ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. – Jay Wenther, Ph.D., has announced he is stepping down as executive director of the American Association of Meat Processors, a role he took over in 2007 after the retirement of Steve Krut. His career with AAMP began in 2003, as director of science and technology.

In his letter of resignation, Wenther said his decision to resign came after he was presented with an opportunity to “get back into the processing aspect of the meat industry,” not because of unhappiness with his career at AAMP. Wenther said no formal transition was in place, but that Krut, former AAMP executive director and author of Meat&Poultry’s monthly “Small Business Matters” feature, will help the AAMP board of directors conduct a search for the next executive director.

“After nearly a decade at AAMP, I have truly enjoyed working with the members of the staff at the Association,” Wenther wrote. “I have made many friends and long-lasting relationships with many members. I have appreciated all of the encouragement and opportunities to learn so much about the regulatory aspects of the meat industry and small business. My experiences have enhanced my personal growth and taught me many skills that will help me in my future endeavors.”

Krut said Wenther brought a new level of expertise to AAMP that focused on production concerns and helping individual plants "meet the ever-changing and sometimes overwhelming regulatory demands thrust upon them". Wenther also brought the association to new levels of financial stability and "was the ultimate manager for member services", Krut said.

"While the search for a successor will be dynamic and time-consuming to assure the Association membership on continued quality service, Jay has left the AAMP membership with many food safety resources and newly developed resources such as applicable validation programs that will be released in the upcoming months and will create a demand for this information that is available through no other organization.

"Jay is leaving at “the top of his game” and will be greatly missed. But his dedicated body of work he has brought to AAMP and the industry will help sustain AAMP and the industry for many years to come.  His is a legacy that has exceeded all expectations," Krut added.