“We’ve done expansion projects throughout my career but nothing of this magnitude. When you step back and think about it, it’s just amazing what people came together and accomplished.”
Kelley Hill is still pinching himself – so to speak – over the $140 million addition to Burke Corporation (Nevada, Iowa). He was one of the point people at the location throughout the project and – not accidentally – the team’s first 2021 recipient of the Pride of the Jersey award. The companywide honor was established in 2017 to recognize team members who embody Hormel Foods Cultural Beliefs in an extraordinary way. This year, it’s also being used to call out those who have been remarkable in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During this transition, Kelley led his teams to almost double in size. Many from the group were promoted into positions of greater responsibility, and all of his people showed exceptional dedication to our Cultural Beliefs as they rose to the challenge of training and mentoring the exceptionally large number of new teammates who were brought on board to fill the roles created with the expansion,” said Burke Corp. President Chad Randick. “Facing the challenges of COVID-19 during this time of aggressive growth, Kelley’s efforts to ramp up our safety protections for our team and our products made a measurable difference.”
Kelley’s efforts to ramp up our safety protections for our team and our products made a measurable difference.Burke Corp. President Chad Randick
Kelley, who serves as operations manager at Burke Corp., has been with the company for three decades. He’s known for many positive qualities, perhaps most of all his ability to work with people. That became especially important during the expansion.
“When COVID-19 hit, it brought a whole other level of complexity,” he says.
Kelley grew up in Missouri and began his career with another food company. After six years, he and his wife, Amy, moved to Iowa for her job. Kelley soon landed a position with Burke Corp., where he’s been ever since.
With two of their three grown sons living out on their own, Kelley and Amy are now finding time to pursue their passion for camping. The ability to kick back and relax is a blessing. Completing the expansion project on time and under budget required long hours and other sacrifices from Kelley and all of the team.
The jersey came as a welcome surprise, and Kelley didn’t hesitate to wear it on behalf of the team. However, he is quick to point out that he didn’t do this alone.
“It takes more than one individual to pull something like this off,” he says. “But that’s what makes it fun.”