BYRON KENNETH HAWKINS
Byron Kenneth Hawkins grew up with six brothers and three sisters on a small poultry and tobacco farm in Richmond County, NC. It was on that small, rural farm that Byron's aspirations for high achievement took hold. Even in high school, he began to prepare himself for future success as a member of his high school Beta Club and as President of his local Future Farmers of America chapter. He won the State Farmer Award his senior year.
Following high school and three years of service to our country in the U.S. Air Force, Byron entered N.C. State University in 1949 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Poultry Science. He and his wife, jean, have one son, Dr. Dan Robinson of Wallace, NC; a daughter, Mrs. Carole H. Capps; and two grandchildren, June Avery Capps and Byron Earl Capps. For over 30 years, Byron has been an active member of his beloved church - Duke Memorial United Methodist.
With over forty years of valuable experience, Byron's long career in the poultry business began in 1953 as a Poultry Extension Agent in Chatham County. Two years later, he joined the Central Carolina Farmers Exchange, Inc. in Durham, NC, as a broiler service man and progressed to the position of Processing Plant/Sales Manager in 1965. During that year, CCF became affiliated with Gold Kist Broiler Division in Durham, and Byron continued as Processing Plant Manager. In 1971, he rose to the position of North Carolina Division Manager, and he held that position until 1984, also managing a joint venture between FCX and Gold Kist. In 1984, he became the Executive Vice President of Carolina Golden Products (owned by Gold Kist) in Durham, NC, and he held that title until 1985. In 1986, Byron became a Consultant for Golden Poultry in Durham, NC. Rounding out his long career, he served as a Poultry Extension Area Agent from 1988-93 for Chatham, Randolph, Moore, and Richmond Counties.
Byron Hawkins is one of the true pioneers in our poultry food industry. Among his many innovative contributions and visionary technique refinements, he helped originate and develop the bulk weighing procedure for poultry received at processing plants; he worked with researchers at NCSU to develop a scientific procedure now commonly used for figuring weights to accommodate shrinking in trucking live poultry; he coordinated grant funds for a study that resulted in a significant reduction of the amount of water required to process birds; and he was one of the first industry persons to ship poultry using dry ice.
Byron has been an active leader in our poultry industry, having served for more than ten years as President of our N.C. Poultry Processors Association; as a Past President of the Southeastern Poultry Processors Council; as a member of the N.C. Poultry Federation's Board of Directors and as its 1977-78 President; and as the 1974 Chairman of the National Chicken Cooking Contest - the first in North Carolina - among many other active roles.
Byron's strong leadership capabilities have also been recognized and utilized by his local community. For twenty years, he has served as a Trustee of Durham Technical Community College having assumed that leadership role through appointments from former Governor Bob Scott and Governor James B. Hunt, jr. Other local leadership roles and areas of community service include: the Tobaccoland Kiwanis Club; the Jaycees; the Agricultural Extension Advisory Council; the Agricultural Advisory Council; the NCSU Alumni Association; and, for more than ten years, as President of the Durham County NCSU Wolfpack Club.
In honor of his numerous contributions to the growth and development of our poultry industry, the Officers and Directors of the North Carolina Poultry Federation are very pleased to induct Byron Kenneth Hawkins into the North Carolina Poultry Hall of Fame.