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UAPB grad in meat-industry leadership program

by Sandra Hope | March 14, 2021 at 3:26 a.m.
Devin Thomas, a Pine Bluff native

A University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff graduate is among six Perdue Farms associates to participate in the International Production & Processing Expo's virtual "Linked In With Tomorrow's Leaders" program.

Devin Thomas, a Pine Bluff native, is the harvest plant debone superintendent at a Perdue Farms facility in Dillon, S.C.

A 2017 UAPB graduate, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture. Thomas was also one of the first students to enter the 3+1 program, a partnership poultry science program at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, according to a news release.

"Linked In With Tomorrow's Leaders" is a program recognizing leadership qualities of young professionals, according to the release.

"Associates are participating in a LinkedIn group and online meetups with key industry leaders to further their leadership development," according to the release. "Associates also receive access to education to further training in their respective industry through automatic registration in all IPPE Marketplace Week complimentary education programs."

The goal of the program is to engage and invest in the next generation of young professionals, between 21 and 30 years old, who work for companies directly involved in the production and processing of poultry and meat or in the production of animal food.

"There were a number of people at UAPB that helped me to be successful in this field, especially in the Animal Science Department," Thomas said. "My professor and mentor Dr. Ondieki Gekara, Mrs. Rita D. Conley and Mrs. Tracy Knowlton with the Career Services Department always went the extra mile to keep me encouraged."

Thomas encourages other students to enter the animal science/poultry field and wants to see more UAPB students follow in his footsteps, according to the release.

As the superintendent at the facility in Dillon, S.C., his duties include implementing the policies of the quality improvement process with the team and department.

Thomas is the son of Frederick E. Thomas Sr. and Deborah A. Thomas of Pine Bluff.

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