New post at CAB seeks ever-better brand

A branded beef program that owns no cattle or beef still takes an active interest in both.

That can be hard to explain, but it’s a key to understanding and improving the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand, says Clint Walenciak, director of packing for the Ohio-based subsidiary of the American Angus Association.

His team monitors every aspect of the final product that earns that brand, from its 10 standards for marbling, consistency and appearance to the details of cuts and trim specifications and packaging.

That’s why CAB recently hired Dan Crownover for the newly created position of production and quality specialist. He’s becoming familiar with partner harvest and processing plants, spending time in those dozens of locations to evaluate performance on everything from yield and workmanship to packaging, always looking for opportunities to get better.

Crownover comes from a family Angus operation south of Dallas near Italy, Texas, and recently earned a master’s degree in animal science at Texas Tech University. Encouraged to look beyond ranching, he soon realized his background paired with a passion for meat science could provide real credibility with producers and packers alike.

College internships in Australia and New Zealand showed how different countries manage cattle and process their beef, all beneficial insight as CAB moves forward to international markets. Crownover spent a year coaching the Texas Tech meats judging team, where he taught as he learned more about beef carcasses, quality and yield grading.

The CAB production and quality specialist focuses on not only maintaining but exceeding consumer expectations, Walenciak says.

It’s not about preventing problems in a system already delivering excellence, he notes.

“It’s more like identifying areas for improvement, driving the brand forward from a product quality and performance standpoint.”

Once he settles into the new role, Crownover’s primary goal is far reaching.

“I want to bring dollars back to those who produce the brand, and expand our customer base,” he says. “I just want to have a positive impact, to make a difference for CAB and for the Angus industry.”

Walenciak says that should help lead the broader beef industry toward consumer satisfaction as well. Meanwhile, CAB distributors, retailers and restaurateurs are gaining a point person.

“Dan will be that one-stop shop for knowing exactly what products we have available from our multiple suppliers and knowing the specifications for each of those,” the director says.

Crownover says he enjoys bringing his education and curiosity to bear on “solving problems and finding opportunities that will benefit the beef community.”

“As our brand continues to grow, these efforts become even more important,” Walenciak says.