Guy Lavalette was so busy thinking about his beloved Miami Dolphins that he nearly missed his own all-star moment. When the Hormel Foods Be Bold Tour stopped at Applegate earlier this year, Jim Snee mentioned he also has affinity for the NFL franchise. That got Guy thinking about exchanging stories about the likes of Dan Marino, Larry Csonka and the Miami Pound Machine with the company’s CEO – until John Ghingo, president of Applegate, took the stage. At that moment Guy said he went from a vision of playing catch and trading football stories to wondering why his boss was talking about him in a room jampacked with coworkers.
John began by asking audience members to remember how they felt the last time they had a technology issue. Then he did the big reveal, announcing Guy would wear the inaugural 2019 jersey at Applegate.
Guys is vice president of information technology at Applegate, a position he’s held for more than seven years. Receiving the jersey and the special honor of having it be the first in a new year came as a “complete surprise,” he said, adding, “It was awesome!”
Team members agreed, clapping, turning in their seats and waving noisemakers when Guy’s name was announced.
“Guy goes well beyond solving those tech crises we all encounter every day because he’s always asking the question of ‘What else can I do?,” especially when it comes to using technology at Applegate to make both work and life better and more productive,” John said.
I love Applegate. It’s a great company and a great culture. This is where I need to be.Guy Lavalette, vice president of information technology at Applegate
Guy has a long history in the technology field. He majored in computer science and management science in college and began his career at AT&T in 1987. Soon after he left the company for another opportunity, he gave a speech in Florida. Two colleagues approached him and asked him to think about joining them in the creation of a new company. Guy signed on, helped build the business for six years and then sold it. It was his favorite job – until Applegate.
“There was a family feeling,” he said. “When I walked into Applegate, it was the same feeling.”
Guy’s enthusiasm plays out in myriad ways, not the least of which is living out the Cultural Beliefs of Hormel Foods, Applegate’s parent company. John cited numerous examples, from the implementation of the Microsoft Office 365 platform at Applegate to the technology department’s book club, a lighthearted way of building the team.
“All of that is done with an extremely collaborative can-do attitude that is both infectious and inspiring,” John said.
Indeed, Guy is quick to point out that his success is due in large part to “the incredibly talented and engaged IT team and business partners” he has the “honor” of working with.
And though Guy gives his all to Applegate and Hormel Foods, family is first in his life. When he leaves the office, he makes a 75-mile drive from Bridgewater, N.J., to the Jersey Shore, where life is “peaceful and serene.” In addition to being a tennis buff and a fan of working out, Guy and his wife of 31 years enjoy walking, cycling, boating and spending time with their grown sons, 27 and 23. The shore is where he belongs, and he knows it.
The same can be said of Applegate.
“I love Applegate. It’s a great company and a great culture. This is where I need to be,” he said.