Employee success; For 78th year, Hormel distributes profit sharing
Published 10:46 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Getting a profit-sharing check never gets old for Lori Qualey of Austin.
She has worked for Hormel Foods Corp. in Austin for 30 years — and on Wednesday, she got proof again that her tenure was a very good thing.
She joined an estimated 1,600 local Hormel workers Wednesday morning who received their annual profit-sharing check.
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“It’s always exciting,” she said. “When you get here on the morning, you can feel the excitement in the air.”
The company, for the 78th consecutive year, distributed its annual profit sharing this year — of $17.5 million — to eligible hourly and salaried employees in all its locations.
In Austin, the check always comes on Thanksgiving Eve, a tradition that began with Jay C. Hormel in 1938. Even though the practice is up to the board of directors each year, the company has not failed in all that time to include employees in its profits.
On Wednesday morning, plant manager Clint Walters congratulated his workers with their dedication in its 125th year.
“You are part of our legacy,” he said, adding that each employee, in addition to the check, would get a coin inscribed with the company’s logo and its 125th symbol — a reminder to keep asking, “what are we going to do to continue to build that legacy in the next 125 years?” he said.
The company has adopted a slogan of “Inspired People, Inspired Food” to reflect a refocusing on its legacy of innovation. In the plant, its own slogan is “Time to Inspire in 2017.”
“If you’re inspired to come to work … put your best foot forward, there is nothing we cannot do as a team,” Walters said.
He briefly highlighted the year — noting the change of leadership, with the torch passed from retiring CEO Jeff Ettinger to Jim Snee — as well as the 125th celebration, the opening of the new Spam Museum, the Justin’s Brand acquisition and most importantly, “record sales, record profits.”
“Those results don’t happen to all of us (in the industry),” he said. Eighty years of stock dividends and 51 years of stock increases come with hard work from all quarters.
“Be proud of who you work for,” he said.
Walters also said this year was the safest in the plant’s history; the plant also recorded cost savings of $3.7 million.
Environmentally, the plant was also able to decrease its water usage by 20 percent and its energy usage by 4.8 percent.
In 2017, he said the company will expand its dry sausage area, as well as boost the Spam and precooked bacon areas. There will also be some plant upgrades, he noted.
Scott Larson of Austin, who has worked for Hormel for 10 years, is a third generation Hormel employee. His grandfather and uncle both worked for Hormel and today, Larson helps build on that legacy.
Getting a profit-sharing check is a happy part of the family tradition.
“I’ll invest part; some is for the holidays,” he said, smiling. “It’s always great.”
That goes for Liz Sampsell of Austin, too. She has worked for the company for two years.
“I was just happy to be part of the day — it really is exciting,” she said. “It [the profit sharing] will help me get ready for winter, and for the holidays.”