Bill Lovette, president and chief executive officer of Pilgrim’s Corporation, Greeley, Colorado, was elected to serve as 2012-2013 chairman of the National Chicken Council (NCC) during NCC’s Board of Directors meeting held Wednesday in Washington, D.C. 

Serving as vice chairman is Michael Helgeson, chief executive officer of GNP Company, St. Cloud, Minnesota.  New to the officer corps, Jerry Lane, president of Claxton Poultry in Claxton, Georgia, takes over as Secretary-Treasurer. Officers serve one-year terms.

Bill Lovette

Lovette joined Pilgrim’s as president and chief executive officer on January 3, 2011. He served as president and chief operating officer of Case Foods for the previous two years. Before that, Lovette spent 25 years with Tyson Foods in various roles in senior management, including president of its international business unit, president of its foodservice business unit, and senior group vice president of poultry and prepared foods.

He began his career in the poultry business in 1982 with Valmac Industries, which was later acquired by Tyson Foods. He has served in many leadership roles in the industry, including chairman of USPOULTRY and the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. Lovette is a graduate of Texas A&M University and Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He and his wife, Carolyn, have two grown children.

Mike Helgeson

Helgeson has served as CEO and a member of the board of directors of GNP Company (formerly Gold’n Plump Poultry) since 1993. He joined the company in 1974 and worked in various divisions, including new products manager in the sales and marketing division, project manager in the broiler division, personnel manager at the Cold Spring, Minnesota, processing plant, and purchasing/elevator manager in the feed and grain division. He spent his first two years in Indonesia researching and developing a broiler operation.

Helgeson holds a BS degree in business from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, Kotz Graduate School of Management. He lives near St. Cloud with his wife, Karel. They have two grown sons.

Jerry Lane

Jerry Lane, a veteran of 34 years in Georgia’s poultry industry, has been with Claxton Poultry since 1985, serving as General Manager and Vice President.  He was named President in 1997.  Prior to joining Claxton, Lane began his poultry career at Mar Jac Poultry in 1978.

Lane has held a variety of leadership roles with a number of local and national poultry groups and associations, including serving as:  a member of the NCC Board of Directors; a member of the Georgia Governors Agriculture Commission; president, senior vice president and board member of the Georgia Poultry Federation; past chairman, Georgia Poultry Improvement Association; and a board member of N.W. Fries, Inc. and Claxton Bank.  He is also a life member of the Poultry Leaders Roundtable.

Lane graduated in 1972 from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering.  He is also a graduate of Brenau University with a Masters of Business Administration.   Jerry and his wife, Kitty, live in Statesboro, Georgia.  They have one grown daughter.

In addition to the three new officers, Mike Brown, of Vienna, Virginia, was elected to a second term as president of NCC.

“I first want to commend immediate past chairman Lampkin Butts for his outstanding service to NCC and to the industry this past year and for his long list of accomplishments,” noted Brown.  “The next twelve months will be a year full of challenges and opportunities for NCC, as issues like feed security, food safety, inspection and international trade become more prominent.  I look forward to leaning on the extensive experience and vast knowledge of this group of officers to guide our organization.