Bill Hannaford

From left to right: Larry Vorpahl, Kurt Mueller, Tom Day

Three UW-Eau Claire Grads at the Top of Hormel Foods

By Kevan Deuster

UW-Eau Claire and Hormel Foods, located in Austin, MN, have always had a great relationship. Currently over thirty Eau Claire graduates work at Hormel Foods; among these alumni are Kurt Mueller, Tom Day, and Larry Vorpahl.

All three men began their careers at Hormel in sales over twenty years ago. Today, they are vice presidents of the Fortune 500 Company. Mueller is vice president of Consumer Product Sales. Day is vice president of Foodservice Sales. Vorpahl is group vice president for Hormel Foods Corporation, and president of the Consumer Product Sales Company.

Mueller, Day and Vorphal believe UW-Eau Claire gave them the preparation they needed to build strong and lasting careers at Hormel. "The atmosphere at UW-Eau Claire and Hormel are very similar," says Mueller, "This made the transition from college and into the working world fairly easy." Day explains that "Both UW-Eau Claire and Hormel Foods are results driven organizations that focus on excellence." According to Day the similarities do not end there. He jokingly mentions that both UW-Eau Claire and SPAM, one of Hormel Foods most popular products, feature the same blue and gold colors.

"Both UW-Eau Claire and Hormel Foods are results driven organizations that focus on excellence."

Tom Day

Many things have changed since the men graduated from UW-Eau Claire. Perhaps the greatest change has been technology. Because they felt it was important for Eau Claire students to learn how to use the same technology they will encounter in the workforce, Mueller, Day and Vorphal were instrumental in securing corporate support for the Hormel Team Lab, a COB lab where students use the latest technology to work on group projects. "Hormel understands the value of teamwork because we use it to accomplish most initiatives within our company," says Mueller. 

Thanks to the three alums, Hormel will co-sponsor the UW-Eau Claire Sales Competition, an event that brings outstanding marketing students from the Midwest to Eau Claire to test and enhance their sales skills. The first competition will be held November 2007.

In recognition of Hormel's support of the Hormel Team Lab and the UW-Eau Claire Sales Competition, the corporation will be recognized by the college during Homecoming week. The event will be held October 6 at 11:00 am in Schofield Auditorium. Students are invited to attend this event.

Rarely do three vice presidents of a Fortune 500 Company come from the same college. Kurt Mueller, Tom Day, and Larry Vorpahl are great examples of how hard work, recognition, and graduating from a great college like UW-Eau Claire can benefit your career.

Kevan Deuster Kevan Deuster, is a senior marketing student from Green Bay, WI. He wrote this article as part of a BCOM 306 class project.

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