Dr Havenstein received his B.S. in Agriculture (focusing on Poultry Science) in 1961 from Kansas State University. He then moved to Madison, WI to acquire his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (1966) in the Department of Genetics from the University of Wisconsin. Following a year as instructor of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, he joined Heisdorf & Nelson (H&N), a major global egg-type breeding company, as staff geneticist.
After serving H&N for 10 years, he was named their Director of Genetics Research in 1976. In 1986, Dr Havenstein was chosen to serve as the Department Chair for the Department of Poultry Science at Ohio State University. During his last year in that position, he also served as the Chair and Interim Assistant Director of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Columbus and Wooster, Ohio. In early 1989, he was offered Head of the Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University where he served until 2005. He spent the next 3 years at NCSU on a half-time basis publishing several research papers with faculty colleagues. He also developed and published a ‘History of the Department of Poultry Science and other Poultry Related Programs at North Carolina State University, 1881-2010’, which summarized poultry related research, teaching, and extension accomplishments at the university. Dr Havenstein has authored and co-authored approximately 160 peer reviewed journal articles and other publications. Most were published during the 20 years he served as University Department Head. One of the publications that he and his colleagues authored and published in 2003 was honoured as being one of the most cited papers ever published in the journal Poultry Science (Growth, livability and feed conversion of 1957 versus 2001 broilers when fed representative 1957 and 2001 broiler diets; G.B. Havenstein, P.R. Ferket and M.A. Qureshi; Poultry Science (2003) 82:1500-1508). Throughout his career, Dr Havenstein has been actively involved in the World’s Poultry Science Association, several state Poultry Associations, the Poultry Science Association, the Poultry Breeders of America, and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (formerly known as the Southeastern Poultry & Egg Association). He served on the Board of the USA Branch of the WPSA and as its President from 1998 to 2004. He also served as Vice President on the Board of WPSA from 2008-2012. Since 2007, he has served as the editor for the quarterly newsletter of the WPSA, which serves as the primary method of effective communication between the organization and its global branches and membership. Attendance and participation in international conferences and congresses were real highlights for Dr Havenstein. He attended seven World Poultry Congresses (New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, Montreal, New Delhi, Istanbul and Brisbane), several European Poultry Conferences, and other WPSA conferences organized by the European Poultry Working Groups. He also attended at least 12 Turkey Conferences hosted in the U.K. by Turkeys Magazine.