Local Hands, Bright Future: a Reflection from Rick Moeckel

From Rick Moeckel, Executive Vice President, Institutional Business Unit at Clayco, Inc.
September 28, 2022

It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the MFK Haiti factory was completed.  We first became involved with MFK Haiti a couple of years prior to delivery of the factory when a mutual friend (Mike Reed) asked Kirk Warden and me about getting involved.

Mike Reed was a neighbor of Dr. Pat Wolff and was on the ownership side of a protein-based lab and production facility that Clayco was working on with him in St. Louis at the time.  Mike approached Clayco and me to discuss our interest in helping with MFK Haiti as they were outgrowing their current operations and working towards implementing their vision of building a state-of-the-art facility that could increase product for a growing need for the lifesaving Medika Mamba product.

We quickly learned that Pat Wolff’s work to date and vision for the future was powerful, as it was not only saving many lives, but also building a local economy by training local farmers with the skills needed to grow the proper peanuts for use and then ultimately purchasing those peanuts for use in the MFK product. 

We were excited to help MFK Haiti as their full circle approach aligned perfectly with our “Beyond These Walls” mantra.  In the early stages, I was working with the group to review the operations, site planning and the new facility drawings.  As things progressed, it was an honor to stay involved “pro bono” as the US Based Construction Coordinator where I was able to continue to assist with planning and procurement of the necessary materials and sometimes labor for use in delivering the facility.  During the project, we were able to secure donated materials from our partner subcontractors and suppliers here in St. Louis.

It was a rewarding and educational experience as the challenges faced by a construction project in Haiti were quite substantial when comparing how things are delivered in the states.  Over the course of my involvement, we continued to work together to identify and overcome all the hurdles that came our way focusing on procurement, efficiency, quality, and delivery. 

During the project, we visited the site to work alongside the local labor force and help deliver the project towards the end of construction.  That was a life changing experience that is still fresh in my mind.  To see the pride and joy on the faces of the construction workers and the MFK employees while enjoying the local culture was incredible.  To see how MFK has continued to make a significant positive impact on Haiti and the world at large has been fulfilling.  We are so thankful to have played a small role in this amazing story.