Reaching Our Billion Plus Goals: Gustavo Alvarez

posted on Sunday, March 4, 2018

“Throughout the 15 years that I have worked for Iowa Select Farms, I have learned that the only way to reach our goals and targets is to work together as a team,” said Gustavo Alvarez, Manager at Greenfield Sow Farm near Jewell. “And I’m not just talking about my employees. The support that we receive from other departments within the company play a huge role in helping us reach our production goals.”

Alvarez’s passion for swine production dates back to 1991 when he finished his studies at The University of Mexico. His entire career has been spent in the swine industry and although he’s seen many changes over the years, he thinks the success of Iowa Select Farms all has to do with the culture of the company.

“Our culture is very family-oriented. We work hard, take care of each other, our pigs and the communities where we work and live,” he said. “Last year when we set the goal to produce a billion pounds of pork I asked myself, ‘What can I do to help with this goal?’, but I knew deep down that the answer was by being a better leader.”

As a manager, one of Alvarez’s main goals was to work more closely with his coworkers to create a stronger team. To do this, he planned to have more frequent farm meetings, focus on teaching/revisiting important production practices and set farm goals to improve production in hopes of making it into the top ten of company Select Pride rankings.

“Unfortunately, we did not make it into the top ten this past year,” Alvarez said. “We had a lot of health issues and rotations of people that stopped us from reaching our goals. But, in the past four months I have changed my leadership style to be more proactive with my crew by working on teaching new concepts, transferring knowledge and coaching.”

Recent changes made in Alvarez’s leadership style at the farm have helped the team resolve problems more efficiently. He has even noticed an increase in happiness and production successes since implementing new practices, structure and training at the farm.

"Gustavo has been remarkable with some of the changes he’s made as a leader," said Mark Lee, supervisor at Greenfield. "I see it in his approach and in his crew every time I visit. I’m very proud of him and feel honored to have him as a colleague."

“Overall I think it has been a very successful year for me and my farm,” explained Alvarez. “We are one of three farms that help with supplemental training for employees and take a lot of pride in that. We help ensure new employees are well-prepared and go into their farms equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful. Producing a billion pounds of pork is no easy job, but together we reached our goal. Teamwork has been the key to our success.”