Three Butterball, LLC employees were recognized for their leadership and career accomplishments at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta.

Butterball Senior Veterinarian Dr. Eric Gonder received the Lamplighter Award recognizing individuals for “sustained and exemplary service” to the poultry industry. Gonder has been with Butterball for more than 30 years and is responsible for turkey health, animal care and well-being and live operations disaster response.

“Eric has devoted his life to the turkey industry and is always the first to provide educated counsel and expertise on industry issues,” says Alice Johnson, senior vice president of food safety and animal care and well-being. “He is a tremendous asset to the Butterball team, and this award is a testament to his service in the poultry industry.” 

In addition to his role as senior veterinarian at Butterball, Gonder also serves as the chair of the National Turkey Federation’s Turkey Health and Welfare Subcommittee, past Chair of the General Conference Committee of the National Poultry Improvement Plan, and Adjunct Professor in the Population Health and Pathobiology Department at North Carolina State University (NCSU), College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). He is a frequent guest lecturer for the Prestage Department of Poultry Science at NCSU and has been instrumental on several NCSU CVM faculty search committee to help attract quality candidates for the College.

Gonder received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University, master’s in Avian Microbiology from the University of Minnesota, and a doctorate in Pathology and Poultry Science from NCSU.

Two employees were recognized by IPPE’s “30 Under 30” program for their professional leadership qualities within the meat and poultry manufacturing industry:


Jeff Niedermeyer joined Butterball in 2019 as a quality assurance lab manager. He is responsible for assisting in the development and maintenance of laboratory and microbiological programs, chemical and microbial analyses, and product and environmental monitoring. Additionally, he provides leadership to plant, lab and personnel to assure that internal and external product specifications are achieved and maintained. Niedermeyer is a graduate of the University of Toledo with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in organismal biology and ecology. He came to Butterball after managing a BSL2 foodborne pathogens research laboratory in NCSU’s department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences.

Coltin Caraway joined Butterball in 2018 as a nutritionist, responsible for the development, implementation, and support of feeding programs for all Butterball turkeys. He provides technical expertise in the formulation of feeds, compliance with government feed regulations and identification of factors relating to feed performance. Caraway has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University and a master’s in Poultry Science and a doctorate in Poultry Science and Nutrition, both from North Carolina State University. 

“We put an emphasis on attracting and retaining top young talent at Butterball, as we know this is critical to the company’s future success,” said Ron Tomaszewski, vice president of human resources. “We are very fortunate to have exceptional talent of the caliber that Jeff and Coltin bring to our team, but it’s really special to have that recognized by your industry peers as well.”

In addition to recognizing professional leadership qualities, the “30 Under 30” program provides education to further industry training and offers visibility into the latest technology used in the industry.