Rule No. 1 in journalism is to avoid reliance upon clichés when writing feature stories. Yet, there are certain stories that really defy that “commandment” of journalism. The Storm Lake, Iowa, turkey-processing facility owned by Hillshire Brands (now part of Tyson Foods), is a good example — just look at the storyline!

In spring 2014, a fire destroyed a significant portion of the processing floor and damaged much of the rest of the facility (mostly via smoke and water damage, but still, the cleanup was extensive). The plant was redesigned, rebuilt and back to processing in less than a year. During this reconstruction period, Hillshire Brands was rumored to be an acquisition target, became the focal point of a bidding war and was eventually acquired by Tyson Foods.

There are any number of clichés that can be used to share the story of Storm Lake over the past year. But the story goes beyond the headlines and offers a picture of processing advancement, plant design enhancement and employee assistance that could act as a model for any facility that experiences a disaster of epic proportions.

Cue the phoenix references, and read more here: