Kelly Green

This entry is part 28 of 77 in the series

Kelly GreenKelly Green

I am the third generation owner, chairman of the board and vice president  of business development

Years with company:  I was born into the family business in 1974. I’ve worked for the company for 16 years.

Education degrees and professional/volunteer organizations: BA, communications, the University of Colorado (1997); Executive MBA, Colorado State University (2004). Member of Vistage International, a global network for chief executives. Past board member of the board of directors of the North American Meat Association, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council-West..

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career: I have been fortunate to have many mentors and advisors along my career path.  The two significant people I will credit for my accomplishments today are:

My grandmother, Florence Smith Powers, who founded Birko with my grandfather, Ward Smith, in 1953. She instilled in me the importance of hard work, respecting others and never taking short cuts. Most importantly, she taught me how to make the world a better place by doing what you do best.

These fundamental characteristics hold true with my most recent mentor, the CEO of Birko, Mark Swanson.  His leadership characteristics mirror these traits.  Mark has challenged me to think outside of the box and to focus on what I do best while integrating the traits my grandmother instilled in me at a young age.  Today our core principle is food safety and helping our customers fight food pathogens in their plants—this is what Birko does best!  Under Mark’s leadership, Birko has become the industry leader in this arena. 

What are you most proud of in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to date This fall, Birko was named the Top Company in manufacturing by ColoradoBiz magazine.  This achievement is significant to me personally and to the entire team since it demonstrates our dedication to food safety and our 60-year loyalty to our customers.

Most challenging part of your job: As a business owner, the challenging part of the job is satisfying the customer and making sure all your employees are in the right seats to execute on delivery. Helping our customers meet their needs and specific challenges in food safety is our main objective.

Advice for upcoming younger executives: No matter what, listen to your customer – whether internal or external  — and their pain points, and find a way to solve them.

Hobbies: Golf, cycling and doing anything in the Colorado great outdoors!