Hard Work Leads to Promotions for Tomas

posted on Friday, April 29, 2022

“Anyone in the company can grow as long as you put in the work,” said Tomas Hernandez, an Iowa Select Farms employee. “I started as a Caretaker, and now I am a Supervisor and can speak two languages. There is room for everyone to improve and make a difference at Iowa Select Farms.”

When Tomas joined the Iowa Select Farms team in April of 2015, he started as a caretaker, but he has worked his way up to a sow supervisor position in the past seven years. After receiving four successive promotions, Tomas now oversees six different sow farms.

At Iowa Select Farms, taking this path from an entry-level position to leadership isn’t uncommon.  


We are committed to providing an environment that promotes the growth and development of our employees through job training, internal promotion policies, annual reviews, performance assessment processes, and company-wide leadership programs. All employees are given opportunities to grow within the company. In fact, in 2021, 41% of promotions went to Latino employees, just like Tomas.

Growing up on a small farm in Mexico, Tomas has always understood the importance of hard work. That commitment to the animals and people around him has helped him rise through the ranks at Iowa Select Farms. In addition to his hard work inside the barn, Tomas has also dedicated himself to growth off the farm.

When he arrived in the U.S. on a TN visa, Tomas had extensive swine industry experience working on a 2,000 head pig farm in Mexico for three years as a heat check and artificial insemination (AI) specialist. However, despite all this animal-centered experience, Tomas faced a language barrier: he spoke very limited English.

Even with these challenges, when he saw an opportunity to take English classes after work, he jumped at the chance. As a result of that hard work, Tomas is now fluent in English, making communication in his new role much easier. In addition to his hard work and willingness to learn, Tomas attributes his success to the people around him.

“My supervisor, Dan Dean, helped me get to where I am today,” said Tomas. “He saw opportunities for me to train across departments and help other farms through health challenges. Even though it was difficult to get through, he helped me grow as a leader and a caretaker, giving me the chance to advance in my career.”

After experiencing the positive impact of leadership from others firsthand, Tomas decided to take on another leadership role – he was selected by Iowa Select Farms employees to serve on the PeopleCare Leadership Council.

This new leadership group was launched in 2021 as a result of our annual third-party engagement survey. At Iowa Select Farms, we prioritize employee feedback and provide opportunities to do so through this anonymous survey. In 2021, 80% of our employees participated with over 2,000 comments.

The PeopleCare Leadership Council is designed to be the voice of Iowa Select Farms’ employees and help with the recruitment and retention of our talented workforce. Tomas is thrilled to be one of 17 employee representatives serving on the council.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this leadership group,” said Tomas. “It is proof of just how far I’ve come during my time at Iowa Select Farms. I didn’t speak any English seven years ago, and now I use it daily to lead both on the farm as a sow supervisor and off the farm as a council member. I’m proud of how far I’ve come.”

Tomas has been an excellent addition to the Iowa Select Farms team, and we are fortunate to have him with us. Tomas’s family is everything; he says the motor behind his continuous drive to do his best every day is due to his wife, Tania Lizbeth Navarro and son, Santiago Hernandez.