Swine Spotlight Program

 IPPA values the hard work done by pig farmers and employees to provide nutritious protein to consumers. To highlight these dedicated employees, we have created the  Swine Spotlight Program in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim. 


Each month we are inviting farm owners or employers to nominate their employees that work on and off the farm that go above and beyond. Each employee chosen monthly will receive a grilling set, recognition on our social channels and Chop Talk, and be entered to win the grand prize selected in Pork Month, October 2024.

*Nominations are rolling                                                                                                                




2024 Swine Spotlight Winners:


June Monthly Swine Spotlight

Suzi Steber


For the June Monthly Swine Spotlight, we are recognizing Suzi Steber, Managing Director of Human Resources and Nutrition Coordinator for Borgic Farms, Inc.

Suzi has been in the pork industry for over 20 years working in several different areas.  Currently working in HR has given her many opportunities to grow and learn about the pork industry.  Suzi is currently the pork ambassador for the Illinois Farm Families, a collection of the agriculture organizations in the state.  “Suzi’s enthusiasm to this role is second to none,” says Lana Shovlin, Director of Communications of IPPA.  “She has been great about telling our story on social media, posting videos about what is happening on the farm and speaking to people about everyday life on the farm.”

“Suzi is extremely dedicated to the pigs and people in her care,” says Phil Borgic. “Always willing to step up to take on new challenges, her role as the pork ambassador has opened up new opportunities for the farm, building upon the good relationships we have with our communities.”  Borgic Farms General Manager, Frank Schroeder says, “Her job description does not begin to describe all of what she does for Borgic Farms.”

Suzi was also nominated my IPPA Communications Director, Lana Shovlin, and IPPA Marketing Director, Kim Hamilton, to serve as the IPPA Ambassador to the Illinois Farm Families. In this role, Suzi elevates the voices of Illinois pig farmers by using self-created social media content to tell the story of life on an Illinois pig farm. “The moment I met Suzi, I knew she was the right person for this role,” says Shovlin. “Her love of pig farming, combined with her enthusiasm and approachable personality, made Suzi the obvious choice for IFF ambassador. We get compliments on her work all of the time!”


Congratulations, Suzi!


May Monthly Swine Spotlight

Keith Monken


For the May Monthly Swine Spotlight, we are recognizing Keith Monken, Regional Controller for The Maschhoffs.

Keith grew up on a row crop and beef cattle farm and he vowed to never work in the agricultural industry post high school. Thankfully, Keith was introduced to The Maschhoffs, an organization that shared a broader perspective and created an opportunity to see the industry in a different way. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” reflects Keith. “This industry has so much to offer and I’m very proud to have found my way back to agriculture.”

Keith started out in Accounting, Financial Planning, & Analysis 11 years ago. After 5 years, his focus shifted to a role in Procurement & Commodity Risk Management. In 2021, he transitioned to supporting the Great South region as Regional Controller.

Working for The Maschhoffs has given Keith perspective on how a large, privately held corporation manages day-to-day business and has taught him that it’s okay to treat work as a place of friendship and family. His advice to new employees is to treat every interaction as a learning opportunity and to never shy away from engaging in conversation, no matter the title of the individual.

The culture at The Maschhoffs has played a huge role in shaping Keith throughout his career and given him the opportunity to be vulnerable in private and group settings. That vulnerability has opened doors to finding peers within the organization to partner with and to develop skills in areas that are challenging for him. “Working for The Maschhoffs has given me the opportunity to feel as if I am interacting with my family and I truly feel at home,” says Keith.

Congratulations, Keith!



April Monthly Swine Spotlight

Susan Shoemaker

For the April Monthly Swine Spotlight, we are recognizing Susan Shoemaker, General Manager of Applewood Farms in Chandlerville.

Susan Shoemaker has worked within the same pork production farm system since 1996. In the early days of her career, she worked as a sow farm manager with Brauer Pork. When Applewood Farms purchased the sows from Brauer Pork in 2003, she expanded her role considerably.

Susan is now the transportation logistics coordinator at Applewood, where she schedules trucking and sets up all weaned pig shipments directly with customers. Her contributions certainly don't end there. Susan coordinates all weekly semen orders for the system, and handles purchasing of all consumable supplies, vaccines, and medications. She also organizes bi-weekly payroll for the approximately 60 hourly employees and helps oversee Applewood's production record keeping system. Nominator Kyle Schulte says, “Perhaps the most noble of her duties involves her leadership of Applewood's facility alarm testing program. This includes 9 different farms with a total of 45 gestation/gilt development rooms, and 75 farrowing rooms!” Susan resides near the facilities and is the first responder to alarm calls at any time day or night.

Congratulations, Susan!



March 2024 Spotlight

Jeff Mahoney

For the March Monthly Swine Spotlight, we are recognizing Jeff Mahoney, VP of Operations with The Maschhoffs.

Jeff and his wife Caitlin have two children, Gracyn, and Gentry. In his free time Jeff enjoys spending time with family and his children, especially coaching his daughter’s T Ball team. When he isn’t playing coach, helping on his family farm, or raising show pigs, you can find Jeff rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals, Notre Dame Football, San Francisco 49ers and Illini basketball. Jeff, his dad and two brothers have a goal to visit every MLB stadium. They are currently at 18 and have 12 more to go.

Jeff started with The Maschhoffs nearly 16 years ago as a Field Advisor in Jan 2008 in an entry level training position based out of Carlyle. In 2011 he transitioned to a Senior Field Advisor role before earning Director of Production in 2013. Since 2018, Jeff has been honored to lead Central Prairie as their General Manager.

 Jeff describes the culture at The Maschhoffs as a place that positions and empowers our employees to be the best version of themselves. The development that he has received during his tenure has made Jeff a stronger leader and is what has kept him working for The Maschhoffs versus going back to his family farm. “I love working in a place where I know so many different people have my back. I’m truly blessed with the group of individuals I have the privilege to work with on a daily basis” shares Jeff.

Congratulations, Jeff!


February Monthly Swine Spotlight

Rob Helton

For the February Monthly Swine Spotlight, we are recognizing Rob Helton of Taylorville.

Rob has worked in every phase of hog production for Burgener Pork Inc.  “He is extremely knowledgeable about hog production but what makes him a great employee is his dedication to detail and communication to other employees to keep everybody on track,” says nominator Bret Burgener.  “He is not a 7 to 5 guy. Rob doesn’t leave until he gets what he needs to get done that day.”

Rob has worked for Burgeners for 9 years, with 35 years in the industry.  Bret says, “He has been a tremendous asset to the farm. Rob takes on responsibility for the area that he works in. You never have to worry if Rob’s job is getting done.”

Congratulations Rob!


January Swine Spotlight

Steven Brown

For the January Monthly Swine Spotlight, we are recognizing Steven Brown.

Steven is the Assistant Manager at the Borgic Farm Nokomis Sow Farm.  Steven has worked for Borgic Farms for 4 years.

Nominator Joshua Matli, Farm Manager, says, “Steven has come a long way since he started here.  He has been taking on more responsibilities and duties and he is a very hard worker.”

Congratulations, Steven!


2023 Swine Spotlight Winners


January Swine Spotlight

Carlos Flores of Waterman, Illinois

Carlos Flores is a gestation swine tech at Pipestone’s Independence Pork sow farm in northern Illinois.  He has 17 years of experience within the pork industry with 5 years at Independence Pork.

Nominator Angelica Mariano says, “Carlos is an extremely important team member and a huge part of the success of the farm. We appreciate his hard work and dedication to the pork industry.”

Congratulations, Carlos!


February Swine Spotlight

Phillip Steber of Newton, Illinois 

Phillip Newton is the sow farm for Borgic Farms’ Newton site.  Phillip has 35 years in the pork industry, thirty of which have been at the Newton sow farm.  He has seen the site grow from an 800 head farrow-finish operation to a 6500 head breed-to-wean operation. Phillip has been instrumental in the development, growth, and success of this farm. His dedication to this farm and team are unquestionable. Phillip is great at building team members and pushing the team to reach their full potential.

Congratulations, Phillip!


March Swine Spotlight

Corey Thompson of Kinmundy, Illinois

Corey Thompson is a field advisor for The Equity.  He has 20 plus years of experience in the pork industry, including 9 years of on farm service.  “Corey has developed strong relationships with his growers he oversees. His knowledge of the industry and pig health has delivered outstanding results for pig owners as well as our contract producers,” says Randy Kuker with The Equity. “Corey is our go to expert at ventilation at the Equity and was also our top marketer. He definitely has the respect of his peers and growers and his passion for pigs keeps driving best in class results.”

Congratulations, Corey!


April Swine Spotlight 

Kim Hamilton of Chatham, Illinois

Kim Hamilton is Director of Marketing for The Illinois Pork Producers Association.  Kim joined IPPA in November 2021 and hit the ground running.  Kim works hard to support our industry by leveraging and increasing our partnerships with groups including, IL Farm Families, U of I athletics, ACF Chef-Chicago, Northwestern basketball, IL Assoc. of Meat Processors, and IHSA. Kim has also promoted pork with a variety of current and new retail partners including, Meijer, Minit Mart, Kwik Star, Moto Mart, Schnucks, Hy-Vee, County Market, Jewel, Tony's Fresh Market, Mariano's, Sam's Club and Kroger. She is a true asset to our association and works very hard for our Illinois pork producers to get their products in hands of more consumers. She is continuing looking for new ways to improve and wisely spend producer checkoff dollars. “I am very proud to work with Kim and call her a part of Team Pork,” says Jennifer Tirey, Executive Director, IPPA.

Congratulations, Kim!


May Swine Spotlight 

Jenny Russell of Joy, Illinois

Jenny Russell is the farrowing manager at Winters Creek Inc., and she has been in the pork industry for 5 years.

“Jenny is a huge asset to the team on our sow farm,” says Jill Brokaw. “Jenny was a cosmetologist for two decades before joining the pork industry, but you would never know it! Today her role is farrowing manager and is the real baby pig mama! Her attention to detail and commitment to the animals make her a valuable member of our farrowing team. Thank you, Jenny, for all of your hard work and dedication!”

Congratulations, Jenny!


June Swine Spotlight 

Pat Green of Carlyle, Illinois

Pat Green was a production manager for The Maschhoffs, LLC for nearly 4 years and recently accepted a position at Borgic Farms.

“My team and I have the opportunity to work closely with Pat and have found him to be such an asset to the industry,” says Lauren Meyer, supply chain manager with the Maschhoffs.  “He pays close attention to detail, never backs down from a challenge and has a genuine interest in doing what is best for the business. He holds a role that is responsible for both gilt and commercial animals and finds a way to gracefully balance the differing workloads. He's a great individual to collaborate with because the quality of his questions is extremely motivating. We're happy to have Pat on the team and appreciate all the effort he puts into everything he does!”

Congratulations, Pat Green!


July Swine Spotlight 

Pat Green of Carlyle, Illinois

Tammy Branham has been the corporate accountant for Borgic Farms, Inc. for over 5 years.

“Tammy is dedicated to the business. She works tirelessly to ensure that all areas of the system have what they need and when they need it,” says nominator Suzi Steber.  To quote a sow farm manager "We couldn't do what we do on a daily basis without Tammy, she is a rock star". Tammy has a tremendous ability to get her tasks completed in an efficient and accurate manner and when you talk with her you can see her smile. Suzi continues, “While she may work behind the scenes, she is a pillar to this company.”

Congratulations, Tammy Branham!


August Swine Spotlight 

Ana Selena Brindis Bautista of Nashville, IL

For the month of August, the Monthly Swine Spotlight is Ana Selena Brindis Bautista of Nashville, IL.  Selena is a team lead with The Maschhoffs.

Selena has been an employee with the Maschhoffs for almost 2 years. She has been both a Farrowing and now a Breeding Team Lead. “Selena is a very dedicated employee of the Maschhoffs,” says nominator Rebecca Keel. “She puts the needs of her employees first and extremely detail oriented in her area. She makes sure that her employees are trained, understands the steps in the process and communicates effectively with her team. I'm very proud and excited to see where she goes in the future.”

Congratulations, Ana Selena Brindis Bautista!


September Swine Spotlight 

Randy Bowman

Over the past 19 years, Randy has worked with The Maschhoff’s in Research & Development, Genetics, Customer Service and currently as a General Manager of the Great Plains Region. Randy and his wife Angie have a daughter, Brooke, who is currently attending Mizzou. In their free time they enjoy traveling.

Randy has been an integral part of various youth organizations, including NJSA and Team Purebred. “I have a memorable experience every time I see one of our past interns or scholarship winners. We have so many people that are either in our industry, or in agriculture that impacted us as an intern, and we can only hope that we have impacted them as well. It is very rewarding when they reflect on their experiences when they were part of our family,” reflects Randy.

Congratulations, Randy Bowman!


October Swine Spotlight-Employee of the Year!

Eva Thorlton

The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) has selected Eva Thorlton from Christensen Farms as the IPPA Swine Spotlight of the Year!

Eva, the Sow Service Manager for Christensen Farms in Illinois, and her husband live in Casey, IL with their family of “four legged critters” that Eva likes to bring home.  They have a small farm with goats, cows, and horses. “We are still fairly new to the area but hope one day our nieces will want to get involved in 4H,” says Eva.

“I grew up around different livestock; we had horses, cattle, chickens, and 4H pigs for a while,” says Eva. “I have always loved being around animals and am very thankful that I have been able to make it my career.  My love for animals is what first drew me to Christensen Farms, but as I have continued to develop, I love getting to work with the people, too.  It is very rewarding training and developing our team and watching them succeed.”

When describing her reason for working with pigs, Eva says, “Pigs are so smart and fun to work. I love getting the opportunity to see them at all stages of life and focus my team on producing a higher quality pig.”

Eva believes health is the biggest challenge in the industry.  “Disease is always evolving and changing, and it requires us to continue to evolve and change. We always must be looking for new ways to improve our current processes to protect our pigs.”

In addition, “Watching my team develop has probably been one of the biggest rewards. In the last year, our IL region has gone through quite a bit of change and this team has come together and overcome every obstacle thrown at them. I am very proud of the progress they have made, and I am excited to see what our future holds.”

We would like to congratulate Eva on being named the IPPA Swine Spotlight of the Year recipient.  She will be recognized at the 2024 Illinois Pork Expo for all her hard work in the pork industry.  

Congratulations, Eva!

Thank you to our partner Boehringer Ingelheim for making this program possible and showing gratitude to the pork industry through their generous contributions.


November Swine Spotlight

Amanda Spinner

For the November Monthly Swine Spotlight, we are recognizing Amanda Spinner, the Director of Wean to Market for Borgic Farms, Inc. With thirteen years of experience in pork industry, Amanda shows the kind of great people who work in the business.

“Amanda Spinner is very down to earth and task oriented. She thinks outside of the box and always puts people and pigs as top priority,” says nominator Nate Weaver. “She has a good attitude and isn't afraid of new challenges or what it takes in finding the best solution.” Amanda has participated in the IL Pork Producers Association’s Future Leaders program.

Nate continues, “Amanda motivates the team to be better everyday and continues to build a great sense of comradery!”

Congratulations, Amanda!


December Swine Spotlight

Laura Wesselman

For the December Monthly Swine Spotlight, we are recognizing Laura Wesselman.

Laura has worked at the Maschhoffs for 11 years and is currently the Director of People Development and Total Rewards. Prior to joining the People team in 2021, she spent 9 years in various accounting and finance roles.

Laura’s situation is a little bit unique. Not only is she a participant in this first year of Targeted Development, but also serving as a program creator/administrator. Throughout the summer and fall of 2022, she was given the opportunity to build the program from the ground up, with input from the executive team. “My proudest moments are when I hear feedback from attendees as to how the program is helping them on their personal development journey,” says Laura. “I had high hopes for the program, but the way it has come together has far exceeded my expectations.”

Working at the Maschhoff’s allowed Laura to build confidence in herself. “Once I gained confidence in my own abilities, I was able to use my skills to help others both at work and in my personal life,” says Laura.

The culture at the Maschhoff’s is always nurturing and willing to teach those who are curious. Laura was encouraged to explore her passions and always found someone willing to teach her more about their area of expertise. “In my eleven years with the Maschhoff’s, I have never stopped learning,” says Laura. “Each day I learn something new that helps me be more effective in my role and in my life outside of work.”

Congratulations, Laura!