“Arnie knows Results Matter, and he is not afraid to Speak Up,” says Andy Myers, alluding to two of the Cultural Beliefs that inform Hormel Foods workers. Andy, who serves as the plant manager of the Dan’s Prize facility in Long Prairie, Minn., explains why Arnie Lawin was named a Pride of the Jersey winner and given what Andy calls “the coveted jersey.”
For his part, Arnie sums it up more succinctly and humbly. “I’m an old farmer, so I’m a little more responsible maybe.”
As it turns out, both are correct. Arnie is all that and more.
A 17-year member of the Dan’s Prize team, Arnie is known throughout the plant as a problem solver, someone who will figure things out or find someone who can. “His leadership in the maintenance department is best-in-class throughout the facility,” Andy says.
Joining Dan’s Prize
Like a fair number of Hormel Foods employees, Arnie came to the company when his first career as a farmer left him short each month. The dairy farm he and his wife, Chris, were running was profitable, but it wasn’t enough, Arnie says. “In the mid-‘90s you either got bigger or got out.”
So, after seven years, Arnie joined the Dan’s Prize team. It was an obvious choice. He grew up on a dairy farm 3 miles from the plant, knew Vern Noland – a co-founder of Dan’s Prize – and even went to school with Vern’s wife. In addition to the stability he found at Dan’s Prize, Arnie soon learned he thrived on the spirit of teamwork he experienced. “When you get a team together, you can really think things through,” he says.
His leadership in the maintenance department is best-in-class throughout the facility.Andy Myers, Plant Manager at Dan’s Prize
As if that weren’t enough, Arnie and Chris discovered yet another benefit of his job change. They could leave their home to travel, something that wasn’t possible when they farmed for a living.
Thanks to Arnie’s schedule at the plant, Chris’ job as a microbiologist and a “little pop-up camper,” the Lawins took their children to places such as Washington, D.C., Canada, Oregon and Florida. These days, Arnie says they are more inclined to “jump on a plane” than set up camp, but the pop-up still serves its purpose. Arnie and Chris recently purchased land on which they intend to build their retirement home. They sometimes camp on it.
Farming is still in their blood and very much in the picture. They raise grass-fed Angus cattle, and are grateful to neighbors who lend a hand so Arnie and Chris can continue to travel. “Chris is a huge baseball fan, so we’ve gone to the Minnesota Twins spring training for the past few years,” Arnie says.
Closer to home are the three Lawin kids. They are grown and live in Sioux Falls, S.D., within a few blocks of each other. “They’re close,” Arnie says, a trait not uncommon in the farming community in which they were raised.
It’s a full and busy life, to be sure, but never so much so that Arnie isn’t giving his all to Hormel Foods.
“Numerous times over the past four years, Arnie has been called into the plant to get the Hormel® Fire Braised™ meats unit up and running,” Andy says. “He’ll drop what he’s doing at home and shows up ready to get to work.”