Bev Arnold laughs when people ask her if the sweet scent of bacon cooking – arguably one of the best aromas out there – ever gets tiresome.
“My co-worker calls me Bacon, Bacon,” she laughs.
Bev has been a member of the team at the Austin (Minn.) plant of Hormel Foods since 1984. Her current job involves – you guessed it – bacon. She cooks it, dices it and sends it on to be packaged, making sure every product leaving her line is something she would give to her grandkids. In other words, she wants it to be perfect.
That said, Bev is slightly less enamored than most by its seductive smell, its crispy edges, its salty goodness, proving there can sometimes be too much of a good thing. And yes, even bacon on occasion.
Which is not to say she isn’t proud to be part of the team that puts Hormel® bacon toppings on store shelves. In fact, she routinely buys it for her family.
“My grandkids love them. My husband loves them,” she says.
Bev grew up in Austin, no stranger to Hormel Foods. Her great-grandfather, grandfather, mother and father, as well as an assortment of other family members, all worked for the company.
Bev was 28 when she began following in her family’s footsteps. First, she rejected her parents’ advice to become a nurse, worked as a cook and then signed on with Campbell’s Soup in Fremont, Nebraska.
She went to Nebraska to visit her sister and brother-in-law, who was on assignment with Hormel Foods. He had been working at the Austin facility, but the operation downsized to allow a new, modern facility to be built. He and Bev’s sister accepted a call-back at the Fremont (Neb.) plant in 1982.
“My sister was homesick,” she says. “So, I went for a visit.”
Bev moved back in 1984. She accepted a position at the new Hormel Foods plant in August, joining people she now can’t imagine being without.
That was 34 years, four children and eight grandchildren ago.
“We’re kind of a family,” she says. “When I retire in a few years, I’m going to miss all of them.”
She truly cares about what she does and it shows in her workmanship.Zack Kestner, bacon processing supervisor
In the meantime, Bev is showing no signs of slowing down. She recently received the company’s Pride of the Jersey award that’s given to employees who embody the Cultural Beliefs of Hormel Foods on a daily basis.
“The time I have had the pleasure of working with Bev, she has shown passion, attention to detail and commitment to putting out the best product possible. She truly cares about what she does and it shows in her workmanship,” says Bev’s supervisor, Zack Kestner.
In addition to her job responsibilities, she’s a member of Helping Hands, a committee at the Austin plant that works to strengthen the community through volunteer projects and fundraising.
“I love helping people,” she says. “There was a time in my life when I needed some help. I want to pay that back.”
Bev and her husband, Troy, make their home in the country, 20 miles from Austin. She lives to spend time with her kids and grandkids. Camping was always a family activity, she says, though the Arnolds recently sold their camper and purchased a Camaro. Bev likes to drive to take in the scenery or to attend a craft show. Closer to home, she is an avid flower gardener, cook and baker. On Sunday mornings, however, Troy takes charge in the kitchen, making a breakfast of eggs and sausage.
“No bacon,” Bev laughs. “Hormel® Little Sizzlers® sausage.”