Meat+Poultry - July 2020 - 40

COVER STORY

"I've been really
fortunate to
have a solid
team around me
throughout the
company."
- GARY MALENKE

At that point, Sioux Preme made the decision to look to the niche market. To succeed in niche marketing with pork, everyone involved needed
to believe customers would recognize a premium pork product rather than
continuing to view all pork as pork. Malenke said looking at the decision
to move to a niche product and marketplace in retrospect might appear to
be a calculated move based on foresight but came just as much out of the
necessity to survive.
"In 1998, we really got into the custom processing side in a meaningful
way," he said. "We had tipped our toe into it a little bit before that, but it
was really about that time in the season of the company that we said 'hey,
we've got to do something different.'"
This time period also marked Malenke's second move from sales to
operations. Through the late '90s and early 2000s he worked in operations
and with the rest of the executive staff to establish Sioux Preme as a staple
in the premium pork processing arena, and in 2002, the company named
Malenke president of Sioux Preme Packing Co.
Because Malenke progressed first through procurement and then
through sales and into operations, when the time came for Sioux Preme to
pivot its business model, he possessed the experience and understanding
of the pork business to not only survive the change but develop the
business and thrive.
"I was selling commodity meat and managing custom processing
customers," Malenke said. "Not selling a product but a service, while
managing the operational side of what we could do for that customer.
We asked questions like, 'How do you charge for your services and how
do you make sure that you're getting fairly compensated? How do you
make sure you're keeping your customers competitive in the business and
growing together?'"
Malenke and Sioux Preme jumped into the niche business head-first
and didn't look back.
"You either needed to be in the niche selling business and not
associated with a commodity business, or you're in the commodity


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Meat+Poultry - July 2020

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