Dr. Meeker Receives Prestigious Tallow Master Award

NARA and FPRF’s Senior Vice President of Scientific Services, Dr. David Meeker, has been presented with the prestigious Tallow Master Award in appreciation of his distinguished service and outstanding contributions to the American rendering industry.


The award was presented at the Pacific Coast Renderers Association annual meeting in Laguna Niguel, California, earlier this month.


In his acceptance of the award, Meeker said, “Working for renderers has been the best job of my career. I am very honored to have received the Tallow Master Award.


Ross Hamilton (L) presenting Dr. David Meeker (R) with the Tallow Master Award

Called the “Oscar of the rendering industry,” the Tallow Master award was incepted in 1977 and recognizes greatness in the rendering industry.


The philosophy behind the creation of the award was explained by Don Heddleston (PCRA President when the award was conceived) in an archival 1977 Render magazine article:


“In recent years, our industry has assumed a place of considerable stature in our ecology, our economy, and our food chain. As the industry has grown in importance and in terms of the degree to which the public has become aware of its’ contributions to their welfare, the Pacific Coast Renderers Association has been moved to take certain positive steps to further enhance the public understanding (of rendering).


Since the film industry has its Oscar, the New York stage its Tony, television the Emmy, we felt that the rendering industry should have an award which in its quality and uniqueness would truly become a prized position for each recipient.”


The award itself depicts a bronze figure of a tallow maker from the 1700s, stirring tallow over a fire pit. He is “The Tallow Master.”


Tallow Master Award

A California based artist was commissioned for the award who was inspired for the design by illustrations in Diderot’s 18th century French Dictionary. An original sculpture was fashioned first, and later turned to bronze.


The first Tallow Master award was presented to Robert N. Peterson who received it in 1977, inspiring the Render article introducing the award.


More recent recipients of the award include Michael Koewler of Sacramento Rendering Company (2017), and former NARA President, Tom Cook (2014).


To learn more about the history of the Tallow Master Award, read the full Render article from 1977.


Congratulations to Dr. Meeker on receiving this “Oscar of the rendering industry” for his outstanding and dedicated service to the rendering industry.

The North American Renderers Association (NARA) is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It does not discriminate in the terms and conditions of employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other factor prohibited by law.

As a participant in USDA programs, we share the commitment to comply with all federal, state and local civil rights laws and those of the USDA. More about this commitment is available on the USDA website page here.