Members of the Birko Corp. team accept their Supplier of the Year award from NAMI President and CEO Barry Carpenter.
ATLANTA – The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) gathered its members Jan. 30, during the first day of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE), to present industry awards at its Annual Awards Ceremony and Luncheon. The ceremony included NAMI’s Board of Directors, key industry leaders, representatives from packer and processor companies, and award nominees and their families.  In addition to various industry recognitions, NAMI also recognized various member companies for their environmental and safety achievements.


The crowd was entertained by Master of Ceremonies and Corporate Humorist Greg Schwen and Barry Carpenter, CEO and president of NAMI, and John Vatri, NAMI Chairman and vice president of operations at Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd. presented the awards.

The special recognition awards were:

The E. Floyd Forbes Award was presented to Ronald Miniat, Chairman of the Board for The Miniat Companies, in recognition of his years of dedication to the meat industry. Miniat is an entrepreneur with more than 60 years of experience in the meat and animal fats and oils industry. His company, now more than 100 years old now employs its fifth generation of family members. “Ron’s entrepreneurial spirit and decades-long dedication to the meat industry make him a deserving recipient,” according to NAMI.

“I’ve been blessed with a great family, wonderful friends and business associates and 800 dedicated employees and a flourishing business,” Miniat said upon receiving his award. “With this award I am going to lay claim to his [Lou Gehrig’s] title as the ‘luckiest man on the face of the earth.’”

The Harry L. Rudnick Educator’s Award was presented to Dr. Mark Festus Miller, professor and SALE Endowed Chair at Texas Tech Univ., in recognition for his work in the field of food and meat science for the past 35 years. “His pursuit of excellence in teaching, research and service activities allow his graduate and undergraduate students the best opportunity to learn,” NAMI said.

“We have the opportunity to work with the best and brightest young people in the industry,” Miller said when receiving his award.

David Miniat, CEO of The Miniat Companies, stands with his father, Ronald Miniat, Chairman of the Board after receiving the E. Floyd Forbes Award.
The Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education Scientific Achievement Award was presented to Stephen Quickert, senior manager for Food Safety and Scientific Affairs at Kraft Heniz Co. His professional achievements have had a significant contribution to the scientific knowledge of the meat and poultry industry. “He has provided invaluable scientific expertise to the meat industry for decades and has served on the Foundation’s Research Advisory Committee since its inception,” NAMI said. “His dedication to the industry makes him deserving of this award.”


NAMI’s Supplier of the Year was Henderson, Colorado-based Birko Corp. “For more than 60 years, Birko Corp. has brought solutions to protein processors to ensure safety of the products they deliver to their customers, and ultimately consumers,” NAMI said.

“I’d like to thank our customers and partners who we wouldn’t be here without,” said Mark Swanson, CEO of Birko Corp., upon accepting Birko’s award.

 In addition, a number of companies and plants were recognized with NAMI’s Worker Safety Recognition Awards and Environmental Recognition Awards.

The primary goal of the worker safety awards is to motivate companies to improve their worker safety performance through the implementation of safety and health programs at the plant levels in an effort to reduce injury and illness in the workplace.

According to NAMI, the environmental awards are given to companies “that go beyond environmental compliance by designing and successfully implementing an innovative plant upgrade or environmental program.”

NAMI’s environmental program is a “four-tier voluntary environmental management system toolbox, coupled with an awards program that ranges from simple to complex.” Companies awarded with Tier 1 recognition have a basic environmental program in place and those awarded with Tier 4 honors have completed an ISO 14001 environmental management system.