Assistant Commissioner Joe Reardon retires after 38 years with NCDA&CS

by | Jun 30, 2021

Today marks a bittersweet day as we celebrate the retirement of long-time NCDA&CS employee Joe Reardon.

Reardon started with the department in the Meat and Poultry Inspection Division as an Inspector 1 on the slaughter floor of the Jesse Jones Sausage Plant in Garner. From there he moved to Inspector 2 and then Inspector in Charge.

Then he moved to the Food and Drug Protection Division as a field inspector, then a compliance officer, compliance supervisor, special assistant, Food and Drug administrator and then Food and Drug Protection Division Director.

“Joe has held many hats in the department. I think this is one of the reasons he excels at his job,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “He understands field work, he has a passion for lab work and a deep inner drive to do his part to ensure that North Carolina has a safe and secure food supply.”

Joe Reardon with his division directors (L-R Karen Beck, Jim Burnette, Anita MacMullan, Joe Reardon, Doug Meckes, John Howard and Brenda Jackson)

As assistant commissioner of consumer protection, Joe is responsible for food safety, agricultural emergency response, animal health, and regulation of the structural pest control industry, pesticide use and various weighing and measuring devices. These divisions are all included in the Steve Troxler Agricultural Sciences Center. Every resident will be affected daily by the work done in this lab.

Joe has helped ensure that each service offered by the lab was planned in a way to increase efficiency, maintain critical lab certifications and keep employee safety and comfort in mind. His work went above and beyond as he made sure that the needs of the labs were met. This included helping secure grants and increased legislative support and recommending changes in an effort to be most efficient with funding.

“Joe is a true champion for a project that went from idea to concept in five short years,” said Troxler.

A few of his division directors provided quotes about working with Joe and his leadership:

“I have worked with Joe since 1992 and have never seen someone with his leadership capabilities. Joe doesn’t leave things to chance and just hope it works out. The work our division does succeeds because of his work. He is an ardent protector of public health and represents the perfect balance of holding industry accountable and compassion.”

Anita MacMullan, Food and Drug Protection Division Director

“Joe was rooted in every decision we made in response after incidences such as Hurricane Florence. A lot of times he helped take the more difficult decisions off the incident commander. He is a great boss because he gives you the freedom to do your job, helps with tough decisions and does not shy away on difficulties. He is one of the reasons we got the FEMA reimbursement after Hurricane Florence. He did a lot of the heavy lifting with putting together that package.”

John Howard, Emergency Programs Division Director

“From our first meeting in March 2016, planning and building the Steve Troxler Agricultural Sciences Center has been a team effort. The team has benefited greatly from having an experienced assistant commissioner that understands the significance of the project to the department and the citizens we serve. Joe has taken a hands-on approach that has set the tone and expectations of others. His unique skill set in science and leadership made him a perfect fit to lead the project.”

Kent Yelverton, State Fair Manager

“Joe has a full appreciation of the importance of the animal/poultry industries of North Carolina. He frequently joins in on calls with industry representatives and provides meaningful input to the issues we face, whether disease, natural disaster or economic turmoil. Joe truly manifests the principals of servant leadership in all engagements. Servant leaders encourage individuals to innovate in a team with a shared vision. That has been my experience with Joe and our combined efforts have allowed for the best possible outcomes in tasks we have undertaken with the Veterinary Division.”

Dr. Doug Meckes, State Veterinarian

The employees of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services thank Joe for his longtime service. Joe, we know that North Carolina hasn’t seen the last of you and are excited that you will be moving on to represent the whole United States as Director of Food Safety with NASDA. In your new role you will have the opportunity to work with all 50 states on major food safety issues – which is your passion. Thank you for your service!