Kern Meat Co., Inc.
Location: Bridgeton, Missouri
Industry: Meat Processing
Matthew Sherman firmly believes that the most important part about setting goals in life and business is not achieving them but setting the next one after you reach the prior goal. This axiom has propelled Kern Meat Company into the food service and meat industry’s spotlight with Sherman serving as the general manager of the meat processing company.
For 73 years, Kern Meat Company has provided St. Louis and the Midwest has operated with a mission to produce only the highest-quality meat products – sourced from the best regions and companies that are committed to humane handling practices – and work closely with local farmers and ranchers to showcase Missouri’s rich agricultural heritage and preserve natural resources.
Sherman joined Kern Meat Company right before the Great Recession in 2006.
“When the recession hit the food service industry particularly hard, Sherman viewed it as an opportunity to grow and expand Kern Meat while the competition was worried about contraction, depleted markets and layoffs,” said his staff. “Matt and his sales team aggressively recruited new customers, expanded on existing accounts, acquired licenses for branded programs, entered into distribution agreements with several Midwestern food service companies and started co-packing products for other Midwestern food service companies.”
As a result, from 2008 to 2011, the company grew nearly 30 percent. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Sherman used his training as a historian and experience from the Great Recession to seek and create opportunities. “The pandemic prompted Matt to seek new avenues of business after several of Kern Meat Company’s food service customers closed,” said his staff. “He built a website for home delivery and curbside pickup, which still remains in operation today.”
In the meat industry, innovation is essential since the source materials for products haven’t changed in millennia, said Sherman. “We aim to manipulate products to gain maximum flavor, efficiency and eye appeal while maintaining product wholesomeness and integrity.”
Sherman also focuses on how he can lead without micromanaging. “I’ve learned that leadership is a mutual exchange where people learn, including management,” he said. “Leadership, for me, became a continued practice of communicating expectations, goals and possible outcomes to team members while also listening to their concerns, questions and experience. Such a model has led to improved efficiency across all departments at our family-owned and operated company.”
For continuing to encourage and support his staff while upholding the highest standards, Sherman has been named a Titan.
When Matt is out and about, you can often pick him out in the crowd because of his trademark bowtie.