Resource Category: News

PFI is Awarded Hormel Foods Spirit of Excellence Award Again for 2022

We are thrilled to announce that Hormel Foods has awarded PFI the Spirit of Excellence Award again for 2022. Suppliers selected for the award have demonstrated the highest levels of technical and customer service, innovative solutions and improvements over the past year.

“PFI saves us again and again when we’re down and don’t have the manpower or experience to get running,” said Eric Kale, Algona Plant Manager, Hormel. “Having PFI in our backyard and constantly delivering is a lifesaver.”

To qualify for the Spirit of Excellence Award, suppliers must maintain a minimum supplier rating index score of 92 throughout a 12-month period. PFI scored a 95.

“PFI has now expanded across more Hormel facilities and brands and added walk-in service and installation,” said Melanie Senaratne, Corporate Communications, Hormel. “We have confidence in PFI due to our great partnership and familiarity. PFI does more than what’s expected. They go above and beyond.”

“PFI is honored to receive Hormel’s Spirit of Excellence Supplier Award,” said Tom Vipond, Division General Manager, PFI. “Our team strives to deliver the best service and solutions to Hormel and to all our customers. To be recognized in this way by Hormel is a validation of our hard work throughout the year.”

Key Account Managers & Field Service Supervisor Join PFI

We are excited to welcome Shane Peterson and Zach Cathey as Key Account Managers, and Marty Zanmiller as Field Service Supervisor to the PFI team.

“We welcome Shane, Zach and Marty to PFI and look forward to their contributions to help us continue to grow,” said Tom Vipond, Division General Manager, PFI. “All are experts in their fields and will certainly hit the ground running in their respective roles.”

Shane Peterson comes to PFI with more than 20 years of experience in the food processing industry, specifically in the meat and poultry industries, most recently as Key Account Manager at Friesen’s. His background includes expertise in processing and packaging conveyance and material handling equipment and systems. He will be focusing primarily on manufacturers in the Midwest region.





Zach Cathey brings his experience in leadership and collaboration to PFI from his previous role at Friesen’s. In addition, he is a veteran of the U.S. Navy.







Marty Zanmiller headshotMarty Zanmiller joins the field service team to support service and installations for PFI and its sister brand Vanmark. He has extensive experience in the industrial service industry.

Jack Grote to Head New Customer Lifecycle Offering for Grote Family of Brands

Jack Grote is transitioning from his role at Vanmark to Lifecycle Leader for our entire family of brands. In this role, he’ll develop services and offerings to help food processors maintain and optimize Grote, Vanmark, and PFI equipment.

Initial programs will focus on installation, technical service, training, and equipment health checks. All offerings will be designed to get equipment running faster, techs and operators trained better and faster, and ensure all machines operate smoothly to avoid costly downtime and disruptions.

“Grote is introducing its Lifecycle strategy in response to food processors who have told us that it’s a challenge to find enough skilled technical and maintenance talent,” said Bob Grote, CEO. “Our customers are looking to us as a supplier to provide full-service offerings with their equipment purchases.”

“I’m enthusiastic about what the future holds for all of our companies,” said Jack Grote, lifecycle leader of Grote Company. “Heading up this new initiative allows me to assist our customers in ways that will help them succeed. It allows us to build a closer partnership with our customers. They rely on Grote Company, Vanmark, and PFI for equipment – now they can also rely on us to provide services to support their investment over the long haul.”

As we introduce additional lifecycle programs and offerings, more announcements will follow in the coming months.

Tom Vipond Promoted to Division General Manager

We’re excited to announce Tom Vipond as Division General Manager of PFI. In this role, he’s now responsible for both PFI locations and all operations.

“We’re truly excited to continue to work with Tom Vipond to grow PFI,” said Bob Grote, CEO of parent company Grote Company. “In his tenure with PFI, Tom has proven to be forward-thinking and bold, demonstrating a knack for understanding our customer’s needs and direction. His customer-centric focus promises to carry on our enduring commitment to each company we work with.”

“As part of the Grote family of brands, we at PFI look forward to working hand-in-hand to keep growing the business,” Vipond said. “As PFI heads into its next chapter, my focus is on our customers and building on our talented internal team.”

Vipond joined PFI in January 2022 as general manager at its Algona facility. He has more than two decades of experience in the food industry, much of it with PFI when it was known as Kofab.

PFI was acquired by Grote Company in 2021.


We’re excited to announce that we are working with a new sales partner who will now sell PFI, as well as our sister brand Vanmark, equipment in Central America.

Based in Guatemala, Solempack, represents and distributes machinery used for packaging products, will add our conveying and material handling equipment to their catalog. Solempack’s territory includes all of Central America, from Guatemala in the north to Panama in the south, along with the Dominican Republic.

“Solempack is bringing expanded reach to PFI,” said Barry Whitman, PFI Sales Manager. “This means we’ll be able to better meet our customers’ needs in these territories, while marking yet another way we continue to bring the PFI and Vanmark brands together under the Grote Company umbrella.”

Hormel Foods Awards PFI Spirit of Excellence Award

In recognition of our support, service, and equipment installs throughout 2021.

Once again, PFI has been awarded Hormel Foods Spirits of Excellence Award, bestowed upon suppliers that demonstrate the highest levels of quality, delivery, service, and customer support.

In 2021, PFI installed vibratory feeders and platforms for two of Hormel’s high-speed pepperoni lines at its Papillion, Nebraska-based plant, among other equipment and service support.

“PFI’s equipment is food safe and easy to clean,” said Kari Hubley, Associate Maintenance Engineer, Hormel Foods. “They drop everything to get our plants up and running. The flexibility, support, and trust are invaluable.”

Suppliers that qualified for the Spirit of Excellence Award maintained a minimum supplier rating index score based on performance, ontime delivery, and high levels of customer support. The minimum score for winners is 92 throughout a 12-month period. PFI scored a 98.

“PFI is so honored to receive this award once again,” said Jeremy Stover, technical applications manager for Hormel, PFI. “We take what we do seriously. Our team strives to be the gold standard in the industry. To be recognized by a global processor like Hormel validates our efforts. We look forward to continuing to work with Hormel and its brands for years to come.”

Vanmark India Exhibiting a PFI Vibratory Conveyor at ANUTEC FoodTec

We collaborated with our sister company Vanmark to develop and manufacture a vibratory conveyor in India that is being exhibited at ANUTEC FoodTec in Mumbai Sept. 14-16. Visit them at the MTS Foods stand J-46.

This is our first effort in bringing together our conveying solutions with Vanmark’s processing equipment to the Southeast Asia market. This capability will reduce costs and shipping lead times for local food processors, eliminating tariffs and fees.


“The relationship between Vanmark and PFI under the Grote Company umbrella allows for this integration, which results in our ability to provide more complete solutions to support the core processes on our customers’ production lines,” said Bob Grote, CEO. “This is another exciting development for PFI, which is also launching a new brand and website this week.”

Vibratory conveyance solutions give food processors the ultimate value with safe and sanitary long-life, low-maintenance operation, high volume conveying, and energy efficiency.

Learn more about our vibratory conveyors and feeders.

Learn more about Vanmark’s potato and produce processing equipment.

PFI Exhibiting at IBIE 2022 with Grote Company


PFI and Grote are coming together to exhibit at IBIE Sept. 18-21 in Las Vegas.

Visit us in booth 4016 in West Hall to see a running belt conveyor line made up of a Curveyor, Spreader, and modular and nosebar conveyors. We’ll also be discussing how we can work together to offer more complete solutions to the bakery industry.

On Monday, stop by the booth from 4-6 pm local time to celebrate Grote’s 50th anniversary. We’ll have drinks and a commemorative gift.

We’ll see you in Vegas!

Introducing PFI’s new brand and website

We are very excited to announce and release our new branding! For the last several months, we’ve been working to create a new logo, design elements, and content that better reflects our core strengths and equipment solutions.

“These new elements better reflect who we are, what we do, and what makes us stand out,” said Jessica Gray, marketing director for PFI and Grote Company. We listened to our employees, customers, and peers and developed creative and copy that pays homage to our past and sets us up for a bright future.

What’s new:

  • Our name – you can just call us PFI.
  • Our logo – streamlined and designed to mimic movement, just like our conveyors move your food products.
  • Our domain – you can now find us at Our emails have also been updated. Please add us to your safe senders’ lists. And you can still reach us with the previous addresses too.
  • Our website – speaking of the website, it’s brand new with easier navigation, more content on our equipment and services, and resources from our experts.

What hasn’t changed:

  • Our commitment and focus on collaborating with and serving customers.
  • We’re still designing, manufacturing, and supporting sanitary conveying and handling solutions that are built for dependability and seamlessly integrated into your processes.

We will showcase our new branding and a running conveyor line at IBIE 2022 in Las Vegas, Sept. 18-21, in booth 4016, shared with Grote Company.

New Sales Partners – EPI Technical Sales and Southwest Equipment Group Now Represent PFI

We are excited to partner with two new sales partners, as of summer 2022. These experienced partners help bring PFI equipment to the southwest and northeast United States.

EPI Technical Sales, Inc. (EPI) will be representing PFI in the northeast territory, which includes eastern Pennsylvania, southern New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. EPI has 30 years of experience selling bulk material handling and processing equipment.

Sales and Southwest Equipment Group will represent PFI in Nevada and California. The company has been in the food equipment sales business for 30 years.

“Adding these new sales partners allows PFI to expand its reach in these territories and will provide better service to our customers there, as well,” said Barry Whitman, global sales manager, PFI.

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300 Kofab Drive
Algona, IA 50511


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