The supervisors at Swiss American Sausage Company often acknowledge that their people can make them look really good. They also agree that Jimbo You is one who does that for everyone around him.
“When I think about our Cultural Belief of Results matter and when I think of the phrase that’s attached to it (“What else can I do?”), I truly think about employees like Jimbo,” said Isaac Arista, Jimbo’s supervisor, as he announced the first Pride of the Jersey recipient at the Lathrop, Calif., plant.
Jimbo has been a second-shift batching operator with Swiss American Sausage Company for seven years. As such, he is responsible for blending the sausage, but it doesn’t end there. Jimbo is always eager to do more.
For example, when on vacation recently, he heard that his crew was shorthanded. He called in and then he came in to help.
“He’s a guy who always keeps an upbeat attitude, goes the extra mile to complete the job and is an employee we all love to work with because of the entertainment factor he brings each day,” says Joe Muzik, plant manager. “Our team high-fived him, cheered and applauded because of how much he means to us and how valuable he is to our culture,” he says, remembering the moment Jimbo donned the Hormel Foods jersey.
Despite Jimbo’s commitment to his job, his deeper passion by far is for his family. He is the father of five children, ranging in age from 10 to 29, and has two brothers in Stockton, Calif., where he lives. They are Cambodians who left their war-torn and troubled homeland in 1989, after living through genocide in the 1970s and spending time in a refugee camp in Thailand. His parents stayed in Cambodia, but he is nevertheless grateful that his remaining brothers were with him in the camp and now, in the United States.
Jimbo earned U.S. citizenship in 2005 and knows enough of his new country’s history to have a soft spot for former President Ronald Reagan. “I like him. He’s the one who brought me here,” he says, referring to the immigration policies implemented during Reagan’s presidency.
It was about this time that Jimbo — born Yoeum — received his nickname. It was much easier for others to pronounce, and it sounds American, something that rings true for him now.
Jimbo enjoys fishing for striped bass and has embraced at least one other aspect of his new culture. He is a rabid disciple of the NFL, boasting “30 favorite teams.” Only two don’t make the cut because “they don’t play by the rules,” he says.
Indeed, playing by the rules is something that Jimbo takes to heart. In fact, when he received the Hormel Foods jersey, he wore it continuously.
“We told him he didn’t have to wear it all the time,” Joe says, laughing.
But it doesn’t come as a surprise that he wanted to.
“As we described what the jersey represented and why he was selected, Jimbo beamed and smiled from ear to ear,” Joe says.