Meat in­dus­try stal­wart re­flects on long in­nings

Countryman - - NEWS - Rueben Hale

Meat in­dus­try stal­wart Ron Penn re­mem­bers his achieve­ments af­ter an­nounc­ing he is step­ping down as Lin­ley Val­ley Pork gen­eral man­ager next year.

Mr Penn has al­ready handed the reins to the for­mer di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions at Ing­hams, Peter Spack­man, who will now be re­spon­si­ble for the turn-off of 4500 pigs at LVP’s Woorooloo abat­toir each week, and 90,000 pigs on the ground at any given time over the com­pany’s three breeder farms and eight con­tract grow­ing part­ner­ships.

Mr Penn joined the meat in­dus­try with Lee Bros Ex­port in 1962, fol­lowed by Derby In­dus­tries in Derby in 1971.

He worked in Dur­ban, South Africa, for Orchid Foods (Bull Brand), where he man­aged the can­nery, bon­ing and whole­sale op­er­a­tions for three years be­fore tak­ing a two-year con­tract with Botswana Meat Com­mis­sion as the bon­ing room su­per­vi­sor. He was pro­moted to as­sis­tant works man­ager af­ter six months.

In 1979, Mr Penn re­turned to WA with his fam­ily in 1979 and joined Metro Meats then Wat­son Foods, Prota Pet Meat be­fore join­ing Craig Mostyn in late 1998 and be­ing pro­moted to Lin­ley Val­ley site man­ager the next year.

Craig Mostyn Group chief ex­ec­u­tive Pa­trick Walsh said Mr Penn had been a quite achiever re­spon­si­ble for Lin­ley Val­ley’s ex­tra­or­di­nary growth.

“His suc­cess has been a com­bi­na­tion of grow­ing more pigs and over­see­ing sev­eral phases of crit­i­cally im­por­tant in­fra­struc­ture up­grades at the abat­toir over the years, which has al­lowed the busi­ness to ex­pand,” he said. “He has over­seen im­prove­ments to the man­u­fac­tur­ing lines and an­i­mal wel­fare, as well as value-adding with in­creased bon­ing room through­put.”

Mr Penn said he was proud of his lead­er­ship that drove the fledg­ling pork pro­ces­sor 18 years ago to be­come to­day the big­gest sup­plier of pork to Sin­ga­pore.

He said his vi­sion was to be the best pro­ducer of pork in Aus­tralia, through an­i­mal wel­fare, sup­ply and qual­ity. “When we started we were pro­cess­ing about 5000 pigs a month but in­creased that num­ber sub­stan­tially when we bought the Lin­ley Val­ley abat­toir from WAMMCO in 2002,” he said. “Last week, we pro­cessed more than 16,000 for the week. I be­lieve peo­ple like the WA prod­uct be­cause it con­forms to high an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards, is hor­mone free and free range.”

Mr Penn said he was also proud to have been able to as­sist chil­dren of the com­pany’s mi­grant work­ers.

“The 457 visa work­ers helped to make our busi­ness more com­pet­i­tive on world mar­kets, but an­other pos­i­tive out­come from that was many chil­dren ed­u­cated in WA while their par­ents worked for us are now en­ter­ing univer­sity to study for a va­ri­ety of pro­fes­sions,” he said.

Pic­ture: Pho­tog­ra­phy Project

Out­go­ing Lin­ley Val­ley Pork gen­eral man­ager Ron Penn.

Lin­ley Val­ley's 457 visa holder pro­gram helped many peo­ple from over­seas make a life in Aus­tralia as per­ma­nent res­i­dents.

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