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2017 DASNR Champion: John Patrick Lopez

John Patrick Lopez is the chief operating officer for Lopez Foods in Oklahoma City.

He has served the company for the last 21 years in various positions of responsibility including vice president of operations at both their Caryville, Tennessee, and Oklahoma City facilities. Lopez even completed an extensive two-year training program in every department and business unit of the organization.

The Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University recently celebrated Lopez as a 2017 DASNR Champion, a recognition given to those who are not graduates of the agriculture college, but who have brought distinction to DASNR and demonstrated a continuing interest in agriculture and natural resources.

“He has been an active supporter of programs of DASNR for essentially his entire tenure at Lopez Foods,” said Roy Escoubas, head of OSU’s Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center. “He is an excited, reasonable, but creative leader, and can quickly understand issues and move toward solutions and opportunities.”

Lopez Foods is a principle supplier to McDonald’s Corporation for premium all-beef patties, sliced Canadian style bacon and pre-cooked premium pork sausage patties. The company employs about 500 greater Oklahoma City residents, operates a state-of-the-art 200,000-square-foot food processing facility and earns more than $500 million in annual sales revenue, making it the largest Latino-owned meat manufacturer in the United States.

Throughout his career, he has been a strong supporter of programs within DASNR and has proactively employed DASNR graduates. He began serving on FAPC’s Advisory Board in 2013 at the request of Gov. Mary Fallin, and two years later was elected board chairman.

In his leadership role, Lopez has welcomed a McDonald’s corporate marketing principal to OSU to speak with students and faculty on careers, the food industry and the future of food safety. Lopez also has contributed funding toward a campaign to nationally market FAPC.

“Lopez Foods has been a faithful partner with the Oklahoma City Regional Food Bank in supplying them with products such as Canadian bacon and other meat products to the volume that forced the Food Bank to pursue and achieve USDA inspection oversight for the processing and packing of these products for needy families across Oklahoma,” Escoubas said.

In 2016, Lopez made a significant contribution to the OSU Food Safety Program in support of the new food safety option in the Department of Animal Science. This program will allow food manufacturers to hire qualified food safety specialists upon their graduation from OSU.