The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Scholarship Foundation in late June established the Ron Gustafson Scholarship, a $5,000 award honoring Scholarship Foundation Founding President and meat industry leader Ron Gustafson. Each year, the foundation awards scholarships to eligible sophomores, juniors and seniors attending accredited four-year colleges or universities who are enrolled in an approved animal, meat or food science degree or culinary arts program.
Gustafson currently serves as president and chairman of the board of Vernon, California-based Coast Packing Co., a supplier of animal fat shortenings. Gustafson played an integral role in building the company’s executive and management team, improving its facilities and modernizing production, says NAMI. He also previously served as a director of both the Western States Meat Association (WSMPA) and National Meat Association, a predecessor organization to NAMI.
Gustafson’s family has a long history in the meat industry. His grandfather, Anton Rieder, owned Coast Packing Co. and was a founding member of WSMPA.
“Through the establishment of the Ron Gustafson Scholarship, the NAMI Scholarship Foundation celebrates the unparalleled dedication and service of this industry pioneer,” said NAMI Scholarship Foundation President Mike Gangel, Birko-Chad Co. “Ron’s crucial role in building and strengthening the Scholarship Foundation has helped many bright future industry leaders achieve their academic and extracurricular goals.”
The NAMI Scholarship Foundation received nearly 70 applications for the 2018-2019 academic year. Eleven high-performing undergraduate students received a combined total of $55,000 to pursue degrees in animal, meat and food science, or in a culinary arts program for the 2017-2018 school year.
In addition to President Mike Gangel, the Scholarship Foundation Board of Directors includes Mike Satzow, North Country Smokehouse; Michael Strauss, industry consultant; Jimmy Maxey, Certified Meat Products; Gustafson; and Rosemary Mucklow, director emeritus of the NAMI.