TPA's NextGen Young Leaders Under 30 recognition program was started in 2018 to invest in and engage young professionals who work for TPA-member poultry companies directly involved in poultry production or processing.

2023 NextGen Young Leaders Under 30 Recognition

Kasey Guthrie 2023 Nextgen Young Leader

Kasey Guthrie

  • Pell City, AL
  • 29 years old
  • Aviagen North America
    - 8 years
  • Veterinary Science
    Compliance Manager
  • Auburn University - B.S. Poultry Science

Nominated by
Dr. Sara Reichelt & Dr. Kate Hayes

Hayden Smith 2023 Nextgen Young Leader

Hayden Smith

  • Crossville, TN
  • 27 years old
  • Aviagen, Inc. - 3 years
  • Hatchery Incubationist
  • TN Tech University - Manufacturing Engineering Technology

Nominated by
Victoria Collett & Andy Goldman

Ethan Eberhart 2023 Nextgen Young Leader

Ethan Eberhart

  • Fort Payne, AL
  • 27 years old
  • Pilgrim's - 8 years
  • Hatchery Supervisor

Nominated by
Randy McDaniel

Donald Sanders 2023 Nextgen Young Leader

Donald Sanders

  • Jamestown, TN
  • 26 years old
  • Cobb Vantress, Dry Creek - 4 years
  • Statistician
  • TN Tech University - Education

Nominated by
Joshua Morris

Jennie Gilbert 2023 Nextgen Young Leader

Jennie Gilbert

  • Kenton, TN
  • 28 years old
  • Tyson Foods, OBC - 4 years
  • Supervisor
  • Dyersburg State - Health Science

Nominated by
Keith Riley

TPA NextGen Young Leaders Under 30 for 2022


Dustin Daley

Kaley Felberg

Maverick Hesson

Rachel Breeding

TPA NextGen Young Leaders Under 30 for 2021

TPA's NextGen Young Leaders Under 30 recognition program was started in 2018 to invest in and engage young professionals who work for TPA-member poultry companies directly involved in poultry production or processing. At this year's awards banquet we recognized the 6 outstanding individuals pictured below.

Zach Adams

Zach Adams

Vaccination Dept Manager

Aviagen - Elkmont, AL

Victoria Collett

Victoria Collett

QA Manager

Aviagen - Crossville Hatchery

Slade Murray

Slade Murray

Breeder Tech

Tyson - Obion County

Peyton Pruett

Peyton Pruett

Live Haul Manager

Tyson - Shelbyville

Steven Williams

Steven Williams

Sr. Hatchery Supervisor

Cobb-Vantress - Lafayette

Brandon Womble

Brandon Womble

Hatchery Manager

Tyson - Humboldt

TPA NextGen Young Leaders Under 30 for 2020

TPA's "NextGen Young Leaders Under 30" recognition program was started in 2018 to invest in and engage young professionals who work for TPA-member poultry companies who are directly involved in poultry production or processing. Each TPA member poultry complex was invited to make an annual nomination this past August and we are proudly recognizing 8 outstanding young leaders. Thank you to each complex for making these outstanding nominations and congratulations to each of these outstanding young leaders. Most impressive, needless to say, and we look forward to following these young leaders' respective careers within our TPA-member poultry companies and complexes!

2020 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

In no particular order, we start by recognizing Faith Kraft from the Cobb-Vantress TN Grandparent Complex in Lafayette, TN. Faith is a Service Tech and has been with Cobb for a little over 2 years. She is a graduate of MTSU where she majored in animal science and is originally from Eagleville, TN. Nominated by Sr. Manager for Live Production Dusty Cagle, Dusty shares that "Faith is a hard worker who is dedicated to getting her tasks completed to the best of her ability. She isn't one to cut corners or leave a job undone or passed off to someone else. She puts in long hours and is always trying to improve on the knowledge and skills that she already has. She is a model Service Tech and a team player who works well with others. With her work ethic and growing knowledge, the sky is the limit on what she can accomplish in her career."

Will Eskew, Plant Manager for Koch Foods - Morristown, confidently recognizes Courtney Reardon for her outstanding performance as a young leader. Courtney is from Cookeville, TN and is a graduate of TTU where she majored in animal science. She has been with Koch in Morristown since she graduated 3 years ago and is the Shipping Supervisor for their debone plant. Will states that "Courtney has excellent communication and organization skills. She is a very upbeat person, has a very positive attitude, and works well with other managers and hourly team members. She motivates her team to get the job done and has been a quick learner in all of the departments that she has managed. Courtney can also drive an 18-wheeler and can back it in the dock doors." As a side note, Will also shares that "Courtney has a very good singing voice, but isn't always on key!"

2020 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients 2020 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

2020 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

From the Aviagen pedigree division in Crossville, TN, next to be recognized is Kristina Moon. Kristina is a Pedigree Rear Farm Supervisor who joined their team two years ago. A graduate in animal science from TTU, she is originally from Oak Ridge, TN. Nominated in August by Pedigree Live Production Manager Andy Goldman, Andy comments that "Kristie has been a vital part of the Aviagen Pedigree team in Crossville since joining as a farm manager in 2018. She excelled in her former position and has more recently been promoted to Pedigree Rear Farm Supervisor. Her attention to detail and teaching ability makes her an invaluable team member."

For the Tyson Foods - Humboldt complex, Katelyn Barker was nominated by Complex Manager Tom McCue. Katelyn is this complex's first ever Breeder Tech Advisor I and she started with Tyson on July 29, 2020. Katelyn is from Trenton, TN and has a BS from UT-Martin and a master's degree in agriculture from UT-Knoxville. Tom shares that "Katelyn has taken on a role of starting up a complex as our first breeder service tech, with several new programs. These include a new-to-Tyson feeding plan and the responsibility to train our new and future growers. She has also been actively engaged in building the Breeder/Pullet Guide. In a very short time, Katelyn has become not just a leader within Tyson, but also a leader in her community. She organizes the sponsors for the Gibson Co. 4-H Jr. Livestock sale and Chick Chain project; is actively involved with her church; is a leader with the Gibson Co. Young Farmers & Ranchers; and she has volunteered with the Tyson/Second Harvest food pantry distribution. While Katelyn was participating in the 9-week Tyson Leadership Boot Camp, she was elected top leader in her class."

2020 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

2020 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

Nominated by Joshua Morris, Associate Director Production at the Cobb-Vantress Dry Creek Pedigree Farm, Ryan Lancaster is proudly presented as their outstanding young leader for 2020. Ryan has been with Cobb for 2 years and serves as a Senior Supervisor. He was an ag education major at Murray State and is from Shelby, NC. Joshua tells us that "Ryan is a very quick learner and a very dedicated team member. He has stayed many late nights and has arrived early on many mornings to learn the different times that affect birds. Ryan has become an outstanding leader and mentor to his team in a short time. Ryan truly is the future of the poultry industry and exemplifies that each day through his hard work and dedications."

Heath Richey is the young leader recognized at the Pilgrim's Chattanooga complex. Originally from Bronte, TX, Heath attended Texas A&M and majored in agri-business. He has been with Pilgrims for over 2 1/2 years and has been their Plant Manager for the past 9 months. Nominated by the complex's Employment Manager, Piper Davis-Christenbury, Piper shares that "Heath is a very driven and focused individual. Once he sets his mind on a task or goal, there is no stopping him. He has risen through the Pilgrim's ranks in a very short time frame due to his ambition, work ethic and his never ceasing drive to insure our vision to be the best in the industry and provide a better future for all of our team members. He is truly an incredible leader who is worthy of this venerable recognition."

2020 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

2020 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

Candace Hatchett is this year's young leader to be recognized for Aviagen, N.A. Candace is a GP Production Data Analyst and works out of the GP Compliance office in Elkmont, AL. She has been with Aviagen NA for 8 years and has been at this location for the past 4. From Athens, AL, Candace attended Athens State University and majored in logistics and supply chain management. Nominated by Director of GP Operations Wayne Lollar, Wayne readily states that "Candace doesn't have the ability to say 'no'. She has proven herself to be the most loyal, trustworthy, knowledgeable and competent team member anyone could ask for. Candace continues daily to improve every process and person that she is involved with. Her daily contributions have an immeasurable positive impact on the company as a whole."

And, last but certainly not least, Amy Brasfield is the young leader being recognized by the Tyson Foods - Obion County complex in Union City. Amy is a Production Supervisor and has been with Tyson in Obion Co. for 3 years. She attended UT Martin where she majored in animal science and is originally from Friendship in west TN. Complex Manager Keith Riley points out that "Amy maintains a positive attitude which instills self-determination and acts as a motivator for those around her. Amy's positive attitude while meeting her team every day with a smile has become contagious. She focuses on finding solutions rather than shortcomings and turns challenges into opportunities, which drives her towards ultimate success.

Teamwork follows leadership. Amy's leadership skills and her can do attitude has helped her build a successful team that works together for a common vision. Amy takes care of her team and has built strong relationships throughout the plant. She maintains an open line of communication allowing team members to confide in her to develop solutions to opportunities both at work and personally. She applauds her team efforts, acknowledges their successes and encourages them to be better every day.

Her future with Tyson Foods is very promising, and I look forward to seeing her progress even further as time goes on. I am proud that Amy chose Tyson Foods, Obion County, TN for her place to make a difference."

2020 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

2019 NextGen Young Leaders Under 30 Recognition

2019 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients
Pictured L to R: Colt Carpenter - Koch Foods; David Kraft - Cobb-Vantress;
Caitlin Coriasso - Aviagen; Dylan Crain - Tyson OBC; Mary French - Keystone Foods

TPA's "NextGen - Young Leaders Under 30" recognition program was started in 2018 to engage and invest in young professionals who work for TPA-member poultry companies that are directly involved in poultry production or processing. The following young leaders were recognized at the August 3, 2019 TPA awards banquet in Nashville.

2018 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

David Kraft is the Pedigree Production Manager for Cobb's Dry Creek Pedigree Complex in Deer Lodge, TN. David is originally from Franklin, TN and is a December 2016 graduate of MTSU with a degree in Animal Science. He is also a former TPA scholarship recipient! David has been with Cobb for a total of 3 years, with the last 2 being at Dry Creek. Nominated by Dry Creek's Complex Manager Joshua Morris, David is recognized for being a "go-getter" and for being quick to address issues that arise, not hesitating to go above and beyond. Joshua goes on to say that David is very dependable and is a go-to person to get things done when special circumstances arise.

From the Tyson Obion Complex in Union City, Dylan Crain was nominated by Live Production Manager Shane Joyner. Dylan is originally from Dover, TN, is an Animal Science graduate from Murray State and now lives in South Fulton. Dylan joined Tyson in January 2017 as a Live Operations Trainee, then worked as Hatchery Supervisor for a year before being promoted to Hatchery Manager in January 2019. Shane is quick to point out that Dylan has been a team player since day one, noting that he does not back up from any challenge. Shane is especially proud of Dylan's daily drive and fearless mentality to manage, having the true characteristics of a leader.

2019 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

2019 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

Mary K. French is the Hatchery Manager for Tyson's Keystone Foods Division in Franklin, KY. Mary graduated from Western KY in 2013 where she majored in Ag Sciences, and now lives in Scottsville, KY. Mary has been with Keystone for 5 1/2 years and was nominated by the complex's Breeder Manager Tim Cook. She started out as Hatchery Supervisor and became Hatchery Manager in Franklin in February of this year. Tim informs us that Mary is highly dependable and hardworking, and she works extremely well as a team member with other employees and departments. Furthermore, being very dedicated and detailed at her job led to her recent promotion.

Nominated by David Wilds, Complex Manager for Koch Foods in Morristown, TN, Colt Carpenter has been with Koch for 3 years. He first started out as a supervisor in the Morristown deboning plant and now serves as their Assistant Live Haul Manager. He is a 2016 graduate of TN Tech University where he majored in Animal Science and Ag Engineering. Originally from Mohawk, TN in Greene County, Colt interestingly had already gained invaluable experience with trucking and logistics from working with his family's business. David is very complimentary of Colt's maturity and skill as a supervisor, and further states that Colt's demonstrated leadership and the respect of his peers and hourly team members is certainly to be commended.

2019 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

2019 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients

Aviagen's GP Pullet Manager in Elkmont, AL, Caitlin Coriasso was nominated by Elkmont's GP Operations Manager Michelle Rowlett. Caitlin has been with their complex for 5 years. She graduated from Alabama A&M in 2013 where she majored in Animal Science. Caitlin began her career in the poultry industry as a GP Pullet Specialist, then later in 2017 changed her focus and stepped into the role of Vaccination Supervisor for the GP vaccination team. Caitlin was welcomed back into the Elkmont production group in March of this year as their Pullet Manager. Michelle readily acknowledges that they are extremely proud of Caitlin for her hard work and dedication to ensure that Aviagen is providing their customers with the quality product that they deserve.

TPA Recognizes Young Leaders

2019 Young Leaders NextGen Program recipients
Pic L to R: Marshall Miller and Julie Clanton - Tyson Shelbyville; Shane Joyner and
Cody Perkins - Tyson OBC; Nate Collette and Mark Harmon - Hubbard/Aviagen; Randy Yates
and Matthew Butler - Cobb-Vantress; Keith McCay - Aviagen; James Bradford - Pilgrim's.

TPA started a new program this year to recognize up and coming leaders under 30 years of age from our TPA member poultry companies and complexes.

This recognition program was the idea of our immediate past-president Jay Daniels, as he strongly believes in encouraging young leaders to continue to strive for excellence by recognizing their contributions to the industry early in their careers. There were six outstanding young leaders recognized in Nashville during the Annual Meeting on Aug. 4th for this inaugural year.

Daniel Long with Aviagen, Inc. was the first to be recognized for this honor. From Faulkville, AL, Daniel was nominated by Keith McCay, VP of Operations for Aviagen, Inc. Daniel graduated from Auburn University in 2010 with a B.S. in Poultry Science. He has worked in GP's, GGP's and Pedigrees and is currently the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Manager for Aviagen, Inc. at the Elkmont, AL and Crossville, TN locations.

Keith states that "Daniel has had many contributions, however his leadership and support during the Compartmentalization Certification process showed his ability as a leader. Daniel's success in life can be attributed to a solid foundation. He conducts his life at work and home in the same moral and ethical way. Daniel serves as a Deacon at his church and he is a 2nd Lt. in the AL National Guard. It's an honor to recognize Daniel for this recognition, but an even greater honor to work beside him!"

Next to be recognized was Matthew Butler with Cobb-Vantress, Inc. in Lafayette, TN. From Henderson, TN, Matt has a BS in Ag Engineering from TN Tech University. He is a Service Tech II for the Lafayette, TN operations and has been with them one and a half years. Matt was nominated by Randy Yates, Associate Director of Production.

Randy shared that "Matt has been a great addition to the team in Lafayette as he currently holds the #3 spot for their service tech ranking, out of 20 service techs, where the average years of experience is 8-10 yrs."

Randy first met Matt at a TN Tech Univ. career fair and Matt did an internship with them in 2016. Upon graduation in Dec. 2016, Randy offered him a service tech position, and to his knowledge, Matt is the first person to ever be hired directly into this position by Cobb straight out of college.

Randy says that "Matt is proof that millennials can do the job, and that if we aren't careful they may just do it better!"

From the Hubbard/Aviagen complex in Pikeville, TN, Nate Collette was recognized for his outstanding leadership as their Assistant Production Manager. Nate is from Cookeville, TN and has been with Hubbard for six years. Nominated by Mark Harmon, Director of Production.

Mark states that "Nate is knowledgeable in all phases of operations. He is technically advanced in relation to production data, and his contract grower and company personal relations skills are advanced for his age and experience."

Mark then went onto say that overall in his opinion,

"Nate is one of the most productive and advanced individuals he has seen at this stage of his career."

Nominated by James Bradford III, Complex Manager for Pilgrims Chattanooga, Andrew Keith was the next young leader to be recognized during the presentations. From Dalton, GA, Andrew is a Shift Manager in Chattanooga and has been with Pilgrims and in this position for four years.

According to James "During Andrew's time with Pilgrims he has excelled at leading his team of supervisors and has been a key contributor to our organization. He continues to grow as a leader on the production floor daily. He makes sound, unbiased, honest decisions based on what is best for our business, which is what helps us continue to be successful with key customers".

Cody Perkins with the Tyson Obion complex in Union City, TN was then recognized as their outstanding young leader. Cody is from Dresden, TN and has been at Obion for all three of the years he has been with Tyson. Nominated by Shane Joyner, the complex's Live Production Manager, who informed everyone that Cody joined the Tyson live production team in 2015 and

"has stepped up to the challenge every day." stated Shane Joyner
Cody has been promoted twice in three years, is currently a Broiler Tech II and has also been given the title of Complex Housing Coordinator. With the complex currently getting ready to build over 220 houses, Cody has the responsibility of recruiting new growers and overseeing all construction for the complex.

Shane further stated that "Cody is very detailed and continues to grow and Tyson is very proud to have him on our team."

From the Tyson Shelbyville complex, Julie Clanton was nominated by their Live Production Manager, Marshall Miller. Originally from Humboldt, TN, Julie is currently the Live Haul Manager in Shelbyville and has been with Tyson and at this location for two years.

Marshall informed everyone that "Julie is a very hard working individual. She works very well with those around her and she expects 100% out of those that work for her. Julie coordinates and handles all of the scheduling for the hauling of live birds to the plant and works with the contractors on catching and hauling the live birds. She showed her talents by stepping up and filling in positions when managers were out on leave and things never missed a beat, and even got better in some respects!"
Marshall went on to say that "Julie has a bright future with Tyson Foods and that Tyson Shelbyville is proud to have her on their TEAM."