“He’s a legendary guy with a special style all his own,” reminisces Jon Jarvis, Jarvis Products chief executive officer. And that spirit of innovation will persist for years after Vince Volpe’s 65-year career. Born June 15, 1928, Volpe grew up in Waterford, Conn. before enlisting in the Army, serving in Italy during World War II, and later earning a degree in business from Boston University.
What started as a summer job cleaning machinery at Jarvis in 1955 turned into a lifelong, exceptional, and innovative career. Volpe was part of the pulse of what put Jarvis on the map. Foundational to spearheading decades of technology, mechanically-minded Volpe was always at the forefront of how to make Jarvis — and the entire industry — more efficient.
In 1957, Volpe began revolutionizing the meat industry with his involvement in developing the mechanical dehider knife, which required less skill and less effort, while producing higher-quality hide. Volpe’s dedication to Jarvis spanned over the development of industry-changing products, such as: the circular saw, pneumatic and hydraulic hock cutter, bandsaw for splitting beat, bung dropper for port, automatic pork splitter saw, and the USSS1 pneumatic splitter. All of these products, like the 1957 dehider knife, continued to solidify Volpe’s expertise in efficiency and keen eye for quality.
Not only was Volpe an expert in machinery — he was also an expert on trends. Volpe had a unique ability for “identifying needs and opportunities in the marketplace and providing a machine to solve the problem,” says Jon Jarvis. Volpe’s pursuit of the best machines continues to be nothing short of revolutionary. To stay at the forefront of innovation, Jarvis is constantly redefining how the meat industry will look in the future. Jarvis continues to identify new problems every day, producing the best, fastest, and newest ideas for how to access the world’s food supply.
“If you make it accurate and make it last, the industry will buy it,” said Volpe. And he was right. With his ideas and designs safer for everyone involved, Volpe proved time and time again he was a team player. Volpe was universally loved and respected by his colleagues. Greg Hanson, vice president of service and sales at Jarvis said fondly, “It was a great ride, almost 40 years with him, and I miss him greatly.”
Volpe will be greatly remembered in the Jarvis community. As Kurt Vogel PhD, associate professor at University of Wisconsin, River Falls and colleague of Volpe’s said, “Mr. Volpe was a giant in the field. HIs passing left a void that won’t be completely filled.” But with the void Volpe left persists his innovative spirit. Jarvis continues to thrive at the top of the industry.
“We have a great foundation, and great company to work from, so I personally look forward to the future and what we’re going to do with it,” said Jarvis. “[Volpe] gives us a foundation to spring forward from in ever more interesting and dynamic ways.”
For example, in 2017 and 2018, Jarvis brought animal welfare experts to tour the factory and discuss animal welfare practices. Jarvis’s quality and influence in the industry is not simply mechanical. It is holistic, ethical, and forward-thinking. Already a product leader, Jarvis is always identifying the next steps to keep pushing industry standards and stay centered around service quality. “Service produces results, and it’s closest to my heart,” said Volpe.
As Jarvis Products looks into the future, Vince Volpe will certainly remain woven into the spirit of the company for years to come. “Our focus on automation reflects our mission and the need to be closely aligned with the challenges and opportunities in the supply chain,” Jon Jarvis continued, “Awareness of topics and ideas that relate to the food system continue to guide Jarvis for the future.”
Jarvis Products continues to grow and evolve into a new era of automated food processing machinery, already developing solutions for the world’s next biggest challenges.
Source: Meat & Poultry July 2020 Issue