Sustainability is more important than ever in food processing, but it's not a blanket initiative that works for all companies. Each business needs to assess how their sustainability goals apply to their own operations for measurable results, benefitting not only the planet, but the bottom line as well. Hear from three of ProFood World's 2023 Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Award winners at Conagra Brands, Hormel Foods, and Smithfield Foods as they detail how their environmentally sound strategies have helped move their companies ahead in the marketplace.
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James Harris has worked for Smithfield Foods since April 2020. James started with Smithfield as the superintendent of Bone-in Hams and was promoted to operations manager in July 2021. As the operations manager, James is responsible for all operations aspects of a 60+mm pound per year, including the raw, injecting, smoking, and processing areas of the division. James has been in the food manufacturing industry since 2009. Over 10 of those years were spent in poultry harvesting, processing, and further processing plants. James hold a B.S. and master’s degree in Agribusiness Management from Mississippi State University.
Emily Muth is the Director of Sustainability for Conagra Brands, working across the organization to drive business value by driving environmentally responsible practices in air quality, renewable energy policy and greenhouse gas accounting, as well as water and waste reduction at the companies’ 42 managed manufacturing facilities. She is a seasoned environmental professional with over 15 years of continued success in sustainability, public power, environmental compliance, government relations, program implementation, management, and public relations. Emily earned her Master of Science degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Randy Thole has worked for Hormel Foods for 17 years. Since 2014 he has been Manager of Plant Engineering at the Progressive Processing Plant in Dubuque, IA where he focuses on managing the installation and care of plant assets, directing the operation and maintenance of all plant utilities systems, leading plant energy management efforts, and supporting Sustainability initiatives for the facility. Randy holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University. Randy is a licensed Professional Engineer in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, & Kansas, and is a Certified Energy Manger (CEM).
Aaron Hand has three decades of experience in B-to-B publishing with a particular focus on technology. He has been with PMMI Media Group since 2013, much of that time as Executive Editor for Automation World, where he focused on continuous process industries. Prior to joining ProFood World full time in late 2020, Aaron worked as Editor at Large for PMMI Media Group, reporting for all publications on a wide variety of industry developments, including advancements in packaging for consumer products and pharmaceuticals, food and beverage processing, and industrial automation. He took over as Editor-in-Chief of ProFood World in 2021. Aaron holds a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University and an M.S. in Journalism from the University of Illinois.