At HyLife, we are constantly Striving To Be The Best, showing our support in many ways, such as assisting individuals in need with yard work, donating non-perishable goods to the local food bank, or sponsoring an event.
Tom Seigfreid, CFO & Senior Director of Business Operations, has been an essential part of HyLife’s growth, both at our plant and in the community of Windom, MN. He recently sat down with the local paper to share his insight and landed a spot on the front page.
The Cottonwood County Citizen published the following article as part of a series that features all recipients of chamber awards at the Chamber Gala in November 2021.
Award winner puts customers, employees first
HyLife’s Windom plant has an annual payroll of roughly $60 million.
The HyLife officials who accepted the Exceptional Achievement Award at last fall’s Windom Chamber Gala didn’t need to say a word.
Happiness and appreciation were written all over their faces.
It isn’t often a company with one year of history in a community comes away with this award. This fact is not lost on Chief Financial Officer Tom Seigfreid and other HyLife leaders.
“We were thrilled about it and, at the same time, surprised,” Seigfreid said. “Reflecting and thinking about others who were nominated, any of those would have been an excellent recipient of the award.”
Now at 1,030 employees, HyLife is Windom’s largest employer. The plant is at the northeast edge of town.
The company started in Manitoba, Canada about 25 years ago, when two family farms joined forces to share their knowledge and passion to produce the best pigs.
Headquartered in La Broquerie, Manitoba, HyLife operates in the following locations: Windom, Neepawa and La Broquerie, Manitoba; Salvatierra, Mexico; Shanghai, China; and a sales office in Tokyo, Japan.
How does HyLife try to have an impact on Windom and the surrounding area?
To be engaged in the community has great meaning for us.
We are always looking for ways to support and be involved. Last year, we were involved in things like Riverfest, the county fair, Railroad Days in St. James, the Regatta in Worthington and other things.
The first big one we did was Riverfest in Windom. We had more than 200 employees, all in blue HyLife shirts. It was cool to see.
What is HyLife’s payroll locally?
Our compensation is in excess of $60 million per year.
What makes HyLife want to do so many good things locally?
One of our key things, going back to our mission statement, is that we take care of our employees, our customers and our communities that we live in.
The employees, our people, are a focus for us. Obviously customers are important, we need their business. The way to keep driving our business forward is to take care of customers by listening to their valued feedback.
What is HyLife’s local trucking impact?
Is is around 75 trucks per day.
That’s hogs coming in and product going out. And then there are the materials, the packaging material and other supplies.
What were your impressions of the Gala after seeing it for the first time?
The event is a celebration that comes together at the end of the year.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know the business owners and leaders of the community. It was a fun time.
Also, Tyann Marcy (executive director of the Chamber) does a good job. She is energetic and enthusiastic, a great ambassador for the city of Windom.
The We Care Team was a key addition at HyLife. Tell us about it.
The We Care Team was developed in June of last year.
It is a way to strengthen the relationship with our employees, a way to support them.
There are things that just naturally come up and with 1,000 employees, you can’t get to every employee every day. The We Care Team is a small group, six total, and they are easy to find – they’re wearing bright pink helmets and bright pink vests.
If you (as an employee) need help with something, or if there is information you need, or you have a question, the We Care Team can help. They can respond quickly, sometimes in just minutes and sometimes in a day or two.
It’s a team that helps resolve matters quickly. It has been greatly received by the employees. They are just thrilled to have that resource there.
I think this has helped employees realize their importance to the company and that we really do care about them as individuals.
In what ways do you see HyLife helping the community in the future?
We are going to continue to expand.
Our number of local employees has already grown. When HyLife started in Windom, our employee count was about half what it is today. We are able to double our number of employees and increase to two shifts.
We were able to warmly welcome 375 employees from Mexico as well as from the Philippines. That has helped us get to the fulfillment of two shifts and now there are plans to grow our business even more.
You will see some capital expenditures in 2022 and 2023 and we hope to also see an increase in capacity at the plant. We will also continue to support community through events and by bringing our We Care culture beyond the plant.
Editor’s note: This is part of a series on local Chamber award winners that were announced at the fall Chamber Gala.
As published in the Cottonwood County Citizen on March 9, 2022.