2022 AMVC Awards: Celebrating Our People, Passion, and Purpose

2022 AMVC Award Winners

posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 in Central Region News

AMVC Management Services recently celebrated the 4th Annual AMVC Awards Ceremony at The River Center in Des Moines, Iowa. After fellowship and dinner, seven award winners were recognized who embody the AMVC core values of integrity, passion, professionalism, fairness, and commitment in all they do.

Dr. Jason Hocker, AMVC managing partner of strategic accounts, began the awards ceremony by commending AMVC employees for their dedication and contributions. “Our farm managers and farm team members oversee the daily care and management of more than 150,500 sows and are at the core of the AMVC business. AMVC Management, Nutritional Services, Swine Health Services, and Vet Services employees provide outstanding support and expertise to all farms and clients throughout AMVC. Without our employees, we would not be the business we are today,” commented Dr. Jason Hocker.

AMVC received 100 nominations for 63 different individuals throughout the AMVC system. Nominations were reviewed, scored, and selected by third-party judges from the National Pork Board office.

Rookie of the Year

This award is presented to an individual who is new to the company and is already making a difference. The 2022 Rookie of the Year recipient is Esmeralda Lopez, Sterling, Mt. Sterling, OH.

Esmeralda has been instrumental in helping improve production on her farm. She took over the primary responsibility of choring the gestation pens and is diligent in her daily routine of assessing sow health and treating animals promptly. She is receptive to new ideas for improving animal health and looks to improve performance in every aspect of the barn. Her passion for pigs and consistent implementation of best practices have positively influenced new employees and helped her farm improve production.

Swine Specialist of the Year

This award is presented to a swine specialist who has been with AMVC for over one year and exhibits an internal passion for swine production. The 2022 Swine Specialist of the Year recipient is Dante Ortega, Round Barn, Rochester, IN.

Dante always puts animal care first and helps train others on-farm. From feeding and treating sows to rodent control and barn maintenance, he works with others at the farm to ensure all tasks are done in a timely manner to keep the animals comfortable and the barn running smoothly. He also manages the farm’s compost and set up a training seminar for all farm employees to help them understand the proper composting protocols. He is someone at the farm that people look up to and rely on because he does everything with integrity and passion.

Rising Star Award

This award is presented to an individual who holds an assistant manager or department lead position. The 2022 Rising Star Award recipient is Victor Ventura, Cheyenne Pork, Milesville, SD.

Victor goes above and beyond to find solutions to challenges around the farm. He recently took time to shadow another manager to gain a better understanding of how daily production practices can influence pig survivability. Before his time away from the farm, he made time to train his team members, increasing their understanding of day-to-day operations. He stayed in constant communication with the team to offer support and guidance.

Manager of the Year Award

This award is presented to a farm manager who has demonstrated excellence in production, continuously strives for improvement, and is passionate about raising pigs. The 2022 Manager of the Year recipient is Matt Pitts, Broadview, Greenfield, OH.

Matt led his farm to the highest production ever, weaning 15% more pigs year to date. Before he became the manager at his farm, production and team morale were lacking. His dedication to the success of the farm and team has helped create a culture where people want to come to work. In addition to being committed to the farm and AMVC, he is committed to his community, helping with his volunteer fire company and his son’s athletic and school organizations.

Legacy Award

The Legacy award is presented to an employee who has dedicated ten or more years to AMVC, adapts to change, welcomes innovation, and demonstrates outstanding leadership. The 2022 Legacy Award recipient is Dr. Michelle Sprague, veterinarian and partner, AMVC Management Services.

Over her seventeen years with AMVC, Michelle has brought consistency to the organization and developed trust with everyone she works with. When implementing changes and working through challenges, she listens to others, asks for input, reaches out to those who might be hesitant, and becomes a driving force in implementing better production practices. As changes are made, she communicates will all those impacted to ensure the entire team moves forward with one purpose.

Golden Pig Award

This award recognizes an internal employee who provides outstanding service to AMVC’s managed farms, coaches farm employees, finds solutions to difficult challenges and goes the extra mile for the farm. The nominations for this award come from farm employees. The 2022 Golden Pig recipient is Margarita Zuniga, Safety Coordinator, AMVC Management Services.

Margarita loves to train and share her knowledge with others. As a former swine specialist, she understands all the responsibilities of the role and works closely with farms to implement safe practices. Her bilingual skill set pulls her into many projects outside her regular duties, and she is always willing to jump in and help where she can. Margarita takes every opportunity to help during a barn visit when there may be a language barrier between team members.

Impact Award

This award recognizes an individual who has positively impacted their department, the company, and the community. The 2022 Impact Award recipient is Lupe Saldana, Human Resources Recruiter, AMVC Management Services.

Lupe positively impacts AMVC’s company culture by going above and beyond her responsibilities daily. She really shines in problem-solving and works hard to find out-of-the-box solutions that are fair to the company and employees. She has been a great advocate for AMVC, helping promote the company in her community.

“We are surrounded by such talented people. Our employees’ contributions throughout the past year are vital to the success of AMVC as a whole,” remarked Sophie Hansen, Public Relations Specialist for AMVC Management Services. “We congratulate Esmeralda, Dante, Victor, Matt, Michelle, Margarita, and Lupe on their awards and thank them for their commitment to AMVC.”

Headquartered in Audubon, Iowa, AMVC Management Services is a leader in livestock production, providing management, veterinary, nutritional, and marketing expertise to support animal welfare, environmental stewardship, and livestock production sustainability. As a diversified swine management company, AMVC oversees the care of over 155,000 sows and employs over 600 people in nine states.


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