Salvador Morelos is well-spoken of – in at least two languages. As the bilingual trainer for Hormel Foods at Dan’s Prize in Long Prairie, Minn., he Builds Bridges between the company, its team members and the community in one of the most basic and important ways.
Sal was hard at work earlier this year when he learned he was being tapped for the Hormel Foods Pride of the Jersey award. He was translating the Be Bold Tour – a roadshow in which company CEO Jim Snee and other leaders visit locations to share news, information and annual results. Sal handed his translation duties off momentarily to ask a question of Snee. He was held back when he turned to leave the stage.
“I thought I was in trouble,” he laughed, recounting that he had made a personal inquiry of the good-natured chief exec. But instead of being in hot water, he received the highest honor a Hormel Foods team member can get.
That’s as it should be, according to HR Manager Doug Kloth, who called him “a pleasure to have in the HR department.”
“Sal is an excellent team member, always smiling, always laughing,” he said. “He helps out a variety of people while at work and … outside of work.”
Sal is an excellent team member, always smiling, always laughing.HR Manager Doug Kloth
Sal was born in Mexico, where he spoke only Spanish. After coming to the United States, he lived in California, enrolled in elementary school and studied English and a host of other subjects. He attended high school in Minnesota – his family moved to the North Star State when Sal was 15. His first job was at an egg factory, where he stayed for three years before joining the Dan’s Prize team. That was 19 years ago.
His position today makes him primarily responsible for training and orienting Spanish-speaking team members, but he is valuable in other ways, too.
“He has to know all jobs in the facility, because he helps with HR issues and is always here to interpret on all of those,” Doug said. “People on the floor bring concerns to Sal, and Sal brings them to me.”
Outside of Work
Yet, it doesn’t stop when Sal leaves Dan’s Prize for the day.
Away from work, he is a volunteer firefighter and a father of three – an 11-year-old, a 4 year-old and a newborn. Though free time is scarce, he works part-time milking cows and still never fails to lend a hand to someone who is struggling.
“He’s helped people find housing, helped them with banking, helped them apply for jobs,” Doug said. “He’s an excellent ambassador for Dan’s Prize and is seen as a leader in the Hispanic community. People go to him outside of work for whatever questions they have.”
Sal is a willing participant in all of that. Indeed, getting to know people is what he likes best about his job.
“There are different cultures, different people. I get to bond with everyone and learn about them. The people here are great,” he said.
And so is Sal.
“I’m glad he’s part of my team,” Doug said.