Foundation Sponsors' Board and Individual Giving Council

National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees

Dwight Armstrong
Ph.D., CEO National FFA Organization

John "Russ" Green
2014 Chair

Elin Miller
2015 Chair-Elect

Mark Timm
Past Chair

Jodi Monroe
Secretary

Marion Fletcher
Treasurer

Glenn Stith
Individual Giving Council Chair

Beth Bechdol
2014 National FFA FDN Sponsors’ Board Chair

Cory Reed
2015 National FFA FDN Sponsors’ Board Chair-Elect

Brian Walsh
National FFA President

Cheryl Zimmerman
NASAE FFA Executive Secretary Representative

Parker Bane
NAAE Teacher Representative

Greg Curlin
NAAE Teacher Representative

Bart Gill
Ph.D.
AAAE Teacher Educator Representative

John Ricketts
Ph.D.
AAAE Teacher Educator Representative

Jim McCray
National FFA Alumni Representative

Jacob Davis
NASAE State Supervisor Representative

Leon Busdieker
NASAE State Supervisor Representative

Maj. Gen. Arnold Fields
Sponsor/Donor Representative

Chuck Conner
At Large

Sara Wyant
At Large

Kip Tom
At Large


2014 National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board

Beth Bechdol 2014 Chair | Director of Agribusiness Strategies | Ice Miller


2014 Chair
Director of Agribusiness Strategies
Ice Miller

Beth Bechdol serves as director of agribusiness strategies for Ice Miller and manages the firm’s agricultural law team and services. She also provides leadership to the Agribusiness Council of Indiana as president of the organization.

She is a former deputy director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. Her dedication to public service in agriculture extends beyond Indiana to Washington, D.C., where she served in key roles at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and on the Senate Agriculture Committee under U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.

Bechdol began her career working with the agribusiness industry on critical policy issues in the Washington office of Informa Economics.

She serves on numerous professional and community boards, including the Purdue Research Foundation, National Grain and Feed Association, Farm Foundation Bennett Roundtable, Indiana State Fair Commission and Community Harvest Food Bank.

Bechdol earned a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University. Currently the sixth generation to operate her family farm in Auburn, Ind., she lives on the corn and soybean farm with husband Matt and daughter Grace.

Cory J. Reed 2015 Chair Elect | Senior Vice President with Intelligent Solutions Group | John Deere

Cory Reed is senior vice president with Intelligent Solutions Group with John Deere, a position he has held since August 2013. In this role, Reed is responsible for managing the growth and profitability of John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group and leads the company’s efforts to develop strategies for delivering innovative technology solutions and data that result in agronomic and productivity insights.

Reed joined the company in 1998 and has held a variety of regional and platform- based marketing and sales positions. In 2007, Reed moved to John Deere International in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, where he was responsible for sales and marketing in Northern/Central Europe as well as Africa and the Near- and Middle East. Prior to his current position, Reed was director of global strategic marketing, where he led the team responsible for understanding and prioritizing customer needs on a global basis while integrating the resulting product and service opportunities into the division’s portfolio processes. He was named vice president of global marketing services for the agriculture and turf division in August 2011 and appointed to his previous position, senior vice president of global marketing services, agriculture and turf division, in September 2012.

Reed graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. In 1995, he received a Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University College of Law and worked for the law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue until joining John Deere.

Kenneth Allen 2013 Past Chiar | President | Agricultural Tire, U.S. and Canada Commercial Tire Sales Division

As president of the agricultural tire/U.S. and Canada commercial tire sales division for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, Kenneth Allen is responsible for the manufacturing, sales and marketing of Firestone brand agricultural, forestry and light construction tires.

In 2002, he joined then Bridgestone Firestone as export sales manager for Firestone Agricultural Tire. He transferred to their Off Road Products Group (ORPG) as general manager of export sales in 2003. Three years later, Allen was promoted to director, global OEM of engineering and export sales for ORPG. In 2007, he returned back to Firestone Agricultural Tire as executive director of sales and marketing.

In 2008, Allen was promoted to vice president and soon after was promoted to his current position.

Allen began his career in 1978 with Mid America Group. He also worked with Armstrong, Pirelli Armstrong and Titan Wheel International, which purchased Pirelli Armstrong’s agricultural unit.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Iowa State University and a master’s degree from Drake University.

Allen belongs to the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and the Institute of Industrial Engineers. He also serves on the boards of the Science Center of Iowa and North America’s Corridor Coalition.

Linda Arnold Whaley Customer Advocacy Lead | Monsanto

Linda Arnold Whaley is customer advocacy lead at Monsanto. She joined the company in 1999. She managed the marketing and communications initiatives of many of Monsanto’s new biotechnology launches, including Roundup Ready soybeans and corn and YieldGard.

In her current role, she is part of the U.S. Seed and Traits’ organizational focus on earning a trusting relationship between farmers and Monsanto. Her team develops advocacy campaigns that heighten awareness of the value that farmers bring to their communities and leads local community outreach efforts involving farmers and youth in agriculture.

Whaley earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and a minor in agronomy from Iowa State University. Prior to joining Monsanto, she held a variety of communications roles at advertising and public relations agencies and trade associations.

Whaley and husband Hugh have three children ages 8-11. The family resides in Webster Groves, Mo. She is active in school and church functions.

Craig Bacon, Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Research and Development | Tyson Foods

Craig Bacon is senior vice president of research and development for Tyson Foods. He leads the development of all products for Tyson Foods, located in the Discovery Center in Springdale, Ark.

Bacon joined Tyson in 1990 as a food technologist. He is a native of southwest Missouri.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from University of Missouri and a master’s degree and doctorate in food science from University of Tennessee.

He and wife Debbie have three children and reside on a sheep and cattle farm in northwest Arkansas.

Randy Bernard Chief Executive Officer | Rural Media Group

Randy Bernard joined Rural Media Group as chief executive officer in December of 2012. Bernard brings years of proven industry connections and high-level corporate experience to Rural Media Group, which includes such properties as RFD-TV, RURAL TV, FamilyNet, RFD-TV The Theatre, RFD-TV The Magazine and RURAL RADIO on SiriusXM channel 80.

Previously as CEO for INDYCAR, Bernard was responsible for overseeing all aspects of INDYCAR. Prior to joining INDYCAR, Bernard served as CEO of the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. In April 2007, Bernard successfully executed a merger between Professional Bull Riders, Inc. and Spire Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm.

Bernard serves on the board of Garth Brooks and Troy Aikman’s Teammates for Kids Foundation.

Bernard and wife Cameo have three children (Priscilla, Ryan and Alexandria). Bernard is now based out of Rural Media Group’s corporate headquarters in Omaha, Neb., and travels frequently to the company’s main production studios in Nashville, Tenn.

James Blome President/CEO | Bayer CropScience LP

James Blome is the president and CEO for Bayer CropScience LP and the head of Crop Protection for the North American region. He grew up on a family farm in Hubbard, Iowa, and is a graduate of Iowa State University.

Blome brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in agriculture. Prior to his current position at Bayer CropScience he held executive positions at Valent USA Corp, Agriliance LLC, Agtrol International and Griffin LLC.

Blome resides near the Bayer North American headquarters in Research Triangle Park, N.C. He also serves on the Executive Board of Directors for CropLife America, the North Carolina Agricultural Biotechnology Advisory Council, MBA Executive Advisory Council for Iowa State University and the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Foundation Board.

He has two daughters and is an avid outdoorsman.

Jeff Burch Senior Vice President; Sales, Marketing and Administration Manager | Agribusiness Banking Division | Bank of the West

Jeff Burch is sales, marketing and administration manager for Bank of the West’s Agribusiness Banking Division.

Since joining the company in 2001, he has held numerous positions that have focused on understanding, targeting and marketing the bank’s full suite of products and services to agriculture or agriculture-related corporate operations.

Burch earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a finance emphasis and a master’s degree from California State University at Fresno. He is also a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School and was named an associate director in 2007.

He and wife Kim have two children and two granddaughters.

Cleo Franklin Vice President of Marketing, Product Development and Strategic Planning | Mahindra USA Inc.

Cleo Franklin is vice president of marketing, product development and strategic planning for Mahindra USA and serves on the parent company’s international marketing and sales business council and global diversity council. He is responsible for leading strategy, award-winning branding campaigns, and product and channel development for the North American market. Franklin has created community involvement programs to reflect the Rise culture of Mahindra, earning a Corporate Social Responsibility award for the company.

Born and raised in Chicago, Franklin’s roots in agriculture are linked to three generations of Arkansas and Missouri farmers. Franklin’s leadership experience in agriculture spans two decades. He served as president of Franklin Strategic Solutions, a strategic planning consulting firm, and as senior director of North American sales and operations for New Holland Agriculture.

His career includes 21 years at John Deere, where he held numerous strategic, finance, sales and marketing leadership roles. He currently serves on the Texas FFA Board and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers Ag Connect Management Committee.

He earned an executive master’s degree from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina and a bachelor’s degree from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, where he served as student body president and completed his basketball career as one of Morningside’s all-time leading scorers.

He and his wife, Lois, reside in Cypress, Texas, with their four children.

Kyle Hancock Vice President, Sales and Marketing | CSX Transportation

Kyle Hancock is vice president for industrial and agricultural products for CSX Transportation. He has been with CSX for more than 26 years, serving in numerous leadership positions, including president of CSX’s logistics subsidiary Transflo Corp.

He was instrumental in the creation and operation of NDX Intermodal, a European joint venture of CSX, the German Railroad and the Dutch Railroad based in Amsterdam.

Hancock is currently responsible for four business units including agricultural products, metals products, forest products, and food and consumer products as well as several sales groups.

Hancock earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and business from Shorter College in Rome, Ga., and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development. He has served on the board of directors of the World Junior Golf Association.

He and his wife have been married for 31 years and have two sons.

Nancy L. Himmel Manager, National Sales Services | Wrangler

Nancy Himmel is manager of national sales services at Wrangler.

Prior to joining the VF Jeanswear coalition in Greensboro, N.C., she was the director of business development at VF Imagewear, a sister company located in Nashville, Tenn.

She began her apparel career in the 1970s while attending Montclair State College in New Jersey, her home state. From there, she and husband Larry bought an 80-acre farm in upstate New York where they raised goats, pigs, chickens and beef cattle.

Himmel has held several sales positions for various apparel companies and enjoys working with FFA members. Recently, she attended a National Leadership Conference of State Officers in Cody, Wyo. Every year, she works with an FFA intern at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

She and her husband live in Kernersville, N.C.

Mark Hooper Director of Marketing, New Holland

Mark Hooper serves as director of marketing for New Holland North America. Hooper has an extensive background in sales, marketing and dealer development. As director of marketing, Hooper leads the efforts of the brand communications and product marketing staff. He also oversees all marketing functions of New Holland products in North America including brand and product positioning, packaging and pricing strategies, marketing communications, and promotions.

Hooper holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University. Prior to his enrollment in college, Hooper was awarded the American FFA degree and served as the Maryland state FFA president.

Marc E. Johnson Divisional Vice President - Merchandising | Tractor Supply Company

Marc Johnson is a divisional vice president of merchandising at Tractor Supply Company. Since joining Tractor Supply from Shopko stores in 2001, Johnson has held numerous positions in store operations and merchandising, with an emphasis on upholding Tractor Supply’s commitment to be the most dependable supplier of basic maintenance products for farm, ranch and rural customers.

Johnson is originally from the Midwest, spending a couple years in college before taking on leadership roles in retail. He and his family moved to middle Tennessee, home of Tractor Supply’s Store Support Center, in 2005 where he and his family enjoy operating a small alpaca hobby farm.

Dirk Jones President | Cargill Pork

Dirk Jones began a career at Cargill in 1987 as a trainee in Ottumwa, Iowa. In 1988, he moved to Wichita as a sales trainee, handling brokers and traders, freezer P&L and account management. The following year, he transferred to Minneapolis as a district sales manager.

In 1992, he returned to Wichita as Cargill’s western regional sales manager of pork. Transitioning through various roles in pricing and product management, Jones was named president and business unit leader of Cargill Pork in 2002.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Nebraska.

He serves on the American Meat Institute Pork Committee and the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s executive and international trade committees.

He and wife Julie reside in Wichita, Kan., with their four children.

David G. Kabbes Senior Vice President, Corporate and Legal Affairs | Bunge North America

Since joining Bunge North America in 2000, David Kabbes has served as general counsel and secretary for the North American operating arm of Bunge Limited, a leading global agribusiness and food company. In addition to overseeing the legal department, he is responsible for government affairs, customs compliance and communications.

Previously, Kabbes served in corporate legal roles as executive vice president, secretary and general counsel at Purina Mills and as a corporate attorney at Koch Industries. Before working as in-house counsel, he was a partner at the law firm of Schiff Hardin and Waite in Peoria, Ill., and an associate at Thompson Coburn in St. Louis.

Kabbes grew up in the farm community of Effingham, Ill., and earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Quincy University. He later earned a law degree from the University of Illinois.

An active member of his community, Kabbes serves on the board of the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and previously served on the board of the World Ag Forum.

He and wife Judy have five children.

Robert E. Kelly Senior Vice President, U.S. Cattle and Equinne Business Unit | Zoetis

Robert Kelly is vice president of the U.S. Cattle and Equine Business Unit for Zoetis. He is responsible for all aspects of the cattle and equine business and also serves on the Zoetis U.S. leadership team.

 Previously, he served as managing director for Fort Dodge Animal Health in Canada. Kelly has extensive and diverse animal health experience and has led operations in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. He joined Zoetis in 2009.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from University of Western Sydney in Australia and a master’s degree in management from Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Sydney.

Jeff Lansdell President | CEV Multimedia

Jeff Lansdell is president of CEV Multimedia, a producer of career and technical education materials. He has been employed by CEV in different leadership capacities for more than 12 years. He was named president in 2006 and partner in 2011.

Prior to joining CEV, Lansdell worked in the value-added meat industry for Wilson Foods, IBP and Tyson Foods for more than 10 years and in research and development and product management.

He received a bachelor’s degree in animal production and a master’s degree in meat science and muscle biology from Texas Tech University. In 2001, he graduated from University of Phoenix with a master’s degree in business administration.

Lansdell is a native of a small, rural town in northeast Texas and carved out a career in the agriculture industry via his experiences as a Texas FFA member. Currently, he is a member of the Texas FFA Foundation’s board of directors.

He lives in Lubbock, Texas, with his wife of 18 years. The couple has two daughters.

Jon Leafstedt Managing Partner | Kincannon & Reed

Jon Leafstedt serves as managing partner for Kincannon & Reed, a search firm for senior leadership roles in food, agribusiness and life sciences organizations. He joined the company in 2007 and focuses on search engagements in renewable fuels, animal health, seed, biotechnology, crop protection products and other agricultural inputs.

He has served in wide-ranging executive roles in global agribusinesses and development-stage technology companies. More recently, he served as president of two plant biotechnology firms, Chromatin and Phytodyne. Earlier in his career, Leafstedt was responsible for worldwide intellectual property and regulatory efforts for Kemin Industries, a nutritional ingredient manufacturer; led governmental affairs programs for the agrichemical businesses of BASF/American Cyanamid; and was in marketing and sales management in Cyanamid’s animal health products department.

He has served as an officer in numerous national and state industry organizations.Leafstedt grew up on a fifth-generation family farm in South Dakota and served as state president of South Dakota FFA. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from South Dakota State University and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. He and wife Carla have three children and reside in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa.

James M. Loar Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing | Wilbur-Ellis Co.

James M. Loar joined Wilbur-Ellis Co. in 2002 as national director of supplier relations. Today, he is senior vice president of sales and marketing, responsible for leading Wilbur-Ellis’ crop protection, seed and branded products businesses. He also leads the company’s go-to-customer strategy, training and human resources functions.

He started his professional career with Gulf Oil in 1980 as a third-mate on ocean tankers. He came ashore in 1982 to pursue a master’s degree before joining the finance department at Lancaster, Ohio-based Anchor Hocking Corp, in 1983.

Four years later, Loar joined Griffin Corp., one of the founding companies of the generic agriculture products industry based in Valdosta, Ga. He worked for Griffin for 14 years where he reached the position of vice president of North America.

He served as chairman of the board of the Chemical Producers and Distributors Association in 2003-2004. He has also served on the boards of the Ag Container Recycling Committee and RAPID.

Loar was born and raised in Lowell, Ohio. He graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1980 with a degree in nautical science. He received a master’s degree from Ohio University.

He and wife Michele have two children, who both have professional positions in agriculture.

Jason Marx Vice President, North America Marketing | AGCO Corporation

Jason Marx has 20-plus years of experience leading the development and implementation of comprehensive business improvement and turnaround strategies.

Marx has a broad range of managerial experience with an emphasis on topline revenue growth, corporate financial results and operational performance. Currently, he serves as the vice president of marketing for AGCO Corporation North America Region. Prior to this position, he had general management responsibilities for AGCO’s North America aftermarket parts division.

During his tenure at AGCO, Marx has been responsible for a major turnaround in their parts division performance, in terms of profitability and dealer satisfaction. He has also championed the New Way to Work initiatives in the sales, marketing and distribution functions, which have resulted in record retail sales and profitability performance for the North American division.

Marx holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s in business administration with emphasis in marketing, sales and business strategy.

Nevin McDougall Senior Vice President, North America, Crop Protection | BASF

Nevin McDougall is senior vice president of North America crop protection at BASF. Born near Toronto, Canada, he earned a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in agricultural economics and business from the University of Guelph in Canada.

McDougall joined BASF in 2000 as regional business manager for western Canada. He later held titles of business director of agricultural products, group vice president of agricultural products for the company’s Asia Pacific division based in Singapore, vice president of U.S. business operations and group vice president of North America crop protection.

He was named senior vice president of North America crop protection at BASF in 2010.

McDougall is a board member and member of the executive committee of CropLife America.

Joe Metzger Vice President Integrated Supply Chain Foodservice & Enhancers/Snack Nuts | Kraft Foods

Joe Metzger serves Kraft Foods as the vice president of integrated supply chain for two business units including Foodservice & Enhancers/Snack Nuts with specific responsibility for manufacturing, procurement and customer service logistics for these businesses.

Metzger recently reached his 25 year anniversary with Kraft Foods. He began his career in New Ulm, Minn., and has progressed through many roles including plant manager in Springfield, Mo., and Beaver Dam, Wis.; director of procurement in Northfield, Ill.; and senior director of customer service and logistics in Atlanta, Ga. Over the past two years he has taken on increased responsibility, and in 2013 took on additional roles for Kraft Salad Dressings, Barbecue Sauces and Mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, A1 and Grey Poupon.

Metzger’s roots with FFA stem back to being raised on a family farm in Northwest Iowa and being heavily involved in the local FFA chapter while in high school. He remains connected to his FFA chapter through a scholarship endowment in his parent’s name.

Metzger is a graduate of South Dakota State University in dairy science and has served on many boards throughout the years, including previously being on the FFA Sponsors’ Board from 2006-2009. Metzger is married to Kristi and has two daughters, Gretchen, 16, and Anna, 12.

Rik L. Miller President | DuPont Crop Protection

Rik Miller is president of DuPont Crop Protection. He began his career in 1984 at Crop Protection working in sales. From 1984 to 1995, he held a variety of positions in sales and product and marketing management across the United States and in 1996 was appointed group leader for the DuPont Crop Protection Specialty Business.

From 1996 to 2005, he was appointed to progressive sales and marketing management positions at Crop Protection. In 2005, he was named global business leader for DuPont Crop Protection’s diversified specialty, vegetation management, forestry and railroad segments and relocated to Wilmington, Del. One year later, he joined the DuPont Crop Protection leadership team as global marketing director.

In 2010, Miller transferred to Geneva, Switzerland, as regional director of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Crop Protection. He returned to Wilmington and was named to his current position in 2011. He serves on CropLife International’s Crop Protection Strategy Council and is actively involved in FFA. Miller received a bachelor’s degree in agronomy with an emphasis on plant and soil science and plant biochemistry from Montana State University.

Michael Mintun Vice President of Sales, North America | Lincoln Electric

Michael Mintun is the vice president of sales and marketing – North America of the Lincoln Electric Company.

 Mintun has been with Lincoln Electric for 29 years. After graduating from Lehigh University in 1984, he joined Lincoln Electric as a sales trainee. He worked in the company’s New York and Pittsburgh district offices as a technical sales representative. In 1996 he was promoted to district manager of the company’s Southwest Ontario District in Canada. In 2000, he was promoted to vice president of sales for the Lincoln Electric Company of Canada, Ltd. By 2002, Mintun was named national sales manager in the United States and in 2007 was promoted to vice president of sales – North America. As of, January 2013 he was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing – North America.

 Mintun earned a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy and materials engineering from Lehigh University. He completed the Global Business Development Leadership program at the Thunderbird Garvin School of International Management in Phoenix, Ariz. In 2008, he completed the Kellogg School of Management Advanced Executive Program.

 He is a member of the American Welding Society and the Gases and Welding Distributor’s Association. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland. Mintun and his wife, Sonia, reside in Solon, Ohio. Their son Michael graduated from Miami University in May 2013 and their son Peter attends Cornell University.

David Morgan North America Regional Director | Syngenta

David Morgan has spent his entire career in agriculture. After obtaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural and forestry sciences from Oxford University, he joined DuPont in research and development in the United Kingdom. Morgan worked for a number of companies that evolved through a series of acquisitions and mergers, including Schering Agriculture UK, AgrEvo UK and AgrEvo Canada.

When Aventis CropScience was formed, he was appointed as global head of strategy. Later, he led the seed and biotechnology business in Aventis CropScience and, thereafter, Bayer CropScience. He also was a member of the Bayer CropScience Executive Committee.

 Morgan joined Syngenta in 2007 as regional head for Syngenta seeds in Asia Pacific, based in Singapore. He also served as a member of the global seeds leadership team.

 In 2008, Morgan moved to North America to lead the corn and soybean seed business. In 2011, he assumed the North American region director role while retaining oversight for all the seeds businesses within the region. Morgan’s primary focus is on leading the Syngenta team in their creation of crop, product and customer-focused strategies and the development of innovative technology solutions for North American producers.

Will Nicklas Corporate Manager, Lexus Marketing, Planning and Communication | Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

Will Nicklas is corporate manager, marketing, planning and communications, for Lexus U.S.A., a division of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Nicklas is responsible for event and engagement marketing, as well as key external and internal communications. Nicklas also oversees the alignment and activation of Lexus global brand efforts in the United States.

 Nicklas joined Toyota in 1987 as part of the team that launched Lexus in the United States. While at Lexus he held management positions in sales, market representation (franchise development) and marketing.

Prior to his current role, Nicklas was corporate manager, procurement and corporate services, at TMS where he oversaw $4 billion in total indirect spending and more than 4,000 suppliers. Nicklas has also held positions in Toyota marketing, the Toyota Dealer Investment Group and was special assistant to the TMS president.

Nicklas is on the board of directors for the Union Rescue Mission, one of the largest rescue missions in the United States and the oldest in Los Angeles. He is a founding member of the URM men’s professional development and mentoring program.

 Nicklas graduated from California State University at Fullerton where he earned his bachelor’s degree in international business with an emphasis in Japanese. He resides in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., is married and has two children attending university.

Brian O’Rourke Vice President, Association Relationship Management | AgriBank

Brian O’Rourke was named vice president of Association Relationship Management in February 2011. In his role, O’Rourke is responsible for the coordination and collaboration of AgriBank resources across multiple departments while supporting the Bank Association-centric business model. Prior to this position, O’Rouke worked in AgriBank’s commercial lending department for four years as a senior lending officer managing a participation portfolio comprised of accounts in ethanol, sugar and rural utilities. Previous to joining AgriBank in January 2007, O’Rourke was at Farm Credit Leasing Services Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of CoBank, for seven years and held various credit positions with increased responsibility.

Chris Ready Director - US and Canada Food Animal Marketing | Elanco Aniamal Health

Chris Ready is the director of food animal marketing for the United States and Canada at Elanco Animal Health. In his role, he is responsible for leading the marketing functions of their beef, dairy, wine and poultry business units. Since joining Elanco in 2005, he has held a number of domestic and global marketing roles.

Ready earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Kansas. Prior to joining Elanco, he spent 10 years with Bayer Animal Health in various sales, marketing and management roles.

Chris and his wife, Sonya, have two children and reside in Fishers, Ind.

Tom Rodgers Director of Sales and Marketing | Firestone Farm Tires

Tom Rodgers is currently the director of sales and marketing for Bridgestone Americas Agricultural Tire Group. He is responsible for the sales and distribution of Firestone brand agricultural tires in North America as well as managing the areas of new product development, strategic marketing, field engineering and product training. Rodgers joined the organization in 2007 as marketing manager. Prior to joining Bridgestone, Rodger’s professional experience included time at Deere and Company, Titan International and Archer Daniels Midland. Rodgers’ entire professional experience has been within various segments of agriculture. He is originally from Paris, Texas, and in 1992 received his bachelor’s in business administration from Texas Tech University.

 Rodgers resides in Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife of 17 years, Laura, and their three daughters, Ibby, Kate and Noma Jane.

John Romines Vice President, Seed and Agronomy Sales | Winfield Solutions, a Land O’Lakes Co.

John Romines grew up on a diversified livestock and burley tobacco farm in southern Kentucky. After graduating from the University of Kentucky, he began his career in the cooperative system as an agriculture retail manager in the Southern States cooperative system.

Over the past 26 years, he has gained valuable experience while moving through the cooperative system ranks and serving in numerous capacities within the agriculture sales arena. Through these various positions, Romines has had the opportunity to be involved with six different national cooperative systems. He was directly involved in the development and implementation of Winfield Solutions and was named director of seed and agronomy sales upon its formation. In 2011, he was promoted to vice president of seed and agronomy sales in North America.

Romines resides in Wyoming, Minn., with wife Susan and their two children.

Kyle Russell Senior Director of Marketing | Case IH

Kyle Russell is Case IH’s senior director of marketing. He coordinates the marketing and sales of all North American Case IH products. Before being named to his current position, Russell served as the regional sales director in the Great Lakes region, where he led the sales team for the Eastern Corn Belt region and worked closely with network development, service support, CNH Capital and CNH Parts.

 Russell had also worked as the livestock marketing director, leading the team responsible for meeting the North American livestock producers’ equipment needs. Russell previously served as marketing manager for two Case IH flagship tractor lines -- Magnum and Steiger. He also served as a Case IH business manager in Michigan, product specialist in Maryland, sales finance representative, and customer service representative at Case Credit. Before joining Case IH, Russell was vice president of operations for Strictly Service, Inc., a global electronic refurbishing company in Marion, Ohio.

 Russell has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and a Bachelor of Science in business from Bowling Green State University, Ohio.

Brian Schouvieller Senior Vice President | North America Grain Marketing and Crop Nutrients | CHS

Brian Schouvieller is senior vice president of North America grain marketing and crop nutrients at CHS.

He is responsible for overall management of CHS North America grain marketing and crop nutrients operations. He was previously vice president of grain marketing international development, managing operations in the Asia-Pacific region and Mexico. Additionally, he led the company’s recent expansion effort associated in the Asia-Pacific region.

Schouvieller began his CHS career as an intern and joined the company in 1991 following his graduation from the University of Minnesota. Throughout his career, he has held a variety of merchandising and management positions within grain marketing, including a one-year assignment in Mexico.

Mark D. Schweitzer Managing Director of Intermodal and International Container Freight | Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Mark D. Schweitzer was appointed managing director of intermodal and international container freight at Archer Daniels Midland Co. in 2008.Previously, he advanced through various management responsibilities within grain merchandising, North America oilseed processing, North American warehousing, oilseed and energy risk management.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University.

He and wife Elaine have two children and live on their farm in central Illinois.

Doug Scott Group Marketing Manager, Trucks, Utility and Commercial Vehicles | Ford Motor Co.

Doug Scott is group marketing manager of trucks, utility and commercial vehicles for Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co. He has been with the company for 35 years.

Scott oversees all marketing functions for the F-Series and Ranger pick-up trucks, Expedition models and all commercial vehicles in the United States. Prior to assuming his current duties, he was manager of truck product marketing, planning and strategy.

Eric Spell President | AgCareers.com

Eric Spell, president of AgCareers.com, has more than 19 years of experience in agribusiness leadership and strategic recruitment. Growing up on a row crop farm in eastern North Carolina, his passion for agriculture flourished and has continued to grow throughout his professional ventures.

Spell’s extensive background in training, recruiting and consulting have helped him to build and lead AgCareers.com, an online career site and human resource service provider for agriculture, food, natural resources and biotechnology.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from North Carolina State University’s College of Management.

Spell, who is active in his local community, and wife Sharon live in Clinton, N.C., with their three children.

Joe C. Swedberg Vice President Legislative Affairs | Hormel Foods Corp.

Joe C. Swedberg is vice president of legislative affairs for Hormel Foods, overseeing all state and federal legislative affairs, regulatory affairs and packaging design. Swedberg has been with the company for 32 years, starting as a sales representative in 1981. He advanced to associate product manager in the meat products group in 1984 and was promoted to product manager of consumer hams the following year. In 1988, he was named group product manager of meat products. He then continued to advance through positions in the meat products group, being named to regional sales manager in 1990, director of marketing in 1993 and vice president of marketing in 1999. He assumed his current position in 2003.

An Iowa native, Swedberg grew up on a cattle and grain farm. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa. He serves as a board member and past chairman of the board of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, board member and past chairman of the board of the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, vice chairman and board member of the Minnesota Zoo, a member of the Advisory Leadership Circle for the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, a member of the board of trustees of Farm Foundation Roundtable, a member of the executive sponsors’ board of the Minnesota FFA Foundation and former president of the Austin YMCA board of directors.

He and wife Amy have two grown children.

Tom Warner President | Crop Productin Services (CPS)

Tom Warner, president of Crop Production Services, Inc., and vice president of Agrium Retail Distribution, is responsible for all of Agrium’s retail distribution business in the United States.

 Born and raised on a grain and livestock farm in eastern Indiana, he started a custom application, crop protection and liquid fertilizer business while in high school. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Ball State University.

After graduation and the sale of his business, he worked for Allied Chemical Corporation as a wholesale fertilizer salesman in eastern Kansas and Oklahoma for just under three years. He then began working for Getty Refining and Marketing (Skelgas) as area manager in Illinois and eastern Missouri overseeing its propane and new crop input business.

He joined Agrico Chemical’s retail division in 1980 (which became CPS in 1983) as area manager for Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota, and in 1981 was promoted to general manager of the Western Illinois Division. In 1993 he was named vice president of Crop Production Services and then president in 2004.

Tom and his wife, Debbie, have two grown children and five grandchildren.

Susanne Wasson Marketing Director | Dow AgroSciences

Susanne Wasson is the marketing director of the U.S. Crop Protection Business of Dow AgroSciences. Wasson joined the company in 1990 as a financial analyst. She has had a number of sales, marketing and commercial management roles, including an international assignment in the United Kingdom. Prior to being named marketing director, she was the global business leader for the Range and Pasture and Industrial Vegetation Management Herbicide Business.

Wasson grew up in Oklahoma on her family’s purebred Santa Gertrudis cow calf operation. She earned degrees in agricultural economics and accounting from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Science in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University.

She is a member and past chapter president of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Education Organization for women). She is also a member of the Delta Delta Delta Foundation undergraduate scholarship committee and Women for OSU. She is currently on the board of directors for Indiana Humanities.

Individual Giving Council


Elin Miller Past Chair

Elin D. Miller is principal of Elin Miller Consulting, LLC and works with her husband on their hazelnut farm in Umpqua, Ore. Miller also serves as vice chairman of Vestaron Board, a Crop Protection Company out of Michigan, and on the board of Marrone Bio Innovations in California. In May of 2011, she won her first race for public office, elected to the Umpqua Committee College Board of Trustees, and now serves as its vice chair. She also serves on the Board and Audit Committee of the National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees. Locally, she is chair of the Board of NeighborWorks® Umpqua, a not-for-profit corporation, and serves on Umpqua Bank’s Regional Board.

From 2006-2009, Miller served as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, a presidential appointment, with jurisdiction over Alaska, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Miller served as president and CEO of Arysta Life Science North America/Australasia 2004-2006. From 1996 to 2004 she held various leadership positions at the Dow Chemical Company and served as an exofficio member of the Dow Board.

She received her bachelor’s degree in agronomy and plant protection from the University of Arizona in 1982 and graduated from INSEAD’s Advanced Management Program in France in 2000.

Glenn Stith Chair

After a storied career with the Monsanto Company, Glenn Stith retired as the vice president of U.S. Branded Business and the global lead of Seminis Vegetable Division of Monsanto in 2011. In that position, Stith was responsible for leading the sales and marketing activities for North and South America.

 Since 2011 he has been working as an independent consultant and senior associate of The Context Network. Based in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Maggie, he works as an agri-business consultant.

 Stith joined Monsanto in 1977 and has held a variety of domestic and international positions in sales, marketing and management on both the crop production and industrial turf and ornamental sides of the business. In his most recent role, he led the U.S. branded business with responsibility for sales, marketing and operations for the Dekalb, Asgrow and Stoneville seed brands, the Roundup and Harness chemistry brands, and the Boligard, Roundup Ready and Yieldgard biotech trait brands.

A native of Kentucky and former Kentucky state FFA president, Stith grew up on a feed, grain and livestock operation. A graduate of the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics, he holds a master of business administration from Washington University in St. Louis.

Karen Hutchison

Dr. Karen Hutchison is currently the Education Associate for Agriscience and CTE Lead in the Delaware Department of Education. For 18 years she has had oversight of secondary AgriScience programs, served as the state FFA advisor, and has oversight of the Career and Technical Education approval process. Karen serves The Council as President Elect for the National Association Supervisors of Agricultural Education (NASAE). She has previously served on The Council, NASAE, and the National FFA Board of Directors.

Karen received her A.A.S. in Agribusiness from Delaware Technical and Community College, her B.S. in Agriculture Education from Virginia Tech, her M.S. in Vocational Studies and her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Delaware.

Dr. Hutchison and her husband Jim, reside in Dover, Delaware with their 2 children, Tyler age 18 and Caroline age 14.

Rick Malir

City Barbeque co-founder and president Rick Malir, a former national FFA president, turned passion into achievement. Malir was previously in marketing, sales and dealer consulting at John Deere and Company. He left John Deere to join some BBQ-loving friends in starting the first City Barbeque restaurant in 1999. Within one year, City Barbeque was named one of the top 10 casual restaurants by The Columbus Dispatch. In 12 years, City Barbeque has become a chain of 17 establishments in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

 Malir grew up in Kansas on the family farm and graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s in agricultural economics.

 Malir, who has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois, has a management style that involves giving all 350 employees the opportunity to drive the success of their restaurants by modeling the philosophy to always do their best.

Lynette Marshall

Lynette L. Marshall became president of The University of Iowa Foundation in August 2006. In her first four years at Iowa, the foundation has experienced record performance and growth for people, programs and initiatives throughout The University of Iowa.

A graduate of the University of Illinois and a longtime and senior fundraising professional there, Marshall earned her Certified Fundraising Executive designation from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 1992, is a member of several national fundraising organizations, and has taught development workshops nationally and internationally.

 Marshall was reared on a fifth-generation family farm near Peoria, Ill. She and her husband, Jeffery Ford, have two children. Son, Michael, graduated from the University of Illinois in 2010 and daughter, Katharine, is currently attending the University of Iowa.

Ed McMillan

Edward (Ed) McMillan has been owner and CEO of Food & Agribusiness Transaction Consulting since 2000.

Before starting his own consulting business, McMillan served as the president and CEO of Purina Mills, Inc., in St. Louis, Mo. He was promoted to that position after leading the strategic marketing and U.S. product research for Ralston Purina Company as the vice president of marketing and product research. He also provided strategic and operational leadership to the diversified agricultural businesses within Ralston Purina Company.

A graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in agriculture, McMillian and his wife, Judy, now live in Greenville, Ill. They have two adult children, Kyle McMillan and Kelly McComb.

McMillan initially became involved with FFA as a member in Bushnell, Ill. He served as the FFA state vice president and earned his American Farmer Degree. His FFA experience took him to Scotland, and he has since been awarded with the Honorary American FFA Degree.

Paul B. Mulhollem

From 1972 to 2005 Paul Mulholem worked for global agribusiness firms Cargill, Continental Grain and Archer Daniels Midland with management assignments in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Minneapolis, Minn.; Geneva, Switzerland; Buenos Aires, Argentina; New York City; London; and Decatur, Ill. He retired in 2005 at age 56 as president and chief operating officer of ADM. Currently he serves the industry of agriculture in many capacities including as the managing partner of Blue Ridge Cattle LLC, a registered Angus cattle breeding and marketing group; executive chairman of Arisdyne Systems Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio, start-up company providing technical solutions to the alternative fuels and heavy crude oils industries; a board member of Plaxica, an early-stage start-up technology and licensing company financed by Imperial Innovations and Invesco; as advisor to the chairman and CEO of Noble Group, a global, publicly listed, diversified commodities supply chain company in Hong Kong; a trustee of the O’Bryan Family Trust, which has controlling interest in Owensboro Grain Co. in Owensboro, Ky.; a member of the board of directors of the Carle Foundation Hospital Trust in Champaign, Ill; and board chair of the National FFA Foundation Pooled Investment Trust in Indianapolis, Ind.

Mulholeum earned his bachelor’s degree in 1971 from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. He and his family live on their 800-acre cattle, horse and hay farm in Nicholas County, Ky.

Jack Pitzer

Jack Pitzer started his career in 1965 with The National Future Farmer magazine in ad sales then quickly moved into the editorial department. After the magazine’s name change to FFA New Horizons, he moved to the communications department with duties to edit the Between Issues newsletter for teachers and agricultural education folks and manage the career show at the National FFA Convention. Pitzer also headed the FFA Hall of Achievement or Archives. When the National FFA Center moved to Indianapolis in 1998, he helped close the National Center in Virginia. He continued to work under contract for FFA until 2009.

After his career with FFA he started his own association management company. He continues to support FFA by serving on the National FFA Foundation’s Individual Giving Council.

He earned his Bachelors of Science in agricultural communications from the University of Illinois. He lives in Alexandria, Va., with his wife Pat. He enjoys barbershop harmony and is a 47-year member of the Alexandria Harmonizers, a group in which he leads. Pitzer and his wife have three adult children – Mike, Matt and Mark.

Mike Richey

Mike Richey is the vice president and chief development officer for the University of Kentucky. He is a veteran of advancement with 38 years of work experience at UK. He began his career as director of student relations in the College of Agriculture. In 1984, he was asked to establish the college development program and later became director of alumni and development in 1988. Many of the programs he initiated in the 14 years he led development have been adapted to other UK colleges while others are today foundational pieces for UK’s development operations.

Richey has served in leadership positions at national and international levels, including president of the National Agriculture Alumni Development Association, the Kentucky FFA Foundation, and three years as president of Gideons International, a worldwide organization in 194 countries.

Richey has received numerous recognitions including the Sullivan Medallion, a Distinguished Service and Leadership Award from the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the Distinguished Service Award from the National Agriculture Alumni and Development Association.

Richey holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture from the UK. He resides in Lawrenceburg with his wife, Susan. They have two children. Paul is a minister in Hodgenville, Ky., and Sarah is an attorney with Hargrove-Madden. They have two granddaughters, Mary Ellen and Charlotte Anne.

Corey Rosenbusch Chair Elect

Corey Rosenbusch serves as the president of the Global Cold Chain Alliance, an alliance of four cold chain industry organizations: The International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses, World Food Logistics Organization, International Refrigerated Transportation Association and the International Association of Cold Storage Construction. In this position, Rosenbusch serves as the executive providing leadership for all of the association’s operations and divisions, including education and training, marketing and communication, international programs, events, industry affairs and government relations. Rosenbusch also provides administrative oversight for overall organization operations, including financial performance and personnel.

Rosenbusch’s early career included serving as president of the National FFA Organization and the Texas FFA Association. Rosenbusch also founded and served as president and CEO of his own company that delivers programs in organizational behavior, leadership theory and team development.

 Rosenbusch holds a Master of Education degree in international education with a concentration in international development from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education from Texas A&M University. Although a native Texan, he currently resides in Alexandria, Va., with his wife and two daughters.

Bernie Staller

Bernie Staller, an Indiana native, graduated from Fort Atkinson Senior High School in 1961. Staller, an honors graduate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

He served as agribusiness instructor and FFA advisor at Janesville-Parker High School for 11 years. During that time, enrollment in the agricultural education program grew from 40 to nearly 500 students and from one to five instructors. Staller joined the National FFA Foundation as the assistant executive director in July of 1977 and became executive director on April 1, 1979. He assumed his responsibilities as CEO for both the National FFA Organization and FFA foundation on March 18, 1991, retiring in July 2004.

 As an FFA advisor Staller had great success with numerous award winners including those earning an American FFA Degree, American Star Award, proficiency award, and national success in chapter competitions and community development. He also has an extended list of personal honors such as being inducted into the Wisconsin FFA Hall of Fame, honorary state and national degrees, being twice-selected as the outstanding young teacher in Wisconsin and serving on multiple boards for agricultural education and various sectors of the agricultural industry.

Staller is married to the former Martha Miller of Whitewater, Wis.; the couple has two children.

Mark Timm

Mark Timm is currently the President and CEO of Cottage Garden, Inc. He grew up on a small family farm in Indiana and went on to become the National FFA President in 1991. FFA and agriculture taught Mark leadership skills as well as the value of hard work, responsibility and the value of a dollar all of which he attributes to his success today.

Mark went on to work for the National FFA and USA Today before founding the company he runs today. Cottage Garden is the #1 maker of musical gifts in North America and was the runner-up for the National Small Business of year in 2008. However, Mark considers his most important accomplishment and occupation to be CEO of the Timm Family where he and his bride are raising six amazing kids.

Jay Vroom

Jay Vroom has served as president and CEO of the trade association known as CropLife America since 1989 and has been a leader in U.S. agribusiness trade associations for his entire career. In addition, he has served as chairman of the CropLife Foundation since its inception in 2001. In his current role with CLA, Vroom heads the leading U.S. trade group for the crop protection industry in the United States. Through its membership in the Brusselsbased global federation CropLife International (CLI), the CLA is a strong voice in many international venues on issues critical to the plant science industry. Vroom also is a senior member of CLI’s Crop Protection Steering Council. He is also on the board of directors for The Friends of the National Arboretum, an independent, non-profit organization established to enhance the National Arboretum.

Based in Washington, D.C., CLA has a principal staff of nearly 30 professionals. CLA operates with several affiliated organizations including CropLife Foundation, of which Vroom serves as board chairman; CropLife Political Action Committee, of which he serves as treasurer; and RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment). Prior to joining the CropLife staff, Vroom had various positions in executive capacities with the National Fertilizer Solutions Association, the Merchants Exchange of St. Louis and The Fertilizer Institute. He graduated with honors from the University of Illinois College of Agriculture. Vroom was raised on a grain and livestock farm in north-central Illinois and continues to own the farming operation.