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The Best People

Mary Burich | March 25, 2019

People | Pride of the Jersey

HR is a natural fit for Judy Callahan

After 27 years with Hormel Foods, Judy Callahan is still inspired by the people she works with. The diverse workforce in the company’s flagship plant in Austin, Minn., is one of the many reasons she never thought about jumping ship.

Judy Callahan

“With diversity comes a lot of ideas and attitudes. I have so much fun learning from my coworkers,” she said.

Judy serves as the head of human resources for the plant, a role she’s held for the last five of her 20-plus years in human resources. Still, her job hasn’t become routine. “I love the variety of it,” she said. She also thrives on being a champion of the plant’s 1,800 team members, giving her all to making a difference in their personal and professional lives. So much so, in fact, she recently received the company’s Pride of the Jersey award.

“Judy works hard to make sure all of our employees are treated fairly, consistently and with respect, said Plant Manager Clint Walters. “These core values allow her to lead our plant and our team in a positive manner.”

Judy is an outstanding example of what the Pride of the Jersey represents.

Clint Walters, Austin Plant Manager

Like so many of her Hormel Foods team members – many of whom have come through Judy’s office – she signed on with the company upon completing her college degree. Nearly three decades later, she’s happy she did.

“Even though we’re a Fortune 300 company, Hormel Foods has a small, family feeling,” she said. Plenty of career opportunities and job security are also part of the deal. “I’ve been able to move and grow with one company. That’s rare,” she added.

Judy first learned about Hormel Foods during her senior year at the College of St. Benedict and Saint John’s University. Tom Brown, an on-campus recruiter and current director of employee benefits for Hormel Foods, presented a convincing case. So much so, a week after graduation, Judy had packed up her belongings and was heading to the Austin Plant as a production supervisor. She made the move to human resources in 1996 and held positions of increasing responsibility in California, Iowa and finally, back in Austin. The last move was a homecoming of sorts. Not only did Judy begin her career there, she was raised in Maple Lake, Minn., on a dairy farm little more than 100 miles away.

When she’s not at work, Judy likes to golf, exercise and spend time with family, including her two children, 23 and 21. Her drive to work is a mere 5 minutes long, a perfect distance for someone who feels a natural closeness to her company and its workers.

“Hormel Foods team members are dedicated, hardworking and caring,” she said. “Strong leadership has built this company.”

She is characteristically humble, but Clint isn’t reluctant to sing her praises.

“Judy is an outstanding example of what the Pride of the Jersey represents. Inspiring others, living our Cultural Beliefs and being a team player for all of us.”