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Telling it Like it Is

Mary Burich | May 14, 2018

People | Pride of the Jersey

Ron Rhead: quiet and humble but never afraid to speak up

“I guess they think I do a pretty good job for the company,” says Ron Rhead, an unassuming and reliable Hormel Foods worker whom others characterize as a “go-to guy” at the company’s Beloit (Wis.) Plant.

Ron Rhead

Not only did Ron receive the first official 2018 Pride of the Jersey award – just about the highest honor there is inside the company – he was honored at the Beloit road show by Chairman, President and CEO Jim Snee and Plant Manager Scott Ramlo, as Ron’s wife, daughters and granddaughter hid out in the audience.

“They usually don’t keep that many secrets,” Ron laughs. “But they pulled this one off.”

Ron’s Journey to Beloit

Ron grew up in Beloit and came to work at the plant 28 years ago. He is stunned sometimes by the sheer length of time he’s been a Hormel Foods employee and has a rock-solid explanation for why his third job out of school became the one he’ll long remember and be remembered for.

“It’s a great company to work for, and I like my job,” he says. “Time goes really fast, and if you enjoy what you do, it goes that much faster.”

According to Scott, what Ron does is to point out what’s wrong, and more often than not, he finds a way to help fix it.

“Ron’s not afraid to speak up and tell us like it is,” he says. “He always becomes part of the solution and is tireless in troubleshooting equipment issues.” A master craftsman, he’s an expert in the pack and labeling area at the plant and also for Hormel Foods in general. “He’s traveled to other company locations to help them with equipment challenges,” Scott adds.

By his own admission, Ron is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hunting and fishing. And because he and his wife, Yvonne, “live in the timber,” there is always wood to cut. At work and at home, he stays busy, and that’s not a bad thing, he maintains.

“If you’re doing your job correctly, you’re always busy,” he says.

Outside of Work

Ron and Yvonne live west of Beloit. Their two daughters and their families – including three grandkids – are within 15 miles. That gives the Rhead clan plenty of opportunities to be together and share special occasions.

It makes sense. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Ron?

“He’s a humble guy and one of the most positive people I know,” Scott says. “He always asks, ‘What else can I do?’”

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