Progress at Prestage: A look at who and what makes them run

Prestage Foods of Iowa, LLC opened the doors to their new state-of-the-art hog processing plant just south of Eagle Grove in March of this year. The 700,000 square-foot facility is set up to be able to handle 10,000 heads of hog per shift. The question on a lot of people’s minds is, are they meeting that production or how close to it are they, and where are the workers coming from?

According to Prestage Chef Operating Officer Jere Null, and Director of Human Resources Pamela Webster, the company is headed in the right direction. Their goal is to get the first shift fully up and running to capacity with a target of 920 employees. At the time of this article, the total count of active employees on the payroll for Prestage Foods of Iowa (including about the 15 employees who work out of Ames for the Eagle Grove plant) was 747. Amongst them they speak three different languages - English, Spanish, and French. They are in a variety of positions including management, administration, clerical, quality assurance, maintenance. The majority of them, however, (about 600), work as part of the production team in harvest or cut and conversion. Fifteen employees of this count work out of the Ames office.

“We’re moving along,” said Webster proudly.

But she admitted that they would like to be a little farther along in reaching that 920 goal.

“We’ve had our fair share of turnovers, but It’s not something that we didn’t expect. This type of work isn’t for everybody, but we’re certainly giving everybody the opportunity to come, see what we’re all about, and try it,” said Webster. “We’ve had some real success with people who have never worked in this environment before...and have worked their way up and progressed already in their careers and have become trainers, lead people, and we’re thrilled about that...this is the place to progress in your career.”

Webster and Null are thrilled to see this progression in careers already happening in the company within the first eight months of operation because they said since they started building there would be opportunities for employee advancement...and they are holding true to their word.

For the full story, see this week's Eagle Grove Eagle. Subscribe by calling 1-800-558-1244 ext 122 or email Deb at circulation@midamericapub.com or by clicking here.