Perched on the hillside at the intersection of S University Dr. and Martin Luther King Blvd. is Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, a powerhouse employer in the community with a name recognized around the world.
This Nacogdoches 200-acre complex employs more than 1,500 with a $62 million annual payroll. The facility is part of a leading global poultry and prepared foods company, and the Nacogdoches location produces 11-million pounds of finished product every week that is shipped to numerous domestic and international customers.
“The complex has two hatcheries, two feed mills, two truck shops in addition to the processing plant,” said Complex Manager Johnny Tubbs. “The complex was built in the 1970s, then Bo Pilgrim acquired the property in 1997 for Pilgrim’s Pride, and in 2009, Pilgrim’s joined the JBS Company.”
In order to meet the production demands and high-level of operations, the area is a continuous buzz of activities, 24 hours, seven days a week, and the quality of care and support for the team members is never lacking. In fact, the well-being of all employees and their families is a high priority.
“It’s a tight-knit complex. We understand the impact we have on each other and the community,” he described. “We operate in a family atmosphere, and there are several things we do at the facility to make sure that we can take care of all. We have a medical team on staff to offer assistance and resources to the different needs of our team members. We also have a chaplain service so we can provide that direction when needed.”
The majority of team members are residents of Nacogdoches County. There is a draw from other areas within a 60-mile radius, but with the majority being locals, the Nacogdoches complex is proud to acknowledge a great community benefit they produce is reinvesting in our local businesses.
Pilgrim’s makes additional investments in our community through involvement in a variety of programs, recognizing that their team members’ families are the recipients of a positive return.
“We are very active with the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, sponsoring the Texas Blueberry Festival’s 5K run, the Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet and the chamber’s education programs,” Tubbs said. “Having a presence in the community is important to Pilgrim’s. We’re involved in the Nacogdoches Area United Way as a top campaign contributor and sponsor for the annual Turkey Trot and the Do Dat Barbecue. Our youth are important to us, and we support the Boys and Girls Clubs’ programs.”
The company is a member of the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation. Pilgrim’s sponsors local youth sports teams, SFA Athletics, the Nacogdoches Jaycee’s Haunted House, Junior Forum’s Holiday in the Pines, Nacogdoches High School’s FFA program and Christ Episcopal School’s programs. Each year, Pilgrim’s is involved in the Nacogdoches County Fair and is a Grand Champion buyer.
“Last Thanksgiving, we had a unique opportunity for giving back to the community,” he said. “The facility went through an extensive renovation that required a temporary shutdown. To make sure that we could provide for team members, we offered them the opportunity to volunteer within the City. We worked very closely with the City staff, and we cleaned up parks, cemeteries and other City facilities. It was one thing to have the City members thank us for what we had done, but another to see the sense of accomplishment from our team members. Knowing that they were providing a service to make somebody’s life better was very exciting to us, and we look forward to working again with the City.”
Others in the region have benefited from Pilgrim’s contributions during recent disaster relief efforts.
“To me, it’s an honor and a privilege to work for a company that is in relentless pursuit to make their vision a reality day in and day out, to be the best and most respected company in our industry,” Tubbs said. “Providing a better future for our team members and their families is the reason we aim to be the best, and that is exciting to me.”
For the ongoing, positive impacts and contributions made in the local economy and for our community, the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce board of directors has named Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation Large Business of the Year, a Gary Justice Business Excellence Award sponsored by R & K Distributors, Inc.
Pilgrim’s will be honored at the 98th Annual Meeting & Membership Banquet on Sept. 24 at The Fredonia Hotel and Convention Center. Sponsorships and tickets are available. Contact the chamber of commerce for more information, 936-560-5533.
Dana Mach is an intern at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce and a student at Stephen F. Austin State University.