New Finishing Supervisor Achieves Four SelectPride Wins in 2018

posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2019

When Chawn McGrath moved to Riceville, Iowa, to become a finishing supervisor he never imagined he’d achieve the number one SelectPride spot—let alone four times in one year.

“Chawn uprooted his entire life, took on a new role and embraced it,” said Allen Whiley, director of grow-finish production. “I really appreciated him looking out for the company in that way. He’s never looked back and continues to impress us all.”

Chawn McGrath

In just his second year as a finishing supervisor, Chawn and his team of growers achieved first place in Quarters 1, 3, 4 and 2018 overall.

Those growers include Dean Runde, Carlos Flores, Ed Zimmerman, Mike Johnson, Corey Steere, Dave Wilde, Mike Main, Tanner Evans and Scott and Melinda Hammond.

“When we put a young person in a new community it can be a struggle,” admitted Allen. “But Riceville really embraced Chawn and gave him a place to call home. Our sow farm employees specifically made it a smooth transition for him. It’s just an example of how the company, whether you work on a sow farm or finisher, works together.”

A native of Ashland, Pennsylvania, Chawn is no stranger to change. He moved to the Midwest to pursue a degree in animal science at Iowa State University and was so drawn to the small town feel of Iowa he decided to stay, accepting a job offer from Iowa Select Farms.

“I started as a production well-being specialist traveling around assessing sites,” recalled Chawn. “I worked with farm managers, contractors and employees to make sure they were meeting our standards for animal care.”

After two years as production well-being specialist, Chawn transferred to the transportation department to help with dispatch, then managed load crews for a short period of time before becoming a finishing supervisor.

Chawn McGrath

“I guess for me it’s always just been about helping wherever I am needed,” said Chawn. “I try to think of every job as a new challenge. Each move made me both excited and nervous.”

In his current role as a finishing supervisor, Chawn oversees 27 farms. He supports ten contracted site managers to make sure their farms meet, and exceed, Iowa Select Farms’ standards. He is also responsible for the marketing at each site and ensuring all managers have necessary supplies.

“There was definitely a big learning curve with this job,” said Chawn. “While I love the independence it offers; it also requires me to have difficult conversations with some of my managers. They’re my friends, yes, but they’re also responsible for our pigs. When animals are involved, it’s their well-being above everything else.”

In addition to developing into a supervisor, Chawn also had to learn marketing hogs.

“I laugh because it’s just so stinking hard and there are guys that make it look easy,” he said. “The guys who do it really well impress the heck out of me. It takes a keen eye to mark the right pig at the right weight.”

Chawn McGrath

Chawn trained alongside finishing supervisor Loren Pudenz and assistant senior finishing supervisors Kevin Archer and Tom Boge to learn the fundamentals of marketing.

“Chawn has really taken ownership of the area,” said Tom. “He’s learned to use his resources, control the uncontrollable, ask for help when needed and most importantly, learn from his growers. They’re a great group.” 

Between his ten growers, Chawn’s team has more than 132 years of pig care experience.

“I rely on my managers and learn so much from them,” said Chawn. “They’re the ones that show up day-after-day to care for the sites. I wouldn’t be in the top spot without them.”

Congratulations on a great year Chawn, Dean, Carlos, Ed, Mike Johnson, Corey, Dave, Mike Main, Tanner, Scott and Melinda!