Bill Atkinson Interviews Zachary Fine, CEO of Holly Poultry

Zach Fine, 42, is the CEO of Baltimore-based Holly Poultry Inc., a family-owned poultry processor and a wholesale distributor of poultry, pork, beef, and other refrigerated products.

The company, which employs about 400 people, has been growing at a brisk pace operating along the East Coast with plans for continued expansion. Clients include Royal Farms, Nando’s, and California Tortilla. The company aims to expand by opening another processing facility on its 17-acre property in west Baltimore.

“My job right now is to step on the gas, and we are going to step on it pretty hard,” Fine says.

The company historically has consisted of two business segments: processing poultry products which are principally sold to the foodservice industry, and wholesale distribution of poultry, pork, beef and other refrigerated products to grocery stores and markets for retail consumption. During the pandemic, which slammed the restaurant industry, Holly quickly pivoted and created a new line of business selling directly into supermarkets.

Fine, who was named CEO in 2018, began working at the company when he was in high school and college making deliveries and assisting in the warehouse. One of his first jobs at the company was working in night-shift production.

The company has been in business under the current management since 1990 when Michael Fine, Zach Fine’s father, took over Holly which was teetering on the brink of financial ruin.

Michael Fine learned the business from his father and uncle who worked at Mash’s Hams.

He rebuilt Holly and began growing the company adding a state-of-the-art processing facility in 2017. Today, Holly gives generously to charitable causes and focuses on hiring local talent; about 85 percent of its employees live in Baltimore city.

Zach holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from York College of Pennsylvania and an MBA from University of Maryland University College.

Interview Questions:

Q1: What does Holly Poultry do?

Q2: How long has Holly been in Baltimore and how did you get involved?

Q3: How has Holly been doing? Tell me about its growth?

Q4: What is driving Holly’s growth?

Q5: How did the pandemic affect Holly or change Holly?

Q6: Tell us about your work in the Baltimore community and your mission?

Q7: What does the future look like for the company?

Connect with Zachary on LinkedIn

About Holly Poultry

Holly Poultry is a further processor of poultry and wholesale distributor of meat, poultry, fish and other proteins. We serve the Mid-Atlantic region from Virginia to New York.

We supply our further processed poultry through virtually every food service distributor in our market place.

Our wholesale distribution channel services many independent grocers, processors, wholesalers and restaurants.

Edwin Warfield, CEO of citybiz, conducts CEO Interviews.

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