25 Years in Osceola, Iowa
While many aspects of the plant have changed, such as the volume of supplies, number of team members and prices of supplies and equipment, a few things have stayed the same. Pat Thornburgh, purchasing manager; Sue Hamilton, industrial engineer clerk; Mark Hamilton, warehouse operator; Carol Tull, warehouse operator; and Brenda Byers, mechanical storeroom team member; have been at the Osceola Food plant since day one.
What today is known as Osceola Food, LLC, has been a part of the town’s history since 1972, when it was originally built for the Jimmy Dean Meat Company. Hormel Foods began production at the facility in 1996, having purchased it the year before. The facility is more than triple the size of its original footprint and covers more than 360,000 square feet. Osceola Food employs more than 900 team members and runs 24/7 continuous operations, producing a variety of products for foodservice and retail consumers.
These five inspired team members have stayed because Hormel Foods has taken care of them and their families, they say. When Byers was looking for work in 1996, she realized Hormel Foods offered great benefits and saw the opportunity as a great way to better herself. One of Thornburgh’s favorite memories was an ice cream party for a co-worker who had just returned after going through cancer treatments.
“It’s hard to believe that we have all been here since the beginning,” said Thornburgh. “We have become a tight-knit family.”
Tull lives over the border in Missouri and gets up at 2:30 a.m. to be ready to work at 5:30 a.m. She recalled driving down her drivewaythrough snowdrifts and keeping a close eye out for deer. The drive can be tough in the winter but while the group was chatting about her long drive, Sue Hamilton shared, “We’d be lost without,” and Tull replied, “I’d be lost without this place.”
“I wouldn’t be anywhere else. They feel like my family, my second family,” Sue Hamilton said. Before working for Osceola Food, she and her husband, Mark, drove four hours roundtrip to work in Des Moines, Iowa. Working at Osceola Food allowed the Hamiltons to spend more time with their family, something they both consider to be a blessing. “It’s hard to believe it has been 25 years,” she said.