If your phone isn't ringing all day, every day, then something's not right

posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2016

If your phone isn’t ringing all day, every day, then something’s not right,” laughs Dave, when asked what his best advice is for a junior finishing supervisor working his or her way up to a finishing supervisor. “It can get hectic, so you have to stay focused and prioritize, and make sure you have a good balance of work and life.”

Dave—who earned a spot in the Top Ten Finishing Overall category in the SelectPride Program last year—is a finishing supervisor who has been with Iowa Select Farms for three years. Today, he oversees 20+ sites around the areas of Parkersburg, Clarksville and Allison.

“I see myself less as a supervisor and more as a cheerleader and supporter,” said Dave. “I give my managers as much help as possible—technical support, training and do everything I can to help them reach their targets. And sometimes it’s helping out at the farm or running after supplies, it’s whatever the managers need to be successful.”

Never met a stranger

“Dave’s never met a stranger,” said Ron, the senior supervisor for the eastern Iowa finishing region. “He’s one of the most personable guys I know. He shows up and helps his team regardless of what is going on in his own area, and has built great relationships with his managers because he cares about them. He wants to help make them better.”

“And there’s a team of us that work together to support each farm,” explains Dave. “I visit each site a minimum of four times in the first six weeks of the pigs being placed to walk the pens and observe each animal, and on one of those visits I’ll bring my supervisor or the site’s veterinarian with me so we have yet another set of eyes on the pigs.” Dave and his fellow supervisors also have a similar program for new feeder pigs placed—more visits early on to assess and verify the barn is comfortable and the animals are healthy.

piglet“As a system our increased focus on that first six weeks has really helped us identify any sickness, treat early and make sure the environment inside the barn is comfortable,” said Dave. “Dave has a drive and desire to improve and today he is a top ten supervisor quarter after quarter. He consistently has some of the lowest mortality numbers in my area,” said Ron.

When not doing early pig care visits, Dave is marketing pigs at his sites, which means visiting his barns that have 240-280 pound pigs and marking the heaviest ones, indicating they are the first to load to send to the packer. He’ll go back 3-4 times to identify more cuts, a job that takes a lot of skill and experience.

“Within my region we’re sending 3,500-4,000 pigs to market every week, getting us closer to our billion pound goal every day, it feels good to be contributing to the goal and pushing harder to get us there,” said Dave.

Helping people out

When asked what the most rewarding part of Dave’s job is, he said he finds the most satisfaction in helping people out. “I enjoy getting my stuff done but at the same time being able to lend a hand to others—all of my managers and my fellow supervisors,” said Dave. It’s good to know the tremendous amount of support that I have, but at the same time I’m passing it along to my team, it’s just how we get it all done.” ‪#‎billionpounds‬