VERNON, Calif. – The North American Meat Institute has announced the establishment of The Ron Gustafson Scholarship. The $5,000 award honors Gustafson, president and chairman of Coast Packing Co., for his service to both the industry and NAMI and provides funds to eligible sophomores, juniors and seniors attending accredited four-year colleges or universities who are enrolled in an approved animal, meat or food science degree or culinary arts program.

NAMI reviewed about 70 applicants for the 2018-2019 academic year. For the 2017-2018 school year, 11 of the top performing undergraduates pursuing degrees in animal, meat and food science, or in a culinary arts program received a combined total of $55,000.

Gustafson serves as President Emeritus of the NAMI Scholarship Foundation and has served as a director of both the Western States Meat Packers Association (WSMPA) and National Meat Association, a predecessor organization to NAMI. Gustafson’s family has been in the meat industry for multiple generations starting with packing and evolving into one of the largest suppliers of animal fat shortenings in the Western US. His grandfather, Anton Rieder, owned Coast Packing and was a founding member of WSMPA. His son Eric currently serves as Coast’s CEO and is on NAMI’s executive board and board of directors.  

“Through the establishment of the Ron Gustafson Scholarship, the NAMI Scholarship Foundation celebrates the unparalleled dedication and service of this industry pioneer,” said NAMI Scholarship Foundation President Mike Gangel.  “Ron’s crucial role in building and strengthening the Scholarship Foundation has helped many bright future industry leaders achieve their academic and extracurricular goals.”

Gustafson holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology from California State Univ., Los Angeles, an MBA from Pepperdine Univ., was a CAP mentor at the Univ. of Southern California Marshall School of Business for 18 years and served in the US Army during the Vietnam War. He is treasurer of the Jonathan Heritage Foundation, the Los Angeles Railroad Historical Foundation and the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society. 

“I could not be more proud of the accomplishments of the NAMI Scholarship Foundation, the student recipients of foundation grants, and the industry for making this kind of commitment to our next generation of leaders,” Gustafson said.  “I am deeply moved by the honor and humbled by the kindness and support of the NAMI organization.”

Read more about Coast Packing in the September issue of MEAT+POULTRY