NEW PRODUCT RELEASE
Burke introduces new coarse-ground sausage offering great flavor, texture and appearance.
Burke Corporation, leader in fully cooked meats and pizza toppings, is bringing out a great sausage to make your great pizza even better. It’s succulent and delicious like never before and its coarse ground nature will offer customers a firm texture and a better bite.
Patrons who taste this sausage love the eye-appeal of its toast points and authentic hand-pinched look. This exceptional taste and texture are available in two customer favorites:
Traditional Sweet Mild Italian – Whole fennel and black pepper
Spicy Italian – Whole fennel, black pepper, red pepper, garlic and paprika
Each is available in 4/oz. and 8/oz. sizes to give you options for coverage and appearance in your pizza creation.
Your passion for pizza is shared by Burke, and we offer more than 1,200 ways to create your pizza with fully cooked meat toppings – we’ll help you find just the right ones for your operation. And, with the addition of these great tasting sausages, your customers will have even more reasons to love your pizza. Also, your back of house will appreciate the time-savings and safety of toppings that are fully cooked.
We are excited to show off this sausage’s outstanding flavor, texture and appearance. If you would like to try this great sausage and boost your profits, visit us at http://www.BurkeCorp.com to request a sample.
“He was supportive and a wealth of knowledge,” said Jim Chittenden, Burke Process and Quality Control Manager.
“He was an expert, happy and caring,” said Toni Burnett, MT (ASCP) SM, Burke Lab Manager.
Both Chittenden and Burnett reported to John Olson before his retirement April 5, 2013, and agree that he was an exceptional boss, bringing expertise and a wily dash of fun to his position. They both talk about his philosophy of hiring good people and then “getting out of the way.”
Olson’s primary job was to direct, coordinate and monitor the quality assurance of Burke products and give customers technical assistance and now he’s retired from a company to which he has greatly contributed.
Olson earned a lot of respect throughout his 35 years in meat science and 25 years with Burke. “He had great knowledge of our products and the processes within the plant,” said Chittenden. “People would consult with him from many departments, and he often met with the primary leaders of the company,” said Burnett.
Olson is originally from Thor, Iowa, population 186. The name of his hometown hints at his Norwegian heritage, and with a management style in which he communicated clearly without ever having to raise his voice, he earned the nickname the “Norwegian Gentle Giant”.
Olson served in the U.S, Army and earned his master’s degree in meat science from Iowa State University, where he worked in the meat lab. He is a big fan of his alma mater. While at Burke, he often would conduct tailgate parties for employees before Cyclone games from an old station wagon with “wooden” sides that came to be known affectionately by many as the Pizza Wagon.
When he joined Burke Corporation in 1988, he brought experience from a variety of positions in the meat industry. Olson’s first job with Burke was in Research and Development, which had five people when he started and, with the advent of HACCP, has grown to 15 during his tenure. He is highly respected in the industry and is known for his knowledge in meat technology, technical services, quality control and production management.
Employees and customers looked up to Olson. According to Chittenden and Burnett, customers appreciated how Olson helped guide them through formulations, their situations, compliance issues and Certificates of Analysis. “He was a natural at customer service,” said Burnett.
Chittenden said, “John ascribed to one of Burke’s main precepts: People are the most important factor in our business.” He knew his employees and about their families. Many have become his friends. He was also a great supporter of employee birthday parties and made sure each celebrant wore the legendary hat with a candle on top that Olson would bring to the party.
Now retired, Olson is likely to continue his passion for gardening around his Ames home. His wife Helen has also recently retired, and they expect to travel together and spend time with their grandchildren. Meanwhile, none will be surprised if his passion for draft horses results in actual ownership of one. Then Olson can ride into the retirement sunset in a seat befitting the leadership he provided and the affection he harvested at Burke Corporation.
NEVADA, Iowa—Burke Corporation, leader in fully cooked meat toppings and ingredients, announced that Michael Dougherty has been hired as National Accounts Sales Manager. Dougherty’s primary role will be to oversee Burke’s national accounts as well as manage other customers who operate on a national level.
“Mike’s contribution to Burke will be integral for continuing customer satisfaction and building strong customer relationships,” said Doug Cooprider, Burke’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “His skills will be a key asset to Burke’s reputation for high quality customer service.”
Dougherty has over 20 years of experience in both the retail and foodservice channels. He has been a part of negotiating and securing new business, expanding his sales force and increasing business revenue and profitability. He has also successfully managed multi-million dollar accounts such as Schwan’s and Tyson Foodservice. Throughout his career, Dougherty has been committed to providing high-quality product while fostering personal and professional growth among customers and employees.
For more information about Burke fully cooked meat products, visit www.BurkeCorp.com/Products.
David Weber is the new president of Burke Corporation. He comes from a successful post as Hormel foodservice Southeast regional sales manager based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s bringing with him enthusiasm honed in sales, product management and sales management for Hormel, where he has worked for two decades. And he brings something else---a longtime affection for Burke.
“I was fortunate to work with the team at Burke in the late ‘90’s,” he said. “As Product Manager of pizza toppings, I was responsible for all marketing activities of the items Burke made for Hormel and the development of pepperoni for Burke. I’ve been both a customer of and supplier to this great company, so I know the selling propositions and understand what makes it strong.”
Weber said he admires the characteristics that make Burke great. “First, I respect the dedication and the devotion of the people here,” he said. “Second, we make outstanding, great-tasting products that are solutions for our customers. From our state-of-the-art bone elimination processes to our custom labeling expertise, we never leave a customer out on a limb. And, third, we’re known for outstanding customer relationships. This helps set us apart from our competition.”
“It’s obvious that the people at Burke understand what’s critical to our success and has been since its founding: As we help our customers grow, we also grow,” he said.
The youngest of eight, Weber grew up in a small town in Wisconsin where his father had a career in sales for Nestlé. Weber says he knew he wanted to be in the food business by the time he started college. He worked at restaurants, including Milwaukee-based Weissgerber’s, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a degree in hotel and restaurant management.
He and his wife Colleen have two sons, William, 15, and Andrew, 13. Because he has a tendency to be very dedicated to his work, Weber puts a priority on family time, especially family dinners. He’s an avid reader, follows sports, including the Green Bay Packers, and enjoys good food and cooking.
When it comes to what inspires him, Weber placed his parents at the top of his list of personal heroes. He is also inspired by famed homerun hitter Henry “Hank” Aaron, who began as a black player in the South and became one of the best baseball players of all time. “I admire him because of what he endured, what he achieved and how he stayed positive and humble throughout,” said Weber.
“The culture and work ethic here at Burke is very similar to Hormel--a family of hard-working, dedicated team members with a drive for continuous improvement and exceeding the results expected of them.” Weber said. “We are so fortunate here at Burke to have talented team members who help move our customers and company to ever-higher standards.”
Weber is a big believer in open, honest, direct communication. “I expect two-way communication, and I like feedback,” he said. “People will continue to have access to the top.”
Weber says his management style is high-energy. “Besides my strategic role, my job is to be supportive,” he said. “I’m here to remove obstacles so our team members can do their jobs. I look forward to working with everyone on the team.”
“My vision for Burke is to continue to be a premier supplier to the pizza segment and beyond,” he said. “We’ll build on our strengths, never forgetting what got us to the party. We need to maintain the base, but have the courage to explore new opportunities.”
Bill Burke says he’s not retiring. He’s transitioning. That response should surprise few who know the man who has been with Burke Corporation for 39 years, 26 of which have been in a leadership role for the company his parents founded.
As a child, Bill’s peers dreamed of becoming cowboys, astronauts and racecar drivers, but Bill said he was always interested in becoming a businessman. He got his start with a paper route at age 10. In frigid Iowa winters, he threw the papers from his bike, not from a heated car driven by his parents, as has become the habit of paperboys these days.
“I learned responsibility, the rewards of hard work and how a small patch of ice can change everything about your day,” he recalls.
As a student at Iowa State University, Bill’s areas of concentration were marketing, logistics and management. After graduating, he had promising opportunities with National Cash Register, Maytag, Arthur Anderson and Burke. He chose Burke.
“I’m not saying it was predestined that I work for the company, but it certainly was a good choice, especially considering the current states of the other three companies,” he said. “At Burke, we’ve been very fortunate to survive in a changing world, while the others have not fared as well.”
Bill credits his parents with some of the basic leadership tenets that have made his efforts at Burke so successful.
“From my father I learned what it meant to be responsible for something or someone, that continuing education is important and that you have to serve the people around you,” he said. “From my mother I learned to ‘pick yourself up and get back in the game.’ And I also learned early on that it was important to find and develop your own personal difference, the stuff that makes you stand out from everyone else.”
Perhaps he marketed those different and distinctive qualities to a college student named Sue, whom he met “at 10:30 on Friday, February 8, 1974, at the Cave Inn,” a college hangout. They married and have raised four daughters: the oldest, a former journalist and now a married mother of two; twins, who work in marketing and journalism in Denver; and the youngest, who is studying fine arts. He hopes he’s helped teach his daughters “commitment, character and the ability to find happiness.”
Bill has found happiness in both his family and a number of athletic pursuits---running, kickboxing, scuba diving and marginal (his words) golfing. He just returned from riding his Harley through the Canadian Rockies, and favorite in his travels has been Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman because “it’s serene, a vision, a feeling.” “There’s solitude and an opportunity for reflection there,” he said. “It is a place where you can focus on hopes and dreams and find your soul.”
Once his responsibilities at Burke conclude, Bill also plans to add pilot lessons and skydiving to his list of pastimes.
While he has made time over the years to enjoy some leisure, Bill’s focus on strengthening and growing Burke has been ever at the forefront. In the early 1970s, when he joined the company after college, Burke had one customer: Happy Joes. Bill’s job was to find the second customer, which he did. And since taking the helm, the company has grown fivefold under his leadership.
When asked about what most contributed to this growth, Bill said, “Few customers have ever left Burke. If they did, they were back in a very short time. I credit our culture of service, commitment to doing the right things as well as doing things right, and our pledge to “Always Make it Our Best.”
More specifically, “doing things right” meant moving from batch operations to continuous operation for the primary product line in 1986. “Couple that with technological improvements and the application of modern management techniques and great change was inevitable,” Bill said.
The company studied Deming, Covey, Goldratt and other business thought leaders to help put guidelines around behaviors and to develop scientific management principles and formalized problem-solving techniques. What they learned helped the company move from management-by-doing to management-by-directing to a final focus on management-by-systems.
“Today we have more people thinking for the company and guiding it at all levels of the process than ever before,” Bill said.
Bill calls this combination of technological improvements, new management methods and customer focus “a three-legged stool.” “We need all three for proper balance and support,” he said.
The quality of the company’s employees makes this theory work. Because Bill has held nearly every type of job in the company over the years, he has an appreciation for each one and credits the employees for the success the business has achieved.
“The company is not a one-man band and hasn’t been since my father was the only employee,” Bill said. “The name on the door is Burke, but the culture is made up of every employee in the company. The culture evolves with every person who joins us and every person who leaves. It’s that collection of people that makes our company unique.”
Bill said he’s always tried to hire people smarter than he is. “I like it when people know the business end of a shovel. You can teach skills, but you can’t teach integrity. I look for strength of character, insights, diagnostic ability, honesty and a good sense of themselves,” he said. “But character is number one.”
Bill says he’s most proud of the growth and development of the people in the company. “Burke’s success has rested in the hands of each employee since the day they joined,” he said. “Our customers have more people here thinking about their business than with any other company.”
After passing the torch, Bill said he’ll be doing three things: “First, I’m going to apologize and make up to my family for decades of never unplugging from business. Time at home or on vacation didn’t sever the cord. Second, I’ll concentrate on catching up on business investments and social connections. Third, I’ll continue support of several key philanthropic concerns.”
Bill is confident he is leaving the company with strong leadership and a new president who will be a good addition to a solid team. “The path is set,” he said. “We need to continue to touch our customers and support them with our best.”
Still, Bill’s says his retirement does not represent an abandonment of the company.
“I won’t be absent, ever,” he said. “I may be just sitting on the sidelines but my heart will always be in the game rooting the team on to success.”
In the end, Bill hopes that, through his involvement in the company, he has been able to make life better for both his employees and his customers.
“We have a special prize in this company,” he said, “and I am honored to have had the privilege of serving it for so many years.”
NEVADA, IA—Popular, kid-friendly menu items such as pizza, tacos and meatball pasta are easier with fully cooked meats and pizza toppings from Burke. Burke offers a range of flavor profiles, from Italian sausage to beef patty crumbles to turkey crumbles, so you can easily create a wide variety of menu items, including pizza, soups, salads and sandwiches.
The kitchen staff loves Burke too. Fully cooked IQF meats are safer than handling raw meat, they measure precisely, and meat equivalencies simplify the challenges of menu calculations.
K-12 food service directors face increased pressure to meet guidelines and budgets. Burke fully cooked meats can make the job easier while keeping students happy with their favorite foods.
For more information on how Burke fully cooked meats can rev up your school program, visit http://www.burkecorp.com/ChildNutrition.
NEVADA, Iowa—Burke Corporation, leader in fully cooked meat toppings and ingredients, announced that Tobey White has been hired as a Territory Sales Representative for Northern California.
“Tobey’s addition to the Burke team will strengthen customer relationships at the street level,” said Scott Miller, Burke’s National Sales Manager. “He will make an invaluable contribution to the customer service we pride ourselves on.”
White received his MA in Sport Management with an emphasis in Sales, Advertising and Marketing from the University of San Francisco. He has managed accounts such as Holiday Inn, Walmart, CVS and Walgreens. On top of his accomplishments in sales and customer service, White also has a significant number of athletic credits, including playing professional baseball in Europe with the Trnava Angels and coaching baseball at both the high school and college level.
For more information about Burke fully cooked meat products, visit www.BurkeCorp.com