Labor of Love

Robert and Cathy Sloan Retire From Sanderson Farms After 78 Collective Years of Service

After 78 years of collective service, Robert and Cathy Sloan have retired from Sanderson Farms after enjoying long and accomplished careers in their respective roles within the company. The Sloans embraced the concept that our founders shared of viewing our operation as a “people business,” rather than a chicken business, because they consider the people of Sanderson Farms like family.

No matter the day of the week, the Sloans frequently enjoyed sharing a meal together with their coworkers or commuting to and from work together each morning and evening. Despite over 33 years of working for the same company, sharing meals together and traveling to work together, you rarely found Robert or Cathy Sloan without the other in their spare time away from work. They shared a love for one another, a love for the people of Sanderson Farms and a love for the company whom they dedicated nearly all of their professional careers to progressing.

All of that would not have been possible if it were not for Cathy Sloan joining a career and technical student club during her senior year of high school. By joining the Distributive Education Club of America (DECA), she had the opportunity to work after school in the business community, which led her to interview with Sanderson Farms and a part-time role with the company for over a year.

Shortly after attending Jones College, Cathy Sloan joined the company full-time in 1976, and the rest is history, 45 years’ worth of history to be exact. Throughout her over four decade-long career with Sanderson Farms, she held many positions including receptionist, executive secretary for accounting and accounts
payable clerk.

What might be considered one of her most notable accomplishments at Sanderson Farms was inspiring her husband, Robert Sloan, to join the team as an accounts payable accountant at the company’s processing division in Laurel. However, that would not be the last position Robert Sloan would hold at Sanderson Farms, he later went on to serve as an accounting and audit trainee at the corporate office before joining the management team in both respective areas later in
his career.

“Sanderson Farms sets itself apart from other companies through opportunity and structure,” said Robert Sloan. “I know former employees that have let me know how much they now miss the structure here such as our company policies, procedures and chain of command compared to where they currently work.”

After 22 collective years of working at the corporate office, the Sloans were asked to transfer to what, at the time, was the company’s newest processing facility in McComb, Mississippi to assist with the start-up of the new complex in 1993. Robert Sloan was to serve as the live production division’s chief accountant while Cathy Sloan served as an accounts payable accountant at the processing facility.

Despite the challenges associated with working a start-up, the Sloans recall it as a great experience working with some of the company’s finest people. “The management team assembled there started from scratch with everything from facilities and equipment to employees and growers,” said Robert Sloan. “It was a very demanding situation, but also very gratifying.”

For Cathy Sloan, the experience was similar and challenging also in the respect that she was away from the place she had always called home. “I had never lived anywhere but in Jones County when we moved there, nor had I ever been away from my parents,” said Cathy Sloan. “Even so, I will always treasure those eight years we spent in McComb and the friendships we made there.”

Following the successful start-up in McComb, the Sloans moved back to Laurel in 2000 when Robert Sloan was promoted to chief internal auditor at the corporate office and Cathy Sloan accepted the position of commissions accrual accountant, both positions they would hold until their retirements in May.

“I loved every job I ever had, and my coworkers were like family,” said Cathy Sloan. “I grew up in the company, and never once thought about going somewhere else to work. I always felt like Sanderson Farms took care of their employees, and I felt like they truly cared about us.”

Above all else, the Sloans will miss the coworkers and friends that they have made over the years at Sanderson Farms. During retirement, Robert and Cathy Sloan plan to do lots of traveling and spend time with their family and friends. They also plan to spend time working in their yard to stay active, and Robert Sloan is looking forward to having time to tinker with his old cars and motorcycles.