People, Places, and ...


Smith Nominated Entrepreneur of the Year

Over the years, Ernst & Young (EY) has recognized more than 9,200 United States business leaders with the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award. This year, during its 30th anniversary celebration, J.J. Smith, president of Valley Proteins Inc., was nominated for this prestigious award by EY for the mid-Atlantic region.

The award was created to recognize pioneers of business that come from all walks of life, creating and leading companies reflecting their origins and spirits. Finalists were separated into categories that included government services, family business, health, technology, products and services, social responsibility, and emerging industries. Each nominee was evaluated on a balanced scorecard that included demonstration of business excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, risk, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Smith was one of three nominated to represent the family business category. The other nominees included Bill Marriott of Marriott International Inc. and Julian Setian of SOS International LLC. Although Marriott won the award, Smith was honored and humbled that he was even considered and nominated for an award that has been received by such entrepreneurs as Michael Dell of Dell Inc., Richard Schulze of Best Buy Co. Inc., and Jack and Andy Taylor of Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

For three generations, Valley Proteins has been a leader in providing rendering and recycling services, producing sustainable high-protein, high-energy feed ingredients that nourish the global food supply.

Foster Farms Names New CEO

Foster Farms in Livingston, California, has appointed Laura Flanagan president and chief executive officer (CEO), concluding a 22-month search to replace Ron Foster, grandson of company founders Max and Verda Foster, who has led the company since 2003. Foster announced in October 2014 that he would step down as president and CEO but remain as board member and owner.

Flanagan, 48, most recently served as president of ConAgra Foods Snacks Division and previously was president of the company’s Convenient Meals Division from 2008 to 2011. She also directed initiatives to promote diversity, develop internal talent, and build skills and capabilities through ConAgra. Before joining ConAgra, Flanagan was vice president and chief marketing officer of Tropicana Shelf Stable Juices at PepsiCo, and held brand-management positions at General Mills and PepsiCo from 1996 to 2005. Earlier, she was a manufacturing engineer at Saturn Corporation. She earned her master of business administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1996. Flanagan currently serves on the board of directors at Core-Mark International.

Under Ron Foster’s leadership, Foster Farms grew by 70 percent and became the nation’s first major poultry producer to be certified by the American Humane Association. The company was selected as the 2016 Processor of the Year by The National Provisioner for industry-leading achievements in food safety, water conservation, and product diversity. While Foster led the company, it raised the National Thanksgiving Turkey for the White House on two occasions, became the number one brand of frozen cooked chicken in the western United States, and emerged as the largest producer of organic and antibiotic-free fresh chicken on the West Coast.

Hormel Foods Changes Leadership

Jeffrey M. Ettinger will retire as chief executive officer (CEO) of Hormel Foods Corporation on October 30, 2016, but will continue to serve as Hormel Foods’ chairman of the board. The company’s board of directors elected James P. Snee to be the company’s next CEO, effective October 31, 2016. 

Snee becomes president and CEO of Hormel Foods after serving as president and chief operating officer since October 2015. In that role, he led the company’s business segments and global operations, including grocery products, refrigerated foods, specialty foods, and Jennie-O Turkey Store. Snee joined Hormel Foods in 1989 in the foodservice division and served in various positions before being named vice president of Hormel Foods and senior vice president of Hormel Foods International Corporation at the end of fiscal year 2011. Snee advanced to group vice president of Hormel Foods and president of Hormel Foods International Corporation in October 2012. 

Ettinger served as chairman of the board, president, and CEO from November 2006 until October 2015, when Snee was appointed president. 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. He currently serves on the boards of The Toro Company, Ecolab Inc., North American Meat Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, The Hormel Foundation, The Hormel Institute, and the Minnesota Business Partnership.

In 2016, Ettinger was named as one of the 30 World’s Best CEOs by Barron’s and in 2012 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.


October 2016 RENDER | back