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HEARTLAND INC. APPOINTS THOMAS J. BERNARD PRESIDENT, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, J. MATT LEPO APPOINTED DIRECTOR

 DENVER, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- John H. Wise, chairman of the board of Heartland Inc., (OTC) announced today the appointment of Thomas J. Bernard, age 44, as president and chief executive officer of the company. Bernard had formerly served as executive vice president and chief operating officer and replaces Darwin Heggem, who will continue as a director. Bernard joined the company in 1992. Prior to that he was the chief executive officer for two financial institutions and has been an executive manager for over 20 years. Bernard is also a certified public accountant.
 Wise also announced the appointment of J. Matt Lepo, age 53, as a director of the company, replacing Bernard who resigned so as to satisfy company policy that a majority of the directors be independent. Wise commented on the appointments saying, "The appointment of Thomas J. Bernard as president and Matt Lepo as director significantly broadens the management and oversight of our company and further emphasizes the strategic refocus of Heartland towards value added, further processed meat products. Bernard has played an important role in the 1993 acquisition and subsequent integration of Denver-based Sigman Meat Co. into Heartland.
 "Sigman Meats is the largest Denver-based processor of beef products and pork products, including luncheon meat and deli products. Today Sigman sells such products to over 100 customers in the 14 western states. Sigman's principal customers include King Soopers Stores, Safeway Stores, Albertson's Stores, City Markets, Super Value Stores, Topco Inc., as well as a variety of wholesale warehouse club stores including Sam's Club and Pace.
 "Under the direction of Thomas Bernard, president; Dee Thomsen, executive vice president of Heartland and Mehdi Shirazi, president of Sigman Meat Co., and the rest of our management team, we intend to build a significant consumer franchise for the Sigman family of products throughout the Western states. This program will be supported by an expanded product development focus directed to niche markets, as well as an aggressive marketing and advertising schedule.
 "We welcome Mr. Lepo to our board. Matt Lepo brings to the company 27 years of experience in corporate management and the securities and investment banking industries," said Wise.
 Lepo is currently director of Corporate Finance for Conversion Industries (AMEX: CVD). In addition, Lepo serves on the board of directors of Denver-based Bratcher Industries, a paper products manufacturing company. "Mr. Lepo will be an invaluable part of our growth strategy, which will be in part facilitated by acquisitions and public capital financing."
 Heartland Inc., with operations in California, Colorado and Nebraska, is a vertically integrated food products and services company which produces, processes and distributes beef, pork, poultry and related food products for markets in the United States and internationally.
 -0- 1/11/94
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Heartland Inc. is a publicly held company with annual revenues of approximately $90 million. Its corporate office was relocated from Scottsbluff, Neb. to Denver, in July 1993. Thomas Bernard, the newly appointed president of Heartland Inc., is a resident of Denver and Mehdi Shirazi, president of Sigman Meats, has been a resident of Denver for over 30 years. Heartland board member Richard Gossage, a professional baseball player associated with the Oakland A's, is a native of Colorado and a current resident of Colorado Springs./
 /CONTACT: Thomas J. Bernard, president of Heartland Inc., 303-433-0880; or William F. Coffin, president of Coffin Communications Group, 818-578-0500/
 (CVD)


CO: Heartland Inc. ST: Colorado IN: FOD SU: PER

JP-MF -- LA025 -- 1078 01/11/94 15:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 11, 1994
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