J.R. Short Milling names Jon Luikart president and c.e.o.

by Eric Schroeder
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KANKAKEE, ILL. — J.R. Short Milling Co. has named Jon E. Luikart president and chief executive officer, effective March 5. Prior to this announcement, the company had been headed by a management team.

Mr. Luikart joins J.R. Short from Cameron, Wis.-based Primera Foods Corp., where he has been president and c.e.o. since 1995. Earlier he was with McCormick & Co. from 1989 to 1995. From 1976 to 1989 he was with Protein Technologies, a division of Ralston Purina Corp.

"We welcome Jon and are excited about the leadership skills he brings to J.R. Short, especially during a time where we are at the beginning of a new era as a niche food ingredient supplier," said Thomas B. Harris, recently elected chairman of the board.

Mr. Luikart will become only the second non-family member to be president of the corn milling business. Raleigh Wilkinson was named president in February 2003, shortly after the deaths of three family members who were at the helm of the company.

In addition to Mr. Luikart’s appointment, J.R. Short detailed large expansions currently under way in two of its three specialty ingredients divisions. They are:

• A 50% capacity increase in the company’s extruded food products division. The division develops new products from multi-grain and whole grain flours and increased fiber options. The expansion is the largest dollar commitment in J.R. Short’s history, the company said.

• An expansion in the company’s flaked and heat treated division, which supplies confectioner’s flakes and other specialized pre-cooked and toasted products to the candy, chip and brewery markets. As part of the expansion, J.R. Short has commissioned equipment that will add 33% to capacity.

The company’s third specialty ingredient division, whole ground corn, uses a proprietary process to meet the needs of whole grain customers with exacting requirements.

Founded in 1910, J.R. Short supplies dry corn mill products such as corn grits, meals, bran and related ingredients to customers serving specific markets.

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