October 27, 2021 in News

Excalibur marks 35 years in business

The late Jerry Hall founded Excalibur Seasoning in 1986 and helped grow the company to become a premiere meat & seafood seasonings producer with national and global reach, in addition to being a long-time fixture in Pekin, Illinois.

One of the 105 employees is Jenny Burdess, a production office supervisor, who worked side-by-side with Jerry for much of her 22 years.

“Back in the day, I collaborated with Jerry on seasoning formulas,” recalls Jenny. “I still have a memory for all of the order numbers.

“I left to work somewhere else a couple of times, but I always came back. I guess it’s because I enjoyed working with the people. When I was younger, I left for another opportunity and I was treated like a number. I had to move out of state once, and Jerry told me I could always come back if I wanted, and I took him up on that. Now, I’m a lifer.”

Name that tune

For the past two-and-a-half years, Erma McGlothlin has been keeping a tune – literally – while running the shaker seasoning line in automated packaging.

“I’m always happy here,” says Erma. “I’m always singing. I sometimes get other people to sing with me. I love working here because the people are nice.

“Here, it is family first. If you have an emergency in your family, you go, and you still have your job. That’s great for me.”

New beginnings

Noah Eagle is in shipping and receiving with only a little more than one month on the job. He learned about Excalibur through a family member.

“My uncle was a manager here and told me good things about the company,” says Noah. “He encouraged me to apply.

“Amazing people work here and they make you feel at home. I’ve worked at other places and I can’t say the same. I could stay here long-term because there’s a lot of ways to move up. The more you know, the more of an asset you are to the company.”

A chance worth taking

Tammy Tassert was working somewhere else 17 years ago, but filled out an application and stopped by Excalibur’s front office every day for two weeks to see if someone had reviewed her submission. She was called in for an interview and is now a supervisor in shipping and receiving.

“I have a learning disability and dyslexia,” says Tammy. “I was a high school dropout and was told I would never go anywhere and yet here I am. If it wouldn’t be for Excalibur working with me, I wouldn’t be here. My supervisor thought I would be an asset to this company. Now I want to pass that along and encourage people to go farther than they can imagine. All you have to do is work hard and put in the time.”

Tammy enjoys that her job is never the same every day. “I like the way that we’re part of the team, not just individuals. We have the opportunities to try something different and they are always willing to teach you. I’ve worked in other companies where I didn’t step outside of my designated work area. That is not the case for me here.”

A happy family

Pete Shaw agrees. In his twenty-four years with the company, he now has a “good handle on the way things operate” at Excalibur.

“I have done it all,” says Pete. “From packaging, mixing, shipping and receiving to a supervisor before becoming production manager. I like the people I work with. We have good employees, many long-term. Work is sometimes challenging and fast-paced, but we have a good culture here and our people know how to adapt. I enjoy working with them and they enjoy being here, too.”

Whether long-time or newly hired, Excalibur employees share in the success of company growth. Many look to Jerry Hall’s values of honesty and quality to keep loyal customers and forge new partnerships.

“I didn’t’ think we’d grow this much, but realized it when we were selling all over the U.S.,” says Jenny Burdess. “When we started overseas, it was mind blowing. First, the warehouse expansion and then the addition of the R&D lab. It was surprising, but it’s been a good thing.

“Even though we are a much larger company now, we are still the same people. It stays in the family.”