Meat&Poultry - April 2012 - (Page 23)

Cover Story Team builder Smithfield’s Henry Morris credits past and current teammates in accepting Meat&Poultry’s Operations Executive of the Year award BY JOEL CREWS From the company’s 12th-floor, Strategic Sourcing Office, with Chicago’s Michigan Ave. as the picturesque backdrop, Smithfield Foods’ Henry Morris recalls one of his favorite lines from the classic cop film, “Dirty Harry.” In the 1971 movie’s climax, Clint Eastwood’s character, Harry Callahan, during a standoff with the film’s villain, asks: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Indeed, the senior corporate vice president of operations and engineering would admit he is lucky to play such a lofty role with the $12.2-billion pork behemoth. But luck had little to do with his ascension in the meat industry, where his name and reputation is highly regarded among his counterparts, coworkers and colleagues. Morris has earned an EF-Hutton-like reputation when he speaks, and equipment suppliers along with the industry at large are anxious to hear what he has to say, regardless of the venue. As the recipient of Meat&Poultry’s first Operations Executive of the Year award, Morris visited with Editor Joel Crews in February. He recounted his early influences and talked about the career path that first saw him work in aviation engineering before transitioning to several companies in the meat business. Despite the laid-back, baritone southern drawl with which Morris shared his story, it was hard to cover up an intensity, intelligence and work ethic that make him one of Smithfield’s most valuable assets. ■ A native Texan who grew up in Amarillo, Henry L. Morris graduated from Texas A&M Univ. in 1966 with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. The son of a geologist who was an alumni of in-state rival Univ. of Texas, it was his father who first taught Morris the value of a good work ethic. The elder worked for American Smelting and Refi ning throughout his entire career, at a zinc and copper refinery in Amarillo. “He believed in hard work “There are a lot of elements involved in the nuances of running a pork operation. It was a daunting task and a lot to learn for an engineer.” and accountability for doing a good job. He was driven,” Morris recalls. The Aggie graduate’s first job out of school was building F 111-A bombers for General Dynamics in Ft. Worth, Texas. After about six months of working on planes, “They put me on an accident-investigation team,” Morris recalls. He would spend most of the next year investigating planes that had experienced structural failure, often piecing together airplanes that had crashed. “We had to fi gure out why, and fi x it,” which the team did, only to have the • April 2012 • Meat&Poultry • 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat&Poultry - April 2012

Meat&Poultry - April 2012
Table of Contents
Commentary - Assassinating effective technology
Business Notes - LFTB fallout continues
Business Notes - Thompson to CEO of McDonald’s
Business Notes - Introducing: NAMA
Business Notes - Group to acquire Burger King restaurants
Business Notes - JBS may leave Argentina
Business Notes - JBS Q4 earnings advance despite Pilgrim’s Pride loss
Business Notes - Tyson addresses its strategy and stance on LFTB
Washington - Family farm labor pains
Cover Story - Team builder
Food Safety - Full speed ahead
CEO Series - Executive experience
Ground Beef - Burger nirvana
Meat Processing - Operations & Engineering
Flooring - Building a solid foundation
Contract Sanitation - Focus on plant sanitation
Sanitation Tips (Consejos de Sanidad) - Cleaning compounds
Sanitation Tips - Be cautious with chemicals
Packaging Solutions - Sandwich success
Ingredient Issues - ‘Real food’ nutrition
Ingredient Trends - Tracking global ingredient trends
Small Business Matters - Remote possibilities
Leadership Development - Creating future leaders
From the Corral - On-farm handling
Labor - Balancing and bargaining act
Names in the News
New Product Showcase
Classified Advertising
The Insider

Meat&Poultry - April 2012