Southerland has 24 years of industry experience in quality assurance, food safety, laboratory testing, auditing and management. He most recently served as director of food safety and quality for Tyson Prepared Foods in Fort Worth, Texas. Before that, Southerland served as vice president of food safety for KPR Foods, a division of Tyson Foods, Inc., and as quality assurance manager for Flagstar Corp., the parent company of Denny's.
Southerland earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. He is a professional member of the Institute of Food Technologists and serves on the boards of directors of the Southwest Meat Association and the National Meat Association.