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Celebrating 40 Years

The Poultry Service Industry Workshop continues to grow


January 8, 2016
By Kristy Nudds


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 Sunny Mak and Paul McCarten.

The Poultry Service Industry Workshop (PSIW) celebrated 40 years of bringing the latest information and technology to poultry service personnel in Western Canada October 6-8, 2015 in Banff, Alberta.

The workshop has grown considerably since it was first held in the fall of 1976.  Founded by Rod Chernos, a provincial poultry service person with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AARD), it began as the Alberta Poultry Servicemen’s Workshop. Its purpose was (and still is) to bring service personnel together to discuss and learn about the latest research and current issues, so that they may share it with farmer clients.  The event quickly attracted interest from neighbouring Western provinces, and to reflect this change, became known as the PSIW.

In 1988, the PSIW began recognizing a poultry serviceperson each year for his or her contribution to the poultry industry.  The 2015 Poultry Serviceperson of the Year Award was given to Dr. Victoria (Vicki) Bowes, Avian Pathologist with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture.  She was nominated by the poultry industry in B.C. for her outstanding ability as a poultry pathologist, enthusiasm, desire to do the right thing, and her honesty. She is known for always having the health of the industry and birds in mind, and she has been credited for helpong keep the B.C. poultry industry in business through two significant AI outbreaks.

To mark it’s 40th anniversary, the organizing committee decided to grant a Lifetime Achievement Award,
honouring an individual who has played an integral role in advancing the poultry industry in Western Canada.

Organizing committee member Paul McCartan said the committee received so many nominations that choosing the recipient, Sunny Mak, was easy.

Mak started his poultry career with Lilydale Inc. in 1985 as a leghorn salesman, and then moved into field service.  He was chosen to be a hatchery manager in Lethbridge, and did such a good job that he was moved into a senior leadership position, and is now Vice President Live Operations & Supply Chain.  McCartan noted that Mak is an insatiable leader and is always striving to encourage others in the industry to be the best they can be.

Service people who have been attending the PSIW for many years — in some cases decades — were also acknowledged during the banquet dinner.  One attendee, Al Richards of Hi-Pro Feeds, has attended each workshop since 1976.  He was the 2011 winner of the Poultry Serviceperson of the year.