Food and agriculture industry giant Jim Perdue to receive 2010 governor’s award

Jim Perdue, chairman of Maryland-headquartered Perdue Farms, was selected as the winner of Maryland’s 2010 Governor’s International Leadership Award. Mr. Perdue will be honored at the World Trade Center Institute’s prestigious celebration held March 11 at the Jim Rouse Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore.

The Governor’s International Leadership Award, the highest award given in Maryland, recognizes decades of sustained and exemplary global leadership, with a significant positive impact on Maryland and the state’s global footprint. The winners consistently demonstrate creativity and innovative strategies to drive industry leadership and world-class results.

“Under Jim’s leadership, Perdue Farms has shown financial strength, innovation in environmental stewardship, and community outreach, and is a model of successful Maryland enterprises that continues to thrive in these tough economic times,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This award serves as recognition of Jim’s contribution to our State, as he has added momentum to the overall effort of Maryland firms on the global horizon.”

Annually, only one Marylander is chosen to receive the Governor’s International Leadership Award. This year, Perdue will join the ranks of prior Governor’s International Leadership Award winners, most recently Dr. Robert Gallo (Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the Univ of Maryland School of Medicine), J.W. Marriott Jr., (Chairman & CEO Mariott Int’l) and Chip Mason (Chairman & CEO,Legg Mason).

After earning his Ph.D. in fisheries from University of Washington and working in aquaculture, Perdue returned to Maryland, and his family’s business, in 1983. He then continued to earn and Executive MBA from Salisbury University. 

In 1991, he was named chairman and took over leadership of the company from his father, Frank Perdue. As the third generation to lead the family-owned company, Jim Perdue continues to build upon the foundation of quality and integrity that has guided the company since it was founded in 1920, while continuing to provide innovative leadership.

“You’ve got to continuously improve,” said Perdue. “I’m proud to say that tradition really does continue to this day.”

Today, Perdue Farms is much more than fresh chicken sold in grocery stores. Through an ever-growing roster of fresh and frozen value-added products, Perdue Farms is providing meal solutions to consumers and foodservice operators across the country and in dozens of countries around the globe. 

Through it all, Perdue Farms has remained a family-owned business, which Jim Perdue credits for the company’s willingness to focus on long-term benefits over short-term profits. “At Perdue, quality goes beyond products and services. It is the measure of our character,”  Perdue said.

Following that belief, the company has become an industry leader in corporate responsibility. Its ergonomics and safety programs have become a model for the industry, and Perdue Farms’ workplace safety record is consistently better than the average for the entire manufacturing sector. The company’s Health Improvement Program (HIP) was honored with a C. Everett Koop Health Award and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Innovation in Prevention Award. In addition, Perdue Farms was the first company to establish a process for regularly donating to the Feeding America food bank system. 

The company has developed several innovative environmental programs to address the challenges facing the Chesapeake Bay. Through its Clean Waters Environmental Initiative, Perdue Farms entered into an historic partnership with EPA where both jointly help the independent farmers who grow chickens for Perdue Farms to comply with environmental regulations and best practices. Through its many Environmental Sustainability programs, the company is greening its entire supply chain, while reaching out to environmental programs within its communities. 

“I’m especially proud that our commitment to quality in everything we do is shared by all of our associates,” said Perdue. “It’s part of our culture.”

About the International Leadership Awards Event: 
Date: March 11
Time: 5- 8:30 p.m.
Location: Jim Rouse Visionary Center, a part of the American Visionary Arts Museum
800 Key Highway, Baltimore, Md. 21230 
Refreshments/International Buffet and Music Celebration 

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