National Poultry & Food Distributors Association recognized two industry leaders at the Awards Reception and Scholarship Foundation Silent Auction event. NPFDA awarded Elton Maddox of Wayne Farms the 2018 NPFDA Poultry Industry Lifetime Achievement Award. Willis Cooan of Turkey Valley Farms was awarded the 2017 NPFDA Member of the Year award.
This year’s NFPDA Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Elton Maddox, Wayne Farms LLC, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board.
After earning a degree in engineering from the University of Georgia, he joined Allied Mill’ Poultry Division, Wayne Farms. Maddox worked in a variety of management positions over more than four decades with Wayne Farms. He oversaw the transformation of the company from a regional player with a wholesale focus to a national powerhouse producing products for the foodservice, retail and commodities markets to the sixth largest poultry producer in the nation.
Maddox continues to positively influence the poultry and food industry after more than four decades in successful leadership roles with many industry organizations who continue to recognize him for his leadership.
More than 16 years ago Elton and his wife Claire, founded Cross Training Sports Camps, Inc., with the mission of spreading joy, empowering the powerless, and lifting up the name of Jesus by providing sports camps in impoverished communities, feeding programs and school supplies, job training for single mothers, and support for local churches. Cross Training camps have touched the lives of children United States and around the world in Africa, Bolivia and Honduras.
The NPFDA Lifetime Achievement Award is yet another milestone in Elton Maddox’ lifetime of service, measured across the width and breadth of industry, community, nation and world.
The 2017 Member of the Year Award was presented to Willis Cooan with Turkey Valley Farms. Cooan began his career with his company, the Meat Market in 1978. He worked at Fairway Foods then worked at Hillshire Farms for the next 10 years as a sales rep. Cooan worked at LeMire Sales for 2 years. He then went to work for Norbest Turkey Company and West Liberty Foods for the next 20 years. After Norbest/West Liberty, he joined Turkey Valley Farms and has been there ever since.
He is an exceptional member and a valuable NPFDA Board Member. He is one of NPFDA's biggest supporters as he and Turkey Valley Farms always exhibit and sponsor at NPFDA events. Willis is also active on the board and several committees - and never misses an event.
Willis married to Kim and has 3 sons – Joshua, Jeremy and Andrew, as well as 5 grandchildren. Willis helped coach the student wrestling program for many years in New Prague, MN. He also is a past church council president at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. He enjoys fishing, traveling and spending time with the family and friends. The grandchildren are the light of his life. After retirement, Willis and Kim plan to do more traveling, fishing, relaxing at the lake and wintering in Florida.