Why Do Quality Programs Become Complacent, and What Can We Do About It?

  • Seeking the root causes behind why quality management programs often lose their efficacy over time
  • Proving that quality assurance and quality management programming only works if it starts from the top while building from the bottom
  • Demonstrating that improvements and positive change over time is made through evolution, not revolution
  • Incorporating these truths into project planning and workforce development thinking

Richard A. Carlson is vice president of quality management for Hormel Foods and is responsible for overseeing company quality, plant regulatory and food safety activities.

In 1990, Carlson began his career with Hormel Foods as quality and process control engineer at the Austin Plant. He has held quality assurance and production management positions at the Stockton (Calif.) Plant, Owatonna (Minn.) facility and at Jennie-O Turkey Store Willmar, Minn. In 2000, he was named director of quality assurance at Jennie-O Turkey Store and assumed the position of vice president of quality management at Jennie-O Turkey Store in 2010. He moved to the Corporate Office in Austin, Minn., and became vice president of quality management at Hormel Foods in 2014.

Carlson graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science and is active with his church and local theater and arts and lives in Austin, Minn.

Carlson has been very involved in the meat and poultry industry. From 1998-2002, he was the Chairman of the Willmar Area Quality Council. He has been a member of the Technical and Regulatory Committee for the National Turkey Federation and served as the committee chairman from 2003-2004. In 2003, Carlson was named a Meat Processing Magazine “Rising Star.” Carlson is a two-time recipient of the Chairman’s Inner Circle award for Hormel Foods.

Carlson currently lives in Austin, MN with his wife Laura and two daughters, Emily and Elizabeth.