Food Fella: Apple of their eye — Execs get new roles with Applegate Farms

(Editor’s Note: This story was published prior to the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing measures.)

Applegate Farms LLC, the stand-alone subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corp. based here in Bridgewater, announced that Jim Graham will assume the position of vice president of research & development and quality assurance and Joseph O’Connor will take on the role of vice president of sales and marketing.

Graham recently retired from Mondelez International, formerly Kraft Foods Global LLC, where he spent more than 30 years in research and development. O’Connor began his career with Hormel Foods in 2006. Both will report to John Ghingo, Applegate’s president.

“As we enter a new decade with strong headwinds facing the meat industry, I’m confident Jim and Joe’s expertise will inspire the Applegate team to relentlessly pursue smarter ways to fulfill the Applegate mission: Changing the Meat We Eat,” said Ghingo. “There’s a huge opportunity to help people understand that meat, raised right, is a vital part of the human experience and a healthy planet, and Jim and Joe will be instrumental in leading our efforts through product innovation, sales and marketing.”

At Mondelez, Graham held R&D leadership positions across many global divisions, including: North America, Global Coffee, Global Cheese and Dairy, Global Enhancer Brands and North American Meats. He brings R&D experience on global brands including Oreo, Ritz, Maxwell House, Kraft Cheese, Mac & Cheese, and Oscar Mayer. He holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Columbia University and an M.S. in chemical engineering from Manhattan College. Graham is a resident of Morristown, where he and his wife enjoy spending time with their three adult children.

O’Connor has held several positions in sales and sales strategy throughout his tenure at Hormel Foods. Most recently, he served as director of sales and managed the Hormel Foods Consumer Product Sales business in the Northeast. His other roles included analytics and category sales and management. O’Connor also led several special project assignments where he was tasked with managing cross-functional teams. O’Connor graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a degree in food marketing. He is still very active on campus representing Hormel Foods. O’Connor, his wife, also a St. Joseph’s University alum, and their young daughter will be relocating to New Jersey from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

I’d like to wish both men at Applegate much success as they take on their new roles to help strengthen the makers of the natural and organic meat brand.

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