Julie Camardo: Preserving Tradition and Nurturing Growth

Honoring Heritage, Leading with Innovation, and Defining Excellence!

In the fast-paced world of business, where trends come and go, and companies rise and fall, there are few stories as remarkable as that of Julie Camardo and Zweigle’s Inc. A journey that spans over five generations and more than a century, it’s a testament to the power of dedication, innovation, and the unwavering commitment to community.

Zweigle’s Inc., a revered name in the small meat manufacturing industry, has carved a unique place in the hearts of its patrons in Western New York. At the helm of this legacy stands Julie Camardo, a visionary leader whose passion for preserving tradition and embracing modernity has propelled the company to new heights.

For Camardo, Zweigle’s is not just a business; it’s a part of her family’s legacy deeply woven into the fabric of Rochester, New York. She proudly declares, “Zweigle’s is my family legacy, and I am proud to be a part of carrying on the traditions. We are part of the Rochester, New York timeline, and we help support the community to grow and thrive in any way we can.”

The story of Julie Camardo’s leadership at Zweigle’s is a testament to the delicate balance of honoring the past while propelling into the future. The company’s rich history is marked by its commitment to quality and authenticity. From its humble beginnings to its current stature, Zweigle’s has stood the test of time, becoming a symbol of trust for generations of customers.

However, Camardo’s leadership extends beyond preserving tradition. She understands the need for innovation and evolution to stay relevant in today’s ever-changing market. Under her guidance, Zweigle’s has embraced modern technologies and practices while staying true to its core values. This delicate dance between heritage and progress has allowed the company to maintain its loyal customer base while attracting new generations of consumers.

Julie Camardo’s leadership is not just about business success; it’s about community impact. The ties between Zweigle’s and the Rochester community run deep, and Camardo ensures that the company’s growth is aligned with the betterment of the community it serves. From providing local employment opportunities to contributing to initiatives that foster growth and well-being, Zweigle’s remains a driving force for positive change.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

A Legacy of Delicious Food and Strong Values

Since its establishment in 1880 in Rochester, New York, Zweigle’s, Inc. has remained a cherished family-owned meat and protein manufacturing company. Now in its fifth generation of ownership, Zweigle’s has maintained a steadfast commitment: creating lasting memories through the joy of delightful food and fostering flexible partnerships.

At the core of Zweigle’s operations is a diverse array of fully cooked products. From natural casing and skinless hot dogs to flavorful sausage links and patties, mouthwatering meatballs, succulent chicken breasts and strips, delectable deli meats, and even innovative plant-based proteins, Zweigle’s offers a wide selection to cater to the needs of retail, food service, and private label customers.

What truly sets Zweigle’s apart is its enriching corporate culture. Here, every employee is not only encouraged but also rewarded for upholding the company’s core values. Among these values, accountability takes center stage. It encompasses the principles of honesty and taking ownership of one’s actions, whether they lead to success or present challenges. Zweigle’s views mistakes as valuable learning tools, reinforcing this philosophy through comprehensive training and unwavering management support.

In line with its commitment to innovation, Zweigle’s recently introduced a new core value: continuous improvement. This reflects the company’s dedication to staying at the forefront of the ever-evolving food industry. Zweigle relies on its dedicated product development team and experienced R&D manager to craft inventive solutions for both its partners and internal projects. The company’s investments in plant enhancements, human capital, process optimization, and cutting-edge machinery underscore its commitment to adapting to the dynamic trends of the food industry.

Overcoming Challenges and Leading Zweigle’s into the 5th Generation

Leading a business is no small feat, and Julie faced her fair share of challenges when she assumed a leadership role at Zweigle’s. These hurdles encompassed issues of trust, company culture, and the recognition of the importance of acknowledging one’s limitations.

  • Building Trust: Julie’s initial goal was to foster trust among the employees. She wanted them to understand her deep commitment to Zweigle’s and its workforce. Trust served as the foundation for her efforts to connect with employees, share vital company information, establish strategic planning structures, and ensure that the right individuals were in the right roles to steer the company toward success.


  • Cultivating a Positive Culture: Trust, in turn, laid the groundwork for creating a positive and appreciative atmosphere within the company. Over the years, Julie has dedicated herself to defining, documenting, sharing, and encouraging the embodiment of Zweigle’s core values, both within and outside the workplace. Simultaneously, she has championed a flexible corporate culture that embraces change as the company expands. A critical aspect of this endeavor has been assembling a robust management team capable of supporting this evolving culture.


  • Embracing Continuous Learning: The journey of leading a business is a continuous learning experience. Julie acknowledges the time it took her to gain a clear understanding of her own strengths and weaknesses in running the company. She has consistently sought to hire individuals who excel in their roles, recognizing that their expertise complements her own. This strategy has resulted in the development of an exceptional leadership team that can be relied upon to steer and expand the business.

Julie’s professional journey has been shaped by her deliberate decision to return to Rochester early in her career, aiming to determine her true passion for the family business. With time, her love for Zweigle’s customers and her pride in upholding the family legacy grew immensely. Her most significant accomplishment, she asserts, is successfully guiding Zweigle’s into its fifth generation. Leading Zweigle’s beyond its 141-year history is a source of immense pride and accomplishment for Julie, as she continues to uphold the family’s enduring legacy.

Nationally Certified Woman-Owned Business

In an industry as traditionally male-dominated as meat production, the distinction of being a nationally certified woman-owned business is a rarity. Julie acknowledges this uniqueness and underscores the importance of staying informed and adaptable in this ever-evolving landscape.

  • Staying Informed and Building Relationships: Julie places a premium on understanding the needs of Zweigle’s customers, suppliers, and equipment manufacturers. Actively engaging with these stakeholders allows her to glean insights from others in the food manufacturing industry. By attending trade shows and industry events and expanding their network, Zweigle’s remains committed to continuous learning and growth.


  • The Need for Flexibility: Recognizing the inevitability of change, Julie understands that Zweigle’s must remain flexible and proactive. This adaptability is vital as they navigate shifting USDA regulations, embrace machinery and equipment updates, and respond to evolving buyer behaviors. Staying ahead of these changes ensures that Zweigle’s remains relevant and competitive in the marketplace.


  • A Legacy of Delicious Memories: Since its inception in 1880, Zweigle’s core mission has been to create enduring memories through delicious food. Looking to the future, Julie and her team have crafted a forward-looking 10-year plan. This plan encompasses expanding sales in private label and co-packing opportunities, diversifying their product offerings, and perpetuating the company’s legacy through branded growth.

Balancing Leadership, Motherhood, and Community Engagement

At the helm of Zweigle’s, Julie shoulders the weighty responsibilities of leading the executive team, spearheading strategic planning, and translating the company’s vision into reality. Her role also extends to nurturing critical relationships with accountants, financial institutions, and legal teams, which are essential pillars of support for the Zweigle’s brand. In addition to her corporate leadership, Julie is an active and visible figure in the community. She lends her expertise to various boards and committees, contributing to the betterment of her surroundings.

  • A Juggling Act: As a single mother of three, Julie faces the unique challenge of harmonizing her roles as a dedicated parent and a business leader. This delicate balancing act, though demanding, is of paramount importance to her. She is resolute in her mission to expose her children to the intricacies of her work at Zweigle’s and her active community involvement, all while making cherished family time a top priority.


  • Empathy and Understanding: Julie’s commitment to her team at Zweigle’s extends to recognizing the challenges that some employees might be encountering in their personal lives. She advocates for a workplace culture that values balance, flexibility, and open communication, understanding that these qualities can help employees navigate their own work-life equilibrium.


  • Self-Care and Resilience: Despite her demanding roles, Julie is keenly aware of her own humanity. To cope with the pressures of leadership, motherhood, and community engagement, she emphasizes the importance of self-care. For her, this involves practicing yoga, engaging in conversations with friends and family when feeling overwhelmed, embarking on long hikes, and finding solace in books and movies. Prioritizing balance and well-being is the cornerstone of Julie’s strength as a compassionate leader, both within her family and in her roles at Zweigle’s and in the community.

Pioneering Healthcare Solutions

Growing up in a household where healthcare challenges were a frequent topic of discussion, Aimée’s path to the healthcare industry felt like a natural progression. Her father, a physician, shared stories of patients struggling to access high-quality healthcare, which left a lasting impact on her. Aimée, the youngest of three siblings, was determined to chart her own course and diverge from her sisters’ careers in law. From a remarkably young age, she felt a compelling inner drive to tackle a specific challenge within an industry in her own unique way.

At just 12 years old, Aimée had a revelation that centered around the global healthcare crisis she had often heard discussed at the family dinner table. She decided to embark on a journey to establish her own health technology company, with the ambition of solving these pressing problems on a global scale. While she briefly considered the idea of becoming a doctor, the prospect of dealing with blood and needles didn’t quite align with her sensibilities. It was during her university years that Aimée had an illuminating moment. She realized that she could make a more substantial impact on the healthcare industry by leveraging technology solutions and dynamic strategic thinking, rather than joining the ranks of countless medical professionals worldwide.

Aimée recognized herself as a natural problem solver, a trait that laid the foundation for CliniShift. Her mind operates in an engineering-like manner, always probing and questioning existing processes. Her true passion lies in identifying significantly more efficient and cost-effective approaches to tasks within the healthcare domain. It’s this quest for innovative solutions that fuels her energy and drives her role. Aimée’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of determination, strategic thinking, and a relentless commitment to solving complex challenges in the healthcare sector.