On the Job: Charles Stites



What is your title and how long have you been with the UI?

I'm a research animal scientist in the department of animal sciences. I've been here since the spring of 1984.

What does your job entail?

I manage the meat science laboratory, a federally inspected meat-processing facility on campus. We provide service and products for research, extension and teaching needs. A lot goes into the job, from helping to plan the initial stages of a research project to cutting meat and helping customers select that perfect cut of meat for a special occasion.

How is the meat sales room connected to the laboratory?

We have a supply of meat generated through the services we provide for research and teaching. Since the meat is federally inspected, we are able to sell it in order to provide funds for maintaining the facility, covering operating expenses, and providing services for research and teaching.

What kind of meat does the sales room have?

We sell cuts of beef, pork and lamb; sausages like bratwurst and Italian sausage; and smoked meats like ham, bacon, summer sausage, snack sticks and beef jerky. We sell virtually everything frozen, which allows us to maintain a constant supply to the public, as the need for our services change throughout the year. All of the meat that we sell has passed inspection for wholesomeness. We have to follow the federal regulations monitored by the Food Safety Inspection Service of the USDA. The Meat Salesroom is located at 102 Meat Sciences Laboratory at 1503 S. Maryland Drive, Urbana. We're open three days a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Customers may order meat in person, by phone at 333-3404, or by e-mail at c-stites@illinois.edu. We send out sale fliers through campus mail and e-mail to those customers on our mailing list.

How many people work for you in the laboratory?

I have one assistant manager, a position usually held by someone going to graduate school while working full time, and about 20 undergraduate or graduate students who work here part time. It's a good opportunity for them to learn about the meat industry, as well as making them better-informed consumers.

What do you like best about your job?

I like solving people's problems. I am part of one of the best meat-science programs in the country. When people need things done they come to us. I take a great deal of pride in the contribution that I make to our department. I would like to think that our program is better because I'm here.

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Comments to: Inside Illinois Editor Doris Dahl, (217) 333-2895, d-dahl2@illinois.edu

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