News & Views May/June 2019 Edition

John Starkey Looking Forward to Our Continued Shared Success In mid-May, I attended a reception in Centennial Olympic Park (or COP, as we call it), which is operated by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA). Of course, the Authority also operates the adjacent Georgia World Congress Center, home to our trade show since 1977, a mere five months after opening what is now called “Building A” in September 1976. Many who have recently retired from the industry can still remember the last “Poultry Show” in January 1976 at the Atlanta Civic Center. (Alas, I was a long-haired freshman engineering major at Purdue, finding just enough focus and self-discipline to somehow make it through calculus, physics and chemistry!) My presence at the COP reception was to celebrate a completed “refresh” of the park. We had learned the Authority was fundraising for COP’s update, and in 2016 our Board supported and authorized an unsolicited donation for this project. Now, remember this is Atlanta, with great corporate citizens like Chick-Fil-A, Coca Cola, Delta, etc., so our donation was a mere drop in the bucket in comparison; the project was going forward with or without our contribution. On the other hand, we were the only trade show customer of GWCCA to make a donation. Why did we feel so compelled? Because for 43 years, GWCCA and its dedicated staff have always supported us, watched out for us, sought our input, and consistently set goals and implemented plans and programs to improve the trade show experience for our team, our exhibitors and our attendees. And, on a broader scale, as one who has lived in Atlanta for 30 of the last 39 years, I’ve seen firsthand how GWCCA has revitalized a large section of downtown Atlanta. Now, COP, which was, to say the least, a “dodgy” area of the city four decades back, is a welcoming oasis of greenspace, a haven for a respite from the busyness of a vibrant city, and a gateway for “Southern Hospitality” approaching GWCC and the sports, dining and entertainment complexes all around the Park. I’m sure all of you have similar stories, where a “supplier” has enhanced your own success. While always maintaining a competitive business relationship, you have transcended the typical supplier-customer constraints into true partnerships, and along the way, formed many life-long friendships as well. So you know such partners are, indeed, one of the very best aspects of business. Thank you, GWCCA, for letting us be a tiny part of this latest improvement; but more so, for the visionary leadership and innovation you have provided to us, Atlanta and Georgia, and so many others, since Day 1. We are proud of our relationship over the many years, ever maintained despite changing boards and staff on both sides. We look forward to our continued shared success! John Starkey, P.E. President PRESIDENT’S COLUMN John Starkey, P.E. President USPOULTRY MAY/JUNE 2019 I NEWS & VIEWS I 1