Smithfield Foods Vice President of Engineering Paul Kafer has been named Meat & Poultry’s 2017 Operations Executive of the Year. Kafer is the sixth recipient of the honor, which is awarded to an individual in an operations and engineering role in the meat and poultry processing industry “in recognition of a career dedicated to pursuing operational excellence and providing leadership while delivering innovative solutions.”
M+P Editor Joel Crews presented the award to Kafer at the Smithfield headquarters. As detailed in the M+P news article, Kafer has been a part of Smithfield since the pork giant acquired North Side Foods in 1998, where he was hired as a plant manager in 1997. During his time at North Side, Kafer led the company’s adoption of automation technology and implementing more efficient packaging solutions.
Since then, Kafer has advanced through the ranks at Smithfield and was integral in the construction of Smithfield’s Kinston, Va., plant (featured in QA’s August 2016 issue), that opened in 2006. Since the acquisition of Smithfield by China’s WH Group in 2013, Kafer and his engineering team led the construction process of an American-style pork-processing plant in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou. The two-and-a-half-year project culminated with the grand opening in December 2015. Kafer considers this project a crowning achievement in his career given the logistical challenges of duplicating a US plant in a foreign country, the article states.
Read the full M+P magazine article on Kafer, Blueprint for Success.
Read the QA magazine article on Smithfield, Smithfield Foods’ Food Safety Culture: A Mantra Before It Was Cool.