Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 34

CEO SERIES

bar keeps rising – it takes more money and qualified people to continue to succeed,” he says. A good illustration of a critical area Alderfer/Leidy’s as well as other companies their size continue to work on is continuous improvement in the food safety arena. “It’s becoming harder for very small companies to make the changes needed. New equipment and refrigeration is expensive. One of my major responsibilities, as the leader of this company, is to stay ahead of the food-safety curve while continuing to be economically viable,” he says. Van Stone is quick to divert any credit for the company’s success to the rest of the team. “I know this is going to sound trite and like a well-worn phrase, but it’s true. It’s the people who work for the company. It’s not me, but our senior management Van Stone team – half from Alderfer and Leidy’s, the other half from the outside,” he says. “For example, we have Don Countryman, with 30 years experience in the meat industry, including 18 years with Moyer Packing Co., as the quality assurance expert here. “I try to create effective senior leadership teams, plus work to have an excellent relationship with our hourly employees and an environment fostering initiative and rewarding success. I want to make people feel good about what they’re doing here,” he adds. “Believe me, I don’t think it’s me. A lot of good people are leading departments and helping people to achieve their goals.” Van Stone says he brought in an entirely fresh perspective when he became CEO/president of Alderfer/ Leidy’s. “We have a nice blend of meat and non-meat people; smart people who are team players,” he says. “The team has blended well, and the team and company come fi rst.” What has also worked for the company, in Van Stone’s view, is a partnership he’s created with his hourly employees. “Our turnover is very low for the meat in-

dustry, and we try to reward them for their service to the company,” he says. Last year, for example, which was a good and prosperous year for the company, every full-time employee received a bonus check. “Despite the recession, we continue giving raises and providing essentially the same benefits to our employees,” he says. We continually work to establish a partnership with our employees.” Van Stone also has encouraged the development of private-label and copacking business for the company. He

“Since the merger, we now have greater capabilities and flexibility. That significantly improves our capacity to fill various niches.”
also takes advantage of the two powerful brands, Alderfer and Leidy’s, which have great equity in the company’s primary market in the Northeast. “You could really say, ‘It’s the products making the company successful.’ They do make a big difference for the company. But it also takes the right kind of people to create and produce the products that will be successful, that will sell.” Van Stone says he is trying to make the company ‘customer-centric’. He does this by taking steps to ensure Alderfer/Leidy’s is more flexible. “We are more flexible today than we used to be, and one way we do this is by developing custom products,” he says. “During the past six months, the company commercialized 50 products for one customer. That customer knows it would be extremely difficult to find another supplier to provide the combination of creativity, service, flexibility, quality, location and fair cost we can.” Van Stone has much strength to bring to the meat industry, including his vast amount of experience in

the food industry, and ability to solve many problems. “I think my experience and intuition about business problems has helped, so we can deal with them quickly and effectively when they arise.” After assuming the CEO role, Van Stone quickly established a strategy. “My first goal was to integrate as quickly as possible the two companies, in order to get maximum synergies here,” he says. “As one organization, I wanted to learn where the major strengths and weaknesses were in the organization. I wanted to provide clear direction to the people, my leadership team, as quickly as I could.” Since hatching the plan, the results have not disappointed. “Right now, in March of 2011, we are many magnitudes ahead of where the two companies had been immediately before the merger,” he says. “The two boards of directors of Alderfer and Leidy’s were merged, and the guidance, support and encouragement have been gratifying. There is a lot more happiness in the company workforce right now. “The company has gone through some tough, very difficult times,” he notes. “Knowing the company is doing well now, and has a bright future, makes a big difference.” Van Stone explains: “We went through a very difficult few years. We had the hog markets – the recession. But everyone stuck together. “In 2008, the recession hit, oil prices went up and the ethanol release drove corn and hog prices through the roof,” he adds. “At our company, there’s been a reduced ownership in hogs. To a great degree, that’s been given to the experts, the hog producers. We’ve expanded our value-added meat products, plus our foodservice, industrial and retail markets.” ■
Bernard Shire is a contributing editor based in Lancaster, Pa. With a background in editing and writing for daily news publications, he also works as a food safety consultant and writer for Shire & Associates LLC. We would like to hear from you – to comment on this story or to request reprints, contact us by e-mail at meatpoultry@sosland.com.

34 • Meat&Poultry • March 2011 • www.MeatPoultry.com



Meat&Poultry - March 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat&Poultry - March 2011

Meat&Poultry - March 2011
Commentary - Defense mechanisms
Hormel earnings up 34 percent in first quarter
Cargill introduces Fressure patties
Maple Leaf earnings hit by input costs
Sanderson Farms touts record FY2010
Grant allows XL Foods to double capacity
Townsends poultry ops sold after bankruptcy
JBS reports positive results of food-safety technology
Taco Bell launches new beef image TV ads
Catfish inspection gets political
Sustainability strides
E xperience counts
THE TOP 125 PROCESSORS - Winner’s circle
THE TOP 125 PROCESSORS - Alphabetical listing by company name
THE TOP 125 PROCESSORS - by rank
Small Business Matters - Duty calls
Food Ingredient Solutions - Delectable pairings
Processing Innovations - Everything but the squeal
Sanitation - Cleaning passion
Food Safety - Reassigning resources
Food Safety - Food-safety fortress
Packaging Solutions - Packaging under pressure
New Product Rollouts - Unveiling ideas
New Products
Labor - Questioning benefi ts
Names in the News
New Product Showcase
Classified Advertising
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Meat&Poultry - March 2011
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 2
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 3
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 4
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 5
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 6
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 7
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Commentary - Defense mechanisms
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 9
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Hormel earnings up 34 percent in first quarter
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 11
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Maple Leaf earnings hit by input costs
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 13
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Sanderson Farms touts record FY2010
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 15
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Townsends poultry ops sold after bankruptcy
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 17
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Taco Bell launches new beef image TV ads
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 19
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Catfish inspection gets political
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 21
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Sustainability strides
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 23
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 24
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 25
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 26
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 27
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 28
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 29
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - E xperience counts
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 31
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 32
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 33
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 34
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 35
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - THE TOP 125 PROCESSORS - Winner’s circle
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 37
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - THE TOP 125 PROCESSORS - Alphabetical listing by company name
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 39
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 40
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 41
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 42
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - THE TOP 125 PROCESSORS - by rank
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 44
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 45
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 46
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 47
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 48
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Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 54
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 55
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 56
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 57
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 58
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 59
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 60
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 61
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Small Business Matters - Duty calls
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 63
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 64
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 65
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 66
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 67
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Food Ingredient Solutions - Delectable pairings
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 69
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 70
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 71
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 72
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 73
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 74
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 75
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Processing Innovations - Everything but the squeal
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 77
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 78
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 79
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 80
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 81
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 82
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Sanitation - Cleaning passion
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Food Safety - Reassigning resources
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 85
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 86
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 87
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Food Safety - Food-safety fortress
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 89
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 90
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 91
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 92
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 93
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 94
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 95
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 96
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 97
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Packaging Solutions - Packaging under pressure
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 99
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 100
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 101
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 102
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 103
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 104
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - New Product Rollouts - Unveiling ideas
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - New Products
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 107
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Labor - Questioning benefi ts
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Names in the News
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - New Product Showcase
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 111
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 112
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 113
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 114
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 115
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 116
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - Classified Advertising
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Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 119
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 120
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 121
Meat&Poultry - March 2011 - 122
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