Serious about swinePublished 4:45am Wednesday, March 6, 2013
QPP’s Kelly Wadding brings the company onward and upward
It isn’t a stretch to call Kelly Wadding a busy man. As CEO and president of Quality Pork Processors in Austin, a company that processes 19,000 hogs a day, there’s a lot to do.
Wadding wakes up early every day and gets to work at about 6 a.m. He goes through emails and reviews the previous days’ activities before meeting with the vice president of operations and the plant manager.
“We take a tour through the plant,” he said. “It probably takes us an hour and a half.”
After that, Wadding meets with department heads, then drives to Select Foods in Albert Lea. As the owner of that company, also, he does the rounds through the plant and meets with the plant manager. It’s about noon when he heads back to Austin for more meetings, emails and phone calls. It’s 4 p.m. or later by the time he leaves the office.
Wadding is a graduate of Albert Lea Senior High School. Between then and his time at QPP, he traveled, and worked at companies like Wilson Foods in Oklahoma City, Iowa Pork Industries in South St. Paul and John Morrell & Co. in Sioux Falls, S.D.
It was July 1993 when QPP’s then-owner Richard Knight hired Wadding as a general manager. He held that role for a few years before buying into partnership with Knight. They remained partners until 1997, when Knight retired and Wadding took his current position.
“I bought his share of the company out and became sole owner,” Wadding said.
Since then, things at QPP, which leases its property from Hormel Foods Co. and delivers the processed hogs to Hormel, have only been getting better.
“We’re probably as steady and stable as we’ve been in years,” he said.
He attributes a lot of that success to his workers, and commends them for their contributions to community projects like the United Way and local blood drives.
“I really think QPP employees do not receive the credit in the community that they deserve,” Wadding said. “I’m very, very proud of the work force.”
There are no big changes on the horizon, Wadding said. He intends to keep QPP going as-is, and make it better along the way.
“We’re constantly looking at automation and improvements in our process,” Wadding said. “Hopefully we’re going to do it for a lot longer.”