But for a day, he stepped away from his corporate office and spent some time with his workers in the trenches on The Early Show's Changing Places.
Perdue spent several hours working at one of the Perdue Farms plants in Bridgewater, Virginia. He worked in the "cooked" facility — the place where the chickens are cooked.
Once Perdue was instructed on his responsibilities, he went to work and treated his tasks with the utmost seriousness. The CEO was laser focused on his job for the day. Perdue was such a quick study, that at one point, the line supervisors stockpiled the inventory and speed things up in order to make the job more challenging for Perdue.
Despite some glitches with the earplugs, Perdue was always able to catch up every time he fell behind, and he always managed to get himself out of a bind. But, the CEO learned how tiring the job can be. The Bridgewater Prepared Foods Facility operates two production shifts, with volume of 500,000 million pounds of chicken weekly.
There are 800 hourly employees and 50 salaried employees in the plant. The products in that plant include fully cooked turkey breasts, ham, pastrami, bolo, sliced deli items, and fully cooked nuggets, cutlets tenders and short cuts.
Perdue, who is in his early 50s, has taken over his father's family business and is now CEO and Chairman of Perdue Farms. The company was founded by Arthur W. Perdue in 1920 as a table-egg poultry farm. Frank Perdue, Jim's father, joined his father 's company in 1930 as the third full-time employee. He built the company into an industry leader in fresh poultry. Jim Perdue became chairman of the board in 1991.