ATLANTA – More than 580 college students came to the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta this week in hopes of learning more about the poultry business and exploring career opportunities in the industry. Tuesday night, the students got the chance to learn a little more about the poultry business from someone who has spent the bulk of his career involved in the poultry industry — Jerry Moye, president of Cobb-Vantress.

“I want to share my insights with you so you can make that transition from academics to industry,” Moye said.

The USPOULTRY Foundation College Student Career Program attracts students from national and international universities. Participating students have the opportunity to interview for industry-related jobs and internships in one location during the three-day show. The program has been going on for more than 40 years — many of today’s poultry executives started their poultry careers as students in the College Student Career Program. The students also have the chance during their three-day visit to walk the show floor to learn more about the wide array of industry companies exhibiting at IPPE.

During the keynote address, Moye shared his insights and advice on how to excel and stay motivated in one’s career.

“It’s important to never stop learning,” he said. “When you first start a job, you spend most of your time learning about the technical stuff,” he explained. “But the real growth and learning should never stop.”
Moye also shared some ideas and highlights from one of his favorite business books, “The Truth About Leadership.”

“In order to be a leader you have to believe you can make a difference,” he said. “You have to focus on the future…trust rules… and challenge the status quo.”

The best advice he shared with the 580-plus eager poultry students was that liking your job was one of the most important keys to success. “Do I like my job? I’ve been in the business from 1975 to 2015,” he explained. “You do the math.”

Moye also advised the students “to get involved beyond your job.” Peer leadership was the first way he advised the students to do this. He suggested as young members of the industry, the students would be great assets in helping their companies with social media and other ways to understand today’s younger consumers.

He also suggested being involved in supporting their prospective companies’ missions, whether on the job or not. The Cobb-Vantress mission, he said, is to “serve our customer through the use of innovative research and technology to make protein healthy and affordable to everyone.” He explained the importance of truly understanding and believing in your company’s mission.

The last piece of sage advice Moye shared with the students was to “get involved by supporting the industry.” He suggested joining state federations and national organizations like USPOULTRY and National Chicken Council, and attending industry events like IPPE.