SABETHA, KAN. — Effective June 1, Scott Krebs took on the role of president of Wenger, a manufacturer of extrusion and drying technologies based in Sabetha. Formerly the president and chief operations officer of Wenger subsidiary Extru-Tech, Krebs has worked in the pet food industry for more than 30 years. Krebs joined Wenger in June 1991 as a project engineer and worked his way up to the executive role of president of Extru-Tech.

Marel, a leading provider of advanced food processing systems, software and services, acquired Wenger in 2022. The acquisition enabled Marel to establish a fourth business segment called “plant, pet and feed” alongside its existing segments for poultry, meat and fish. The new segment strengthens Marel’s offerings to several markets including the pet food processing industry.

“I am very excited to welcome Scott to the role of president of Wenger,” said Arni Sigurdsson, chief business officer and deputy chief executive officer of Marel. “Scott has more than 30 years of experience in the field of extrusion technology and is well-known and respected for his many great achievements within Wenger, especially leading the successful build-up and growth of Extru-Tech, a company that is part of Wenger. With Scott on board, we ensure a continuation of the successful Wenger strategy and that we continue to strengthen our position and customer relationships in the plant, pet and feed business segment.”

In Krebs new role, he will be responsible for driving strategic objectives and leading the Wenger team in the United States, Denmark, Brazil and all other countries. He will work closely with the Marel leadership team and will drive cross-selling of Marel solutions to customers in the plant-based human food, pet food, and aquatic feed business segments.

In the following Q&A, Krebs shares his leadership philosophy, goals for the company, and the business approach that will guide him in his new role as president of Wenger.


PFP: What is your experience in the pet food industry and how do you think that experience will help you in your new role?

Krebs: I am blessed to have been a part of the companion animal space for my entire career. I graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in mechanical engineering. I was recruited back to my hometown with Extru-Tech and have spent the past 32 years in the industry working in varied disciplines of manufacturing engineering, international sales, project management and ultimately taking on responsibility for brand management.

I am naturally curious and have been so fortunate to encounter many talented people in this industry ranging from clients to suppliers that have become friends. That relationship experience has prepared me to take on greater responsibility for the entire Wenger Group of Companies consisting of Wenger, Wenger do Brasil, Source Technology and Extru-Tech.


PFP: What big goals do you have for Wenger over the next 12 to 18 months?

Krebs: The primary goal now and always is to provide clients with an “unparalleled customer experience.” We can achieve this because the Wenger Group has the industry’s best process experts backed up by manufacturing and service excellence. We will also continue innovation efforts that leverage our expertise and that differentiate us from competitors. We want every client to experience tangible results when strategically partnering with the Wenger organization. We will continue to be the best equipment provider possible while enhancing our offering with spares, service and software.


PFP: How does having Marel as a parent company influence Wenger’s corporate goals?

Krebs: The Wenger family conducted a thoughtful, careful and meticulous process when selecting the next steward of the business. Marel’s values of unity, innovation and excellence aligned closely with long-existing Wenger family values. I believe Marel will be a force-multiplier for our entire organization to the pace of innovation and excellence through their established best-in-class business practices, worldwide strategic partnerships, and focus on digitalization for greater efficiency and sustainability within the food processing industry. We will continue to execute on current operational goals in support of our longer-term strategic goals and objectives.


PFP: What Marel-led improvements will have a global impact on your customers?

Krebs: Marel wants to “transform the way food is processed,” which is yet a further alignment to the Wenger Group way of thinking. Sharing best practices across the organization ensures we will continue to provide a value proposition for goods and services to our valued client base. Furthermore, Marel has a presence in more than 30 countries, which allows the Wenger Group to have points of contact around the globe on a continuous 24/7/365 availability. This will improve our service capabilities.


PFP: Wenger has always been proud of its innovative heritage — what will be your approach to innovation at Wenger?

Krebs: Wenger is most certainly proud of its innovative heritage. Moving forward, we will continue that same mindset, but with increased emphasis on making sure innovation is aligned with the business and sustainability requirements of our clients, which includes better optimization of materials, water and energy.

The Wenger process group can prescribe a solution backed by years of process experience, or can enter into a true innovation project to create a new opportunity, product or process. This vision again aligns well with Marel, a company that invests a significant amount (approximately 6% of topline revenues) each year to maintain its technological leadership and competitive position. 


PFP: What drives you as a leader? What is your leadership philosophy?

Krebs: My leadership philosophy is one of servant leadership and organizational health. I believe the ultimate standard for a leader is to work themselves out of a job by building a great team that holds themselves accountable to goals and objectives. Serving others is all of the following: true, noble, right, pure, admirable, excellent. I personally find great joy in creating a team based in trust that requires minimal escalation and that supports decisions made at every level of the organization.  


PFP: This is the first time in Wenger’s 80-year history that its leader will not be a Wenger family member. What unique aspects will you face leading an organization that has been steeped in family tradition?

Krebs: I am honored to still have strong relationships with the Wenger family. I have great respect for those that forged the path to where we are today. And while our history is an important part of our story, I also fully embrace that Marel has a vision of where this great company focused on “plant, pet and feed” can be in the future. We love where we are in the sectors we currently serve, but I sense our employees are excited about what a larger, globally connected enterprise can provide going forward. The Wenger group of companies has 80-plus years of success as a foundation from which to grow. Now, with Marel, we are poised to build out an even better organization that will provide value to our clients for the next 80 years, and beyond.


PFP: As a longtime resident of Sabetha, Kan., what is your view of small town, Midwestern values and how they impact the culture at Wenger?

Krebs: Values shouldn’t be assigned to just small town, Midwestern United States — in my travels, I have been blessed to see a strong moral compass in all parts of the world. I do, however, consider myself fortunate to have parents that instilled a strong work ethic by allowing me to watch how they conducted themselves. That vision was further cemented by the Sabetha community where my value system of family, faith and service to others is always on full display. I would be remiss not to mention my wife Christine and our three daughters that continue to support me and provide invaluable feedback that is such an important reflection process in the virtue of humility.

As for culture, I prefer the word beauty. The beauty at Wenger is that we strive to provide a trust-based vulnerability that allows us to have spirited discussions as we work together toward achieving personal and business results.


PFP: Do you have a favorite book about leadership that has helped shape the way you approach your job?

Krebs: I like to think you are the company you keep and the books you read. My go-to leadership books always revolve around the lessons of Patrick Lencioni — the unity built around organizational health will never go out of style.

Other books that resonate with me are “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, and “It’s Your Ship” by Captain C. Michael Abrashoff.

Read more about personnel changes throughout the industry.