Butterball Senior Veterinarian Dr. Eric Gonder received the Lamplighter Award recognizing individuals for “sustained and exemplary service” to the poultry industry. Gonder has been with Butterball for more than 30 years and is responsible for turkey health, animal care and well-being and live operations disaster response.
“Eric has devoted his life to the turkey industry and is always the first to provide educated counsel and expertise on industry issues,” said Alice Johnson, SVP of food safety and animal care and well-being. “He is a tremendous asset to the Butterball team, and this award is a testament to his service in the poultry industry.”
In addition to his role as senior veterinarian at Butterball, Gonder also serves as the chair of the National Turkey Federation’s Turkey Health and Welfare Subcommittee, past chair of the General Conference Committee of the National Poultry Improvement Plan, and adjunct professor in the Population Health and Pathobiology Department at North Carolina State University (NCSU), College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). He is a frequent guest lecturer for the Prestage Department of Poultry Science at NCSU and has been instrumental on several NCSU CVM faculty search committees to help attract quality candidates for the college.
Gonder received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Iowa State University, master’s degree in avian microbiology from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate in pathology and poultry science from NCSU.
Two employees were recognized by IPPE’s “30 Under 30” program for their professional leadership qualities within the meat and
poultry manufacturing industry:
Jeff Niedermeyer joined Butterball in 2019 as a quality assurance lab manager. He is responsible for assisting in the development and maintenance of laboratory and microbiological programs, chemical and microbial analyses, and product and environmental monitoring.
Additionally, he provides leadership to plant, lab and personnel to assure that internal and external product specifications are achieved and maintained. Niedermeyer is a graduate of the University of Toledo with a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in organismal biology and ecology. He came to Butterball after managing a BSL2 foodborne pathogens research laboratory in NCSU’s department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences.
Coltin Caraway joined Butterball in 2018 as a nutritionist, responsible for the development, implementation and support of feeding programs for all Butterball turkeys. He provides technical expertise in the formulation of feeds, compliance with government feed regulations and identification of factors relating to feed performance. Caraway has a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in poultry science and a doctorate in poultry science and nutrition, both from NCSU.
“We put an emphasis on attracting and retaining top young talent at Butterball, as we know this is critical to the company’s future success,” said Ron Tomaszewski, VP of human resources. “We are very fortunate to have exceptional talent of the caliber that Jeff and Coltin bring to our team, but it’s really special to have that recognized by your industry peers as well.”
In addition to recognizing professional leadership qualities, the “30 Under 30” program provides education to further industry training and offers visibility into the latest technology used in the industry.
Headquartered in Garner, North Carolina, Butterball is the largest producer of turkey products in the U.S., producing more than 1 billion pounds of turkey each year. For more than 60 years, the company has provided foodservice and retail products to customers and consumers around the world. Butterball products are currently distributed throughout the U.S. and in more than 45 countries. Butterball operates six processing plants located in North Carolina, Arkansas and Missouri.