Iowa State meat science professor to retire

Dr. Joseph Cordray, long-time professor and extension meat specialist with Iowa State University (ISU), was recently honored during a celebration of his retirement in Ames, Iowa.

Nearly 200 guests joined Dr. Cordray and his family during a celebration dinner at the Gateway Hotel & Conference Center in Ames, on Saturday, Nov. 2. He will officially retire from the university in December.

The Master of Ceremonies was conducted by Emeritus Professor & Chair Dr. Maynard Hogberg of the Department of Animal Sciences at the Iowa State University. The program featured speakers from around the country, including AAMP Executive Director Chris Young. During his speech he thanked Dr. Cordray for his years of significant volunteer service with AAMP, as well as throughout the meat industry. Dr. Cordray served on the AAMP Board of Directors from 1989-1991. He has also served as the co-technical advisor of the American Cured Meat Championships (ACMC) since 2004. He will continue to serve as a technical advisor after his retirement in December.

During his speech, Dr. Cordray thanked all of those in attendance, and recognized all of the organizations within the industry that have collaborated with him throughout his career. “No one is successful on their own,” he said. “It is only through interaction with others that we are all eligible to achieve success.”

Dr. Cordray graduated from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama in 1983 with a Ph.D. in meat science. After receiving his doctorate, he became the director of research and development at A.C. Legg, Inc. in Calera, Alabama where he worked for 12 years. He has been the professor-in-charge of the meat laboratory with ISU for the last 24 years. He is responsible for the dissemination of information on meat science and technology, as well as coordinating short courses for both domestic and international meat industry personnel.

In 2016, Dr. Cordray was inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame. Below is an excerpt from his hall of fame profile.

Joe Cordray, a professor and extension meat specialist at Iowa State University, is responsible for the dissemination of information on Meat Science and Meat Technology (including sausage manufacture, sanitation, food safety and HACCP, carcass fabrication, carcass evaluation, livestock harvest, merchandising, packaging, product handling, storage, business sustainability and food defense) and coordinating meat science and technology short courses for both domestic and international meat industry personnel. He has taught thousands of meat science students and industry personnel with his courses.

Apart from his teaching duties, Dr. Cordray has also written for several industry publications, most recently the Independent Processor, which has published his columns for the last nine years. He has delivered more than 100 presentations to meat processor groups or organizations and is a regular presenter at industry trade shows. Dr. Cordray is also a technical advisor to the American Cured Meat Championships, held every year in conjunction with the annual AAMP Convention. For his service to the industry, he has received awards from numerous associations, including the American Meat Science Association, American Association of Meat Processors, North American Meat Processors (now North American Meat Institute) and many state associations.

For more than 40 years, Dr. Joe Cordray has been an invaluable resource for those in the meat industry or students interested in joining it. With his positions in the academic world, writing for industry publications and working for industry supplier A.C. Legg, Dr. Cordray has helped processors improve their products, find new market niches, keep aware of industry issues or policy changes and generally become more successful. It would be practically impossible to calculate the number of companies he has advised or the number of individuals he has taught, mentored and brought into the industry.