Gary J. Ray
Gary Ray was an integral member of the Hormel Foods Corporation for his entire professional career. After graduating from Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska, in 1968, Gary went to work for Hormel Foods at the Fort Dodge, Iowa, facility. He progressed quickly through several levels of supervisory positions within the Grocery Products and Meat Products areas. After 12 years in Fort Dodge, in 1980 he moved to the company’s corporate offices in Austin, Minnesota, to become production manager for the Grocery Products Division.
In 1985, Gary became the director of production for the Grocery Products Division in charge of manufacturing for all grocery product items. In 1986, he was promoted to Director of Manufacturing of the Operations Group. After serving two years in that position, he was promoted to Vice President of Manufacturing, and one year later, in 1989, was appointed Senior Vice President of the Operations Group. In 1990, Gary became group vice president of operations. He was named Executive Vice President of Operations in 1992 and subsequently appointed to Director of Hormel Foods. He served on the company’s board of directors for many years as well as Hormel’s Executive Committee and the board of the Hormel Foundation. His final position with the company was as President of Protein Businesses from July 26, 2007 until his retirement. He retired on December 31, 2008, with over 40 years’ service.
Gary’s personal dedication to philanthropic work and community engagement continued to be well-evidenced in his retirement. He served as Chair of the Hormel Foundation from 2011 to present and was a key proponent of the transformational Vision 2020 project. He was closely involved with two important expansions of the research work at the Hormel Institute, an undertaking which tripled the size of the institution and added more than 200 jobs to the community. He also led the Hormel Foundation’s expansion of Riverland Community College’s educational programs by means of the creation of the Center for Excellence in Agricultural Engineering and Technology. His civic leadership was further demonstrated by his work on the boards of the Hormel Institute, the Austin Medical Center, the Austin Country Club and the advisory board of Home Federal Savings Bank.
Gary and his wife Pat have a son and daughter. His contributions to the lasting vitality and community growth of Austin as a city are widely seen in the work of the civic organizations of which he was, and continues to be, such a vital participant and leader.