Several members of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Financial Management Seminar planning committee received the organization’s Lamplighter Award during the 2015 International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo. The Lamplighter Award is presented for “sustained and exemplary service” to the poultry and egg industry.
It is a different approach to the annual Lamplighter Award – recognizing a group of individuals, members of the USPOULTRY Financial Management Seminar planning committee with continued personal involvement for the last two decades, plus.
“We are pleased to recognize their enduring service in one of our longest-running and most popular industry seminars,” said 2014 USPOULTRY chairman, Elton Maddox, Wayne Farms, in making the presentations. “These individuals represent a legacy of service of many more who have made significant contributions to the seminar over the years and to whom we are also grateful.”
This year’s honorees are:
- Bob Childress, Frost PLLC – Childress is a graduate of Arkansas State University with a B.S. in business administration and a M.S. in accounting. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants. He worked at KPMG Peat Marwick as senior manager before joining Frost PLLC in 1991, where he currently serves as chief financial officer. In addition to serving on the USPOULTRY Financial Management Seminar planning committee, Chidress is actively involved with a variety of professional and civic organizations.
- Alan Duncan, Mountaire Farms – Duncan is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University with a B.B.A. in accounting. He spent 24 years at Frost PLLC with many of his clients being companies in the poultry industry. He left Frost and joined Mountaire Farms, where he served as CFO for 13 years. Duncan is now senior vice president. He is a board member of USPOULTRY and the National Chicken Council (NCC). He has served on the Financial Management Seminar planning committee for many years.
- Eddie Elrod, Fieldale Farms – Elrode is vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer for Fieldale Farms in Baldwin, Georgia. He received his finance and accounting degrees from Piedmont College. His career began in 1982, and past company positions include credit manager, internal auditor, controller and treasurer. In the community, he has served on boards representing the American Red Cross, the company’s credit union, P230 Foundation and Georgia Baptist Convention. Elrod has also been an enthusiastic supporter of USPOULTRY programs, having spoken at various workshops in addition to participating in the planning for the annual financial seminar.
- Greg Finch, Claxton Poultry – Finch is chief financial officer for Claxton Poultry in Claxton, Georgia. He received his B.S. in accounting from Bob Jones University. Before joining Claxton Poultry in 2011, he served as division controller for Waffle House and CFO for Harrison Poultry. Greg has served on the Financial Management Seminar planning committee for many years.
- Steve Jurek, GNP Company – Jurek is the current president of GNP Company, formerly known as Gold'n Plump Poultry. He joined the company in 1977, where he held a variety of positions including controller, vice president of finance and administration, chief financial officer, secretary/treasurer and executive vice president of operations and administration. He was named president in 2014. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a MBA with a finance emphasis from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. Jurek is a certified management accountant and board member of the Midwest Poultry Consortium, Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence and Boy Scouts of America. He began his career in accounting at Fingerhut Corporation, Minnetonka, Minnesota. Jurek has served on the Financial Management Seminar planning committee for many years.
- Mike Popowycz, Case Farms – Popowycz is vice chairman & CFO for Case Foods in Troutman, North Carolina. After receiving his B.A. in accounting from Moravian College, he started his career at Perdue Farms, serving in various accounting and tax positions for seven years. He moved on to Bell Atlantic Corporation for two years, and in 1987, joined Case Foods. He has served as corporate controller, corporate treasurer, chief financial officer, and in 2012 became vice chairman & CFO. He was elected to the Case Foods board of directors in 2005 and to the NCC board of directors in June 2012. He currently serves as the secretary-treasurer of the NCC. Popowycz has been a supporter of USPOULTRY programs and has volunteered on USPOULTRY’s Financial Management Seminar planning committee for years.
- Ron Van Es, Tyson Foods – Van Es is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University with a B.S. in Accounting. He began his poultry career as an accountant with Valmac Industries in Russellville, Arkansas, in 1973. Valmac was purchased by Tyson Foods in 1984. Van Es is a senior group controller and has worked with live, processing and inventory accounting the past 30 years at Tyson’s corporate office in Springdale, Arkansas, and has served on the planning committee of the USPOULTRY Financial Management Seminar during this time.
- Seals Burdell, USPOULTRY – Burdell received a BBA in Accounting from Georgia State University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants. He began his poultry industry career in accounting with Gold Kist in1976, ultimately advancing to controller of poultry operations. Following the purchase of Gold Kist by Pilgrim’s Pride in 2007, he worked with Pilgrim’s as controller for their distribution company and fresh food service plants before joining USPOULTRY in 2010. Burdell has served on the Financial Management Seminar planning committee since early in his Gold Kist years and continues to this day. Additionally, since joining the Association in 2010, Burdell has streamlined and updated the internal financial processes, making the Association more efficient in serving the industry.