An event that began as a grassroots effort between Human Resources and the associates ten years ago has grown to become a much-anticipated event at Perdue’s Milford plant. Perdue Diversity Day is an opportunity for associates to share information with others about their native country and culture with native dress, music and food.
“This has been going on at the Milford facility for ten years,” said Dean Walston, the Director of Operations for the Milford plant. “It actually began more as a talent show in the cafeteria with the associates dressing in native attire and it has evolved into an educational event.” Mr. Walston said that the educational information provided by the associates was very interesting and that they took a lot of pride in sharing the details of their country. He said there were around 12 countries represented.
Derk Mangum of the Human Resources Department said that the booths set up by employees in the large tent in the parking lot had been judged earlier in the day and that prizes for the best would be awarded later. He said that he was not part of the department ten years ago, so he is unclear about the history of the event. Mr. Walston was also unsure how the event began, but said that it was one that the employees were always excited to participate in.
Diversity Day is an event held primarily at the Milford location. Although other plants may have a similar event, they are not to the magnitude of that offered in Milford. The tent in the parking lot included displays with information on countries that included Korea, Dominican Republic, United States, Haiti and more. In addition, associates had samples of food from their country, as well as items that were unique to the culture. Many were dressed in native attire as well.
A DJ, who is also an associate at Perdue’s Milford plant, played music from many different cultures and associates were able to demonstrate some of the native dances performed in their country.
In addition to celebrating the diversity of associates, the plant was also celebrating the 20th anniversary of Perdue in Milford. Perdue took over the plant from Con-Agra in 1995 and, although Perdue has only been at the location for 20 years, the location has been a poultry processing company for many years. Mr. Walston said that one of their employees, who is 81 years old, has been working in the plant for a variety of poultry companies for 54 years.
“We enjoy that we are able to celebrate the diversity of our workforce along with being at this location for 20 years,” said Mr. Walston. “The industry has changed dramatically over the years and we are very pleased that we have not only thrived in Milford, we have grown tremendously as well.”