Bobby (Bob) Kowalchuk was born to Karl and Mary Kowalchuk in October 1958. He grew up with his brother and sister on their families’ mixed farming operation across the tracks from the farming community of Kelliher, Saskatchewan. His childhood consisted of spending his days outside playing games, setting sail on rafts in sloughs, hunting, and fishing, but his favorite hobby was helping on the farm. Bob took a hand in everything that occurred on that farm from raising the animals to slaughtering them with his father. His love of farming continues to this day.
An excellent student, Bob graduated from Kelliher High School at the young age of 16 years, winning the Brown Math Award for the highest Math average in his graduating class.
He moved back to the farm to work as a part time labourer in 1978 at the Hatchery located a mile from the family farm. While learning every job at the hatchery Bob continued to advance himself within the business becoming superintendent in 1979. In 1985, he married his wife Ruth. At this time Plains Poultry began construction on a new hatchery in Wynyard. Bob continued the Superintendent position, as well the newlyweds moved to Wynyard. The Kowalchuks were blessed with two children, Jeneane and Joshua.
Bob was promoted to Hatchery Manager, a position he held through the rest of his career as the company changed hands to Sunnyland Poultry, Lilydale Co-operative in 1999, and then to Sofina Foods in 2010.
Through Bob’s guidance and belief in the use of new technology, the Wynyard Hatchery in 1998 became the first hatchery in Canada to install large cabinet single stage incubators. The use of this technology for egg incubation continues to become the norm across hatcheries in North America.
Over the years Bob has served as the President of the Saskatchewan Hatchery Association and a Director of the Primary Processors Association in Saskatchewan. He was a Hatchery Representative on the Saskatchewan Poultry Emergency Management Team (SPIEMT) committee.
In the fall of 2016, Bob decided to step back and retire as the Hatchery Manager for Sofina Foods and take on a part time position performing field service work and consulting for the Hatchery. This move enabled him to spend more time at the place he started, the family farm.