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WISCONSIN MEAT INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME

 

Morris Segel

Morris Segel

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Morris Segel

Morris Segel began his career in the grocery business in the early 1920's; but he had a vision of
the future and strove to attain it. The result was Wisconsin Packing Company, which is today a
primary supplier to several fast-food chains.

He was born in 1901 and died February 28, 1986. He came to America from eastern Europe
with his sister, and they lived with a sponsoring family in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The family
ran a small butcher shop, and Morris helped with any tasks that needed doing. By the age of 16
he had a drivers license and would purchase cows in the surrounding countryside, tie them to the
truck, and bring them back into town where they were butchered and sold.

In 1923 he married Blanche Grimson and they opened a small grocery store. However, he much
preferred the excitement of the cattle business to retailing, and, accordingly, he bought into a
partnership known as Ideal Packing Company in 1925. His job then was to purchase cattle at the
old Milwaukee Stockyards (located near the present site of the Mitchell Domes) and herd them
on foot to the nearby packing plant for slaughter. He eventually built his own slaughter plant,
and it was incorporated in 1938 as Wisconsin Packing Company, Inc. It was reincorporated in
Delaware in 1976 to include the separately owned businesses of the Segel family. Today,
Wisconsin Packing Company is engaged in the meat, food and related industries. Floyd A.
Segel, Morris Segel's son, carried on the business operation for a number of years. Today it is
owned and managed by two grandsons -- Justin N. Segel and Robert G. Segel.

When Wisconsin Packing Company went into business the normal operation was to slaughter
animals and sell carcasses. Packers only boned beef if it was to be used in their own sausage
kitchen. The vision Morris had, and what he practiced, was really a forerunner of the boxed beef
industry of today. He boned cows and sold the cuts separately -- the only difference from how
the business is done now is that he didn't have vacuum packaging.

The slaughtering operation was discontinued in 1977 and the company moved steadily into
value-added products. Today, portion-controlled frozen meat products are made for all phases of
the food service industry. The latest technology, with state-of-the-art equipment, is employed to
supply national and regional fast-food restaurants and contract food service companies for
educational, business, institutional and health-care facilities.

Morris Segel was former owner of Milwaukee Tallow Company. Also, he pioneered the brine
curing of hides, as well as starting the first independent edible rendering company and blood
drying operation in Wisconsin. He was a founding member of the National Independent Meat
Packers Association, a founding member of the Milwaukee Independent Meat Packers
Association and an active member of the American Meat Institute. He established the Quality
Beef Carcass Judging Contest at the Wisconsin State Fair and provided the initial funding for the
project.

From a humble beginning of dealing with one cow a day, Morris Segel launched a concept and
founded a business which three-quarters of a century later is manufacturing more than
110,000,000 pounds of ground beef annually.

 

 

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