National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees
Ph.D., CEO National FFA Organization
John "Russ" Green
Individual Giving Council Chair
2014 National FFA FDN Sponsors’ Board Chair
2015 National FFA FDN Sponsors’ Board Chair-Elect
National FFA President
NASAE FFA Executive Secretary Representative
NAAE Teacher Representative
NAAE Teacher Representative
AAAE Teacher Educator Representative
AAAE Teacher Educator Representative
National FFA Alumni Representative
NASAE State Supervisor Representative
NASAE State Supervisor Representative
Maj. Gen. Arnold Fields
2014 National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board
2014 Chair | Director of Agribusiness Strategies | Ice Miller
Director of Agribusiness Strategies
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
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.
2013 Past Chiar | President | Agricultural Tire, U.S. and Canada Commercial Tire
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
He lives in Lubbock, Texas, with his wife of 18 years. The couple has two
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.,
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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 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 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
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
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, 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 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 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