In the midst of the season of giving, Blake Flores’ opinion on the subject even extends to the hockey-style sweater he recently received, the trophy of the company’s Pride of the Jersey campaign.
“It’s such a big honor to get the jersey,” he says. “But the truly inspiring part is whom to give it to next.”
Blake is manager of foodservice for Applegate, a new position focused on one of the latest companies to join Hormel Foods. He was awarded the company jersey while at a meeting with people from Princeton University. National Sales Manager Greg Hetfield had the honor of giving Blake the jersey.
“… There is no one else more deserving or competent to lead the Applegate® endeavor into the foodservice side of the business,” he said. “Blake is one of the smartest and hardest-working individuals in the business.”
Indeed, Blake has a history of keeping his eye on the prize. He was attracted to the company while finishing up his college courses. “I’ve always been interested in food and agriculture. Hormel Foods was a natural fit,” he says.
So, Blake inquired about positions and interviewed by phone, but he wasn’t hired.
He wanted to be part of Hormel Foods enough to keep trying until he got an in-person interview. That made the difference. Blake was offered the first of at least nine positions he’s now had with the company. Thirteen years later, he knows he was drawn to Hormel Foods for a reason.
“People make this a place you don’t want to leave,” he says.
Blake is one of the smartest and hardest-working individuals in the business.Greg Hetfield, National Sales Manager
Kaela Bemis is one of those people. She is Blake’s wife and a member of the legal department of Hormel Foods. She is also the mother of their two children, a 3-year-old daughter and newborn son.
When Blake and Kaela aren’t at work, they’re together with their kids, traveling or going to a park near their home in Austin, Minnesota. “We do a lot outside,” Blake says.
He also has an affinity for cooking and embraces the chore of preparing meals for the family of four. Blake dabbles with any number of cuisines, including Scandinavian, which honors his Norwegian roots. His daughter is old enough now to get in on the action. “It’s fun to be in the kitchen and fun to have a 3-year-old helping and asking questions.”
Blake’s job is another source of fulfillment. Bringing the line of Applegate® products into the company’s foodservice division is a tall order and one that makes him “excited to get up every day and come to work.” But there’s more.
“There are lots of things to sell, a lot of relationships. But if you take all that out, what really makes us successful is the people who are here. They’re hardworking and accountable; there’s natural passion.”