The board of directors of Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative Inc. promoted John A. King, II, to general manager in anticipation of the phased retirement of James L. Mason. Mason has served as general manager and president of the co-op since 2004 and will continue as president until retirement. The date of Mason's retirement has not been set.
King has 20 years of experience in the poultry industry, having previously working at Rocco Foods, now Cargill, and Pilgrim's. King joined the co-op upon its formation in 2004, where he has served as vice president of sales.
Mason grew up helping his dad grow and sell poultry, and in 1967, Mason began working summers for Virginia Valley Processors. His tenure there spanned that company's acquisition by Wampler Foods, merger with Wampler-Longacre, and merger with Wampler-Longacre-Rockingham which became WLR Foods. In 1988, Mason served six months as president of Wampler-Longacre-Rockingham. In 1993, he was named president of Wampler Foods and executive vice president of WLR Foods, a position he held until he resigned in 1997.
Mason has served as past president of the Virginia Poultry Federation, the Virginia Turkey Association, on the executive committee of the National Turkey Federation, and on the boards of Rockingham Memorial Hospital and Farmers & Merchants Bank of Timberville.
Steve Bazzle, chairman of the board, stated, "One of Jim Mason's great contributions to the Co-op is the outstanding management team he's built. John King is exceptionally talented in sales and marketing and is at the top of our industry in understanding our markets. Promoting John King from within our management team will aid in the smooth transition of leadership, as will Jim Mason's phased retirement and ongoing involvement with the co-op as a board member. Even amidst current tough industry conditions, the board remains optimistic about the co-op's future and is entirely confident in John King and the entire management team."