Hero of the Year


“Roger has been an anchor for the Shipping Department here in Kinston and should be recognized for his continuous efforts to go above and beyond.”

– Austen DeMott, Shipping, Pre-price and Chilling Manager –

Sanderson Farms is always proud of our hard working employees, but especially so in 2020 when they have overcome challenging circumstances associated with the pandemic. When an outside organization recognizes one of our own, it is even more special because it allows others to recognize what we already knew, how special the people of Sanderson Farms truly are.

One of those special people is Kinston Processing employee, Roger Smith, who has worked for the company for over nine years. Smith was recently recognized as one of RefrigiWear’s 2020 Warehouse Heroes of the Year as a result of his work as a lift truck operator. RefrigiWear, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of insulated industrial work wear, accessories and personal protective equipment for use in subzero temperatures, inclement weather and low-visibility environments.

Hundreds of employees from around the country were nominated by their supervisors and managers for the award. Winners were chosen based on their leadership, productivity, resourcefulness and attitude. According to RefrigiWear, Smith excelled in all of those categories.

“Roger leads by example, operating his equipment safely and efficiently on a highly consistent basis,” said Austen DeMott, shipping, pre-price and chilling manager at the company’s processing facility in Kinston, North Carolina. “He is always willing to step in and do more when the opportunity presents itself.”

DeMott nominated Smith for the award of Warehouse Hero of the Year because of his consistent performance and work ethic. In the award nomination, DeMott praised Smith for being eager to help and encouraging his coworkers by always having a smile on his face. He went on to explain how Smith’s coworkers, as well as members of management, seek his opinion on work related issues. Smith excels in his role at Sanderson Farms by being a team player and holding others accountable if he feels they can do better.

As a lift truck operator in the shipping department, Smith loads between 4,000 to 7,000 cases per shift, but he is known to load well in excess of 10,000 cases per shift when needed to keep product moving. According to DeMott, if Smith’s lift goes down or requires servicing, he takes it upon himself to make sure it is handled and does not wait on another lift assignment.

“Roger has been an anchor for the Shipping Department here in Kinston and should be recognized for his continuous efforts to go above and beyond,” said Demott. Smith, along with the other winners, are showcased in the Warehouse Heroes of the Year calendar by RefrigiWear. As award recipients, they also receive a complimentary shirt and jacket provided by RefrigiWear, which Smith is proudly sporting in the photo at left.

For over 65 years, RefrigiWear has supplied companies like Sanderson Farms in the most demanding of industries and climates with insulated garments and accessories necessary to keep people warm, safe and productive. RefrigiWear is located in Dahlonega, Georgia, where many of their items are manufactured.