Sanderson Farms’ director of development and engineering, Bob “Pic” Billingsley, has been named a recipient of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s annual Lamplighter Award during the 2022 International Production & Processing Expo. The award pays tribute to individuals demonstrating sustained and exemplary service to the poultry and egg industry. 

“We value the commitment and support of this year’s Lamplighter Award recipients,” said Greg Hinton, outgoing chairman for the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and vice president of sales for Rose Acre Farms. “They have enthusiastically dedicated themselves to contributing to the poultry industry, and we sincerely appreciate their service to the industry.”

Billingsley, an employee of Sanderson Farms for over 38 years, has served on the company’s executive committee for over three decades and has overseen site selection, design and construction for the last eight state-of-the-art poultry complexes the nation’s third largest poultry producer has built. In addition to his role in development and engineering, he serves on the company’s corporate compensation committee and crisis management committee.

“An integral member of our company’s leadership team for much of his career, it is no surprise to me that Pic has been selected by his peers in the poultry and egg industry for this prestigious honor,” said Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms. “Pic has not only helped our company grow and develop, but he has also embraced technology and innovation that has been crucial to the development of our industry.”

As the Lamplighter Award demonstrates, Billingsley is no stranger to the poultry industry and has dedicated nearly four decades of his career to the success of it, including serving on the board of directors for the award’s issuing organization, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. For numerous terms, he has also served on the board of directors for the Mississippi Poultry Association, including serving as the board’s chairman. 

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Founded in 1947, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is based in Tucker, Georgia, and progressively serves its poultry and egg members through research, education, communications and technical services. In addition to Billingsley, four other industry leaders were recognized with the association’s lamplighter award, including Dr. Karen Christensen, senior director of animal wellbeing at Tyson Foods; Steve George, president and chief executive officer of Fremont Farms; Warren Howe, vice president of Woodruff & Howe Environmental Engineering; and Steve Woodruff, president and chief executive officer of Woodruff & Howe Environmental Engineering. 

“It is such an honor to be recognized among accomplished industry leaders such as these who have contributed so much to the advancement of our industries throughout their careers,” said Billingsley. “Working with the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has been a career highlight for me, which makes this award even more meaningful.” 

A graduate of Delta State University, Billingsley earned an accounting degree and a Masters of Business Administration degree before joining Sanderson Farms shortly after graduation. Since earning his degrees, he has been inducted into the university’s hall of fame as an honored graduate. 

Outside of the poultry industry, Billingsley is also avidly involved in educational initiatives and civic organizations. Currently serving on the Laurel Airport Authority’s board of directors, he has served many board appointments for the Association for Excellence in Education and the Salvation Army. As a result of his contributions to these organizations, Billingsley was awarded the Jones County School District Parent of the Year and the Robert E. Gaddis Education Award.