July 25, 2014– Fort Valley State University is highlighting Julian Marcus, Class of ’90, a businessman and international scholar in this month’s alumni spotlight.
Julian Marcus is chief executive officer of Marcus Poultry Farm Inc., who began around 1995 in Pelham, Ga. Marcus Poultry Farm, Inc. is located in Mitchell County in the southwest corner of the state.
“We raise about 400,000 birds per year,” Marcus said of the farm that is one of the suppliers of poultry for the Equity Group Georgia Division poultry processing plant in Camilla, Ga. Equity Group is a provider of chicken strips, nuggets and tenders for McDonald’s restaurants.
During a recent interview with Indigo Life Television, Marcus described his company as babysitting chickens in his poultry houses. Chickens are brought in as young “biddies” sometimes just two to three-hours-old into all four poultry houses. The chickens are cared for in the poultry houses for six to eight weeks before becoming “broiler-ready for processing” at anywhere from 7.5 to 8.5 pounds.
The Baconton, Ga. native said he attended Fort Valley State University in 1984 on a football scholarship. His choice to attend was already pre-determined much earlier due to his mother, Glennelle Oliver Marcus, a retired educator and 1946 alum of Fort Valley State. Marcus said his mother attended the university under the leadership of the first Fort Valley State College president Horace Mann Bond and was a babysitter for Bond’s son, Julian Bond. His father, Clayton Marcus, was a community activist in Mitchell County who helped to organize one of the historic walk-outs of African-American students during the 1970s.
The poultry farmer says two of his biggest FVSU mentors were Dr. Norma Givens and Dr. Isaac Crumbly.
“Dr. Crumbly invited me to participate in the newly formed Cooperative Developmental Energy Program, where I interned for Georgia Power Griffin, Ga., Oglethorpe Power, Tucker, Ga. and the U.S. Department of Energy in Las Vegas, Nevada. These internships gave me ‘real world work experience,’” said Marcus.
“Dr. Givens saw something in me that I didn’t know was there, and encouraged me to develop it,” he said. Dr. Givens encouraged Marcus to apply for a University System of Georgia study abroad program and helped secure funding for the six-week trip from the Blue Bird Corporation in Fort Valley to Brussels, Belgium and London, England. The FVSU Wildcat studied international marketing and law in Brussels and London under the instruction of University of Georgia instructors.
“This trip significantly changed my worldview,” Marcus said. “It made me understand that FVSU and my hometown were not the only places where I could be successful, and they weren’t the only places doing business. I realized that the discipline I studied, business management, was applicable internationally and I realized that languages are keys to breaking down barriers. This trip set me up for my later language studies.”
After receiving his undergraduate degree from FVSU, Julian Marcus eventually enrolled at Albany State University to study French and Spanish. He graduated from ASU with a second bachelor’s degree in foreign languages in 2002. Marcus traveled to Canada, as an exchange student to study French in Quebec, at the University of Laval in the fall of 2001, and the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatan in the spring 2002.
Because of his culturally diverse background, Marcus said he is helping FVSU in its efforts to attract students from other countries and nationalities.
“I am in absolute agreement with FVSU president Dr. Ivelaw Griffith, that although an HBCU, FVSU must reach out to the Hispanic and white students in order to continue to thrive. The face of FVSU must change if we want to stay competitive in higher education.
“Agriculture is wide open for African-American and Hispanic students,” Marcus said. “There are several programs that are already set up by the USDA that target those populations. The dollars are just sitting there, because they are earmarked for those populations. We don’t have access to them, because we don’t have students who are interested in agriculture and farming.”
Marcus had this advice for current FVSU students:
“Students need to apply themselves academically with the utmost tenacity,” he said. “They shouldn’t waste their time, but focus on going the extra mile to become competitive in the marketplace. The marketplace is worldwide. Participate in study abroad programs, become bilingual and study a dual majors. With those qualities, they show employees that they are well-rounded students.”
In addition to his language studies, Marcus also has traveled overseas extensively, including treks to Budapest, Belize, Cuba, Holland, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
To watch Julian Marcus’ interview on Indigo Life Television, visit http://youtu.be/MFYMxKgwN-E.
See Julian Marcus’ mother, Glenelle Marcus’ interview here: http://youtu.be/3Bs-vKwIvlE.