Bruce Lackey – 1975 CEO Following his studies at Bowling Green State University in 1975, Bruce Lackey began full time work at the family business as a route driver and running the egg processing plant.  In 1981 he successfully completed the sweat-equity arrangement with his parents, the founders of the company.  This put him into an executive position and soon became the majority shareholder.  Bruce’s vision and leadership helped guide Happy Chicken Farms , Merry Milk Maid and associated businesses for over 4 decades and over twenty years as CEO of the family business.

Mark Lackey – 1986 President Mark began work for the family business washing trucks as a boy (along with his older brothers).  After high school and working for other companies, Mark started working full time in 1986.  He covered all positions including driver, warehouse and loading trucks. By 1989 Mark was working full-time in the office doing order entry, inventory control, accounts payable and receivables.  Mark held many other positions over the next several years and in 2004 became the company’s 3rd President where he continues to oversee what he calls ‘”An Elite Customer Service Team”.

Leo Lackey – 1992 Executive Vice President Leo first began with the family business in the early 1970′s working weekends and summers alongside his many siblings.  He joined the companies as a full-time employee in 1992 working as a route driver for the next decade.  He began to oversee warehouse operations and eventually took over management of the company’s vehicle fleet, including acquisition, general services, and maintenance.  In 2004, the company expanded its product line into ice cream and frozen specialty items with Leo leading the effort to grow and develop this important new product category.  Since 2009, his role has expanded into helping manage many other critical aspects of the family business and is well known by our customers for his ever present smile and bow tie!

Traci Conger – 2014 Director of H.R. Traci started her career by obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Coastal Carolina University followed by receiving her MBA in Human Resources. She worked as a Manager Partner in the restaurant industry for 13 years and became very familiar with the Merry Milk Maid standard for service and quality as a customer. In 2014 Traci decided for a career change and accepted a position with the family businesses as the Sales Manager and since taken on an additional role as Personnel Manager.  She takes great pride in managing our Sales Team to maintain Happy Chicken Farms and Merry Milk Maid’s position as the #1 egg and dairy distributor in Central Ohio. As Personnel Manager, Traci truly enjoys working with our stakeholders to ensure that they are “happy and productive” at all times.

Hamilton Gottschall – 1988 Senior Director of Key Accounts After working in the restaurant industry for 8 years, Hamilton was looking for a company that could offer him and his young family a better quality of life.  Finding it with Happy Chicken Farms and Merry Milk Maid, his career began as a route driver.  As he learned the various products we carried, his role expanded by working in the warehouse and loading trucks.  In 1993, Ham was invited to try out working in the office to help with customer calls, AR processing, and some ordering of products.  As the company continued to grow, so did his responsibilities, being promoted to  Vice President of Sales & Marketing for a 15 year period.  The executive team placed a great deal of trust in Hamilton allowing him to help make major decisions that impacted the family business.  In 2014, after his children were grown and on their own, Ham and his wife decided to simplify their lives and get more involved in their religious ministry.  The Lackey family fully supported this life decision, agreeing to adjust the weekly work schedule and hours in order to achieve this goal.  Hamilton now works 3 days a week in supporting the sales team and Key Account Relations, along with assisting in the everyday needs of our growing company.  Ham states, “Working for Happy Chicken Farms and the Lackey family has been the best decision I could have made and I intend to end my career here!”

Alli Dennison – 2016 Accounting Manager Following her education at Capital University, Alli started her career managing food and beverage in the sports & entertainment industry here in Columbus, Ohio. After 7 years, Alli joined the Happy Chicken Farms and Merry Milk Maid family business, starting as a Customer Service Representative in 2016, where she was able to form lasting relationships with our customers.  Alli aspired to learn and grow with the business and was promoted into an Accounts Payable position and has lead that department since 2018.  Having exceeded expectations in that role, Alli was further promoted to lead the Accounts Receivable department while also assisting with inside customer sales.  Alli loves her job and is grateful to be part of such a wonderful family business.

Ray Ghrist – 2015 Purchasing Manager Ray began his career with the family business in January 2015 as the Night Shift Warehouse Manager.  He was responsible for supervising the important third shift team that ensures the route trucks are properly loaded, ready to go for the drivers early in the morning for on time deliveries to our happy customers.  After 5 years in that position, he came into the office as a “swing man”.  He takes customer orders by phone, helps with the routing and warehouse, and occasionally drives a route when necessary.  Of significant note;  Ray is the first and only two-time Stakeholder of the Year at Happy Chicken and Merry Milk Maid as voted on and awarded by his peers in 2017 and 2018!

Brian McClelland – 1990 Driver Supervisor After 11 years working in restaurants and country clubs in northeastern Ohio, Brian moved to Columbus in 1988 taking a position as a sales rep for a manufacturing firm.  A couple years later, and at the recommendation of Lee Lackey, our Company’s Founder, Brian met with Bruce.  “I didn’t realize that I was interviewing for a job, but once it was offered to me I knew Happy Chicken and Merry Milk Maid was the place I was supposed to be, and accepted the position.”  Starting out as a driver, Brian then learned to be backup for many other positions within the company, such as truck loader, warehouse man, and helping make customer calls in the office.  This position later became what is known as “Swingman” and he handled that for 20+ years.  Another position within the companies was offered, and Brian became the primary contact for Midwest Foods Assoc., a co-op that was administered by Happy Chicken Farms since its inception in 1975.  During his time at Happy Chicken Farms, Brian obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Franklin University in 2001.  Brian has been the Driver Route Supervisor since the position was created in 2014.

Rod Johnson – 2015 Warehouse Manager Rod started his career in 2015 as a delivery driver gaining product knowledge and learning several different routes allowing him to become very familiar with our amazing customers.  In 2016 Rod had transitioned into our warehouse, mentoring under Joe Bisciotti, who had worked for our company for 43 years.  That valuable experience serves Rod well now as Warehouse Manager where he is fully responsible for daily operations of the cooler, freezer and warehouse.  Rod takes great pride in managing his team as well as maintaining a very clean, sanitary and well organized warehouse.  Due to his time as a route driver, Rod adds value to the company, always willing to help fill in for vacationing or sick drivers on their routes when needed.  Rod was voted Stakeholder of the Year for 2018 by his fellow employees and is committed to uphold the same level of effort and dedication to the family business for years to come!

Alan Struckman – 2013 Night Manager Since starting with our family business in 2013, Alan has been working the night shift getting your products loaded properly on our trucks so they are ready to go for drivers when they arrive for their daily routes.  This is a very important job because if the correct product and quantity is not on the truck and positioned properly for the driver to locate and in good shape, the customer is not going to get it as expected.  Alan was able to leverage his years of experience working in shipping and receiving at Walmart and Whirlpool before coming to work at Happy Chicken Farms.  Due to his dedication and work ethic, in 2020, he was asked to step up into management putting him in charge of the entire night shift where he continues to do a great job.  Allen appreciated the confidence management placed in his abilities and thanks all his fellow teammates for their support and daily efforts.

Chad Bratcher – 2019 Fleet and Equipment Manager Chad has been a mechanic since he was 18 years old where he found his passion and interest in the trucking industry.  He has since worked many different positions and joined Happy Chicken Farms in February of 2019 as a delivery driver.  When the company added it’s own maintenance garage and brought all of the fleet maintenance in house, Chad came off of the routes and became the fleet maintenance manager.  He enjoys the outdoors and camping, and spending time with his family and 2 grandchildren.

Debbie Lackey – 1981 While not an “Official” member of the Happy Chicken and Merry Milk Maid sales team, most of our long time customers have met Deb and know how important she is as an ambassador for the family business. Officially, she came to work in the office for one year following her wedding to Bruce Lackey, now the C.E.O. in 1981, so she had a very good understanding of the daily demands running a small business requires from its leadership. She then left to have her first, then second and finally third child together with Bruce and was a stay at home mom until the youngest started first grade. Over the years since, she has been a real value to the company with a wide range of capabilities which include driving our baby truck, making calls for customer orders, reconciling driver route collections, posting payments and even working in the warehouse (but don’t ask her to go in the freezer!). Today Deb is best known as the GO-TO person when we are in a pinch and need extra help in the office as she can cover many duties. She sums up her experience by saying “Working with the family business is very rewarding!” (Deb is also her husband’s designated driver!)

Christine “Merry” Draghi – 1988 Director of Customer Relation Who is Merry?  “Merry” is Christine Draghi’s trade name.  She is a member of the second generation of our family business and has worked for Happy Chicken Farms & Merry Milk Maid periodically since high school.  After completing college and using her degree to teach elementary school for five years, she decided to return to the  business full time in in 1988.  Her father, the company co-founder, Lee Lackey, suggested she become the “Merry”of Merry Milk Maid, as that name best described her natural and abundant cheerful attitude.  Merry has developed a real fan base with our customers over the years as our primary sales representative, and enjoys everything about her job.  Merry says, “This is not an easy job, but working daily with all the great people here and engaging our gracious and interesting customers is constantly rewarding.”

April Griffiths – 2013 April came to Happy Chicken Farms and Merry Milk Maid after being with the Salvation Army as an officer for 7 years.  She is a very nice addition to our sales staff.  April has  a wonderful ability to connect with our customers over the phone every day.  She has been Stakeholder of the Month and Top Salesperson of the Month several times.  Many of our customers know that she is a foster mom and adoptive parent and continuously ask about her family.

Chuck Shaner – Senior Driver / Driver Trainer – 1991 Chuck started his food service career in 1979 as a golf course dishwasher/cook, but quickly moved on to distribution centers for larger companies. Over the next twelve years, he worked for regional and national distributors before finally arriving at Happy Chicken. It was a much smaller company for him at the time – only five trucks! – but it was family owned with good growth potential. In his words, “It was a good match!” Chuck has since worked in almost every department of the company and his main focus now is training new drivers.

Don Wolcott – Senior Driver – 2010 Joining the team in March of 2010 with a background in retail grocery as a produce clerk and delivery/trucking with a local furniture company, Don was a natural fit and a great hire!  He has gained knowledge of several of our city routes over the years and mastered the challenging OSU campus route.  Don’s customers enjoy his quick smile and inviting personality.  His fellow stakeholders routinely vote him in the top five of our annual Stakeholder of the Year contest and awarded him the top spot in 2014! Due to his driving and route experience along with the respect he earns daily from his fellow workers, Don was elevated to the position of Senior Driver in October of 2019. We are very happy to have this driver representing our family business!

Dennis Clevenger – Senior Driver – 2013 Dennis joined the Happy Chicken family in 2013, but his driving career has spanned 33 years and he still enjoys it! He most often drives a semi-truck but has no trouble inside any of the smaller ones. He also enjoys interacting with our customers and getting to hear weekly updates on their lives. With his vast experience, Dennis trains many of our newer drivers and delights in watching them grow, but admits that he still learns a thing or two from them on occasion. “I’m proud to be a part of an elite team of drivers!”

Connie Conley – 2008 Probably the employee with the most smiles linked to the fasted feet, Connie is an accomplished route driver who in 2019 took advantage of our “Phased In Retirement Program”.  As such, he works just a few days a week and doing a great job.  Having been in management with his prior employer for years, he understands expectations and performs beyond them.  Connie was voted “Employee of the Year” by his fellow workers in 2010 and has won over 20 “Employee of the Month” awards since his hire in 2008!

Steven Miller – 2015 Steven started his career in 2000 with a local Quick Service Restaurant chain, working his way into management as his performance dictated.  In 2015 he decided to stay in the food industry but on the wholesale distribution side taking a position as a route driver.  Steven was intrigued with working for a family owned business and our company’s four day work week.  After a couple of impressive years, Steven was trained as a “swing man” splitting his time between the office and on the routes.  This gave him a more diverse work schedule and added value to himself and the company. Steven takes great pride in customer service, loves to tell a joke, and loves spending time with his wife and daughter.  Steven said, “The company has a real heart for family time, and that’s why I love it here.”

Seth Ferguson – Driver Trainer – 2015 After being in restaurant management for 14 years, Seth was ready for a major change, and one he says he will never regret.  He loves working the typical route driver four day week here and the way everyone at Happy Chicken is like family.  Seth likes going to all the different customer locations and meeting people from all walks of life.  This can make every day unique and a new challenge, but a challenge he enjoys and is more than up for!  The fact Happy Chicken values each and every employee and likewise values their family time makes this a great place to work. 

Todd Rittgers – 2017 Todd has driven for a number of different companies since 2006, but he says none have compared to the Happy Chicken family!  Todd was the first of the highly recruited driver “class of 2017”.  Joining Happy Chicken Farms that January, he has steadfastly worked hard to become the great employee he is today.  Running the same route for the last few years has allowed him to learn what his customers expect and form good relations with all of them.  Todd was voted “Driver of the Month” in May of 2018 by his fellow employees who cited his positive attitude, friendliness, and reliability as key attributes.

Van Woodson – Driver Trainer – 2017 At 6 foot 8 inches, Van is not only our tallest Stakeholder in height, he also has “elevated” talents as a route driver.  Having started work for our family business in April of 2017, Van already had previous experience with route driving as well as warehouse work.  Both those attributes have been on display at Happy Chicken Farms leading him to be serious contender for Driver of the Month several times and winning it once in 2019.  Van has two boys and two girls that are following in their father’s shoe size and athleticism!  And Van says all his children know “Milk does your body good!”.  Van also said, “I love working alongside my fellow stakeholders and being a part of the Happy Chicken Farms’ family”. It is great to have quality people like Van working with our family enterprise!

Brian Kimnach – Driver Trainer – 2017 When Brian came to our company in 2017, he already had experience in both wholesale distribution and restaurants which made him a natural fit.  He has run all our routes gaining knowledge of our products and well-liked by our customers who he also greatly admires.  After only three years, he was promoted to driver-trainer due to his performance and knowhow.  Brian really enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids especially when it involves fishing.  The family atmosphere at Happy Chicken and Merry Milk Maid is one he prefers over large corporations.  He also knows his efforts are well recognized by his mangers and customers alike. 

Matt Romans – 2018

Brett Helcher – 2018 Brett spent most of his career with a family owned business starting from the time he was 10 years old, working his way up into retail management, sales and general manager.  Brett admired the family values and great customer service.  When a career change was desired, finding a family owned with similar values was a top priority.  “The food industry has always intrigued me and after meeting with the executive team at Happy Chicken Farms, I knew I found the company I wanted to begin my new career with.”  Following his on-boarding in late 2018, Brett has enjoyed his customer interactions and learning new routes while collecting multiple “Driver of the Month Awards” as voted on by his fellow stakeholders.  Brett looks forward to continuing building the relationships and furthering his career within his new family business.  “Happy Chicken Farms has been everything I hoped it would be and makes it easy to come in to work daily. I love to represent our company with great customer service and a smile on my face.”

Jeremy Allwood – 2019 Since starting with the company in April of 2019, Jeremy has proven himself as a very dependable route driver with his years of experience driving for FedEx making him a natural fit. When we expanded our distribution territory eastward into the Zanesville area, that fit was even more important as it greatly reduced his daily commute and was in a region he was very familiar with. Jeremy even knew many of those new customers personally; a huge win-win! Now Jeremy is a consistent performer with many nominations for Stakeholder of the Month. While not delivering our fine customers, Jeremy enjoys his hobbies of fishing and hunting. About our family business, he says: “I really enjoy my job at Happy Chicken. The best part is working outside and getting to know all our great customers. I’ve come across some very nice people on my routes!”

Rocky Alexander - 2020 Rocky started with our family business in March of 2020, just before the Covid pandemic shutdowns.  He was suddenly the “low man on the totem pole”, with the nation’s economy in reverse.  And even though we had a promise of no layoffs, he quickly made a name for himself as a hardworking and dedicated driver.  During his first year, he received multiple employee awards and was a finalist for our Stakeholder of the Year recognition.  Rocky loves learning new routes and enjoys seeing his regular customers as well.  When he isn’t delivering our products, he loves spending time outdoors camping or playing music.  Rocky has a bright future with our company and is excited to see what’s next for his career!

Diallo Jackson – 2020

Joe Boyd – 2020

Seth Barr – 2021 Seth is a Navy veteran with a background in various customer service roles and a degree in marketing. After working for larger corporations Seth says “ I really enjoy the family atmosphere at Happy Chicken and Merry Milk Maid.” As a route delivery driver he further states, “I like interacting with our customers and seeing the different neighborhoods around Columbus and Central Ohio.” When Seth is not working he enjoys spending time with his wife and young daughter and being in the outdoors.

Michael Wellington – 1997 Reliable and dependable are the two adjectives that best describe this long time employee. Michael joined our night shift team loading trucks shortly after his hiring in 1997 and has a stellar record of on time, never tardy, rarely sick.  The drivers love it when they see Michael loaded their truck because of his accuracy.  The drivers knew to keep looking on their truck for a product they could not find as it was most likely there!  His load error ratios are some of the best.

Rick Dugger – 2006 Rick began his time at Happy Chicken and Merry Milk Maid as a driver in 2006, establishing great relationships with the customers on his route.  He then shifted inside to warehouse duties in 2015.  Rick manages all the handyman jobs around the warehouse such as repairing our two-wheelers and keeping everything tidy. Rick also spends a few days a week helping fill ice cream orders in the freezer. He remains one of the friendliest faces in the warehouse and is known for his steadfast work ethic and his willingness to lend a hand.  We are proud of the service this Army veteran gave to our country in the past and the services he provides our family business and customers now.

Doug Brunner – 2012 Doug began in 2012 to help our drivers with their homebound trucks.  Over the years, he has become responsible for loading outbound trucks, as well as stocking incoming products.  His co-workers know him for his dependability, loading accuracy and high level skills in maneuvering large tractor trailers through the parking lot, ensuring that they are always right where they need to be.  Doug’s reliability and willingness to do whatever needed are just a few of his hallmarks.

Ryan Lackey – 2015 Following in the footsteps of his family, Ryan began working for the businesses as a summer job in his teen years.  In 2015, he joined as a full-time third generation employee working in the warehouse and unloading trucks.  His skills eventually lead him to picking up the bulk of the freezer duties.  He does a great job stocking and picking ice cream orders for our customers while also helping to stock and receive products in the refrigerated warehouse.  His fun anecdotes and bright smile make him the warm heart in the cold freezer.  The family members are very happy to have Ryan as part of the team.

Karl Bame – 2018

Justine Ferko  2019 Justine began in 2019 as a general helper for cleaning, putting away stock, and unloading trucks. She has since become a full-time stakeholder to cover more duties in the warehouse, becoming responsible for packaging cheese orders and handling the orders picked up at our location. She is most known for the sunny disposition she brings into the warehouse and her can do positive attitude.  As one of our youngest stakeholders, the company has high hopes for Justine!

Elaina Ferko – 2020

T.J. Paudicz – 2021

Ed Lagore – 1960 to 1993 As a 33 year veteran of Happy Chicken Farms, Ed set an early record for longevity at our family business.  He was a very loyal and capable employee who over the years did it all: worked in the egg processing plant, picked up our nest eggs at the farm, called customers for orders and wrote the invoices, maintained our grading machine and could run every local delivery route!  The last five years of his career, Ed took advantage of our Phased In Retirement Program working fewer days and less hours as time went forward. And I don’t think he was ever late for work and very seldom sick; a model employee and one we are very happy to had worked for us!

Betty Ferguson 1970? to who knows, seems like she is still here at times! Most long lived companies have a few special employees that really “stick out” and Betty certainly qualifies in that category for us!  As the girlfriend, and later future wife, of our company manager (P.G. Bisciotti) back in the early 70’s, Betty was actually working for us before we knew it as she would come in on the weekends and help out in the office so P.G. and her could have dinner together that same evening.  Once co-founder, Lee Lackey, discovered how good she was, he hired her on full time.  Betty went on to become Office Manager and one of the best sales reps we ever had.

Joe Bisciotti  1975 to 2018 Joe was a 43 year “permanent” fixture at our family business earning the highest of respect of management, follow employees, vendors and customers.  He did it all during his long career; route driver (trained by Bruce Lackey!), truck loader and washer, and egg processing plant supervisor but most notable was his long tenure as warehouse manager.  Known as the ultimate company man, Joe could and would do whatever was needed to get the job done on a daily basis.

Don Schneider 1987 to 2019 Starting as a route driver, Don’s talents were quickly recognized and promoted into the office to initially help support the staff there but going on to become a valuable and flexible employee for over 30 years.  Don was well known to many of our customers as he called them for orders…and occasionally to collect money they owned us!  He possessed an even, yet joking demeanor in the office everyone enjoyed.

Don Dorst 1994 to 2011 For all the years with the company, Don was a dependable employee who always worked hard, whether on a delivery route or working in the freezer stocking and picking ice cream. Don was one of the first employees to take advantage of our Phased In Retirement Program which allows our more senior workers the opportunity to reduce the number days they worked weekly.  This allowed us to retain Don’s talent and experience and gave him the sense of purpose and income he desired; a real win-win.

Dean Smith 1997 to 2018 Working third shift can be a beast, but Dean mastered it for over 20 year while being known as an amazingly reliable and accurate loader of trucks.  He had past managerial experience, so he knew what was expected and he carried out accordingly.  Loading is a physical job requiring a consistent work pace and precision order picking and Dean nailed it for over two decades.

Mike Wharton 1994 to 2019 For 25 years Mike was one of the most dependable route drivers in a deep stable of talent.  He would handle large routes, difficult customers, adverse weather and the occasional mechanical problems like the professional he was.  Mike knew most every route we had and maintained a solid grasp of company policies and procedures.  His can do attitude set an example for all other drivers!

Jim Dickson 1984 – 2021 VP of Operations Before coming to Happy Chicken Farms in July of 1984, Jim worked for Big Bear Grocery Stores for almost 15 years.  He started as a delivery driver here when they still loaded their own trucks before leaving on their routes.  After 3 months, he moved into working in the office 2 days a week along with his route duties the other 3 days a week.  As the company continued to grow, Jim was taken off of the routes and given more office responsibilities, gradually becoming the office manager and later the Vice President of Operations to oversee not just the office, but warehouse and route operations as well.  Jim’s sunny disposition and devilish laugh kept everyone at Happy Chicken Farms and Merry Milk Maid in stitches for 37 years! 

2021 To Be Announced!

2020 Chad Bratcher

2019 Alli Dennison

2018 Rod Johnson

2017 Ray Ghrist

2016 Ray Ghrist

2015 Chuck Shaner

2014 Don Wolcott

2013 Mike Wharton

2012 Al Schank

2011 Joe Bisciotti

2010 Connie Conley

2009 Dean Smith

2008 Wayne Gardner

2007 Jim Dickson

2006 Mark Lackey

2005 Leo Lackey