Delmarva Chicken Association presented awards to three people–Steve Schwalb, Ron Darnell and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan–whose support, work and advocacy have been crucial to the success of Delmarva’s chicken community.
The awards were presented during the Booster BBQ, an annual event for DCA members and invited guests at the Delaware State Fairgrounds. More than 800 DCA members and others in the chicken community attended the event, which featured barbecued chicken prepared and served by Greenwood Volunteer Fire Company and Harrington Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary, ice cream from Vanderwende’s, door prizes, more than 40 vendors and a musical performance by the Jones Boys.
Steve Schwalb, who led several Perdue Farms departments and spearheaded key initiatives for the company before his 2015 retirement, received the J. Frank Gordy, Sr. Delmarva Distinguished Citizen Award. Schwalb began his Perdue career in the 1980s as an industrial engineer; by the time he retired, he’d taken on executive roles in corporate communications, government relations, mergers and acquisitions and sustainability. He also developed strong ties to the Maryland Food Bank, where he remains a board member. “Every position I had, I always found a new challenge, and every challenge ended up being something that was always rewarding,” Schwalb said. “This recognition makes me feel good about the fact that other people thought I was adding some value to the industry. It’s just a tremendous honor.”
The Edward H. Ralph Medal of Achievement
Ron Darnell, the Perdue Farms director of Live Production, received the Edward H. Ralph Medal of Achievement. Raised on a West Virginia farm that produced beef and tobacco, Darnell joined Perdue as a flock supervisor in 1985 and ascended the ranks to become a growout manager, live production manager and now directs live operations across the country. In 2005, he led its trade association as its 52nd president. “I’ve been really fortunate in my career to have been surrounded by really good people in the Delmarva Chicken Association, at Perdue, and personally,” Darnell said. “I certainly liked the outcome when we could influence things in a positive way and help our industry. That’s really what DCA’s about–improving our industry for allied businesses, farmers and integrators.”
The DCA Medal of Achievement