Golden State Foods (GSF), one of the largest diversified suppliers to the foodservice and retail industries, announced its 22nd Annual Chairman’s Challenge Award, recognizing the company’s top facility team of 2021 for overall achievements in safety, quality, customer service, associate engagement, growth, innovation, and corporate social responsibility. As GSF celebrates its 75th Anniversary year, the Protein Products team in Opelika, Alabama earned Golden State Foods’ highest internal honor.

“With a keen focus on continuous improvement, our dedicated, values-driven associates in Opelika have demonstrated consistently exceptional results over the past year and have built upon their prior success in 2020, considering the many challenges and opportunities of these past few years,” says Mark Wetterau, chairman and chief executive officer, Golden State Foods. “What a special time to recognize our Protein Products business, as GSF’s enduring legacy began 75 years ago with our founding as a meat supplier providing quality service and products to our customers—just as this award-winning Opelika team continues to do today!”

During an awards ceremony held as part of GSF’s Partners’ Meeting in Southern California, Wetterau presented the Chairman’s Challenge Award to GSF Opelika and recognized the facility’s many accomplishments in 2021. These include improving year-over-year associate engagement; excelling in quality audits conducted internally, externally, and with customers; earning an industry safety award; maintaining active GSF Foundation associate participation and community involvement; effectively managing costs; achieving financial goals; innovating with new solutions to increase equipment efficiencies for customers; and supporting increased customer demand resulting from competitors’ supply chain challenges.

“In this special 75th Anniversary year for GSF, it is such an honor to bring the 2021 Chairman’s Challenge and Best in Class awards back to the Opelika team,” says Nathan Murphy, group vice president, operations – Protein Products. “I’m so proud of all that we accomplished together in 2021, building on our successful 2020 Best in Class Award that we received one year ago.”

In addition to the Chairman’s Challenge Award, the Opelika team earned GSF’s 2021 Quality Focus Award and an Associate Survey Award for Continuous Improvement in the 2022 survey conducted last month. GSF also presented its 10th annual “Best in Class” awards in four categories—comprising the finalists for Chairman’s Challenge—recognizing large facilities (Platinum Awards) and small facilities (Diamond Awards) in distribution and food processing.

The distribution category winners include last year’s Chairman’s Challenge Award honoree, QCD Orlando, for the 2021 “Best in Class” Platinum Award and QCD Phoenix, Arizona for the 2021 “Best in Class” Diamond Award. In the food processing categories, GSF’s Protein Products facility in Opelika won the “Best in Class” Platinum Award, and the company’s Produce Products team, GSF Fresh! China, earned the “Best in Class” Diamond Award.