Excalibur CEO balances record growth with industry challenges
The past year moved quickly for Mike Shrier, president & CEO of Excalibur Seasoning.
“It is difficult to believe that we’ve already passed that one-year milestone,” Mike says. “Moving from a Board chairman position into the day-to-day responsibilities required me to gain a base knowledge on many topics. That’s been the biggest eye opener for me. There are so many moving parts to this organization.”
It’s been an interesting twelve months for Mike, balancing Excalibur’s record growth with the labor and supply issues that have gripped the industry.
“It’s surprising how so many areas rise to be the hot topic of the day; everything from quality control to industry trends, logistics, IT and more. We never know what issue is going to take precedence, but I’m surrounded by good people who provide the background information I need to make the best decisions possible.”
The product access and reliability issues that were brought about by Covid and the ensuing global shutdown led Excalibur to establish more partnerships with suppliers and add employees, especially in purchasing.
“We’re working hard to put the right people and processes in place to increase our production capacity so that we can take advantage of opportunities. We understand and respect that long-term dedicated employees helped build this company and will be our key to success going forward.”
Mike believes there is tremendous strength in the seasonings market right now because of demand, especially as consumers experimented with new flavors and cooking styles during the pandemic. Excalibur’s expanded role in the meat and seafood marketplace has even more opportunity to grow, he says.
“Earlier this year, we began producing pre-measured packets of Excalibur’s three best-selling seafood blends for a major grocery retailer for cooked shrimp application. Pre-measured makes it easy for the customer; just apply the exact amount needed for two pounds of cooked shrimp, package, and then merchandise it in a “Meals to Go” section as ready-to-heat-&-eat. The program is going so well that it could extend into other protein divisions.”
Still to come from Mike: automation improvements at the plant in Pekin, pay raises for employees, and the benefits of Excalibur’s company culture. Read Part II of our conversation later this year.