Fourth Generation of Dupps is Retiring

For The Dupps Company, leadership qualities have followed from one generation to the next.

John J. Dupps Sr. recognized the value of rendering, became a nationally respected expert, and investigated new protein co-products rendering technologies.

Son John J. Dupps Jr. envisioned the potential for dry rendering and, in the middle of The Great Depression, risked everything to build a business around the new technology.

His son, Jack, ascended to the company’s presidency earlier than expected due his father’s untimely death, yet he expanded the company’s manufacturing capabilities and had the vision to embrace and promote the new concept of continuous rendering.

Which brings us to the leadership of retiring President John A. Dupps Jr. Raised in the family business, John began working full time for The Dupps Company following his 1964 graduation from Notre Dame. He began his career in engineering and, over time, served in virtually all areas of the business from production to financial management and sales.

These experiences helped prepare him for the day in 1982 when Jack Dupps decided it was time for John to become president.

“We were having a board meeting,” John recalls, “And I guess my dad realized that I was ready, or should be ready, so he told the board ‘I think next year John should be president.’ I was shocked.”

Shocked, perhaps, but not unprepared. Along with the day-to-day managerial decisions he faced as president of Dupps during the next 28 years, John concentrated on three key strategies: (1) expansion into international markets; (2) continuously seeking new applications and opportunities for the company’s core capabilities; and (3) refining, evolving, and codifying the company’s philosophy.

When John started with the company, virtually all sales were made to the North American rendering industry. There were, however, occasional opportunities for foreign sales and John had a keen interest in the potential for Dupps to become a major global player. When it became clear that rendering in the United States was a mature business, John stepped up the company’s international efforts. Along the way there were successes and challenges as the global markets grappled with diverse economic issues, political realities, the threat of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and more. Despite these concerns, international sales now account for nearly half of all the company’s revenues.

For John, the most satisfying aspect of his presidency has been growing the company while maintaining it as a family business with an extended family of employees. Many of these individuals have been with Dupps for all or much of their careers and, in some cases, more than one generation of a family has been part of the Dupps team. To John, “family” also means every Dupps customer, many of which have been with Dupps for several decades.

“We focus on making the company a good place to work and being good members of the community,” John said. “To me it’s all about how you treat people and how you run the business. It’s been ingrained in the Dupps brothers, and we do our best to instill it in our management team so they will pass it along to every employee. It is truly a family and team effort.”

John will remain active in the company as chairman of the board.

October 2010 RENDER | back