Meat+Poultry - August 2018 - 20


Rupp worked at Tyson's
Dakota City, Nebraska,
beef plant from 2000-2012.
"I was very proud of what
we accomplished as a
team through my 12 years
at this facility," he says.

"I'm an old
school guy,
but it brings
me back to the
values I grew
up with. At
the end of the
day people just
want respect
and that's the
thing you've
got to give


anyone. One significant workplace difference
was that Rupp went from overseeing a non-union
plant in Kansas to a union plant in Nebraska.
But looking back, he says, "there are great
people here and you just have to get to know
them." He is thankful too, for the support of his
wife, Daneen, who dedicated herself to making
the transition for his family as seamless as
possible and continues to play a vital, behindthe-scenes role in Rupp's success.
In 2006, he became the plant manager in
Dakota City.
During the years working fulltime in Dakota
City, leaving in 2012 to work in the corporate
office of Tyson Fresh Meats in Dakota Dunes,
South Dakota, "I was very proud of what we
accomplished as a team through my 12 years at
this facility," he says.
Looking back at that era in the industry and
at that point in IBP's evolution, the business
structure was very much command and control
and falling in line was part of the expectations.
"I learned coming in that the meek didn't
survive," Rupp says.

IBP had a reputation for many years for being
a successful company because of the resiliency
and toughness of its leadership teams. That
reputation was established by the company's
iconic leader, Bob Peterson. Rupp adapted and
embraced the culture to ensure his long-term
success, including the stability and job security
he sought from day one.
Rupp says he learned plenty during those

MEAT+ POULTRY | 08.18 |

early years. When asked about the influence
of working under Peterson, he references
the principles of success often attributed to
him that he strives to live by. A copy of those
principles still hangs in Rupp's Dakota Dunes
office today. It reads:
"Truth. Be up front, blunt and clear. Take
a position. Lead don't follow. Be fair. Be firm.
Teach Don't tear down. Get to work early,
do something and then leave late. If you
don't care who gets the credit, you can go a
long way."
Rupp says in his role today, the "be blunt"
statement has been modified at Tyson to "be
candid," and it remains an essential principle
of his leadership style. He prides himself on
candidness with his team and believes they
are all clearly aware of where they stand
when it comes to meeting expectations and
their performance.
"I honestly think that if you're not candid
with people you are doing them a disservice,"
he says. "But the way you're candid with them
can make all the difference in the world."
The expansion of the cutting floor
at Dakota City is one of many crowning
achievements made by Rupp and his team
in 2006. He is proud of the finished product,
which is a 140,000-sq.-ft. fabrication floor
that combined three rooms and now
accommodates 1,100 workers per shift
working on one of the nine lines where daily
capacity is well over 7,000 head. At that time,
he was the plant manager. "That was my
passion for about four years," he says, and it
was indeed, a labor of love with an outcome
that is a source of pride for the company and
Rupp's team. "Between helping to design,
build and run it, I think we've come up with
one of the most modern cut floors in the
industry," he says.
Just after the renovation to the cut floor,
the harvest floor at Dakota City was started.
This massive undertaking involved building a
new slaughter floor at the plant, which began
operation in 2015. The investment pushed the
slaughter capacity from 4,800 head per day
to about 6,000 head. Early in that process,
in 2012, Rupp assumed his current position
at the corporate office and brought Jason
Poole to Dakota City to assume his previous
position and to see that project through to the
finish line.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - August 2018