ATLANTA — The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association presented the organization’s annual Lamplighter Award to five individuals at the International Poultry Expo, part of the 2023 International Production & Processing Expo. The award pays tribute to individuals for “sustained and exemplary service” to the poultry and egg industry.
This year’s honorees are:
- Dr. Hector Cervantes
Cervantes has been an adjunct graduate professor of avian medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia and North Carolina State University since 1995. He is also a past adjunct graduate professor of avian medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. He received his DVM degree from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), a M.S. degree from the University of Georgia, and an Avian Medicine Internship Certificate from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He has worked with Cargill, Peterson Farms, Pfizer Animal Health and Phibro Animal Health.
In addition to being a reoccurring speaker at several USPOULTRY seminars, Cervantes has been involved with the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Pathologists (past president, 2016-2017), the American College of Poultry Veterinarians (past president, 2007-2008) the Poultry Science Association, the Southern Poultry Science Society (past president, 2009-2010) and Asociación Nacional de Especialistas en Ciencias Avícolas.
- Dr. Fidel Hegngi
Hegngi is a senior staff veterinarian and the national coordinator of the United States, Live Bird Marketing System Avian Influenza Prevention and Control Program for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services. Prior to joining the USDA, he worked for Wampler-Longacre Foods, Inc. and Rocco Turkeys, Inc.; served as the laboratory director of the Salisbury Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory in Maryland; and served as the assistant state veterinarian, director of laboratory services and poultry specialist for the Maryland State Department of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Consumer Services.
Hegngi obtained his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and his M.S. in Poultry Science at the University of Maryland. He holds professional memberships in the World Veterinary Poultry Association and the American Association of Avian Pathologists.
- Dr. Charles Hofacre
Hofacre is president and CEO of the Southern Poultry Research Group. He completed his veterinary degree at The Ohio State University, as well as earned a Master of Avian Medicine and Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology from the University of Georgia. He has worked with Cuddy Farms, Ross Breeders and the Bayer Animal Health Poultry Business Unit. Before starting his own company, he was a professor, director of clinical services, and graduate coordinator and faculty member in the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Population Health.
Hofacre’s service to veterinary medicine includes participation on national and international expert panels and committees, long-term leadership roles in major professional organizations, and serving editorial boards of major professional journals. From 2003 to present, he has served as only the fifth secretary-treasurer (currently titled executive vice president) in the American Association Avian Pathologists 55-year history. He has published approximately 85 peer-reviewed journal papers, 12 book chapters, 25 lay publications and 116 scientific meeting presentations.
- Nath Morris
Morris is executive vice president, expo for USPOULTRY and is responsible for the Association’s International Poultry Expo and the overall management of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). Prior to joining USPOULTRY, Morris’s 36 years in the poultry industry included positions with Perdue Farms / Heritage Breeders, Arbor Acres Farms / Aviagen, Meyn USA and Seaboard Farms.
Morris holds a B.S. in Poultry Science from the University of Georgia. He earned his certified in event management (CEM) designation in 2016 and currently serves on the International Association of Exhibitions & Events Major American Trade Show Organizers (MATSO) Committee. He has also served on the Hall County Board of Education since 2001 and held the chairman’s or vice chairman’s role since 2013, as well as served as president of the Georgia School Board Association in 2015.
- Mike Welch
Welch is the retired president and CEO of Harrison Poultry. He began his poultry industry career in 1967, working his way up through the ranks holding management positions at several major poultry companies before joining Harrison Poultry.
A respected industry leader, he served as chairman of the National Chicken Council and as a board member of industry organizations including the Georgia Poultry Federation, the Georgia Poultry Improvement Association and the World Poultry Foundation.
“We value the commitment and support of this year’s Lamplighter Award recipients. They have enthusiastically dedicated themselves to contributing to the poultry industry, and we sincerely appreciate their service to the industry,” said Mike Levengood, Perdue Farms, and outgoing USPOULTRY chairman.