When Tonia Peters-Zadow came to Hormel Foods, she had one thing in mind. The brand-new college graduate wanted to build a long and successful career with a solid company.
Given her 20-plus years of service and her recent winning of the Pride of the Jersey award, suffice it to say, she’s met her match.
“The way I grew up, you stay loyal if you’re treated well,” she said, adding, “This is a great company.”
Tonia is a member of the supply chain organization, serving as manager of vendor-managed inventory. Much of her work involves getting Hormel Foods products to Walmart, a major retail customer. In fact, her jersey came from the team assigned to the Walmart business.
“The Pride of the Jersey recognizes individuals not only for what they do, but for how they accomplish what they do. That’s what inspires us,” said P.J. Connor, senior vice president of consumer products sales and the person who oversees the Walmart account. “Tonia inspires us every day by embodying our Cultural Beliefs,” he said.
P.J. cited numerous examples of Tonia’s living out the Cultural Beliefs of Hormel Foods. Among them, she Grows Talent with new members on the Walmart team, “teaching them the importance and benefits of inventory management and forecasting.” She Builds Bridges by working cross-functionally, Creates Solutions when faced with product shortages and finally, demonstrates that Results Matter. “She passionately fights on our behalf [to] drive brand growth and challenges any issues negatively impacting our P&L,” P.J. said.
Tonia inspires us every day by embodying our Cultural Beliefs.P.J. Connor, senior vice president of consumer products sales
Tonia’s commitment to the company began when she relocated from Ames, Iowa, to accept a job in the shipping department of the Austin (Minn.) Plant. Tonia eventually moved to the Eldridge, Iowa, location and then to the Corporate Office in Austin, where she has been for 14 years.
The company and community have been good to her, she said, offering a stunning example. When Tonia’s 10-year-old son was several weeks old, her husband was killed in a freak accident. “I became a single mom overnight, doing a full-time job 250 miles away from home. Austin and Hormel Foods friends took good care of me,” she said.
Through Hormel Foods, Tonia found a new chance at love and happiness. She met coworker Jeff Zadow, who was on assignment in Europe. The two had a long-distance relationship until they decided to seal the deal five years ago. “We got married, had a baby and built a house in the same year,” she said.
The boys, 4 and 10, keep Tonia and Jeff busy with sports and other activities. The family also likes to travel, making it a point to schedule at least one memorable vacation each year. When Tonia was growing up, there wasn’t enough extra money to fund such trips. “I decided I wanted to give the experience of travel to our kids,” she said.
Tonia is adept at planning, anticipating and going the extra mile – literally and figuratively speaking. She brings those skills to her job on a daily basis.
When pressed about why she was singled out at work recently, she reflected on the words of P.J. when he and those in the packed meeting room caught her off guard with the prized Hormel Foods jersey.
“What P.J. said was I go above and beyond. I see a problem and do what I have to do to fix it. I head it off before it becomes a big one,” she said.