The pasture-raised chicken and poultry breeding company Cooks Venture of Decatur on Wednesday announced the expansion of its executive team.
The company has hired Tim Singleton as chief operating officer and Bob Davenport as chief sales officer.
Singleton brings more than 25 years of experience in the poultry industry, most recently working as chief operating officer for Ingham's, a poultry producer in Australia. He was credited with growing Ingham's volume by more than 4% year-over-year and reducing operational costs by $60 million annually.
Cooks Venture said Singleton also helped install new water systems that reduced Ingham's water use by nearly 70% and helped Ingham's transition from a private to public company.
In his new role, Singleton will refine Cooks Venture's omnichannel business, improve efficiencies, and execute its mission to expand regenerative agriculture systems, the company said in a news release. Singleton will also lead the company's investment into infrastructure across the breeding program, primary processing and expansion of a debone facility.
Davenport brings more than 25 years of experience to Cooks Venture. He comes to the company from the startup Do Good Foods of Bedminster, New Jersey, which raises chickens using recycled animal feed. Davenport built the company's retail platform and sales channel.
As chief sales officer at Cooks Venture, Davenport will lead efforts to continue growing the company's retail presence. He'll also oversee strategy and processes across sales and supply chain teams.
"Tim and Bob's deep experience leading poultry companies will aid Cooks Venture as we scale the business, expand our genetics program, increase our production capabilities and grow our retail presence," Cooks CEO and founder Matthew Wadiak said in the release. "Their leadership will serve the company well as we enter into the next phase of growth."
Cooks Venture raises heirloom poultry on the old Peterson Farms site in Decatur, where Lloyd Peterson developed his famous breeds generations ago. The company processes tens of thousands of birds a week, shipping them to its production facility in Jay, Oklahoma, about 25 miles northwest of Decatur.
Wadiak said Singleton and Davenport are joining the company at a pivotal time, as Cooks Venture is growing the pasture-raised chicken category with its Pioneer breed. The bird is a three-way heritage cross between a Heritage Transylvanian Naked Neck, a Heritage Delaware, and a Peterson family line from the 1940s.
Cooks Venture bills the Pioneer as a naturally strong and healthy breed that is bred more humanely.
"There's a strong moral imperative driving the company culture," Singleton said in the release. "We understand that we have the opportunity to make impactful change in this industry, change that's rooted in regenerative agriculture and better breeding."