honoring excellence

As part of Willmar Poultry Group’s 75th Anniversary celebration, an Excellence Challenge was launched in January. The goal was to recognize employees who display the value of Excellence in their work on a regular basis and who have an uncompromising drive to be the best. A number of great nominations were received making the selections a tough choice. After careful deliberation, the following employees were selected by the leadership team for the top honors:


Andy Clark

Grand Prize
MinnWest Maintenance

If you’ve ever met Andy, you know he doesn’t stop moving for long. Nominated by Kristi DeGree, Andy was selected as the Grand Prize winner for the Excellence Challenge by the Senior Leadership Team.
An example Kristi gave in her nomination was from the time when, due to water issues at the Life Center, two large holes had to be dug in the floor just outside of IT. The project required Andy to make quite a bit of noise. One day, as Kristi was walking down the hall Andy stopped what he was doing, apologized for the noise and asked how her day was going.
This is the behavior Andy leads with on a daily basis. As the Grand Prize winner, Andy was awarded with a customized weekend getaway along with a tote bag full of 75th Anniversary branded items. Congratulations Andy on being recognized for the 75th Anniversary Excellence Challenge!



Luis Soto Santiago

2nd Place
Select Genetics – MN
Magnum Farm

Nominated for the Excellence Challenge by Craig Frederick, Luis has been with the company for 13 years. He has held multiple positions in various departments and has excelled in all. According to Craig, Luis is by nature a self-driven learner, and continued to learn every detail of running one of Select Genetics flagship breeder farms, Magnum farm.
Recently there was a need to fill a void in managing one of our largest breeder farms. Luis agreed to help Craig with the understanding that he knew he could help the farm and the company but was apprehensive about being a “boss” to the employees. Luis stepped in and immediately began to reorganize daily operations of bird management and health, utilizing his years of turkey experience.
Craig says, “It is a thrill for me to see such a great person as Luis use his talents, wisdom and dedication to positively affect so many others.” Congratulations Luis on being recognized for the 75th Anniversary Excellence Challenge!



Alejandro Ortega Hernandez

3rd Place
Select Genetics – MO
Vaccination Crew

Alejandro was nominated for the Excellence Challenge by Dale Johnson. In his nomination Dale stated, “He is organized, has an excellent quality of work, and will do anything he is tasked with without complaining.” Dale gave an example of a time when he had to go to North Carolina for a week for training. He needed someone bi-lingual and Alejandro agreed to take a full week away from his family to travel to North Carolina and ensure all employees understood the training they received.
Alejandro has led the vaccination crew for 4 years. He is willing to work weekends when needed and even adjust to night shifts in the summer when required. He comes to work every day smiling and keeps doing what is needed to get the job done.
Congratulations Alejandro on being recognized in the 75th Anniversary Excellence Challenge!