Thank goodness the Evensons like each other. It might be awkward otherwise. After all, 12 members of the family currently make their living working for Hormel Foods in Austin, Minn.
“It’s kind of cool getting to see him every day,” says Marty Evenson of Jay, currently the senior member of the Hormel Foods Team Evenson.
Oldest brother Chris started the ball rolling when he joined the company more than 30 years ago. He recently retired from his job as a machinist at the Austin Plant, leaving Jay, Marty and Matt to represent the first generation of Evensons to find a home with Hormel Foods. Jay is a production supervisor; Marty and Matt work in maintenance. They have 20, 18 and 16 years of service, respectively.
If you want to work in Austin, this is the place to work.Jay Evenson
The next generation thought enough of the idea that nine of Chris’, Marty’s and Jay’s children and children-in-law are now employed at the plant or in the corporate headquarters in Austin. All told, the Evensons have in excess of 150 years of combined service, as much a tribute to their family ties as it is to Hormel Foods.
“If you want to work in Austin, this is the place to work,” says Jay, adding that competition was stiff for openings at Hormel Foods when the brothers joined. Still, it was a path worth pursuing, they agree. They appreciate the work-life balance, wages and benefits that allow them to enjoy outside interests, and yes, the ability to see their relatives on a daily basis.
The Evenson clan is a large and closely knit one that was begun by a building contractor and a stay-at-home mom who raised nine children. Today, there are 67 in the Evensons’ immediate family. A good many of them are in and around Austin.
Family affairs are big and noisy, full of good-natured teasing that occasionally finds its way to work.
To that point, Jay asks, “What do you like about working with me, Marty?”
Without missing a beat, Jay offers, “If I’m doing something wrong, he doesn’t hesitate to tell me.”
Hormel Foods is part and parcel of who the Evensons are, so the topic of work comes up “a lot” at family gatherings, says Jay. “Until our wives tell us to knock it off,” he laughs.
And though Chris may be gone from the plant now, the family’s characteristic teasing hasn’t followed suit. People often thought he was the father of his younger brothers, a myth the men love to bring up when they’re together.
“We still get mileage out of that one,” says Marty.
When they’re away from work, Jay and Marty enjoy hunting, fishing and heading north for vacation. They’re also inclined to hop on their motorcycles and hit the open roads.
The men are grateful to Hormel Foods for their life at work and at home.
“You actually make enough money to do the things you enjoy doing with your family,” says Marty.
And as far as family goes, are there more Evensons waiting in the wings? Jay and Marty aren’t saying but they offer a standard joke.
“They’ll keep hiring Evensons until they find a good one,” says Jay.