grandfather’s butcher shop once stood. With his talent, passion and attention to quality, North Country Smokehouse became a leader in the highest-quality meat products, receiving many honors and being featured in Men’s Health (“The 10 Best Bacons Known to Man”), New York Times and Saveur. Satzow always has been open to helping others and being a resource for both friends and competitors in the industry.

Satzow received the 2009 Richard L. Knowlton Award, which honors a meat processing executive who demonstrates excellence in the areas of innovation, business success, and industry contribution. He was an active member of the North American Meat Association for over two decades and served as co-chairman from 2012-2015. He is an active member of the American Culinary Federation, The James Beard Foundation, and the Research Chefs Association. Satzow is also an active member of his community, having served on the Board of Directors at Valley Regional Hospital and as a member of the Kiwanis organization. In 2005, he was named Claremont Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year. This honor recognized his “unflagging dedication to improving his community, his company, and his industry. He created an economic development organization that has benefited Claremont during difficult economic times for almost 30 years and he has served on committees dedicated to improving nearly every aspect of life in his community.


Dr. Jeff Savell

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

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

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

Dr. Joe Sebranek has been a truly exceptional teacher, mentor, researcher, and public servant at Iowa State University for four decades. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to achieving excellence in the major areas that comprise the land-grant mission and that have major impacts on the university, the state and the world.

Dr. Sebranek has published over 300 short articles for extension publications and industry trade magazines. He is an outstanding example of combining highly effective teaching, outstanding research and extensive outreach to fulfill the mission of a land-grant university.

Dr. Sebranek was first recognized for his teaching excellence in 1986 with the Outstanding Teacher Award by the Midwest Section of the American Society of Animal Science. He was subsequently recognized by the ISU College of Agriculture in 1987 with the L.M. Thompson Scholarly Achievements in Teaching Award, and the College of Agriculture Outstanding Teacher Award in 1995. He received the Iowa Legislative Teaching Award in 1990 and the Iowa Board of Regents Faculty Excellence Award in 1994. The American Meat Science Association recognized him with its Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995 and he received the ISU Gamma Sigma Delta Mission Award for Teaching in 2008.

Dr. Sebranek has had a distinguished research career, recognized as one of the world’s most prominent scientists in meat processing technology and food safety. His research on value-added utilization and safety of animal food products has had major impact on the animal food industry.

Dr. Sebranek’s research productivity is evident in 132 peer-reviewed publications that have been cited nearly 1,800 times. He has written 14 book chapters, has testified before Congress on food safety related issues and has been invited to consult with industry and research institutes in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Taiwan, Korea and China.

He has served his profession as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Meat Science Association in 1990-1992, President-elect in 2001-2002, President in 2002-2003 and Past-President in 2003-2004. He was Chair of the Iowa Section of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in 1990-1991 and Chaired the Muscle Foods Division of IFT in 1983-1984 and again in 1991-1992. He served as Chair of the Agricultural Sciences Section of the Iowa Academy of Science in 1993-1994.

In recognition of his many service contributions, he has received the Alpha Lambda Delta Service Award (1988), Iowa FFA Service Award (2000), Iowa Meat Processors Service Award (2000), Watt Publishing Service Award (2003) and the American Meat Science Association’s Signal Service Award (2006). He has also been elected a Fellow of IFT (2004) and of the American Society of Animal Science (2006).


Philip M. Seng

President and CEO, U.S. Meat Export Federation

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sam Stein is one of the true pioneers of the meat industry. He began his meat industry career by working as a teenager for a Youngstown, Ohio food distributor. Sixteen years later, he launched Grill Meats as a one-man business in 1940 with only $23 and an ice cream scoop.

Working at night as a short-order cook, during the day he made and sold pre-formed hamburger patties , which were separated by a thin layer of paper, to restaurants in North Central Ohio. The product line was expanded to include a full range of portion-controlled meats. In the late 60’s, the company’s name was changed to Chef’s Pantry.

During his 40 years in the meat business, Sam expanded and diversified his company into three entities; Chef’s Pantry Distribution, a full-line frozen food distributor; Chef’s Pantry Processing, a processor of frozen meat products and meat-based prepared entrées and Sam Stein Associates, a worldwide manufacturer of food-processing machinery. Following the continued growth of Sam Stein Associates, the company was sold to Bettcher Industries and continues today as JBT FoodTech.

Mr. Stein was President (1962-63) of the National Association of Meat Purveyors (NAMP) which is now an integral part of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). He led the effort to establish the original annual NAMP Management Conference which continues as a major program within NAMI.

As a founding member of the President’s Professional Association of the American Management Association, he adapted an idea based on his friend, Clarence Becker’s NAMP ‘Bull Session’ and established the concept of sharing best practices. His contributions and service to the meat industry earned him NAMP’s top three awards; the Achievement Award (1960), the Angus Award (1965), and the NAMP Award (1987), all for lasting and significant contributions to the association and the meat industry. Mr. Stein and his beloved wife, Rose, began their philanthropic activities by donating millions of dollars to causes involving the young, the aging and the health care needs throughout Ohio and California. Their philanthropy encompassed thirty-five foundations and organizations with donations of over $50 million to those in need of a helping hand.

Those organizations include:

  • The Stein Hospice Service
  • Stein Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California, San Diego
  • Vista Hills Foundation’s Stein Education Center, with sites for the developmentally disabled throughout San Diego County
  • Stein Research Center at Scripps Research Institute
  • Stein Emergency Care and Ambulatory Care Centers at Childrens’ Hospital

He also served as President of the Board of Directors at Good Samaritan Hospital in Sandusky, and at Scripps Health Services in La Jolla, CA. In 2002, Palomar Pomerado Health Foundation recognized Sam for his efforts in funding services at Pomerado Hospital and nearby Villa Pomerado, naming him “Philanthropist of the Year” for all his efforts and had a sign made that reads “Sam & Rose Stein Way” posted on hospital grounds as a tribute to the couple’s generous support.


John Story

Vice President of Meat Marketing, Fairway Foods (retired)

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

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)

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


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.”

R. Bruce Tompkin

VP Product Safety (retired), ConAgra Refrigerated Prepared Foods

Dr. Tompkin received his Ph.D. in microbiology from Ohio State University and started working in the industry with Swift & Co. in 1964.

He became Chief Microbiologist in 1966, and then VP Product Safety for ConAgra Refrigerated Foods in 1993. He and his colleagues investigated how to control pathogens in a wide variety of foods and food-processing environments, new processing technologies, the use of additives to improve food safety, and the role of nitrite for controlling Clostridium botulinum. In 1987, his focus shifted toward developing and managing a Listeria-control program as the company grew to more than 200 packaging lines for ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products in more than 25 plants. Dr. Tompkin retired from ConAgra in 2002, but he continued to assist others as a consultant for more than 10 years. Throughout his career, he shared best practices for pathogen control with industry, government and academia, both nationally and internationally.


Raymond T. Townsend

Founder and former Chairman, Townsend Engineering

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

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

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

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)

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)

Jimmy Wise, Ph.D.

Meat Judging Program Coordinator (retired), American Meat Science Association; Ag Marketing Specialist, USDA-AMS

Dr. Jimmy Wise received his B.S. degree in 1967 from Oklahoma State University and in 1967 began graduate study at the University of Nebraska, receiving his M.S. degree in 1970 and his Ph.D. in 1977. In 1970, he accepted a full-time Instructor-Extension Meat Specialist position.

In 1978, Dr. Wise joined the Meat Standardization Branch as a Meat Marketing Specialist of the Food Safety and Quality Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. During his tenure, he served the industry as an integral member of the National Cattlemen’s Association Carcass Quality Task Force and Instrument Grading Subcommittee, American Sheep Industry’s Lean Lamb Task Force, and Beef Improvement Committee’s ultrasound certification, among others. He was also an essential member of research teams associated with Instrument Grading, the National Consumer Beef Study, National Beef Quality Audits, International Beef and Pork Quality Audits and Beef Customer Satisfaction. In addition, Dr. Wise was intimately involved in the development of the Color Marbling Standards and several training aids.

Upon his retirement from USDA in 2005, Dr. Wise joined the staff of the American Meat Science Association serving as the Meat Judging Program Coordinator and staff liaison to the Intercollegiate Meat Coaches Association. After nine years of service to AMSA, Dr. Wise once again retired.

Dr. Wise is one of the world’s leading authorities on meat evaluation and grading, and a true student and scholar of the history and research literature relative to grade standards. As the livestock industry has pursued the “War on Fat” and “Value-Based Marketing,” he was an active and willing participant in endeavors designed to reduce the waste fat on cattle, sheep, and swine.


David E. “Dave” Wood

Chairman of Beef Operations, Harris Ranch

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

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 in 1991-1992. 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

Clayton Yeutter changed the world. He served two presidents in three Cabinet-level posts – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Trade Representative, and Counselor to the President.

With an unusually strong grip (once the “strongest grip” ever recorded in the White House gym), he shook hands with world leaders and helped shape historic trade agreements. He pried open world markets for U.S. beef, which helped farmers and others back home.

The day President Reagan asked him to become the U.S. Trade Representative, his first Cabinet-level post, Clayton phoned his mother with the big news (his father had died by that point).

He told his mother that he was calling from the White House. He waited for her praise. Instead, there was just silence. Dead silence. For 10 seconds or so. Then she finally spoke. How long do you have to do that job? That was also the day when Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff, Don Regan, while escorting Clayton out of the White House, told him something that he really took to heart: “Your job is to change the world.”

This past year, UNL announced its plans to create the Clayton K. Yeutter International Trade Institute. Its goal is to endow faculty positions in business, agriculture and law that are committed to building a strong international dimension into their teaching and research programs.

The secondary goal is to give University of Nebraska students the international orientation and background they’ll need in preparing for the jobs of the future. “You only spend so many years on this Earth,” he said last August, one day after making that trip home. “The question is: What do you do with them? Can you do something that will help the next generation coming along?”