Osceola Food is seeing a changing of the guard, as one plant manager, John Hoag, moves on to new opportunities within the organization, a new leader with new opportunities takes his place.

john kempen osceola food plant manager

Welcome Osceola Food’s new plant manager, John Kempen

John Kempen has been part of the Hormel Foods family for almost thirty years, and is excited to bring his experience to Osceola Food. Fresh out of college in the early 90s, John took his first Hormel Foods job in Oklahoma City. From there, he managed two plants in the Twin Cities area before being promoted into various production supervisory roles and working as a product line operation manager in the world headquarters in Austin, Minnesota. Kempen comes to Osceola from his most recent position as the first plant manager at the newly acquired Fontanini Foods outside of Chicago, Illinois, and is looking forward to bringing the experiences he picked up from that post the Osceola plant.

“Osceola Food is the second-largest plant in the Hormel Foods network, and has a great relationship with the city and surrounding communities,” said Kempen. “John {Hoag} and his predecessors have done an excellent job building that support network and I’m ready to continue the longstanding Hormel Foods tradition of being a good neighbor in all our communities.”

With  the sale of a plant in Nebraska, Hormel Foods management chose Kempen to help with the transition of operations from there to Osceola Food. Adding staff and production, needs for the transition means increasing the current employment numbers at the Osceola plant from about 850 currently, to 950 or more, once all production and expansion has been integrated.

“We’re excited to see John join the Osceola Food team,” said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the Clarke County Development Corporation. “His expertise and focus on growth means great things for the entire community.”

Kempen is still settling into Osceola with his wife, Dawn, and their daughter, Payton, while his two grown sons build their lives in Indianola, IA and Memphis, TN. He’s already been working closely with city and county officials as well as Clarke County Hospital in this time of necessary precaution. His immediate goal has been to build on the proactive approach taken by Osceola Food in the face of COVID-19, ensuring that there are processes and preventive measures and systems in place to reduce the risk of transmission through the plant’s population.

“At every shift, we’ve been doing manual temperature checks, and just recently got the green light for a sustainable thermal imaging screening system,” said Kempen. “We’re working hard to mitigate risk through education and reinforcing safety protocol throughout the plant and our communities through our KEEP COVID OUT! initiative.”

Kempen is ready to step in for a smooth transition. Being a self-described ‘people-person’, Kempen is looking forward to getting to know the Osceola Food Team and working to make sure they feel supported and secure.

“People safety and food safety are the core beliefs at the heart of Hormel Foods and here at Osceola Food. Neither one can be compromised,” Kempen said. “As long as we keep that focus, we’ll continue to be successful and to grow the operation.”

If you have questions or would like to know more about Osceola Food, please contact John Kempen, Osceola Food’s Plant Manager at 1027 Warren Avenue, Osceola, IA 50213, phone: 641-342-8001, or email: [email protected]

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