Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
:

DAA :All ItemsUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).Open MenuOpen Menu

Use SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window).
  
  
  
  
  
Bio
  
2010David D. AndersonIndianapolisIN
Seeds are like computers—no one
wants to buy last year’s laptop. To stay
competitive, Dow AgroSciences relies on
David Anderson and his team to project what
growers will want in the next growing season
and to have it ready to meet the demand.
“Sometimes it’s a little like guessing what
the next Tickle Me Elmo toy will be 18
months before Christmas,” Anderson says.
Once corporate direction is set,
Anderson turns strategy into action. A
member of the company’s Global Operations
Team, he directs the planning and supply
process, growing field operations,
production, processing, and distribution.
He is responsible for significant budgets
and a sizable workforce globally, and his
job involves regular travel to South America,
Mexico, and Europe.
“One thing that stands out in my mind is
going to a remote place in Brazil, 20 miles
down a dirt road from a paved road, and
appreciating the scope of agriculture,” he
says. “It was a good opportunity to think
about the systems we have in place to
organize and manage something that’s
so spread out.”
Throughout his career, Anderson has
used his approachable style to build
effective teams and programs that have
improved worker safety and job
satisfaction; improved operational
processes and efficiencies; and advanced
seed production technologies and seed
quality standards for canola, corn,
sorghum, soybean, sunflower, and wheat
on a global scale.
Mentoring has been a key component of
his influence in the industry. He crosses
departments or organizations to find
curious, energetic people and then helps
them maximize their strengths. One
colleague who drove around South
America with Anderson for a week
concluded, “You’re a control freak, but
you’re not a micromanager.”
Anderson’s interest in seeds germinated
on his family’s farm in Montgomery County,
Indiana. When he’s not on the job, he
enjoys time with his wife, Marisa, and three
children ages 7 to 14—and he is an avid
Purdue sports fan.
“I had a lot of interaction with the people at Purdue University
through 4-H, FFA, and family. Then, as president of the
Purdue Foundation Student Board and freshman class
president–Purdue Student Association, I had
opportunities to further develop leadership skills.”
David Anderson
2010Mona Baker WolfCincinnatiOH
So you think there’s a huge market just
waiting for a blue hot dog? Mona Baker
Wolf can tell you exactly how consumers
will respond—not just to your idea but
also to your hot dog’s shade of blue, taste,
smell, and texture.
Sensory science, a subset of food
science, is the process of eliciting and
measuring a human response as it relates
to the five senses. For 21 years, the
Cincinnati-based Wolf Group has provided
sensory evaluation for concept testing,
consumer preference, product
improvement, and quality control.
Wolf, a native of Bedford, Indiana, turned
setback to opportunity in 1988 following a
layoff. With three children under age three
foremost in her planning, she launched
The Wolf Group from her basement.
Today her company’s 17,000-squarefoot
facility includes rooms for both
American- and European-style focus groups,
35 sensory evaluation stations, six identical
full bathrooms, three commercial and
consumer kitchens, and an exercise room.
Her clients range from mom-and-pop
operations to Fortune 50 firms. Wolf and
her 85 employees—including food
scientists, marketing researchers, taste
testers, and sensory experts—have studied
everything from chili to cellulite cream and
razors to fabric softener. Highly trained
descriptive panelists quantify minute
attributes that allow the company to develop
a statistical model of an ideal product.
Sensory science can reduce product
development time, save costs, and predict
new product success. Understanding
business models has been critical to the
company’s growth, Wolf says: “What we
offer must be value-added to a company.”
The Wolf Group also works with clients
to ensure the accuracy of advertising
claims. Wolf has served as an expert
witness for legal issues related to sensory
claims, usually to evaluate the protocols
that were done to substantiate them.
Frequent business travel gives Wolf time
to read, and she also loves playing the
piano. She is active in church activities and
supports the Eve Center, a faith-based peer
counseling organization. Wolf and her
husband Tim have four children ages 25,
23 (twins), and 19.
“I think of Purdue as my watershed, where I found
out who I was as an individual. I met some great
people and had some tremendous professors.
Purdue allowed me to invent myself—to create a
self-sufficient person with marketable skills.”
Mona Baker Wolf
2010Gregory W. DeasonWest LafayetteIN
As a land-grant institution, Purdue
University has always had an outreach
focus. Gregory Deason’s work fits right
into that historical mission.
Deason repositioned Purdue Research
Park in West Lafayette from a basic real
estate venture to a vibrant high-tech hub
that incubates and supports firms in the
life sciences, homeland security,
engineering, advanced manufacturing, and
information technology. It is Indiana’s first
and largest certified technology park, with
more than 100 tech-related companies
sharing common ground.
He also led the development of research
parks in Merrillville (2004), New Albany
(2009), and Indianapolis (2009).
His recruiting efforts capitalize on Purdue’s
deepest core competencies. Although the
West Lafayette park dates to 1961, Deason
was also able to take advantage of a critical
development in the mid-1990s—a new
emphasis on creating and growing
companies from start-up mode. He
developed a program called Purdue
Research Park Portals, which provides
daily counsel to early-stage companies on
crucial topics from writing a business plan
to protecting intellectual property.
The parks’ impact is substantial both in
terms of new jobs and capital investment.
He says: “At the core, we’re trying to create
new kinds of jobs that are highly skilled
and pay well; that will continue to diversify
Indiana’s economy; and that address new
and innovative products, services, and
ways of doing business.”
New companies will help Indiana retain its
brightest individuals, he adds. He believes
that, through research parks, universities
can have tremendous human impact by
developing solutions to societal challenges
in energy, medicine, and the environment.
As president of the 374-member
Association of University Research Parks,
he has represented Purdue and the entire
industry in discussions of best practices
around the world.
Deason grew up in rural Clinton County.
He is a composer, singer, and guitarist, and
is active in his church’s music programs and
in a band called Mustard Seeds. He also
enjoys time with his family, especially
watching the older two of his three sons
play varsity football.
“Purdue, as a whole, laid a great foundation, but in
agricultural economics a number of my classes guided me
to think critically. Then I was encouraged within the
department to work hard on my communication skills to
add a layer to what I could do. Faculty helped me
hone my leadership and management skills.”
Greg Deason
2010Eric J. GustafsonRhinelanderWI
From the window of an airplane over
Indiana on a clear day, you would see a
patchwork of fields, towns, cities, and
scattered woodlots (forests). The pattern
changes across different areas; over
Wisconsin, for example, you would see
more and larger forests. How forests are
arranged over a broad scale—their size,
relative age, and proximity to each other—
affects the ecological processes for the
plants and animals that live in them.
Eric Gustafson is a scientist who, by
advancing new ideas in the growing
discipline of landscape ecology, has
impacted academic thinking and the
management of forest resources around
the world.
Gustafson grew up in Massachusetts,
near his family’s tree farm in southern
Vermont, where camping and backpacking
gave him an early appreciation for the
woods. Today, Gustafson directs the
Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies, a
unit of the Northern Research Station of
the U.S. Forest Service.
While some of his researchers and
technicians work in the field, Gustafson is
usually at a computer. As a modeler, he
conducts experiments at scales of space
and time that are not possible in real life.
Gustafson has developed spatial pattern
analysis software, which takes digital maps
of ecological systems over large areas,
quantifies measures of their
characteristics, and relates them to a
forest’s ecological health. At Purdue, he
developed a timber harvest simulation
called HARVEST. That led him to other
scientists working on sophisticated
software called LANDIS, for which
Gustafson wrote additional modules.
National Forest planners, state land
management agencies, and large-scale
land managers use Gustafson’s models to
quantify the implications of their timber
management choices.
Gustafson publishes extensively and
speaks frequently about his work, but he
still makes time for the outdoors. He
enjoys downhill skiing and hiking,
especially with his daughter April, 23. “The
joy of seeing and understanding nature is
why I love to be out in the woods,” he says.
“I was not a landscape ecologist until I came to Purdue. In
writing the software for my thesis, I discovered that I really
enjoyed computer programming. Programming was the
‘foot in the door’ that got me into simulation modeling.”
Eric Gustafson
2010Douglas HoerrChicagoIL
A farm in Milford, Indiana; a design/
build firm in Peoria; English formal
gardens; and Chicago cityscapes—these
seemingly unconnected spaces led Douglas
Hoerr to become a leading landscape
architect of projects that continue to grow
in scale and impact.
The Milford native worked for nine years
in Peoria before heading overseas, where
his career was hugely influenced by a
two-year apprenticeship with three of
Britain’s most respected garden designers.
When he returned from England in 1990,
he established his own company in Chicago.
While beautiful gardens grow more
easily in other regions, Hoerr understood
the Midwest horticulturally, and he thought
Chicago would be fair to an entrepreneur.
He marketed himself by speaking at garden
clubs and botanical gardens. His big break
came with a design for the Crate & Barrel
store on Michigan Avenue. It caught the
mayor’s eye, and Hoerr landed the
beautification of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.
He approached the job with trepidation.
That portion of Michigan Avenue—the
main thoroughfare between Chicago’s
Loop business district and its Gold Coast—
was concrete from curb to curb.
Merchants donated the funds that allowed
Hoerr to create raised medians filled with
naturalistic blends of enormous scale,
complexity, and texture.
He has since built a reputation for
socially responsible and environmentally
sustainable public open spaces. He is a
strong proponent of green roofs. His
“signature” is a final product that looks
connected to the architecture on the site as
well as to the greater landscape: “It looks
honest,” he explains.
He partnered with Peter Schaudt in
January 2008 to create his current
practice. Hoerr’s work and philosophy
have been introduced to millions of
readers in national publications, and he
has designed more than 500 private
gardens across the United States.
He maintains his own formal rooftop
garden at his Chicago-area home and
naturalistic, layered gardens at a 100-acre
farm in Michigan. Other escapes include
hunting and golf. Hoerr and his wife Tracy
Taylor have two children, ages 10 and 6.
“Purdue gave me that balance of skills and how to think
things through—I can conceptualize very rapidly and at the
same time, I’m a builder. I hire a lot of Purdue interns and
staff because I like the way Purdue educates them; they come
out of West Lafayette with ‘batteries included.’”
Douglas Hoerr
2010Patricia L. HoughtonMcCookNE
Patsy Houghton grew up on a cow-calf
operation near Tipton, Kansas, where
documents signed by Ulysses S. Grant,
Chester A. Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison
attest to the history of the ranch her family
homesteaded in 1872.
Like her ancestors, Houghton is a
pioneer. When she and a partner built a
company to produce genetically superiorbred
females for ranchers—heifers that
excel in on-ranch performance while
producing high-quality, consistent beef
products—they started a new segment in
the beef industry.
After earning her doctorate at Purdue
with professor of animal sciences Ronald
P. Lemenager, Houghton became an
Extension Beef Specialist at Kansas State
University. There she and a colleague
implemented a program that trained
student technicians for artificial
insemination in beef herds. The program
allowed Houghton to collect data
comparing the effectiveness of various
estrus synchronization protocols, and it
gave her the idea for her own facility.
Heartland Cattle Company began in
1990 with construction of pen space for
1,680 head. Based on demand, the
company expanded even before it opened.
Today the business is owned solely by
Houghton and has a yard capacity of 4,000
head, most of its original customers, and a
waitlist. An extensive research program
further sets Heartland apart from its
competitors. The company injects nearly
$4 million into the local economy annually.
Houghton is involved in every detail of
the operation, but credits her hardworking
crew of six: “Ours is a story of
how to do things with integrity, work ethic,
and attention to detail to get it done right,
year in and year out.”
Today the concept of professional heifer
development is embraced by industry
leaders and producers, who have invited
Houghton to speak at more than 250 state,
regional, national, and international
meetings. She makes time for community
service, as well, and has just completed
her second three-year term on the board
of McCook Community Hospital. She has
hosted the Purdue Animal Science industry
tour several times and was the keynote
speaker for Purdue’s spring 2009 Book-
Harmon Leadership Forum.
“Universities are there not to tell you what to think,
but to teach you how to think. I am in the
problem-solving business; if I can solve
customers’problems cost-effectively, they’ll be
with me forever. The beginning of understanding
that concept was my graduate work at Purdue.”
Patricia Houghton
2010Janis E. McFarlandChapel HillNC
Janis McFarland counts herself fortunate
to work in a dynamic industry on the brink
of even greater technology-based
advances: “It’s never been more exciting,
meaningful, and fun to work in agriculture
than today,” she says.
As head of Regulatory Affairs, McFarland
oversees product registrations and
stewardship of Syngenta’s crop protection
products in the United States, Canada, and
Mexico. Since November 2000, the global
agribusiness has received registration
approvals from the EPA and states for
more than 150 new fungicide, herbicide,
and insecticide products, and for 15 new
crop seed treatments.
McFarland grew up in Maryland, the
fourth of eight children. With degrees from
Virginia Tech and Purdue, she began her
career with Ciba-Geigy, studying the fate of
herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides in
plants, animals, and the environment.
In November 1993, she headed an
EPA-mandated review of the risks and
benefits of atrazine, the most widely used
herbicide in corn production, and related
herbicides. The project resulted in a
state-of-the-art scientific database for an
older product, and the EPA issued a new
registration for atrazine in 2006. The
scientific advances resulting from studies
that McFarland’s teams conducted has
improved the design of safety tests and
methodology used in risk assessments for
many other pesticides.
Ciba-Geigy was part of a merger that
created Novartis in 1997. Novartis was part
of a merger that created Syngenta in 2000.
Throughout what some might view as
corporate upheaval, McFarland embraced
the benefits of change: “At every merger,
we gained great people, different teams’
expertise, and new technology.” Her model
for openly sharing knowledge across
disciplines, she adds, was Purdue.
McFarland is also an editor and author,
and is active in the Weed Science Society of
America. She loves fishing, kayaking, visiting
relatives far and near, and more recently,
learning more about the native plants of
North Carolina. She and her husband of 30
years, Dr. Richard McLaughlin (also a Purdue
alumnus) have two college-age children,
two dogs, and two cats.
“My unique experience at Purdue bridged basic and
applied sciences. Even those of us considered ‘lab geeks’
had opportunities to be out in the field. Purdue
emulated the way we work today across teams
and different agricultural disciplines.”
Janis McFarland
2010Craig S. PikaardBloomingtonIN
A new passion is always around the corner
for Craig Pikaard, and his enthusiastic
pursuit of new passions throughout his
career has made him a leading researcher
in plant epigenetics, an emerging area of
plant molecular genetic research.
Pikaard returned to Indiana this year to
accept an endowed professorship at Indiana
University and joint appointments in the
Department of Biology and new Department
of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry.
Pikaard’s lab studies the ways in which genes
are activated and repressed, using techniques
of genetics, genomics, biochemistry, cell
biology, and molecular biology. This
multidisciplinary approach reflects “the
beauty of biology these days,” he says.
Born in New Jersey and raised mostly in
Pennsylvania, Pikaard chose horticulture
as his undergraduate major at Penn State,
although he also loved English and
biochemistry. At Purdue, courses in the
relatively new field of molecular biology
captivated him. He became especially
interested in research investigating the
molecular biology of gene expression.
After NIH-supported work with Dr.
Ronald H. Reeder at the Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Pikaard
went to Washington University. There he
spent the next 19 years investigating the
molecular and biochemical nature of the
molecular machines that regulate gene
expression in plants. This led him into the
mainstream of research on gene silencing
by short interfering RNAs—one of the
hottest topics in plant and animal research.
Pikaard thrives both on working with
students and being the student himself.
What most appeals to him is the creative,
hands-on nature of research. “You have two
parallel ideas, and you don’t see the
connection right away,” he explains. “You can
design your own experiment with your own
hands to get to the edge of what we know
and we don’t know. Then you can discuss
these questions with other smart people.”
With more than 95 manuscripts
currently published and nearly $3 million
in extramurally funded research, his return
to Indiana opens a new chapter in an
already-noteworthy research career.
When not in the lab, Pikaard gravitates to
the outdoors. He sails on Lake Monroe and
still enjoys the hiking, cycling, and gardening
that sparked his early interest in horticulture.
“It was an exciting time at Purdue. As one of the first
students in the interdepartmental plant physiology
program, we crossed department boundaries to bring
together people with a common scientific interest.
Young, smart faculty hung out with the graduate
students, and it was a hotbed of ideas.”
Craig Pikaard
2010Edward P. VondellMexico CityMexico
From Chrysler de Mexico’s headquarters
in Mexico City, Ed Vondell oversees design
and approval of the automaker’s products
for Mexico and Latin America. Growing up
in Michigan and working on one of his
family’s two farms, he never expected to
build his career in the automotive industry.
Vondell intended to use his Purdue
degree to break into the ag machinery
business, but John Deere and Caterpillar
weren’t hiring. Instead, Chrysler came to
campus, open to talking with agricultural
engineers, and Vondell signed on.
After two years as a design and test
engineer, he decided to learn more about
manufacturing and connected with a
colleague in Mexico City. Vondell wasn’t
exactly a world traveler at the time; the
flight from Indianapolis to Detroit for his
job interview had been his first plane ride.
But determined to expand his skills, he
moved to Mexico.
He didn’t speak Spanish, so he
immersed himself in the language. He also
learned firsthand that while engineering
focused on products for the future,
manufacturing was about the present and
often required his round-the-clock
attention.
In 2002, Chrysler tapped Vondell to
manage the Indiana Transmission Plant II
in Kokomo, which represented a
corporate investment of more than $455
million. He was promoted again in 2006
and moved back to Mexico as head of
product engineering.
Earlier this year, Chrysler Group LLC
partnered with Fiat. “The upper
management of the company is now
Italian, so it’s about understanding their
vision and how to work with them,”
Vondell says. “The idea is to get the right
product to the customer as quickly as
possible at the right quality level and
right price.”
Vondell and his wife Pilar have two
daughters ages 14 and 12 who attend the
130-year-old American School
Foundation in Mexico City. Vondell enjoys
running and weight training. He maintains
contact with Purdue faculty and enjoys
returning to campus when possible.
“Going to school out of state opened my mind and eyes to
the international community. But without an engineering
degree from Purdue—if I hadn’t been technically prepared—
I wouldn’t have gotten a job in Mexico City.”
Edward Vondell
2009Glenn S. ArmstrongHighland ParkIL
Whenever someone orders a
McDonalds’ fillet-of-fish sandwich, buys
a Whirlpool KitchenAid refrigeratorfreezer,
or picks a pack of Wrigley’s
Orbit Drops, Glenn Armstrong smiles.
“Most rewarding is seeing someone
select ‘my’ product, and knowing that
people make a living by producing it,”
he says.
“As a food scientist, I can help people
live better lives.”
And as a skilled researcher and
consultant, Armstrong also can strategize
ways to reach consumers.
His current focus as vice president of
corporate and business innovations for
Alticor, Inc., parent company of Amway,
is to re-vamp a fifty-year-old business
model to make Amway’s products and
sales force relevant to today’s consumers.
His “innovative toolbox” includes Web
communities and micro-franchising,
and projects take him around the world.
When he joined Alticor in 2007, global
sales totaled $7 billion. Sales currently
total $8 billion, with the goal of
$12 billion by 2012.
“Benchmarks” are synonymous with
“Armstrong.” Recruited to the Wrigley
Company by CEO Bill Wrigley Jr.,
Armstrong was charged with moving the
legendary business from gum maker to
global confectionary company. Within
two years, Armstrong’s confections teams
introduced five new candy products.
As director of advanced products
concepts for Whirlpool Corporation’s
Refrigeration area, his group took five
projects through prototype and business
analysis—the most significant of which
was a redesign of Whirlpool’s side-byside
refrigerator/freezer. Moving this
model’s ice maker to the freezer door
saved space and garnered a spot on the
high-end Kitchen Aid showroom in 2000.
“Many projects are a total stretch,” he
says, “but that’s what makes them fun.”
Armstrong is also challenged by two
wheels. A dedicated competitive endurance
cyclist, he placed first in his age group in
the 2001 National 24-Hour Challenge, held
annually near Grand Rapids, Michigan.
His stretch: 401 miles in 24 hours.
“I wear my passion for life on my sleeve, and when I hire
people, I look for what intrigues or excites them. Job-related
skills can be taught, but passion must be part of the soul.”
Glenn Armstrong
2009Elizabeth A. BechdolAuburnIN
From education to high-profile career
posts to family commitments, Elizabeth
“Beth” Bechdol says, “I live for the
challenge and I give 100 percent of
everything I have to that challenge.”
After graduating cum laude from
Georgetown University’s School of
Foreign Service, she enrolled in Purdue’s
agricultural economics master’s program
in international trade and policy, earning
her degree and Outstanding Master’s
Thesis Award in 1996.
That June, she joined Sparks
Companies Inc. (now Informa
Economics) staying five years as vice
president. She then spent a year as
deputy staff economist for the Senate
Agriculture Committee and three as chief
of staff to the under secretary for Farm
and Foreign Agricultural Services at the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
After nearly a decade on Capitol Hill,
Indiana and family called her home,
where she was invited to take on the
challenge of helping launch the state’s
first Department of Agriculture.
She spent three years as deputy director,
an experience, she says, “I wouldn’t
trade for anything.”
In December 2007, she was recruited
by Indianapolis’s Ice Miller LLP to debut
and direct the firm’s agribusiness
strategies and lead business development
and marketing efforts.
She lives in her native DeKalb County,
where her father still farms. Spending
time with family is her chosen pastime
today, with many activities, such as
horseback riding and ballet lessons,
centered on her daughter, Grace, 7. “I
wish I could claim car racing or rock
climbing as a hobby,” she says, “but right
now I simply enjoy every chance I get to
be with my family.”
Because of family members’ diagnoses,
she’s also active with the Cystic Fibrosis
Foundation and the Indiana Chapter of the
Huntington’s Disease Society of America.
She also serves on several Purdue and
agricultural boards and associations.
“Purdue’s master’s program offered a great complementary
set of skills by taking analytics, concepts, thoughts,
and words, and putting quantitative substance behind them.
It’s also where I learned how the agricultural industry
works and what the relationships are.”
Elizabeth Bechdol
2009Gregory W. CurlinVevayIN
Just as seeds need a nurturing
environment to sprout and thrive, so do
students. And that’s what Gregory Curlin
provides at Indiana’s Switzerland County
High School as he sparks interest in
agriculture and business.
“I have come to understand the
importance of teaching traditional
agricultural practices while implementing
the science and business of agriculture,”
the 18-year educator says. “Most
importantly, I have come to realize we
need to educate society on our continued
need for agriculture in the classroom.”
He has done his job well in Vevay. After
earning his bachelor’s in agricultural
education in 1990, he returned to his
hometown to teach four junior high
sections and 11 students in a general
horticulture class.
Today, 132 of the high school’s 482
students are in the agricultural program,
taking animal science; horticulture
science; landscape management; food
science; agricultural mechanics; and
advanced life science plant, animal, and
food science. A second instructor
conducts six-week classes at the junior
high and teaches agriculture mechanics
and agriculture science.
Curlin also mentors the FFA chapter,
which has grown from 18 to 106
members under his tenure and earned
top awards.
The school recently built a new
greenhouse and completed a fish lab
facility, and this year it will pilot a new
high school agriculture curriculum in
partnership with National FFA.
“As I continue to develop the
alignment of standards, offer service
learning, engage learning practices, and
apply new technology, our school and
community see our program as a
prosperous place for students to learn,”
he says.
He and his wife, Becky, also an
educator, are the parents of two sons.
They’re also involved in hands-on
agriculture, operating the family farm
with Curlin’s brother and raising Red
Bull cattle.
“The diversity Purdue offered in agricultural
education gave me a good idea of what to expect
and what I could do in the classroom.
Purdue prepared me for challenges.
I like challenges, and I went after them.”
Gregory Curlin
2009Richard R. HaldermanWabashIN
Decades before Richard R. Halderman
was born, the family name was already
well-known for farm management
achievements. The legacy began when
his grandfather Howard stepped up to
manage foreclosed farms during the
Great Depression. It continued under his
father Robert, and now under the third
generation, brothers Howard and Richard.
“Dad loved nothing more than figuring
out how to set Howard and me up with the
business and let us run,” Richard says.
After earning an agricultural
economics degree at Purdue in 1991,
Richard spent about a year at a Florida
dairy before joining the family businesses,
Halderman Farm Management Service
Inc. and Halderman Real Estate Services
Inc. in Wabash, Indiana.
Today, he co-owns those businesses
with this father and brother. He also
heads Halderman clients Teays River
Investments and Agricultural Real Estate
Investors, whose combined assets
include some 70,000 acres of U.S. crop
and livestock production operations
valued at more than $200 million. He is
also on the board of International
Farmland Holdings, which has invested
more than $600 million in Argentine,
Brazilian, and Uruguayan farmland
topping 650,000 acres.
“The challenge draws me, and so does
the paradox of agriculture,” Halderman
says. He’s also drawn by the people he
works with. “We go a thousand miles an
hour. We see change occurring.
Economically, it’s been quite interesting,
sure. I do what I love and the money
happens to be a byproduct of that.”
Halderman’s spare time is focused on
religious activities and his family—his
wife Kelli and their home-schooled
children, Jackie and Jeremiah.
Together, they enjoy renting villas on
tropic islands, where they boat, water
ski, or scuba dive, or visiting Colorado
for snow skiing vacations. They also
like to read and compete in minitriathlons.
“Most of my professors would cringe at this:
only fifty percent of my education was
in the classroom. The other fifty percent was in the
inter-fraternity council, Mortarboard, Iron Key,
Old Masters and being an Ag Ambassador.”
Richard Halderman
2009Brad L. InmanNew OrleansLA
Whether the environmental challenge
takes him to the 1.5 million acre Blackfeet
Reservation in northwestern Montana or
to southern Florida shores, soil scientist
Brad Inman brings a well-grounded
approach to responsibly using, and
managing, our world’s limited resources.
As a principal technologist,
agricultural scientist, and senior project
manager for CH2M HILL—one of the
nation’s largest employee-owned
environmental consulting firms—his
expertise extends to irrigation, wetlands,
watershed and forestry industry studies,
water resources, hazardous and solid
wastes, and environmental assessments.
The specific “hat” he wears depends on
where, and for what, duty calls.
In 2005, Inman spearheaded a
$3 million water resources project,
conducting a site-suitability study and
drafting natural water treatment system
plans for Clayton County, Georgia. This
innovative endeavor led to more than
$15 million of constructed wetland
treatment facilities and also was selected
as a 2005 National Honor Award Winner
by the American Council of Engineering
Companies. Most significantly, Inman’s
design created a natural watershed for
Clayton County, sparing the area from
severe drought conditions that have
plagued the southeast.
Since January 2007, Inman has served
as a senior project manager and
embedded employee for the Army Corps
of Engineers New Orleans District Office,
concentrating his expertise on rebuilding
levees compromised by Hurricane Katrina.
“These are tremendous projects, with
impossible deadlines, yet I’m energized
and have renewed my focus,” he says.
“There are infrastructure issues in New
Orleans that people will be working on
for decades.”
Raised on a small farm in Coal City,
Indiana, Inman grew up in harmony with
his rural environment. A music lover, he
also harmonized indoors—where he
and his brother played the guitar and
mandolin in tune with their father, who
jazzed things up on the harmonica.
“Purdue opened the world to me, and rewarded me
with a life I could once only dream about. I gained
an exceptional education, career skills, friends,
mentors, and a lifelong love of learning.”
Brad Inman
2009Peter J. KennellyBlacksburgVA
Peter Kennelly compares his
biochemistry laboratory to a “milliondollar
playground, with all the very best
toys.” Within this invigorating arena, life
is good for a researcher praised as an
outstanding scientist, colleague, teacher,
and leader.
Since establishing his independent
research group at Virginia Tech in the
early 1990s, Kennelly’s innovative quests
have focused on protein kinases and
phosphatases—enzymes that contribute
to the control of many aspects of cellular
life. Utilizing an unconventional
approach, Kennelly’s research examines
primitive organisms and the ways the
modification of their proteins—acting as
molecular switches—mimics their
mammalian counterparts. Breakthroughs
in his laboratories have implications for
identifying and remedying defects
contributing to diseases such as cancer.
Kennelly came to Virginia Tech in 1989
as an assistant professor in the
Biochemistry Department and was
appointed Department Head in January
2005. His leadership skills were
immediately evident, with the addition of
five faculty members and launch of two
new health-related focuses—insectborne
diseases, such as malaria, and
drug targets for tuberculosis.
A renowned expert in the area of
protein kinases and an international
lecturer on the topic, Kennelly also
co-authored ten chapters of the widely
used textbook, “Harper’s Illustrated
Biochemistry,” and recently developed
educational Web sites targeted to
students preparing for biochemistry and
molecular life sciences careers.
“I enjoy being part of science in the
largest sense of the word,” says Kennelly,
“which means training future scientists.”
His message, whether to students or
colleagues, is identical: Science is fun. No
wonder, then, that Kennelly’s laboratory
isn’t the only “playground” he enjoys.
“I’m a model railroader and rail fan,”
he says, “and I think it’s wonderful that a
hobby I started as a ten-year-old is still a
lot of fun.”
“The Department of Biochemistry at Purdue
shaped me as a professional.
The faculty and students constantly challenged me
not only to learn and perfect my craft,
but to develop a strong internal compass.”
Peter Kennelly
2009Chris D. KnightSt. CharlesMO
There’s a compatible continuum
represented by the research and
business development projects
spearheaded by Chris Knight—one that
starts with feed supplements animal
producers use to promote healthy stock,
and stretches to our economy,
environment and, ultimately, our homes.
As Vice President of Research and
Development for Novus International,
Inc., Knight develops innovative feed
products and improves the predictability
of their responses among a wide range
of farm animals. Previously employed as
a researcher for Monsanto, Knight joined
Novus in 1991 and quickly expanded the
company’s research to include product
development in dairy cattle and swine.
Among his most significant achievements
was a research breakthrough showing
that Novus’ ALIMET® Feed Supplement
was the single most cost-effective source
of post-ruminal methionine—a nutrient
critical to the good health of lactating
dairy cattle. Knight’s success resulted in
a U.S. patent and a new Ruminant
Business Unit. Today, this business
represents about $700 million annually.
Knight is credited with building Novus’
international technology foundation—
leading the diversification of the
company’s portfolio from several
products to over 70; increasing
employment from 150 to 500 people;
and establishing research/development
operations in 80 countries.
“The opportunity to transform our
company through interactions around
the world is often daunting,” says Knight.
“But we focus our efforts according to
our customers’ challenges, which are
food safety, animal welfare, and
environmental protection.”
In research, Knight aims for an
85–90 percent benefit predictability
response. But in his own kitchen, the
percentage rarely misses 100. As
designated chef, Knight spends
“ridiculous amounts of money making
different kinds of recipes”—all in
pursuit of a favorite hobby and a familyfriendly
food chain.
“The breadth of experience provided by Purdue had the
most significant impact on me, and still connects to
what I’m doing today—facing new research challenges,
and finding the people to help solve them.”
Chris Knight
2009Mario NieveraPalm BeachFL
Whether the site is a jet aviation facility
in Palm Beach County, Florida, or a $20
million, 19-acre estate and garden in
Southampton, New York, projects developed
by acclaimed landscape designer Mario
Nievera sport signature trademarks—
simplicity, scale, and attention to detail.
“When I create an environment that
people enjoy, I know I’ve succeeded,”
says Nievera.
As founder and president of Mario
Nievera Design Incorporated—with
offices in Florida and New York—his
aesthetically pleasing landscape designs
delight residential, corporate,
institutional, and commercial clients
nationwide. Prior to launching his firm
in 1996, Nievera was employed by
Morgan Wheelock Incorporated, rising
from staff landscape architect to
principal and vice president.
Nievera also cultivates a sense of
environmental guardianship. Among his
most rewarding projects was a re-design
of planting and hardscape for Palm
Beach Public Park—an appealing
pocket of land featuring planting
containers and extensive use of
xeriscape plant material.
Buildings settle easily into Nievera’s
landscapes. His design solution for
Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode
Island, united original and new campus
buildings and incorporated a one-acre
lawn with fountains and seating.
Recently, his inspirational design work
graced the pages of Architectural Digest,
Forbes, and House Beautiful. A Wall
Street Journal Online article featured
Nievera among a handful of emerging
landscape designer stars reputed for
outstanding work on high-profile
residential designs.
Such recognition may well be rooted
in an early eye for aesthetics.
“I’ve always been obsessed with
houses and how they’re situated on the
land,” says Nievera, who recalls building
houses from cardboard and manila
folders as a youngster. “Even today,
everything links to my profession. My
work is also my favorite hobby.”
“My experience at Purdue was sensational,
and the opportunities and resources provided
by my professors and the Landscape Architecture
Program were extraordinary. Purdue University’s
worldwide reputation for educational excellence
contributed greatly to my success.”
Mario Nievera
2009L. Daniel PloperTucumanArgentina
Two of his countless successes
illustrate L. Daniel Ploper’s nearly
30-year passion for plant pathology:
post-epidemic eradications of soybean
stem canker and frogeye leaf spot.
Ploper directs the Estación
Agroindustrial Obispo Colombres in
Tucumán, Argentina, the country’s oldest
agricultural research station, founded in
1909. With a staff of about 350,
including 72 researchers at five
locations, EEAOC’s challenge is to
improve agricultural production through
research and extension activities.
He began his EEAOC work as a plant
pathologist after earning his undergraduate
degree. With eight years’ field experience,
he came to Purdue on a Fulbright
Scholarship. He earned his master’s and
doctoral degrees and then returned to
EEAOC as a principal investigator,
becoming head of the plant pathology
section in 1996 and director in 2004.
At the research station, his current
focus is on integrating different tactics to
control field crop diseases in soybeans,
common beans, sugarcane, and citrus—
lemons are one of Argentina’s largest
crops—with special emphasis on
developing disease-resistant cultivars.
In 1994, Ploper added to his EEAOC
workload by beginning to teach at the
National University of Tucumán, where he
is now an associate professor and
frequently guides graduate students. He
has also taught graduate courses at
National University of Buenos Aires and
National University of Catamarca.
Since 1997, he has been an
independent researcher at the National
Research Council of Argentina. In 2003,
he co-founded the National Program on
Soybean Rust created by the Argentina
Department of Agriculture and other
groups. He frequently presents at
international scientific and technical
meetings, has published extensively, and
has received numerous awards.
His work doesn’t allow much time for
hobbies, but he enjoys photography, tennis,
reading, and time with his family, which
includes two sons and two daughters.
“Purdue was the jumping board that propelled
my professional career. As a Purdue alumnus,
I knew I was expected to make a difference, and
results show I was prepared for that challenge.”
Daniel Ploper
2009Steven E. SmithElwoodIN
Growing up on a crop and livestock
farm in Hagerstown, Indiana, Steve Smith
got his first introduction to hard work.
His second opportunity was at Purdue
University, where tight finances put
him on the fast track, and he earned
his bachelor’s in agriculture in just
three years.
Degree in hand, he returned to the
family farm, working alongside his two
brothers and father. Though he left that
operation for other full-time work as a
hog operations manager, the seed
business, and a trucking company
manager during the 1980s, he has
always stayed somewhat involved.
He soon took his management
experience to a distribution management
post at Red Gold Inc. in Elwood. There
he was able to use his agricultural
knowledge, too, as he moved into the
agricultural manager position, then in
2005 became director of agriculture.
This year, he celebrates 20 years with the
tomato processor.
“It’s great to be on a winning team,” he
says of the family-owned business where
he contracts with growers, assists with
corporate planning, and gets involved in
government affairs.
Smith has served on the Purdue
Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Council,
Mid-America Agriculture and
Horticulture Services Board, and
American Fruit and Vegetable
Processors and Growers Coalition.
He also was an inaugural member of
the Indiana Department of Agriculture
Advisory Board.
Outside work, Smith has been a
pilot for 30 years, likes tinkering with
an old tractor, and takes care of his
chickens and a cow. The parents of
three, Smith and his wife Kathy have
also hosted three international
exchange students and traveled to
Switzerland and Taiwan to maintain
those connections. Church activities,
Purdue sports, and traveling are other
favorite pastimes.
“Purdue taught me how to think, explore problems,
and come up with solutions. I believe, ‘To whom
much is given, much is required.’ I enjoy every day
of work and giving back every place I can.”
Steven Smith
2008Akinwumi A. Adesina NairobiKenya
Raised in rural Nigeria, words
Akinwumi Adesina heard as a youngster
were those he took to heart and to the
world: “If you ever become someone
important,” his father urged, “take the
opportunity to help the poor.”
Adesina seized the directive to eliminate
poverty in Africa through increasing his
home country’s agricultural productivity.
“I’m running against time, and must
make things happen very quickly,” says
Adesina. “Poverty in Africa must not be
managed, but eliminated.”
The race began in 1988, when
Adesina was awarded a post-doctoral
Rockefeller Foundation fellowship — an
opportunity that launched a twenty-year
career in international agricultural
development. Along the path, he has
directed every skill and resource to rural
farmers who eke their living from the
harsh African soil.
In 2007, Adesina launched the Alliance
For A Green Revolution in Africa, a bold,
multi-billion dollar initiative of the
Rockefeller and Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundations. As Vice President, he leads
teams responsible for development of
10,000 rural agro-dealers in 13 African
countries; develops and implements
strategies for solving Africa’s soil fertility
problems; and creates programs to
address market, trade, and policy issues.
“A total of 250 million Africans live on
less than one-dollar a day,” Adesina says.
“They have land and labor, but lack the
government’s support.”
Challenges appear straightforward
— linking rural farmers to seed and
fertilizer, and supporting their efforts
with necessary infrastructure and
subsidies. But the path to progress is
intricate, requiring presentation of
innovative economic development
models to African presidents,
governments, and donor agencies and,
literally, cultivating his country’s
agriculture program from the ground up.
And although Adesina frequently
brainstorms in lofty company, he credits
his wife, Grace, as the inspiration for his
best ideas.
“My graduate training at Purdue — among the world’s
leading universities in agriculture — was the best
investment I ever made, and I’ve carried the
tradition and good works of its people with me. ”
Akinwumi Adesina
2008Jeffrey G. ArnoldTempleTX
When it comes to understanding the
effects of management decisions on
water quality and quantity, much of the
world turns to the Soil and Water
Assessment Tool developed by Jeffrey
Arnold while earning his doctoral degree
in agricultural engineering at Purdue.
Popularly known as SWAT, the public
domain software is a river basin scale
model used to quantify the impact of
land management practices in complex
watersheds. It’s supported by the USDA,
Agricultural Research Service at the
Grassland, Soil and Water Research
Laboratory in Temple, Texas, where
Arnold has spent most of his career.
There, he is responsible for a $3.5
million annual budget and staff of 35.
His research in the last quarter of a
century has been published in some 235
articles and chapters and reported at
nearly 50 national and international
meetings. In the United States, his work
plays a key role in USDA conservation
policy and the Environmental Protection
Agency’s environmental policy. His
international reach is equally profound,
evidenced by 23 scientists from 17
countries who have traveled to work
with him.
Arnold’s greatest satisfaction is that his
work is utilized rather than sitting on a
shelf. He says his time at Purdue was
important for completing SWAT, and for
collaborating and establishing
cooperation he’s continued with faculty.
Impressive credentials aside, Arnold
says he won’t be tallying his publications
on his deathbed. “I’ll be thinking about
the people I touched paths with.”
Raised on an Illinois farm, Arnold was
drawn to agriculture, but “I wanted to
get away from the farm and see what else
was out there.”
Today, he enjoys his Texas yard,
growing vegetables and flowers in two
seasons — spring and fall. “Get ‘em in
early and keep ‘em watered” is the secret
to his success.
“You are at one of the best universities in the world.
Enjoy the time you have with the faculty
and other students, and keep those contacts
as you move on in your career.”
Jeffrey Arnold
2008Caula A. BeylKnoxvilleTN
As a “military brat” whose family
moved eighteen times in sixteen years,
Caula Beyl particularly appreciated life’s
anchors: Her mother, who re-made
curtains for every new house and painted
the walls green; and her father, who
faithfully planted his favorite Cockscomb
and marigolds in every yard.
The bright blooms also inspired Beyl’s
early interest in horticulture. Like those
irrepressible plants, she thrives in
different settings and multiple pursuits
— as researcher, teacher, and
administrator.
“If you take everything a step at a time,
with confidence, you can accomplish
much more than you think,” Beyl says.
Her steady strides began as a Purdue
University horticulture graduate student,
where she embraced the relatively new
research area of mechanical stress
physiology of plants.
Beyl transplanted herself south,
joining Alabama A&M University as a
post-doctoral researcher. Throughout
her 27-year tenure at the University —
which spanned positions from assistant
professor in horticulture to interim dean
in the Office of Graduate Studies — Beyl
amassed an impressive research record
in plant science, including space
horticulture for human life support in
microgravity environments and in vitro
propagation.
While at Alabama A&M, Beyl was
credited with developing and teaching
sixteen undergraduate, graduate,
professional, and community courses.
Since June 2007, she’s flourished in a
position that combines people and
plants. As the first female Dean of the
College of Agricultural Science and
Natural Resources at the University of
Tennessee, Beyl ranks among only a
handful of women in such leadership
positions within the land-grant system.
Roots remain part of her story, too.
She recently painted the office walls in
her Tennessee home a well-remembered
shade of green.
“Being a graduate of Purdue University opens many
doors of opportunity. It is the outstanding education
that I received at Purdue that has kept those doors open
and allowed me to walk through with confidence.”
“Being a graduate of Purdue University opens many
doors of opportunity. It is the outstanding education
that I received at Purdue that has kept those doors open
and allowed me to walk through with confidence.”
Caula Beyl
2008Yonas GizawCincinnatiOH
Whether the mission is a better tasting
potato chip or an environmentallyfriendly
laundry detergent, success
follows a proven sequence: Yonas Gizaw
analyzes questions, addresses challenges,
and formulates solutions.
As principal scientist for Procter and
Gamble Co., a $68 billion company with
more than twenty billion-dollar brand
names, Gizaw leads the development of
sustainable and renewable biopolymers
for global laundry and fabric care
categories.
“These efforts mean consumers enjoy
our products more — their fabrics feel
and smell better — or a load of laundry
requires only a half-cup of detergent
rather than a full cup,” Gizaw explains.
On corporate and global scales, the
impact of new product formulations
magnifies exponentially — often
significantly reducing the amount of
petroleum-based polymers used in
detergents and softeners and replacing
them with biodegradable, renewable
formulations.
In 2005, Gizaw received Procter &
Gamble’s Innovation Award for a
reformulation of Downey Fabric Softener,
a process that developed highperforming
biopolymers that serve as
co-actives with the product’s traditional
actives. This breakthrough saved millions
of dollars for P&G, and currently is
modeled in Mexico, China, and Europe.
Throughout his twelve-year career with
Procter & Gamble, Gizaw has spiraled from
a research scientist in the company’s
Snack and Beverage Technology Division
to the Division’s senior research scientist.
His current position combines a keen
knack for integrating technology and
business, with a passion for leadership
and collaboration.
“I’ve always sought the biggest
challenge I can face,’ he says. “Solutions
bring me the greatest satisfaction.”
Resolutions have a lighter side as well.
For the past eight years, Gizaw has
volunteered as a Big Brother, relishing
the friendships and successes of two
fortunate young men.
“Academic excellence at Purdue University, a leading
university in carbohydrate research, extended to faculty
willing to mentor beyond the call of duty.
The people and surroundings were conducive to
education and learning as a person.”
Yonas Gizaw
2008Roger W. Hadley, IIWoodburnIN
From the time Roger Hadley put in his
first hours farming as a youngster, he
knew that was the life he wanted.
Working alongside his father, a part-time
farmer, he discovered nature’s wonders
and the benefits of sticking with it.
“I learned the joy of being in charge of
what you’re doing and that things aren’t
always easy,” he says. “I like being able
to put seed in the ground, see it develop
into young plants, then a crop, and
getting enough revenue to pay for the
expenses with some left to go again the
next year.”
By the time he graduated from Purdue
in 1975, he had already purchased a
tractor, plow, other equipment, and his
first 92 acres.
To supplement his startup operation,
he worked until 1987 as manager and
research manager at Maumee Valley
Seeds in Allen County. In 1988, he made
corn, soybeans, and beef production his
full-time career.
Today, he owns 240 acres and leases
another 560, relying only on seasonal
help from family. “I’m not afraid of work,
and I’m not afraid of risk,” he says. “I was
determined, and I’ve done it with a lot of
ambition, grit, and help from up above.”
Throughout, Hadley has been a servant
and leader in agriculture, education, and
his community. He’s held board,
advisory, and officer posts for state and
national organizations and Purdue
University, volunteered as an FFA judge,
and annually hosted farm tours for as
many as 1,500 students, teachers, and
parents.
Since college, he’s also been an
American Red Cross blood donor, giving
more than 200 times over the years. For
pleasure, he enjoys Boilermaker sports
and fishing for blue gill, crappie, and bass.
“Learn all you can, have a goal and work toward it,
knowing that your path to reach it may change.
When you’ve got more energy and time
than money, put in a lot of effort.”
Roger Hadley
2008David W. HowellMiddletownIN
Besides traditional corn and soybean
crops, the fruits of David W. Howell’s
labor are evidenced in semi-truck loads
of watermelons, tomatoes, pumpkins,
and sweet corn, today grown on 5,000
acres in four Indiana counties. He’s also
lending a hand to his son’s operations on
15,000 acres in Bahia, Brazil, raising
soybeans, sorghum, and cotton.
With farmers on both sides of his
family, Howell was born into the
business, growing up on a Delaware
County farm. He came to Purdue for his
bachelor’s and master’s, both in
agricultural economics. “It opened many
doors for me and my family, and I
learned to think, ‘Why not do this?’ and
to go ahead and do it,” he says.
He and his wife Mary struck out on
their own in 1972, borrowing equipment
from his father and leasing 300 acres.
Operations grew over the years and
diversification kept them going. They
planted a 3,000-tree apple farm in 1981.
And for 10 years until 2007, their
operations included fresh market fruits
and vegetables. Each season, they employ
more than 400.
That they are still farming counts as his
greatest achievement, Howell says.
“That’s what I’m most proud of, besides
my family. We were able to be full-time
farmers when so many of my peers
couldn’t.”
He’s also served the industry and his
community — on bank, education,
Extension, and governmental boards —
and regularly hosting farm tours. He
recently helped rescue a 19th century
church building, now a community
center. His awards include Honorary
Indiana Commissioner of Agriculture,
Red Gold Master Grower, and Order of
the Red Tie from Indiana Horticulture
Congress.
In his spare time, Howell enjoys
working some more, traveling, and the
political process. “I work behind the
scenes when I’m asked. I enjoy the
smoke-filled room much more than I
do the front page,” he says.
“At Purdue, I learned how to reason, logically work
through alternatives, and find answers,
as well as understand the fundamentals
of many disciplines. I gained the confidence
to move ahead and innovate.”
David Howell
2008Tuajuanda C. JordanChevy ChaseMD
Marking Tuajuanda Jordan’s journey
— from studying chemistry as an
undergraduate at Fisk University to
collaborating with world-class scientists
and educators as Senior Program Officer
for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
— lie a trio of clearly marked pointers:
Patience, passion, and perseverance.
Patience was honed at Purdue, where
adapting from a small, liberal arts
college to a Big Ten university with 30,000
students took months. But a passion for
biochemistry blossomed, an energy that
defines her extraordinary career.
Throughout 11 years at Xavier
University in New Orleans, Jordan
advanced from an assistant professor of
chemistry to the university’s Associate
Vice President for Academic Affairs. Her
tenure was characterized by a focus on
undergraduate research and a
commitment to fostering an increase of
under-represented ethnic groups in
scientific careers.
Following Hurricane Katrina’s wrath in
August 2005, she and her teenage twins
made the difficult decision to relocate
near her parent’s home in D.C. — a
move that reconnected her to colleagues
at Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
From temporary offices at the institute,
she worked electronically to facilitate
Xavier’s reopening in January 2006, and
to establish a program that provided
sabbaticals for over 50 Xavier faculty.
As Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s
Senior Program Officer, Jordan’s most
compelling mission is the launch of a
multi-million dollar, four-year Science
Education Alliance Program, which will
create and introduce a national research
course for freshman at 12 colleges and
universities nationwide.
“There’s nothing like seeing students’
faces when they discover something
that’s truly theirs, and realize they’re
thinking like scientists,” says Jordan.
Jordan was the first in her family to
pursue higher education, and the first
African American woman to earn a Ph.D.
from Purdue’s Biochemistry Department.
“In addition to the process of science, Purdue University
offered valuable exposure to the culture of science.
These life tools gave me confidence in my skills, and
enabled me to accept challenges without hesitation.”
Tuajuanda Jordan
2008Michael R. KanostManhattanKS
In the research laboratories of Michael
Kanost, flour beetles, mosquitoes, and
tobacco hornworms are never
considered pests. Rather, insects are
welcome subjects in the ongoing quest to
understand the inner workings of their
immune systems — research that could
help control their population and protect
our good health.
The journey between man and bug
began at Purdue University, where
Kanost’s post-graduate work focused on
specific proteins in an insect’s blood that
comprise its immune system.
Throughout subsequent decades of
research initiatives — from three years
as a postdoctoral fellow in the biology
department at Queen’s University in
Ontario, Canada, to spearheading studies
as head of the biochemistry department
at Kansas State University — Kanost’s
laboratories have gained a reputation
among the nation’s elite in insect immunity.
Under Kanost’s direction, research
teams probe compelling questions:
When insects contract diseases, why
don’t they get sick? Or, when a mosquito
carries the malaria pathogen, why doesn’t
its immune system kill the microorganism?
The answers, Kanost believes, lie in a
systems-level understanding of the insect
immune response — a notable
departure from traditional reductionist
approaches.
“If we can interrupt the pathogen’s life
in an insect, we can affect the cycle of
diseases, such as malaria, which they
transmit to humans,” Kanost says.
These and other innovative research
efforts are supported by nearly $8
million in grants from agencies such as
the National Institutes of Health, National
Science Foundation, and United States
Department of Agriculture. Kanost
frequently encounters his research
specimens outside the laboratories as
well. A dedicated runner, he shares the
great outdoors with all forms of friendly
arthropods when he tackles workouts
ranging from a lunch-hour jog to the
Kansas City half-marathon.
“Purdue University offered outstanding opportunities
for my development as a scientist, through excellent
teaching and advice from faculty in entomology and
biochemistry and an atmosphere of generosity, with
freedom to pursue my research interests.”
Michael Kanost
2008Roy RiggsNorth SalemIN
Growing up on a southern Indiana
dairy farm, Roy Riggs knew early that he
wanted to work in animal health. After
graduating from Purdue University in
1979, his first choice in employers was
Elanco Animal Health. He landed the job
and has been there since, building an
enviable career.
Starting in sales, he went on to lead
swine and cattle units, working at offices
in Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, and Indiana.
This year, he became director of global
specialty business, developing the vision,
strategies, and teams for innovative
products entering the pipeline that are
outside Elanco’s core businesses.
While work that is helping to feed the
world is “where I get hooked,” Riggs
says his strong suit is the people side. “I
really like developing people and helping
teams reach their potential. I find out
what people like to do and are good at,
and I put them in those roles.”
He also enjoys positively impacting the
business in strategy and results. His work
has involved travel, including trips to
Europe, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
Riggs has been active in industry
groups, such as the Center for Food
Integrity and Indiana’s Grow America
Project, and at Purdue, serving on the
President’s Council and College of
Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Council.
A member of Purdue Musical
Organizations during his college years,
today his singing is occasional, usually
at church.
In his spare time, the father of four has
given to FFA as a judge and to 4-H,
helping about a dozen city youngsters
raise calves. He’s currently an assistant
coach for a travelling youth basketball
team, and he’s also coached youth
football and baseball.
He lives on a 20-acre site with four
horses, a bunny, two dogs, and “too
many cats.”
“It’s important to follow your passions, to
understand your innate talents, and to maximize
those. Keep learning, keep challenging yourself,
keep a broad, long-term view, and have fun.”
Roy Riggs
2008Claire SawyersMediaPA
When Claire E. Sawyers set out to
master horticulture, she made the world
her textbook. By the time she earned her
Purdue master’s in 1981, she’d spent a
semester in Japan, cultivated the private
garden of Princess Sturdza in France,
and gardened at Belgium’s Kalmthout
Arboretum.
She next spent seven years at the Mt.
Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont
Flora in Delaware, developing the
systems and framework for a private
estate to become a public garden. Her
work included computerizing plant
records, labeling and mapping the
collection, and developing tour and
volunteer programs.
In 1990, she was named director of
The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore
College. There, she directs a staff of 22,
developing and maintaining the 330-acre
campus arboretum that showcases more
than 4,000 types of ornamental plants.
Sawyers believes public horticulture is
a bridge between art and science, between
people and plants. “That’s what gets me
excited. There is a calling and a deep
sense of gratification being part of that
bridge.”
As with her studies, her career often
takes her to other lands, most recently to
Mexico to learn more about cycads, a
group of slow-growing plants. She also
regularly leads garden trips and has
taken groups to U.S. spots, Scotland,
England, South Africa, and Japan.
Her most recent accomplishment is the
2008 publication of The Authentic
Garden: Five Principles for Cultivating
a Sense of Place. She’s both author and
photographer. The seed for writing was
planted at Purdue, where she wrote and
edited for a horticulture publication.
She’s taken more than 10,000 slides of
plants and gardens, many of which are
published. She enjoys her home
garden—“I do love the physical act and
creative process.” And her pastimes
also include public speaking, traveling,
scuba diving, visiting museums, and
ballroom, contra, swing, salsa, and
Cajun dancing.
“So much came to me from the contacts I made at
Purdue, the relationships I built with the faculty
and staff. For students, that can be life-shaping
and set you on a wonderful path.”
Claire Sawyers
2009Thomas R. Wiltrout
Thomas Wiltrout
2007Robert E. ArmstrongAlexandriaVA
Two beliefs are among those guiding
Robert Armstrong’s life: the need for
lifelong learning and agriculture’s
commanding role in the world, which
today is marked by the imperative to
develop a bio-based economy.
Armstrong’s own extensive and
ongoing education began with a
bachelor’s in psychology and has
included two master’s degrees, a
doctorate in agronomy, and his latest
achievement, graduating from the Army
War College in 1999.
After earning his Purdue doctorate in
1985, he spent six years as a life sciences
intelligence officer with the Central
Intelligence Agency, focusing on
agricultural and natural resources;
spending time in Africa, the Persian Gulf
and Southeast Asia; and briefing senior U.S.
and allied governments policy makers.
From 1993 to 2000, he held executive
posts at the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Alternative Agricultural
Research and Commercial Corp.
He helped structure $40 million in rural
American equity investments for new
crop/new use startups, worked with private
lenders to attract $120 million in funding,
and helped establish the Bio-based
Products Coordinating Council, leading to
government purchases of bio-based
products.
Today, Armstrong is a senior research
fellow at the Center for Technology and
Natural Security Policy at the National
Defense University. He focuses on
biological issues important to national
security, particularly the need to shift
from a geology-driven to a bio-based
economy. “That’s the future,” he says.
Throughout his life, he has served in the
U.S. Army Chemical Corps and U.S. Army
Reserve, most recently as colonel commanding
the 1,000-person 455th Chemical
Brigade based in Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Of all of his many achievements,
Armstrong says he’s most proud of being
a father.
“We must continue to learn throughout
our lifetimes, not just in the scientific
and technical fields, but about life in general.
Your last final at Purdue is not your last exam.”
Robert Armstrong
2007Christie S. ChavisSt. LouisMO
Whether she’s attempting ten perfect
jumps in a national equestrian
competition, or leveraging the expertise
of technical, financial, business, and legal
colleagues on behalf of her company’s
customers, Chris Chavis aspires to
excellence — and relishes the journey.
As Technology Development and
Services Lead for Monsanto Choice
Genetics, Chavis addresses key
challenges: How to produce livestock
and livestock products more efficiently
and effectively; and how to help our
nation’s farmers improve productivity. To
that end, she provides strategic direction
at every critical juncture of the product
pipeline. “At Monsanto, I’m always at the
forefront of new technology,” says
Chavis, referring to current research
efforts in swine genetics. “We’re recreating
the platforms on which business
is done in the animal-agricultural
industries, and working fast and furious
to provide advancements using
information we gain from genetics.”
Since joining Monsanto in September
1994 as a Research Biologist in Animal
Agriculture, Chavis’ track record reflects
successful senior level positions in
international strategic planning, crisis
management, and stakeholder relations.
As Executive Director of Global Biotech
Strategy from 2001 to 2003, she was
largely responsible for consumer
acceptance of Monsanto’s biotechnology
crops. Her commitment to customers,
and her zest for tackling tough issues in
competitive environments, earned
Monsanto’s “Customer Challenge Award”
in 2005.
Chavis applies the same intensity to a
passion second only to agriculture: Show
horses. A rider since age nine, she
recently segued from competing
regularly in U.S. Equestrian Federation
Hunter Jumper shows to breeding small
pony jumpers and riding on weekends.
“The minute I get in the saddle, any
stress disappears,” she says. “The horse
and I operate as a team and, when
everything is in synch, the adrenaline
rush is incredible.”
“Purdue University was an amazing growth experience —
academically and socially. Purdue prepared me to operate
and deliver results successfully while developing
relationships and networks within agriculture that
are essential in doing business today.”
Christie Chavis
2007F. Dominic DottavioTiffinOH
F. Dominic Dottavio has led Heidelberg
College, a small liberal arts university,
toward mighty milestones: Construction
of Gillmor Science Hall, a 42,000-
square-foot, state-of-the-art facility; and
formalization of long-term strategic
plans encompassing areas from
fundraising to curriculum reform.
One of the brightest gems he’s mined
from this rich academic environment,
however, is Heidelberg’s Center of Water
Quality Research, internationally
recognized as one of the largest tributary
monitoring programs worldwide, and
representative of Dottavio’s career
passions of academics and environment.
“Higher education has provided an
important avenue to address significant
issues facing natural resource
organizations,” he says. “Resource
management and the environment are at
the core of my career, and academics
has been the thread connecting it.”
Prior to assuming the presidency at
Heidelberg College, Dottavio was dean
and director of The Ohio State University
at Marion, and professor of natural
resources in the College of Food,
Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
His tenure saw significant enrollment
growth, new programs, and completion
of a $4.5 million fundraising campaign.
As chief scientist and associate
regional director of natural resources for
the southeast region of the National Park
Service from 1986 to 1993, Dottavio
spearheaded scientific programs
involving biological, physical, and social
sciences in 58 national parks and five
universities located in eight states, and
two U.S. territories.
Dottavio dubs himself a “collector” of
national parks. His trips number in the
hundreds. “At the right time of year,
Yosemite is incredible,” he says. “I also
love the subtle beauty of the Smoky
Mountains, along with their significant
historical component.
“It’s great to have up-close and
personal encounters with these parks,
rather than windshield experiences.”
“My passion for the conservation of natural resources
took flight during my time at Purdue University.
Lessons learned in university classrooms and
Indiana’s woodlots and farm fields
continue to guide and direct my life.”
Dominic Dottavio
2007William DullZionsvilleIN
With a career that has spanned
farming, service to elected officials,
entrepreneurism and even starring in
a television commercial, William Dull
qualifies as a master of many trades.
Learning early that being open to
opportunities could lead to interesting
opportunities, he’s taken many a turn
since arriving at Purdue University in
1981.
Vested in agriculture since high school
as beef herd manager of Dull Family
Farms Inc. in Thorntown, Ind., Dull
planned on earning a degree and
returning to the farm. But opportunity
knocked, interrupting study for a year so
he could serve as Indiana Future
Farmers of America state president.
Then after earning degrees in animal
sciences and agronomy in 1986,
something other than farming again
called. International Foreign Youth
Exchange chose him for a six-month
ambassadorship in Portugal. That led to
a fellowship in the Indiana governor’s
office, a job with the lieutenant governor,
then eight years in the office of former
Indiana senator Dan Coats — all while
maintaining ties to Dull Family Farms.
In 1997, he and two friends opened yet
another door, pooling their talents and
resources to launch Briar Tek Inc., a
technology company operating from
Zionsville, Ind., and Alexandria, Va. They
design, produce, and sell safety-related
devices, such as the ORCA Man
Overboard Alarm System, which signals
the ship when a person goes overboard.
The recent TV spot, which U.S. Airways
asked him to tape, was another new
experience and a lot of work, requiring a
production staff of about 50. While the
experience of being “the talent” and
having his own trailer was interesting,
Dull reports, “I’m not thinking of an
acting career.”
Dull’s pastimes are hunting, fishing,
camping, traveling, and spending time
with his family, which includes three
youngsters all under the age of 10.
“At Purdue, I tried to be as active and involved
as I could. I came out of Purdue knowing and
understanding the importance of thinking outside
the box and challenging the status quo.”
William Dull
2007Byron L. ErnestSheridanIN
From background to profession to
hobbies, it’s agriculture all the way for
Byron Ernest.
Raised on a hog, cattle, and grain
farm in Pendleton, Indiana, his goal was
to earn an animal sciences degree from
Purdue. When a professor suggested
Ernest had a gift for teaching, he added
ag education as a second degree, earning
both in four years, then went on to get
his M.S.
He’s been involved in education since
1985, teaching in Shelby County,
Michigantown, and Lebanon, as well as
working as a vocational education
specialist for the Indiana Department of
Education and executive director of The
National Young Farmer Education
Association, United States Department of
Education.
In 2004 he answered a recruiting call
to launch an agriculture department at
Lebanon Community School Corp.,
where he has grown it to a staff of four
teachers who are instructing more than
500 students. There, he has implemented
new advanced life sciences courses and
developed an agriculture department
endowment fund with the Lebanon
Educational Foundation.
“I like the challenge of staying up-todate
in new developments and the thrill
of developing kids,” he says. “My motto
is rigor, relevance, and relationships. I
gain their respect by taking an interest in
them and showing them what’s relevant
to what they’ll be doing.”
Throughout his career, he’s also been
an FFA advisor. His chapter ranked first
in the state numerous times and won the
national once.
Since 1987 he has co-owned Hopeful
Farmers, where he breeds and races
thoroughbreds, raises some show sheep,
and produces value-added hay sold to
racehorse trainers and owners. He
enjoys judging sheep, cattle, and hog
shows across the country. And he’s
involved in the National and Indiana FFA
associations, Indiana Young Farmers’
Association, and National Young Farmer
Educational Association.
“At Purdue I learned relationship and relevance
in my classes, preparing me for what I do as a teacher,
which wasn’t even in my plan until a professor
suggested I had a gift for it.”
Byron Ernest
2007Colleen B. JonssonBirmingham AL
Careful, measured steps guide Colleen
Jonsson, whether she’s pursuing her
passion for rock climbing or researching
human viruses. And when she says, “I
really like the mix of basic and field; I
enjoy trying to think about what’s going
on in nature,” she’s referring to her
work, but she could be speaking of
rappelling, as well.
Jonsson began her life of science by
earning biology and chemistry degrees in
1983 from the University of Missouri,
then spending two years at Monsanto,
engineering plants for fungal disease
resistance.
Eager to take the next step in learning,
she then headed to Purdue University for
a biochemistry doctorate. “I was
fascinated by pathogens that affected
agricultural crops,” she says. After
earning her Ph.D. in 1985, she climbed
higher in her knowledge quest, studying
the HIV virus for three years as a
postdoctoral biochemist at Robert Wood
Johnson Medical School.
“My fundamental fascination is the
interaction of pathogens and their hosts,
in the broadest sense and in all aspects,”
she says. When she headed to New
Mexico State in 1993 as an assistant
professor, she intended to return to plant
research. But that’s when the state
experienced hantavirus outbreaks. “That
caught my attention, and I have been
working on it ever since,” she says. After
a decade in the Land of Enchantment, she
brought her interests to the University of
Alabama and the Southern Research
Institute, where today she’s program
leader for emerging infections disease
research in the drug discovery division.
There, Jonsson oversees a team
researching hantavirus, avian flu, RSV,
SARS, and other infectious diseases.
Their studies include land use practices,
climate, the environment, and potential
treatments.
Those long days of research, data
analysis and publishing results call for a
physical counterbalance, which she gets
climbing the rugged rocks and practicing
hot yoga.
“Purdue prepared me for various challenges I’ve
faced academically, providing me with a
broad and fairly deep background.
Those were great building blocks. I’ve never felt
that I didn’t know where to go for more.”
Colleen Jonsson
2007John MadiaCarmelIN
Home runs have long been on John
Madia’s mind — from his Purdue
baseball scholarship days to his nearly
30-year career with The Dow Chemical
Co., and even today’s pastime, Indiana
Bulls youth baseball.
The story began in his hometown of
Utica, New York, when a Boilermaker
alumnus spotted him on the baseball
diamond and talked about Purdue.
Growing up in a family that bred racehorses,
Madia had long been interested in
animal science; early on, he traveled
with his father, who was a representative
for animal health companies.
His interests were a good fit for
Purdue, on the field and in the
classroom. He graduated in 1978, and
immediately signed on to work for Dow,
where he has been ever since.
“Dow provided me an opportunity to
have many different careers in the same
company,” Madia says. He has held posts
with ever-increasing responsibilities in
sales, marketing, development, Six Sigma
implementation, and human resources,
working in New York City and Rochester,
N.Y.; Minneapolis; Midland, Mich.;
Philadelphia; and since 1990,
Indianapolis.
“I’ve had opportunities to travel, to
meet people all over the world and to
work in the company’s global functions,”
he says. “Those are experiences no one
can take away.”
Today, as vice president of human
resources, Madia is the global focal point
for manufacturing and engineering,
research and development, shared
services, and human resource
information technology.
Outside work, the father of four is
devoted to two youth organizations,
serving board posts for the Indiana Bulls
Baseball Organization and the national
FFA Foundation Sponsor’s Board.
While he’s no longer spending time in
the dugout, he is often in the bleachers,
rooting as his children compete in
various sports.
“The people at Purdue always had great expectations
for me and other students. They taught that way,
talked that way, counseled that way.
Because of that, I approached the work world
with a high degree of confidence.”
John Madia
2007Bruce A. ScherrMemphisTN
When it comes to boundless energy
and unbridled enthusiasm for the task at
hand, Bruce Scherr’s wife, Susie,
occasionally compares him to his threeyear-
old grandson — a resemblance
appreciated by Scherr, his employees,
and hundreds of global clients alike.
As Chairman of the Board and Chief
Executive Officer of Informa Economics,
Inc., a company he founded as Agri
Commodities in 1981, Scherr heads one
of the world’s premier agricultural and
commodity research, analyses, and
consulting firms. Informa Economics
provides high-end services to over 750
food and agribusiness firms and
organizations worldwide from offices in
Memphis, Washington D.C., Minneapolis,
and Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Scherr’s most significant career
milestones are also those he applies to
his company today. As a divisional vice
president at Data Resources Inc. from
1974 to 1979, he developed and utilized
the first commercially available
econometric model for U.S. agriculture
— a fully interactive forecasting tool
designed to provide problem-solving
information. This breakthrough led to
advisory roles with numerous government
agencies, including the President’s Council
of Economic Advisers and the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration.
His company’s success hinges on
sensitivity to clients’ issues and
opportunities, and Scherr believes the
advent of renewable fuels, “the single
biggest event to affect global agriculture
in fifty years,” represents both.
“It’s like taking a giant boulder and
throwing it into a still pond,” he says.
“Ethanol production has broad, farreaching
consequences from farmer to
consumer and everyone in between.”
Scherr may match the vigor of a threeyear-
old, but his peers equally energize
him. “We have two assets — our people
and our clients. And the more talented your
client base, and the tougher their questions,
the better you are as a consultant.”
“Working with great people around the world
to seize opportunities and to solve
challenging problems defines my career,
and Purdue University was the primary
contributor that enabled this experience.”
Bruce Scherr
2006Gary C. BergstromIthaca NY
As a professor in Cornell University’s
Department of Plant Pathology, Gary
Bergstrom enjoys the best of two worlds.
He can steep himself in science and
research, and then surround himself
with people through his Extension work.
“I enjoy science, discovering
something new about nature,” he says.
“I also like people and need to be
involved in service, in applying
knowledge and translating discoveries
to others to solve their problems.”
Bergstrom’s expertise includes
epidemiology and integrated
management of cereal and forage crop
diseases, seed pathology and seed
treatment, host plant disease resistance,
and biological control. He earned his
bachelor’s in microbiology in 1975 and
master’s in plant pathology in 1978, both
from Purdue University. His Ph.D. in
plant pathology is from the University of
Kentucky in 1981.
Although he was raised in the city
(Chicago), Bergstrom’s greatest
satisfaction comes from solving problems
for farmers. “It’s not so much the
positions I’ve held or the publications
I’ve written, it’s identifying a crop variety
that’s resistant to a disease problem and
developing solutions for those problems
faced by farmers that has given me great
pleasure.”
So, too, has his work with dozens of
graduate students, including 15 Ph.D.
students.
Bergstrom is active in numerous
professional societies and has served in
leadership positions in the American
Institute for Biological Sciences, American
Phytopathological Society, and others.
His service to people extends to the
community, too. As a Purdue student, he
volunteered at the county retirement
home. He volunteered at a Lexington
children’s hospital while working on his
Ph.D. In Ithaca, he’s a soup kitchen
volunteer.
He also enjoys hiking, nature
photography, and family times.
“My career in science and public service was
launched in the classrooms, laboratories, and
community life at Purdue University.
I am forever grateful. I don’t think too many
places would have been as good an incubator.”
Gart Bergstrom
2006Steve BishopCincinnatiOH
With his Purdue University agricultural
economics degree tucked under his arm,
Steve Bishop headed for Procter &
Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1986. The
Orleans, Indiana, native has been
climbing the company’s corporate ladder
ever since, except for a six-month stint in
1994 when he served as vice president of
marketing for Sparrow Records at EMI
Christian Music Group in Nashville.
Bishop began his P&G career as an
assistant purchasing manager in the
Foods Division, moving on to new
positions with increasing responsibility.
These have included brand management
for Crisco and for Sunny Delight,
marketing director for the company’s
U.S. dish, home care, and laundry
products, and a year and a half in
Brussels as general manager of global
strategic planning and design for laundry
additives and light-duty detergents.
In 2001, Bishop was named general
manager of North America Fabric Care.
In 2002, he became vice president of
that division. He oversees more than
1,000 employees, and he is responsible
for a portfolio of brands including Tide,
Gain, Cheer, Era, Downy, Bounce, and
others.
“I like the basic aspect of trying to
understand what consumers want, and
then competing to deliver that in the best
value proposition,” Bishop says. “I like
the consumer aspect, how fast-paced it
is, and that it’s always changing.”
On the job, he enjoys seeing results
and achieving success. “If you’re not
inspired by competing and winning, you
can’t do a job like this,” he says. “That’s
what it’s about.”
He serves on the local Junior
Achievement board of directors; he has
helped on a congressional political
campaign; and he is active in his church
and as a parent.
“Two things at Purdue prepared me to succeed:
great academics with a balance of breadth and depth,
in concepts I could use; and a ton of experience
in leadership and collaboration.”
Steve Bishop
2006Michael CulyIndianapolisIN
The butterfly nets Michael Culy took on
family vacations and sewing pins he
borrowed from his mother to mount his
childhood insect collections were telltale
signs of the Purdue University bachelor’s,
master’s, and doctorate in entomology to
come. The Hagerstown, Indiana,
youngster simply loved bugs.
That education opened the door of
opportunity, and Culy stepped in. He
started with a small Fort Wayne you-pick
vegetable farm and then moved on to
Pioneer, where he worked full time while
earning his Ph.D. There, he set up the
nation’s first integrated pest management
program in corn seed production, an
achievement he holds dear despite many
more that followed.
In 1989, he joined Dow Chemical USA
and DowElanco, continuing with
successor Dow AgroSciences. In his 17
years, he’s held various posts and taken
leadership on numerous projects, ranging
from scientific to human resources to
compliance matters. Today, he serves as
Dow’s global regulatory molecule leader,
accountable for regulatory actions and
maintenance of legal right-to-sell of
existing molecules. He’s also an adjunct
entomology professor at the University of
Nebraska.
Culy is a board-certified entomologist
and a frequent author, conference
presenter, and guest lecturer.
He’s helped develop site-specific
decision-making tools for farmers,
positioned Dow as a global leader in
responsible care of GMO crop research,
and mentored many students and young
scientists.
His interests also include fishing,
hunting, camping, gardening,
woodworking, and volunteering with
Habitat for Humanity. And when his
children were young, he earned the
nickname “Dr. Bug” for his lively school
presentations.
“Beyond the book learning and technical science, what I
got at Purdue was an appreciation for people and
relationships — that probably did the most — and a sense
of professionalism that was instilled in the students.”
Michael Culy
2006Kun-Liang GuanAnn ArborMI
In the global fight against lifethreatening
diseases, the most significant
strides often are the tiniest, such as
scrutinizing how genetics and
environment affect growth of a single
cell. Marshal the talent and passion of
educator and researcher Kun-Liang Guan
and analysis equals discovery.
A native of the Republic of China,
Guan’s distinguished career in
biochemistry began in 1983 when he
came to Purdue through the Chinese and
U.S. Biochemistry Examination for
Admission, a program that selected
about 50 of China’s brightest students for
graduate study in the United States.
While at Purdue he honed his research
skills, pioneering the molecular biology
expertise in Henry Weiner’s research
group. Guan then joined the University of
Michigan faculty, achieving full professor
in less than ten years, and Named
Professor in 2003.
“Sometimes scientists find it difficult to
communicate,” Guan admits of his highly
technical domain, “and we can’t
translate our own language.”
He insists, however, layman’s terms
best describe his current focus: finding
ways to interfere with out-of-control cell
growth, an initiative extremely relevant to
cancer research. Guan’s latest findings
led to a three-year clinical trial of the
FDA-approved drug rapamycin, an
immunosuppressant used for organ
transplant patients.
His research suggests rapamycin also
may be effective in treating tuberous
sclerosis complex (TSC), an incurable
multi-symptom genetic disorder in which
tumors cause seizures, mental
retardation, and kidney failure in one out
of 6,000 individuals. The potential
breakthrough is generating significant
excitement among TSC patients.
Even the most invigorating laboratory
occasionally feels too small. When it
does, Guan simply walks away. “Hiking in
national parks gives me a different
perspective. I climb a mountaintop, and I
realize it’s a big world out there.”
“Purdue University’s traditional, thorough, and solid
curriculum was absolutely essential to my scientific
career development. Learning to generate
knowledge through research science, versus textbook
learning, was a quantum leap for me.”
Kun-Ling Guan
2006Leslie Holland-BartelsAnchorageAK
Imagine revealing, and preserving, the
untapped environmental wealth of Alaska
— treasures spanning nearly 592,000
square miles of largely unmapped
terrain.
Such is the quest embraced by Leslie
Holland-Bartels, who balances positions
as Deputy Regional Director/Western
Region and Director of the Alaska
Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey.
She and her corps of nearly 300 scientists
scrutinize all facets of the Alaskan
“frontier,” from interpreting and
disseminating information on earthquakes
and volcanoes to modeling international
populations of herons and waterfowl.
Holland-Bartels assumes integral roles
in guiding the state’s large-scale mining
initiatives, as well as planning Alaska’s
gas pipeline. “Our state has worldrecord
mineral deposits and an enormous
wealth of oil and gas,” she explains.
“Sound, defensible scientific facts
are critical in order for policymakers to
balance their decisions between the
country’s economic needs and preserving
the environment for future generations.”
Balance and personal commitment
have long mapped Holland-Bartels’
career path. After earning her Ph.D. from
Purdue in 1980, she joined the National
Fishery Research Center in La Crosse,
Wisconsin, where, under her leadership,
a new science group developed a
research program to assess impacts of
Upper Mississippi River management on
endangered species.
From 1995 to 2002, she served as
Chief Scientist for the $6 million integrated
multi-agency study to determine
the continuing impact and potential
recovery of near-shore marine ecosystems
of Prince William Sound following
the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Professional challenges aside, Alaska’s
rich landscape also provides the perfect
venue for a favorite hobby, fly-fishing.
“I’m not very good,” she admits, “but
the state is so over-populated with fish,
anyone can catch something.” True to
her environmentalist bent, however, she
“catches” with a barbless hook.
“I felt strongly about learning science in a practical
context, and Purdue University combined an excellent
academic reputation with the flexibility to plot
my own course. Graduating from Purdue has
carried weight throughout my career.”
Leslie Holland-Bartels
2006Mark KimmelModestoCA
Combine basic ingredients: a core
curriculum focused on biology, food
chemistry theory, and hands-on learning.
Add experience in quality control, food
production, research/development, and
sales. Season with a refined palate and
heightened olfactory skills. Mix well.
Next, savor success.
Each step of Mark Kimmel’s career
models a “no-fail” method for mastery.
Whether sampling red pepper-infused
tomato sauce with an Italian restaurant
chef or assessing quality control
throughout a twelve-hour production
shift, food safety ranks “job one.”
“At the end of the day, I know I’ve
made some good tomato products,” says
Kimmel. “I’d eat them myself and serve
them to my family, and that makes me
feel good about what I do.”
It might seem a surprising journey for
an animal sciences major. Purdue
Agriculture did not have a food science
department during Kimmel’s tenure, but
the animal science core curriculum gave
him the tools he needed to leap into the
food industry — it has been a tasty ride.
Kimmel’s responsibilities at Stanislaus
Food Products, an independent, familyowned
company that specializes in Italian
tomato products for restaurants throughout
North America, encompass production,
purchasing, quality control, research/
development, and sales. During his
tenure, the company expanded from 600
employees to 2,000; efficiency increased
by 30 percent; and capacity doubled. He
is responsible for sales volume increases
to multi-unit restaurant customers
including Olive Garden restaurants and
the Papa John’s Pizza chain.
While he “wows” the big names,
another appreciative audience rests
under his own roof – his wife, Sharron,
and daughters Christina, 23, and Lauren,
14. “I cook Italian at least once a week
at home,” says Kimmel, who also
practices diligently in the Stanislaus test
kitchens. “I can whip up some pretty
upscale, chef-requested sauces.”
“Through the animal sciences program’s core
curriculum, I gained a wealth of knowledge about
food engineering, dairy, and horticulture.
Professors — all experts in their fields — taught me
to take basic theories and keep asking questions.”
Mark Kimmel
2006Chip PerfectLawrenceburgIN
Six businesses in some 25 years mark
Chip Perfect’s career accomplishments
since earning a Purdue University
bachelor’s in agricultural education in
1979. “I’m a serial entrepreneur,” he
says. “I chose ag education because I
thought I could get started teaching and
have a summer business.”
His initial venture was Indiana’s first
professional landscape firm, which was
later sold to its employees. Next came
the family venture, Perfect North Slopes
Ski Area, created in 1980 on 100 hillside
acres of the farm he grew up on in
Dearborn County. Its startup time gave
Perfect the chance to use his teaching
degree at Rising Sun High School for
four years, and he continues relying on it
today to train a staff of 1,000 who
welcome 250,000 guests “in about a
100-day season” to the southern Indiana
lodge and slopes.
Farming prepared him well for the ski
business. “I already had the stomach for
the difficulties of a weather-related
business. In both skiing and farming, you
have to be ready and willing to perform
when the weather is right, and you never
know when that’s going to be.”
His unlikely success in a mountain-less
state was recognized in 2001 when the
National Ski Area Association gave him
its Sammy Award for significant industry
contributions.
Other recent entrepreneurial activities
— all in his home county — include
launching a contract packaging company,
partnering in converting a one-millionsquare-
foot distillery into an industrial
complex now housing a dozen
businesses, and building a 10-screen
movie theater and family restaurant.
“My whole ag background propelled
me in terms of leadership,” says the
second of four siblings, who credits FFA,
4-H, and Purdue.
“It’s the doing, the pursuit,” that fuels
his activities, he says. “I like coming
here. I’m excited about what’s going to
happen. And I like creating new ideas.”
“The whole process of learning how to
prepare for a class, how to learn, and
how to study was huge for me. And
learning to be an educator is valuable
in what I do now, training managers.”
Chip Perfect
2006Matthew C. ReynoldsAuburn HillsMI
In an industry steered by customer
demands and fueled by intense
competition, it’s not enough to stay in the
driver’s seat.
You’ve got to accelerate.
“I’m competitive by nature, and while
it’s fun to compete, it’s much more fun to
win,” says Matthew Reynolds, Director of
Interior Component Systems Engineering
for the Daimler Chrysler Corporation.
After graduating with a degree in
Agricultural and Biological Engineering,
Reynolds joined the Chrysler Center in
1984 as a product engineer; he has
racked up miles of victories ever since.
In 1991, he was responsible for
production of $60 million worth of parts
to support manufacture of the LH sedan
at two assembly plants.
Currently, Reynolds leads Interior
Component teams that design, develop,
and integrate approximately 20 percent
of the total vehicle cost on more than
two million automobiles produced
annually. His position combines an
engineer’s expertise with a keen knack
for exceeding customer expectations.
“Occupant safety has always been my
key focus,” says Reynolds. To this end,
he was instrumental in assessing and
implementing enhanced interior vehicle
features such as night vision, Global
Positioning System location/maps,
collision avoidance, and improved
tractability.
Reynolds’ initial work at Chrysler
included development of new oils for use
in transaxles, an early road marker
pointing toward today’s biggest
automotive industry challenge —
advancement of alternative fuels and
power systems.
Over the next 20 years, he predicts
engineering innovations will swerve from
internal combustion engines and fuel
sources will shift from fossil fuels to
soybean fields.
When it’s time for a detour, Reynolds
takes his competitive spirit to the great
outdoors where he enjoys fly-fishing,
mountain biking, and snow skiing.
“Developing teamwork and leadership skills as part
of undergraduate training is important. Ours is
ultimately a ‘people’ business. The ability to
bring many bright minds together to meet
customer expectations is the key to success.”
Matthew Reynolds
2006Max T. RodibaughFrankfortIN
A lifelong fascination with biology and
science, growing-up on a Rensselaer
grain and purebred swine farm, and
enjoying his work with pigs made Max
Rodibaugh’s career choice an obvious
one: swine health.
He began his studies as a youngster,
tending to the pigs and showing swine in
4-H. He went on to earn a bachelor’s in
general agriculture from Purdue in
1974, his doctor of veterinary of
medicine, also from Purdue, in 1977,
and in 2000, a certificate in swine health
management in the University of Illinois’
Executive Veterinary Program.
His first three years as a veterinarian,
he worked for John Coltrain, DMV, in
Thorntown, Indiana, then in 1980
founded Swine Health Services in
Frankfort, Indiana, one of the nation’s
first practices devoted entirely to swine.
Today, it’s a two-vet practice that serves
herds from 150 to 11,000 sows. He also
provides swine health consultations,
which have taken him to several states as
well as to Mexico and Peru.
His passion is helping producers solve
health and production problems,
Rodibaugh says. “I still find the scientific
aspect challenging and the day-to-day
work interesting. And the people are
great. That’s what makes my day, hoping
I can be of service to them.”
Rodibaugh has served numerous
leadership posts in the American
Association of Swine Veterinarians,
Indiana Veterinary Medical Association,
and other industry groups. He frequently
gives presentations at swine meetings
and conferences.
His pastimes include perennial flower
gardening, reading, genealogy,
photography, and skiing.
“Besides a great education, at Purdue
I developed one-on-one relationships with
professors — people I can always call on
for their expertise, people who care about
what I’m doing and want to help out.”
Max Rodibaugh
2005Tom J. BechmanFranklinIN
For nearly 25 years, Tom J. Bechman
has devoted himself to a single mission:
helping farm families survive and thrive
by identifying and publishing news most
pertinent to their lives.
New technologies, continually evolving
science, and an ever-changing industry
challenge him as he sifts through
information, news releases, research
findings and technical reports.
“Someone has to interpret all the
science that comes out and show how it
might apply and why you should care,”
the editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer
says. “Whenever I find a new idea or a
new thought that could either improve
someone’s life or their income, I
consider it a personal challenge to
present it in the most useful form.”
He’s also partnered with others to, as
he says, “stretch myself and the pages of
our magazine through quasi-research
projects.” His work includes precision
agriculture software research, Purdue
Extension bean booster soybean plots
and discovery plots at the Farm
Progress Show.
He brings his communication expertise
to Purdue Ag Comm classes where he
teaches students about feature writing,
often publishing their work.
Bechman’s interest in farming stems
from childhood years on an Indiana
tenant dairy farm.
“You need to understand your
audience,” he says of his publishing
tenure, which followed four years as a
high school ag teacher. “Growing up on
a small farm and then teaching ag, I
understand the audience.”
His hobby is collecting toy tractors
(he has about a hundred) and farm
implement sales literature, mostly from
the 1950s. His prized possession is a
sales piece on the John Deere 520, 620
and 720 Series that came out in the late
1950s. “That’s kind of special,” he says,
“because Dad bought a 620 in 1958.”
“Facts and figures and what I got out
of books were important. But the value of
my Purdue education was more about
how to learn and grow in life.
I learned a lot about that.”
Tom Bechman
2005Scott C. BeckAtlantaIN
Bringing advertising in-house,
achieving new heights in marketing
success, overseeing some 50 different
research studies on 125 acres, and
launching an organic seed subsidiary
are among the accomplishments of
Scott C. Beck, vice president of Beck’s
Hybrids, a family business founded in
1937. Its products include hybrid seed
corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, and other
forages, sold within a 140-mile radius.
He’ll tell you, though, that true
achievement is “the opportunity to come
into the family business and incorporate
my faith, my value in my family, and the
unique gifts and talents I’ve discovered
and cultivated into the areas of the
business I serve.”
The company’s annual field “day” has
grown to a four-day family event
attracting 7,000 for numerous tours,
agronomic research reports, technology
information and children’s activities. “It’s
a unique event that’s grown to this level
over the last 10 to 15 years,” Beck says.
Closely tied to customer service, the
research program provides information
on how to farm better, how practices
affect yield, how different populations
affect standability, how planting speed
affects seed spacing and yield, and more.
He joined the business the year of its
50th anniversary after earning his Purdue
agronomy degree. He was the company’s
12th employee; today it employs 120
people fulltime. In 2001, he launched a
subsidiary, Great Harvest Organics, and
serves as its president.
“What’s unique about us is that we
have remained independent, and we
license from many different sources.”
Beck serves on the Indiana Crop
Improvement Association board and as
secretary of the corn and sorghum
division of the American Seed Trade
Association. In his spare time, he enjoys
water activities and his children’s
sporting events.
“From the first day on campus, I discovered
that Purdue’s agronomy faculty were
very much interested in me as a person
and in what was of interest to me.
They care about their students.”
Scott Beck
2005Mark H. Legan CoatsvilleIN
Can a young couple who don’t own
land build a successful agricultural
operation? In 1989, Mark and Phyllis
Legan decided to find out. They
approached long-time friends who had
“an old set of hog facilities,” established
a 180-sow herd and started working,
side-by-side.
“I either had to do it or I’d wonder my
whole life if I could,” says Mark Legan,
who was 29 at the time and giving up a
seven-year Extension educator career for
his dream.
Today, the operation employs another
four, owns 1,000 acres of cropland and
700 sows that produce about 15,000
pigs a year.
The Legans mark their success as an
achievement. “We’re a first-generation,
startup farm, and we’ve grown it to a
viable size and, at least to this point,
we’re maintaining it from a financial
standpoint,” Mark says.
Their success, though, has not been at
any cost. “We are part of and proud of
our community,” he says. “We recognize
that pigs stink, so we do what we can to
minimize odor and manage properly.”
They’re also both involved in
community service. Mark’s service
includes his church, Farm Bureau, the
county board of zoning appeals and fair
board, and currently he serves as the
agricultural representative on Indiana’s
Department of Environmental
Management water pollution control
board. “An important part of who we are
and what we do is being involved in the
community,” he says.
Like their business, the Legans share
a common activity that includes their
daughter, Beth. “We like trail riding and
horse camping,” Mark says. “We enjoy
a business with animals, and our
pleasure is with animals as well. We own
quarter horses, and my wife adopted a
mustang. It’s something we do together
as a family.”
“I agree with Abraham Lincoln’s view of
agriculture as a ‘profitable and agreeable
combination of labor and thought.’
Farming gives me the opportunity
for physical as well as mental work.”
Mark Legan
2005Jeffrey M. LuckmanNewport NewsVA
At a young age, Jeffrey Luckman
learned one of life’s key lessons as he
worked alongside his father, a comptroller
in the meat wholesale business: Work
hard; give back; and you’ll succeed.
You’ll grow along the way, too.
A native New Yorker, Luckman took his
first big step when he left the east coast
for Purdue, drawn by the university’s
reputation in veterinary medicine and
agriculture. “My parents taught me to act
and think independently,” Luckman
recalls, “even when my choices took me
far from home.”
Learning the production side through
volunteer work on a hog farm and his
first job as district sales manager for
DeKalb Swine Breeders were part of the
maturing process, and helped hone
Luckman’s professional path — one that
combined a love of animals, an interest
in genetics and animal science, and
strong people skills.
After seven years in sales, and
distinction as the top breeding stock
sales representative in Indiana, Luckman
embraced a new challenge. His
accomplishments in the livestock
procurement arena—first with Kahn’s,
then John Morrell & Company and,
presently, Smithfield Foods—have
focused on production, research, sales,
and management.
Throughout his tenure as vice
president for livestock procurement for
Smithfield Foods, Luckman has
contributed significantly to the company’s
growth, from $1 billion in annual sales
ten years ago to $10 billion in 2004. He
is responsible for three domestic and
three foreign subsidiaries and is credited
with taking Polish subsidiary Animex
from near bankruptcy to profitability in
2002. Programs developed by Luckman
significantly enhanced the success and
expansion of Polish hog suppliers.
Throughout the journey, Luckman has
always remembered his father’s formula.
Rewards, he says, have been reflected in
his growth, and the advancements of others.
“The education and knowledge Purdue provided
has enabled me to make lasting contributions
in business - nationally, internationally,
and in my community. I hope to give back to
Purdue as much as the university gave me.”
Jeffrey Luckman
2005April C. MasonFort CollinsCO
On the surface, working to combat
iron deficiencies and Vitamin A blindness
common to children in Indonesia, and
addressing nutritional concerns among
the elderly of Tippecanoe County in
Indiana, present little in common.
Yet for April Mason, this dichotomy
anchors a principle central to her
exemplary career as food science
educator and researcher: Deliver
resources wherever they’re needed.
Address issues important to recipients.
Growing up in Italy and attending the
Overseas School of Rome afforded early
glimpses of a global perspective. “I
developed a passion for travel and the
willingness to take calculated risks,” says
Mason. “I also developed an
appreciation of racial, cultural and
religious differences, and the many ways
people examine and study issues.”
Ability to lead, and the spirit to
embrace diversity, translated directly to
development of an extensive range of
food safety and nutrition programs, all
focused on transferring university-based
knowledge to the end user.
The Safe Food for the Hungry program,
an initiative launched by Mason in the early
1990s was the most gratifying. Working
with representatives from food banks and
homeless shelters, Mason and colleagues
developed food safety and nutrition
programming targeted to not-for-profit
food distribution programs nationwide.
Her efforts garnered the Secretary of
Agriculture’s Team Honor award in 1996,
and positioned Purdue University as a
leader in the food safety arena.
After nearly three decades as a
Boilermaker, her decision to head west
for new challenges at Colorado State
University was heart wrenching, admits
Mason. Yet living near the base of the
Rockies—and hundreds of miles from
Midwest humidity—does have its perks.
“There are wonderful trails throughout
Fort Collins. I never get tired of gazing at
the mountains. Every light, cloud and
sunset looks completely different.”
“Remember the individuals you learn with,
because each one leaves you with a gift.
I’ve spent my career in higher education in order
to pass those gifts along and, hopefully,
to change things for the better.”
April Mason
2005Gerald A. PowellZionsvilleIN
It’s been a busy 20 years for Gerald
Powell since earning his Purdue
bachelor’s degree in agriculture.
Although he’s been with the same
company since graduation—today’s Dow
AgroSciences—over the years he’s held
nine unique posts from sales
representative to marketing and finance
jobs. And he’s worked in Michigan,
Nebraska, Illinois and, since 1990, in his
home state of Indiana.
Four years ago, he joined the
company’s Six Sigma program. Since
then, he’s served as a trainer and coach
for 54 project managers who are Six
Sigma Black Belts. Together, they’ve so
far achieved some $30 million in growth
and efficiency projects in North and
South America. That, Powell says, is his
greatest career achievement. “Six Sigma
is a wonderful way to improve business
effectiveness. It’s the newest chapter in
the book of quality.”
He’s made his mark through “hard
work—55-plus hours a week, every
week—and an insatiable appetite for
learning. It’s who I am.” Besides ongoing
reading, he returned to Purdue for an
M.B.A. in Food and Agribusiness in 2001.
Powell is “a passionate user and
advocate of technology,” and
professionally has created a number of
tools, models and reports that have been
regionally and globally deployed by Dow
AgroSciences.
A 4-H member as a youth, he was
fascinated with electricity and electronics.
He has been a volunteer for the
organization since leaving Purdue. Today,
he’s a 4-H leader and a parent who helps
with his own children’s projects.
Before he had a family, he enjoyed
windsurfing, sailing, water skiing, snow
skiing and cross-country skiing. If the
children take up those activities, he will
again, too. For now, he likes vegetable
gardening, landscaping, and family
learning vacations, particularly to
national parks.
“At Purdue, I met talented, personable
faculty who worked hard and accomplished
amazing things. Like my parents, professors
challenged me to ‘give it everything’ and
‘good things will happen.’ Brilliant, actionable,
effective advice that really works.”
Gerald Powell
2005W. Wayne TownsendHartford CityIN
When W. Wayne Townsend came to the
proverbial fork in the road, he took
three paths simultaneously. So far, he’s
racked up more than 50 years farming,
22 years in public office, 23 years in
service to education and countless more
in community activities.
Raised on a farm, Townsend started
his own operation in 1951 after earning
a Purdue agriculture degree. What
began as a 225-acre venture is now a
2,500-acre farm with a 2,400-sow,
farrow-to-finish operation that ships
1,000 hogs a week.
Public service came early, at age 32
when Townsend was first elected to the
Indiana House of Representatives. He
went on to the Indiana Senate and, in
1984, ran for governor. From the
beginning, public education was his
passion, serving on the team that
worked for passage of the School
Reorganization Act of 1959 and its
reauthorization in 1965.
“My dad spoke of public affairs three
times a day,” Townsend recalls.
“Mealtime was an opportunity for lively
discussion of the affairs of the world. If
you didn’t want to hear that, you went
hungry. I didn’t miss many meals.”
Education, too, was rooted in early
childhood, even though neither of his
parents attended school beyond 8th
grade. “For us, school came first. Going
to college was part of the program, even
though we had very limited resources.
That was first on the agenda.”
His passion for education continued as
a trustee for Earlham College for eight
years, and for the last fifteen years, for
Purdue University.
Townsend’s community activities have
included agricultural organizations, his
church, social service groups and the
Indiana Farm Policy Study Group. “You
look for places where you might make a
difference, and where you might affect
the outcome of some issue on the table.”
“Purdue teachers care about students. I owe much
of what I’ve accomplished to teachers who
became lifelong mentors. It didn’t stop at
graduation; it’s gone on forever. They’ve guided
me since I enrolled at Purdue.”
Wayne Townsend
2005Jian-Kang ZhuRiversideCA
Growing up in a small village in China
and observing plants sprout to maturity on
his family’s farm rooted a lifelong interest
and career passion for Jian-Kang Zhu.
But leaving his homeland, immersing
himself in the study of soil sciences, and
exploring the intricacies of plant
physiology produced a world-class
scientist and researcher.
“I drove all the way from California to
West Lafayette, and the many different
landscapes I saw were fascinating,” says
Zhu of his 1990 cross-country trek from
the University of California to Purdue to
study plant physiology.
These days, however, airplanes cover
international miles. A frequent guest
lecturer and conference co-chair, Zhu
shares with scientists worldwide his
laboratory’s revolutionary findings on
plant stress resistance—specifically,
identification of key genes that indicate
how plants respond to stressors, such as
drought, temperature, and poor soil.
His discoveries include the DNA
demethylating enzyme that is a major
component of epigenetic gene regulation
in plants, and several new families of plant
microRNAs and short interfering RNAs.
In layman’s terms, this translates to the
identification of particular genes in
plants, which make them more resistant
to stressors, such as drought and severe
temperatures. Experiments and
evaluations are ongoing in Zhu’s
laboratories, but all point in the same
positive direction: Someday, perhaps
even in the next decade, improved genes
will be incorporated into plants’ genomes,
which will enable them to use water
more efficiently. Farmers will reap higher
yields; their acres will feed more of the
world’s hungry; and our environment
will preserve a precious asset—water.
The recipient of numerous honors and
awards, Zhu most recently earned the
distinguished Charles Albert Shull Award
from the American Society of Plant
Biologists. In 2004, he was appointed to
a Presidential Chair by the University of
California.
“Purdue University provided a very stimulating
intellectual environment for education through
research, and I feel fortunate to have learned from
world-class faculty members. I benefited greatly
from an opportunity no student should miss.”
Jian-Kang Zhu
2004Tracy A. BakerBradentonFL
Because his job in food science
research and management isn’t one that
lets him check off a list of tangible daily
accomplishments, Tracy Baker turns to
hands-on pastimes to give him the
satisfaction that comes from completion.
“I like hobbies where I can lay out a
timeline and when I’m done I can pack
up the tools, sit back and see that I
completed something,” he says.
Tinkering is something he’s long
enjoyed, he says. He mastered it at the
side of his grandfather, an electrician.
“He always referred to me as his
plumber’s helper,” Baker says. “I learned
a lot from him. I even rebuilt and
repainted a 1959 Edsel when I was 15.”
Today, gardening, his greatest passion,
and woodworking fill the bill.
Baker started his latest gardening
project with a clean canvas in Bradenton,
Florida, when he moved into a new
house on three-quarters of an acre.
“I’ve been trying to give my house
personality,” he says of his landscaping
efforts that include planting a banana
tree, five different varieties of palm trees
and a host of tropical plants.
“Most things here don’t die. And they
grow like crazy. So I plant them, they
grow, and I trim them.” He’s also created
an indoor garden around his screened-in
pool.
Woodworking is a hobby he’s returning
to, with a new shop just set up. First on
his list is a dining room table with
marble inlay. In earlier years, he’s
mastered fine cabinetry, made a hutch,
some tables and bookcases.
“It’s something I can look at and say, ‘I
completed that,’” he says. “It balances
my workday.”
“The years spent at Purdue turned a shy, awkward,
small town boy into the very confident outgoing
leader I am today. Although my formal
Purdue education opened the door for me, it was
lessons learned at Purdue that formed my career.”
Tracy Baker
2004Thomas A. DavisDes MoinesIA
Tom Davis will forever remember the
day a Floyds Knobs, Indiana, neighbor
cornered his father and said, “Don, your
boy has to go to college.” And not just
any college, the neighbor, a cattle
producer, added: Purdue University.
“I was the oldest of nine children,
and we were not wealthy by any means,”
Davis recalls. “But my Dad had a great
deal of respect for this friend and, from
that moment on, the seed was planted.”
Another strong voice was Davis’ Future
Farmers of America (FFA) instructor, a
Purdue graduate. The FFA experience
also steered Davis toward his career
path: agricultural communication and
marketing.
Decades later, Floyds Knobs voices still
echo as Davis carries their messages to
colleagues and collegians alike. Through
involvement with the National Agri-
Marketing Association (NAMA)—
specifically the Association’s student
programs—he enjoys opportunities to
mentor and motivate future professionals.
“I tell students to put their personal
agendas aside and focus on the
employer,” he says. Employers want
to hear what you can do for them, and
how you can be the solution to their
challenges.
“Sometimes, these same students
wind up as my advertising clients,”
Davis adds. “It’s fun to call on them,
watch them in action, and reverse the
tables.”
The same words work magic with
colleagues: “Put your agenda on the
back burner,” he advises. “As long as
you can solve a problem for someone
else, you’ll be successful.”
Along with words of wisdom, Davis
also carries some slightly less lofty
reminders of growing up in southern
Indiana.
“My friends and I hunted a lot of
squirrels and quail with b-b-guns,” he
says, “and sometimes we’d have b-b-gun
‘wars’ with each other. I still have the
scrapes and nicks to prove it!”

Thomas Davis
2004Kevin L. EikenberryIndianapolisIN
Imagine settling into a comfortable,
center row seat at your local movie
theater, digging into a tub of hot,
buttered popcorn, watching your favorite
actor in an Oscar-winning role . . . and
learning a lifetime lesson in the process.
That’s exactly the scene Kevin
Eikenberry envisions. In fact, he’s such a
fan of big-screen lessons that he’s
currently writing a book on movies about
enriching your life through the most
important movies of all time.
“Movies are stories, and we make
sense of our lives and experiences
through stories,” says Eikenberry, whose
draft will include essays on the top 50
inspirational films as identified through a
poll of 10,000-plus respondents. “In
most films, there are tremendous
opportunities to recognize yourself in a
character or situation. If you direct your
movie discussions the right way, a lot of
learning results.”
Eikenberry’s own lessons started with
his first trip to the theater to see Jungle
Book. He’s returned many times since,
and counts Tom Hanks, Robin Williams,
and Jimmy Stewart among his favorite
actors. He’d award Oscars to Hoosiers,
Groundhog Day, Radio, and Seabiscuit,
but says it was no surprise that It’s A
Wonderful Life ranked first among poll
respondents.
His literary concept has been well
received by several publishers, including
editors of the Chicken Soup For The
Soul series. “I have a copy of the New
York Times bestseller list in my office.
I’ve crossed out the number one title,
and penciled in my magical movies
book,” he laughs.
His story’s true moral, however, is the
many ways in which people can learn.
“I believe our creative, intellectual,
and spiritual potential is so much greater
than what any of us ever reaches,”
Eikenberry says. “We can make miracles
happen, and learning is an important
part of that process.”
“I was very fortunate to have
Purdue University instructors who were
exemplary role models. When I reflect on it now,
I realize I saw them, everyday, modeling how
to make learning more effective for adults.”
Kevin Eikenberry
2004Lesa G. Sterling GriffithsNewarkDE
The first to offer a video-stream, online
course in the University of Delaware’s
College of Agriculture and a leader in
connecting its students internationally,
Lesa Sterling Griffiths embraces the
wonders of the 21st century.
At the same time, she connects to
agriculture’s past through her five
Percheron draft horses, pre-Civil War
barn of stone and peg construction, and
century-old farmhouse.
Growing up in suburban New York,
Griffiths has no early ties to agriculture,
but her mother did instill an appreciation
of old things and a love of collecting.
For Griffiths, that’s meant acquiring
antique implements; veterinary items
such as old-fashioned hog powders and
animal ailment treatments; and a barn
full of horse-drawn sleighs, hay wagons
and carriages.
“I just can’t wait to get home and get
on a sleigh,” she says of a snow day.
She’ll take her nine-year-old son and
daughter along. “Usually a dog jumps in,
too.” The sleigh will be pulled by one of
two teams of Percherons. Jessie and Jane
are her youngest. Holly and Ivy are the
“older girls,” she says. “And our big
gelding is Frank.”
The family will ride around the
neighborhood and perhaps explore the
5,000-acre natural resource area in
Maryland near their 12-acre Delaware
farm. “It’s a nice release from a busy
career where you’re always on the phone
or computer,” she says. “And it’s
something we can do together.”
She’s drawn to the Percherons because
of their nature. “I want something nice
and well behaved. My horses are very
gentle, and very interactive with people.
And it’s great being out in the open area,
working with the horses, with the kids
and dog along.”
“My overwhelming memory of Purdue is one of
being accepted. I still feel I’m part of a family
of mentors, scholars and friends. I learned to not take
myself too seriously, be real, and find humor in
the worst situations and the best in every person.”
Lesa Griffiths
2004G. William HoaglandWashingtonD.C.
Crunching numbers all day is stressful
enough. Make those numbers the
Congressional budget, and it is no
wonder Bill Hoagland needs a tensionreliever.
That and his motivation to stay
healthy keep him on schedule, jogging
every other day.
He’s religious about it, but not
fanatical. “Ten miles is my limit,” he
says. “I have the best running course in
the world. I head out the west side of the
Capitol and go down the mall to the
Lincoln Memorial and back.”
It takes him about 41 minutes for the
4.5 mile lunch-hour run, leaving him time
to shower before returning to his desk.
A runner since the early 1970s, he’s
been consistent in the sport for the last
10 years. “I like getting away from the
office. It’s important to relax, to take the
pressure off from work,” he says. “I get
my heartbeat up and my pulse going. And
I have time to myself, time to think. It’s a
good time to think.”
It’s largely a solo activity for him,
although last Thanksgiving he ran the
Turkey Trot with his daughter, Kate,
visiting from Boston. He usually runs in
the April Cherry Blossom 10-miler, but
is missing the 2004 race to be at Purdue
for the Distinguished Agricultural Alumni
Awards.
“Most of the time I do it on my own,”
he says of his passion for running. “I
would like to run a marathon, but my
wife thinks I’m too old. There’s nothing
scheduled right now.”
“IcametoPurduesearching, uncertainastomyfuture.
My professors gave me a sense of value, a sense
of worth, and a recognition that I could use where
I had come from and put it to good work.”
William Hoagland
2004Scott A. JamiesonArlington HeightsIL
As a boy, Scott Jamieson simply
couldn’t resist the silver maple tree in
the back yard of his Gary, Indiana,
home—particularly on breezy days. The
adventuresome youth often would climb
to the very top, sway in rhythm with the
grand old maple, and survey his
neighborhood kingdom.
Years later as a Purdue student,
Jamieson and the future Diane Jamieson
frequently visited Horticulture Park,
simply to sit under the generous
branches of “their” tree—a strapping
sassafras, native to Indiana and
distinguished by its uniquely-shaped
leaves and gorgeous autumn color.
These days, there’s precious little time
to sit below a tree, or to clamber above
its trunk. Yet Jamieson’s early, elevating
experiences inspired a love of the
outdoors and an appreciation for the
exertion and discipline of physical
activity.
“My goal was to climb as high as I
could,” recalls Jamieson of his boyhood
Scott A. Jamieson
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Chief Executive Officer
The Care of Trees
exploits, “and it was pretty silly. We’d
never let our professionals climb the way
I did as a kid!”
Back on the ground, Jamieson spent
long hours hiking the Indiana Dunes
and, through the years, his homegrown
love for the outdoors branched out to flyfishing,
tennis, running, martial arts, and
skiing. His favorite spots are still
wherever trees grow in abundance—
Yosemite for its natural beauty, and
Sanibel, Florida, for its family-friendly,
undeveloped feel.
He also claims a “road-less-traveled”
favorite, a small offshoot of Gunpowder
River, just north of Baltimore. This is
where Jamieson perfects his fly-fishing
casting technique—a motion he
describes as “counter-intuitive”—and
rejuvenates his spirit.
“I love this little stream,” Jamieson
says. “When I’m there, I shut out all
distractions and simply focus myself.
Some of my best ideas have come from
this spot.”
Scott Jamieson
2004William A. NuergeIndependenceKY
After long hours on the job, Bill
Nuerge fills his time with almost a dozen
hobbies, and every one has a name.
They’re his family—wife Teri; children
Amy, Aaron, Branden, Andy, Josh, Austin,
and Kelsey; and three grandchildren.
Their time together ranges from
sporting events—the children’s, college
and pro games—to amusement parks,
horse races, fishing trips and some
travel. Holidays and birthdays bring them
all together, too, when they often play
football on the Nuerge’s seven acres and
soccer on a nearby field. The family buys
several season tickets to the Cincinnati
Bengals and Reds, and whoever is
available goes. Purdue and Colts football
games are popular, too, as is an annual
trip to Hawaii.
“They’re smart. They’re interesting,
and it’s enjoyable to see them grow,”
Nuerge says of his clan. His oldest child
is 29, and his youngest, 15. “And then
there are the grandchildren. I have a
blend. I enjoy the relationships between
the older kids and younger kids. They
take care of them and have a lot of fun
together. I also try to get individual time
with everybody.”
His family time is more precious than
ever because he was a long time earning
it, he says. A father during his college
years, he worked full time and studied,
too. Then from 1994 to 2000, he
commuted to his Kentucky job while his
family stayed in Lafayette, Indiana.
“I missed six years. Now they’ve all
migrated here with me,” he says. “They
are a challenge and a lot of work, too. I
want to keep them on track as long as I can
and get them through these difficult
years. So my time is spent with my family.”
“I worked full time when I went to Purdue,
so I learned the work ethic, the values of taking
care of yourself and managing your time.
More than anything else, Purdue provided
me with something worthy to work toward.”
William Nuerge
2004Lee E. SchmidtScottsdaleAZ
Nearly anything can spark the creator
in Lee Schmidt—a cactus growing in his
Arizona yard, an abandoned quarry, or
even a 1939 Chevrolet.
“I’m constantly reworking things,”
says the Carmel, Indiana, native, who
hails from a family of Purdue University
graduates. “I move flower beds around
in my yard, or, when I golf, I imagine the
back edge of a hole’s bunker a couple
feet higher.”
The inclination comes naturally,
Schmidt says, and traces its roots to high
school summers employed as a golf
course maintenance worker for the
Indianapolis Country Club. Proximity to
Indy—specifically to the Indy 500—also
fueled an enduring passion for
automobiles. And although it’s been
decades, Schmidt still remembers “the
one that got away.”
“When I was in college, my brother
and I saved money and were all set to
buy a Model A Roadster,” he recalls.
“We went to the auto auction, and
learned it had been sold the day before.”
His interest didn’t wane, though.
Schmidt recently restored a 1939
Chevrolet, and often frequents auto races
and antique car auctions. “I really like
the older styles, because you can
immediately identify them,” he says. The
1932 Ford, with its distinctive, over-sized
grille and headlights perched atop front
fenders, tops his list of all-time favorites.
Traveling the world also inspires
creativity, Schmidt believes. He and his
wife, Jean, and children Kyle and Kelly
lived in Hong Kong years ago when
Schmidt worked for Jack Nicklaus
Design, and he’s traveled to Asia at least
once a month for the past twelve years.
The journeys have taught lessons in
everything from bunkers and greens, to
people and plants.
“It’s not all about how we do things,”
he says, “and traveling has truly opened
my eyes to another side of this world.”
“I was very fortunate to have
studied under Dr. Daniel, a pioneer
in turf grass management.
Purdue University prepared me
well for a challenging career
and exciting life experiences.”
Lee Schmidt
2003William R. CarteauxMedinaOhio
Interested in how one of your managers likely will respond to a personnel problem or how a vendor might handle a complaint? How about whether a customer will over-react if there’s a misunderstanding?

Spend a few hours together on the golf course, Bill Carteaux suggests, and you’ll have the answer. Walking and playing a few holes can reveal more about your colleague than a 40-hour workweek.

An avid golfer whose home is situated strategically on the fifth fairway, Carteaux’s favorite hobby doubles as an insightful business tool. “You get to know someone on the golf course,” he says. “Are they driven? Do they continue to push toward the end, or give up? After four hours together, most people really let down their guard.”

Carteaux’s first golf game with the former Van Dorn Demag president, for instance, revealed the fiercely competitive side of an otherwise laid-back, soft-spoken individual. Another revealing round ended with a vendor throwing his putter on the green. “He pitched it so hard it stuck,” Carteaux recalls. “He was a hothead, and it really showed.”

Carteaux travels extensively—and rarely without his clubs. And although he’s played on courses around the world—including a club in Singapore where dues totaled $200,000 annually—Carteaux ranks Toledo, Ohio’s, Inverness Club as his favorite. “It’s one of the top 10 courses in the country and has a tremendous history,” he says. “All of the greats, like Palmer, Nicklaus, and Sneed, have played there.”

He may not be a legendary golfer, but Carteaux’s hobby claims lofty roots. “Before I started at Purdue, I never touched a club,” he recalls. “A friend suggested it, and I loved the game from the very first swing.”


1984 B.S., Agricultural Mechanization, Purdue University
1984-1985 Sales and Marketing Manager/Regional Sales Manager, Pent Incorporated
1985-1988 Sales Engineer, Manager of Customer Quality Projects, Production Supervisor, Guardian Industries
1988-1990 Territory Manager, Stanley-Vidmar
1990-1991 Sales Manager, Group Dekko Autoejectors, Inc.
1991-1993 General Manager, Group Dekko Autoejectors, Inc.
1993-1994 Vice President, General Manager, Group Dekko Autoejectors
1994-1997 President, General Manager, Group Dekko Autoejectors
1997-2001 Vice President of Marketing, Van Dorn Demag
1998 Outstanding Alumnus Award, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University
1999 MBA, Indiana Wesleyan University
2002-present President and CEO, Van Dorn Demag
Executive Managing Director, Demag Plastics Group


“My Purdue professors helped me realize my potential and instilled a lifelong commitment to learning. I received an excellent education . . . but I also learned to manage competing priorities and to stay focused.”
William R. Carteaux
2003Burnell C. “Burney” FischerLafayetteIndiana
After a workweek that covers the state and involves a $10 million annual budget, 13 state forests, and as many as a few hundred employees seasonally, Burney Fischer heads to his private retreat. It’s a one-acre site with a one-bedroom cottage on the Tippecanoe River in Carroll County that he bought in 1981.

 “The lot is totally treed, with wonderful, huge trees. It’s a great place,” he says. “And I can walk right into the river.”

There, he dons shorts, T-shirt, baseball cap, and a plain tan fishing vest; wades in thigh-high; and casts his pole for small-mouth bass. His goal isn’t filling a bucket—he returns the fish to the water. Instead, the lure for Indiana’s State Forester is the quiet, the time alone each morning and evening when there are no people or canoes on the water. “This is the best part of the river,” he says of his spot below Lake Freeman.

Once a year, he heads for Lake of the Woods in Nestor Falls, Ontario, a place his father took him to every year from the time Burney was 11. There, his repertoire expands to northern pike, walleyes, and muskies. And he’ll keep some for his supper. “I’ve been going there for more than 40 years. It’s a great week,” he says.

 “I don’t think of fishing as a competitive sport,” Fischer says. “From June to September, this is the most pleasant way to spend a summer day.”

He doesn’t commune with the fish, but he admits he sometimes talk to the trees. “Trees are the only natural part of the landscape you see when you’re driving the road,” says Fischer, whose favorite is the giant Burr Oak in the White Oak family. “I like trees. They’re the best part of the landscape.”


1969 B.S., Forestry, Purdue University
1971 M.S., Forestry, Purdue University
1974 Ph.D., Forestry, Purdue University
1974-1977 Faculty member, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
1977 Assistant professor and Extension forester, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University
1985 Technology Transfer and Extension Award, Society of American Foresters
1988 Full professor, Purdue University
1990-present State Forester/Director of Division of Forestry, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
1993 Historic Preservation and Archaeology Award to Division of Forestry
1997 Certified Forester, Society of American Foresters
1999 Fellow, Society of American Foresters


“It was the teachers at Purdue who helped make me what I am. They made a difference. The forestry faculty’s good teaching and mentoring established a style that is a part of my everyday work and personal life.”
Burney Fischer
2003Albert E. LundWilmingtonDelaware
Albert Lund will tell you first-hand: It’s a bug-eat-bug world out there.

He learned the lesson early in life from a first-generation naturalist, his late father Horace Lund, former head of entomology at the University of Georgia. The pair spent many weekends hiking and camping in favorite spots such as North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest. They’d head in different directions, collect insects for hours, and then reunite at “base camp” for microscopic looks at their finds and discussions of each insect’s adaptations.

 “Dad taught me the power of observation and the ability to train my eye to see what others don’t see,” Lund says. “It’s a real jungle out there, and a fascinating, natural drama is always unfolding.” Through his father’s eyes, Lund learned to appreciate not only nature’s panoramic beauty—mountain meadows and deciduous forests—but also intricate snapshots of the natural world—a beetle’s tenacious fight against an anthill or a shrew’s rapid respiration rate, a stress reaction to its low level on the food chain.

 “In many ways, Dad’s interest in nature started me in biology and led me to entomology,” he says.

Avid campers, Lund and his wife Rea, also an entomologist and Purdue graduate, have passed on the powers of natural observation to their sons, Timothy and Wesley. And, as was true decades ago, father and sons have recorded memorable adventures.

“There was a hurricane off the East Coast the same weekend Timothy and I were camping in West Virginia,” Lund recalls. “The storm was predicted to move out to sea, but instead it changed direction, backed up, and dumped torrential rain on West Virginia. We spent the whole time bushwhacking over steep terrain to avoid the rising rivers.

 “In general, I prefer a much less athletic approach to the outdoors!”


1972 B.S., Entomology, University of Georgia
1974 M.S., Entomology (Physiology), Purdue University
1974 Pi Kappa Phi, Purdue University
1975-1977 David Ross Research Fellow, Purdue University
1978 Ph.D., Entomology (Physiology-Toxicology), Purdue University
1978 Grass Research Fellow, Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole
1978-1980 Post-doctorate, Neuropharmacology, Northwestern University Medical School
1978-1980 NIH National Research Service Award, Northwestern University Medical School
1980-1983 Research Biologist, DuPont
1983-1984 Group Leader, DuPont
1984-1987 Research Supervisor, DuPont
1987-1989 Supervisor, Insect Control Group of Discovery, DuPont
1989-1991 Network Plans Manager, DuPont
1991-1993 Research Manager, DuPont
1993-1999 Insecticide Technology Manager, DuPont
1999-present Manager, Research and Development Asia- Pacific, DuPont
2002 Agriculture & Nutrition Research Accomplishment Award, E.I. DuPont de Nemours


“Professors and mentors at Purdue demonstrated the power of a disciplined scientific thought process. From these masters, I learned to frame and approach research problems and to thoroughly enjoy hunting for the truth behind the problem.”
Albert E. Lund
2003Evandro Chartuni MantovaniSete Lagoas, Minas GeraisBrazil
After a day that might include international collaborations, research in precision agriculture, and community service, Evandro Chartuni Mantovani likes to kick back, play a few popular Brazilian tunes on his wooden guitar, and maybe sing along. It’s the perfect cure for high-pressure days, he says.

 “When I play the guitar, many good feelings come to mind. It’s a way to enjoy life and to control the stress a bit,” he says. “When singing and playing with your soul, it looks like life is in another dimension, giving me a lot of good energy to move on.”

Influenced early by the Beatles and a friend who played the guitar, Mantovani was about 20 when he started playing, at first by ear. “Finally, last year I decided to take guitar classes,” he says. His favorites are samba, bossa nova, and romantic tunes. “I like to play the Brazilian popular music.”

Although he doesn’t perform—preferring to play at home with family and friends—like the Beatles, he’s influenced others. “Because of my interest in playing guitar, my two sons have become excellent musicians, and they have a rock band that performs during weekends for fun.”

Sports, too, are a big interest, as participant and fan. At Purdue he played tennis and joined fellow Brazilians in intramural games on a team named “Brasa.” Today, he’s a fan, cheering many a weekend for the Minas Gerais’ Cruzeiro soccer team in national competition. He still takes to the tennis court about three times a week for matches of his own.

Equally important, he says, is work for others. That currently includes serving as a member of the Hospital Nossa Senhora das Gracas Council. “I always give part of my time to help the community of Sete Lagoas.”


1974 B.S., Agronomy, Vicosa Federal University, Brazil
1975-present Senior Researcher, EMBRAPA, National Research Center for Corn and Sorghum, Brazil
1981 M.S., Agricultural Engineering, Purdue University
1984 Ph.D., Agricultural Engineering, Purdue University
1992-1993 Adjunct Professor, University of Campinas, Brazil
1993-1996 Agricultural, Commerce and Industry Secretary for the City of Sete Lagoas, Brazil
1995,1996 Outstanding Secretary Award
1999 Admitted as full member, Italy’s Club of Bologna Committee (international association of agriculture and agricultural mechanization experts)
1999-2003 Vice President, Brazilian Society of Agriculture Engineering
2000-2003 National Coordinator for Precision Agriculture Program in Brazil
2002 Honorary Citizen of Sete Lagoas, Brazil
2002 Outstanding Alumni Award, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University


“I consider my years at Purdue one of the more profitable times of my life. The quality of the courses, the library, student assistance, and advisors’ attention gave me the structure to develop my professional life.”
Evandro Chartuni Mantovani
2003Bret D. MarshCarmelIndiana
Today, Bret Marsh’s job as Indiana State Veterinarian is largely an administrative one in the state’s capital, but he brings to it hands-on experience growing up around livestock sales in Boone County.

Like his work, his home, too, is a blend of town and country. In Carmel, he enjoys collecting fine china as well as creating a country-like setting in his yard.

His interest in china was sparked by an early gift from his city-raised wife, Polly, who gave him his first piece, a Lladro figurine of a veterinarian. Today, his collection includes both antique and new items, and Limoge china as well as Waterford crystal. “We mix it up,” Marsh says. “We’ve even gone to auctions to find them.”

More recent acquisitions were birth gifts for their children—a Waterford baby block for their son, Spencer, and a Pooh Limoge box for their daughter, Lacey.

In their yard of one-and-a-quarter acres, the Marsh family is at work implementing a landscape plan created for them by a Purdue landscape architect graduate. “It’s a hands-on project,” Marsh says. It began with tearing out 20year-old landscaping to create a garden that incorporates the property’s plentiful and mature trees. They’ve added cone flowers, daisies, and hastas to the creek-accented property and a swing to their giant oak tree, as well as more trees. “We enjoy the lot,” he says. “It gives us a taste of country in town.”

Gardening is a pastime that yields rewards beyond the greenery, too. “I think about things while working in the yard,” Marsh says. “It helps me clear out the cobwebs.”


1981 B.S., Animal Sciences, Purdue University
1984 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University
1984-1986 Area Supervisor/Training Office, Meat and Poultry Inspection, Indiana State Board of Health
1986-1994 Director, Swine Health Programs, Indiana State Board of Health
1994-presen Indiana State Veterinarian, Indiana State Board of Health
1997 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine
1997 Sagamore of the Wabash
2001 Industry Meritorious Service Award, Indiana Pork Producers
2002 Veterinary Service Award, Indiana Veterinary Medical Association


“At Purdue, I learned perseverance, to face challenges head-on, and to value the faculty members and people who shared my experiences. They are part of who I am and are still great resources.”
Bret D. Marsh
2003Kenneth B. RulonCiceroIndiana
At 19 feet, boldly dressed in deep sky blue and white, Lady Jane presents a striking image. She’s great fun, too, on Indiana’s lakes. But floating and water skiing are this boat’s secondary purposes. Her most important task is providing opportunities for the Rulon family to enjoy time together.

 “Our value structure is faith, family, and farm, in that order,” says Kenneth Rulon, parent with his wife Jane of two teenage daughters, Jennifer and Kathryn. The idea for the boat came during a “family pow wow” a couple of years ago, when everyone listed the top 10 things they’d like to see and do in North America. “Everyone did their list independently, and when we came back together, a boat was number one for Jane and the girls and number two for me.”

Lady Jane joined the family last June. “We all went shopping to buy it after listing all the features and benefits we wanted. We include everyone in these things,” Rulon says. Sixteen times that first summer, they were on the water together. “We can be skiing within 21 minutes of home,” he says. It’s a new sport for them, and “all four of us are in various stages of learning,” Rulon says. “For me, it’s easier to fall than it used to be, and it seems to hurt a little longer.”

Besides being a vessel for family togetherness, the Lady Jane provides a break for these high-achievers in school and work. “Once you get into the boat, you leave the world at the dock,” Rulon says. “You don’t have peer pressure. You can turn off the cell phones. And it’s a good family getaway.”


1982 B.S., Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
1982-1991 Marketing specialist, plastics industry
1991-present Rulon Enterprises, Cicero, Indiana, (overseeing financial planning, accounting, risk management, marketing, corn planting, and field harvest operations for 5,000-acre family farm business)
1992 Co-founded peer review group of 11 large Indiana families operating more than 57,000 acres
1993 Named Top Marketer by Top Producer magazine


“The life-long benefit of my time at Purdue was learning how to ask questions, critically evaluate the answers, and think about how to best apply the conclusion to our farm business.”
Ken Rulon
2003Janice A. Cervelli SchachPendletonSouth Carolina
From singing in a rock band while at Purdue to taking voice lessons today—and woodcarving in between—Janice Cervelli Schach counts on creative expression for sustenance. It’s a natural extension of her profession, which includes 20 years as a landscape architect educator and her post now as dean of Clemson’s College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

Music has long been her passion, and it was almost her major at Indiana University—until she discovered landscape architecture and chose Purdue the summer before her freshman year. That fall, she attended a meeting of the Independent Musicians and Songwriters Club, where, she says, “I got to know some great musicians and songwriters. I still communicate with some of them.” She was a lead singer and played some guitar for the Wooden Ships and Green Mountain Flyer during her Purdue days, with gigs at the Stabilizer and other venues. She performed and recorded in Canada, too, while at graduate school.

Now, she’s interested in jazz, especially liking Diana Krall. “If the students will have me, I would absolutely love to perform here. They’ll have to put me in a soundproof room to see if I’m safe for the public.”

She’s also drawn to opera these days. “I’ve come full circle.”

Woodcarving, too, began at Purdue, with a three-dimension design principles class. That prompted her to try her hand at duck decoys and, more recently, private study with a Native American in Seattle, learning to carve totem poles and masks.

 “My mother was a professional dancer when she was young, and my father was an engineer who loved the outdoors and traveling,” Schach says. “I’ve combined the engineering side of the world and the artistic side.”


1979 B.S., Landscape Architecture, Purdue University
1981 Master’s in Landscape Architecture, University of Guelph, Ontario
1981-1986 Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Kentucky
1986-1993 Associate Professor, University of Kentucky
1992 Excellence in Undergraduate Education Award, University of Kentucky
1993 Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences Award, U.S. Department of Agriculture
1993-1997 Professor, University of Kentucky
1996 Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects
1996-1997 President, University Senate, University of Kentucky
1998-1999 Fellow, American Council on Education, Ohio State University and Ohio University
Distinguished Alumnus Award, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University
1999-2000 Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies; Director, Teaching and Learning Center; and Director, University Accreditation Self-Study, University of Kentucky
President, American Society of Landscape Architects
2000-present Dean, College of architecture, Arts and Humanities, Clemson University
2002 Award of Recognition for Excellence in Academic Administration, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture


“At Purdue and living on my own, I learned to determine my own goals. It was a time of stretching myself and seeing what I’m made of, of challenging myself and seeing what I could do.”
Janice Schach
2003Sharrann E. SimmonsWayneNew Jersey
An only child, Sharrann Simmons appreciated the value of personal connections at a young age. The Merrillville native lost her mother as a child, and her father died when she was a senior at Purdue. Comfort, Simmons says, came through reaching out to others.

“I have a 90-year-old aunt who lives in Atlanta, and I’ve visited her at Christmas every year since I graduated from Purdue,” says Simmons, who maintains many friendships from her college days. “I also spend a lot of time with friends, wherever they live.”

Distance is an enticement, rather than a deterrent, Simmons insists. “Travel is a passion of mine,” she says, “and if I have the chance to fly to London or Paris for a weekend, I’ll take it every time. I’ve always been open to new opportunities, and I love the exposure to people of other cultures. I’m not skilled in foreign language at all, but I’ve found if you make the effort to extend yourself, it’s an easy barrier to overcome.”

Simmons lived in Brussels for five years, and, next to Indiana, considers the eclectic and charming city a “second home.” She also ranks China, Japan, and Brazil among her top destinations.

Relatively closer to home, Simmons extends herself to underprivileged women through “Dress For Success” and—true to form—fosters friendships along the way. “The program focuses on helping women get appropriate business wear and the coaching they need for interviews,” Simmons says. “Some women don’t even know what the word ‘résumé’ means, and, without our help, they’d never find a full time job.

“It’s very rewarding to put some of my training to work for women who are less fortunate. And it’s wonderful to stay in touch and to hear about their successes.”


1977 B.S., Food Science, Purdue University
1978 M.S., Food Science, Purdue University
1978-1981 National Technical Service Representative/Food Technologist, Durkee Foods
1981-1982 Food Technologist, L.S. Heath & Sons
1982-1986 Technical Service Manager, Bunge Edible Oil Corporation
1985-1987 Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University
1986-1988 Food Service and Bakery Sales Manager, Bunge Edible Oil Corporation
1988-1989 Technical Sales Representative, FMC Corporation
1989-1990 Senior Technical Sales Representative, FMC Corporation
1990-1993 Product Manager, Specialty Excipients, FMC Corporation
1993-1995 Global Commercial Development Manager, FMC Corporation
1995-1999 European Food Marketing Director, FMC Corporation
1999-2001 Director of Food Sales, North America, FMC Corporation
2001-2002 Vice President, Marketing & Product Development, International Specialty Products
2002-present Vice President & General Manager, Colloides Naturels International, France


“Starting my first job, I felt very competent and well prepared, technically. Purdue’s Food Science program is very closely aligned with the food processing industry, and that affiliation affects everything from student grants to career placement.”
Sharrann Simmons
2003J. Yun TsoMenlo ParkCalifornia
Unlike J. Tso’s professional life, where his gaze locks intently on infinitesimally small test tubes and cells, hours outside the lab are filled by a man with an expansive view—an observer who appreciates what he sees “from the outside, looking in.”

A self-described shutterbug, Tso still uses the trusty Minolta that first launched his hobby as a high school student in Hong Kong. And although he’s comfortable with slightly more sophisticated equipment, Tso still depends on simple point-and-click cameras to photograph his favorite parts of the world—Italy, southern France, Guatemala, and California’s Yosemite National Park. “The natural lighting makes Yosemite look different every time,” he says. “I never get tired of it.” He’s also mesmerized by watching and photographing ocean tides and sunsets. “When you’re born near the sea, it becomes part of you, and you’re always drawn to it,” he explains.

When display space on his own walls approached capacity, Tso began sharing his photography with friends. One grateful recipient reciprocated with a collection of about 20 old cameras, including a Hasselblad, the same medium-format, all mechanical camera used by Apollo astronauts to photograph the moon. “I marvel at the workmanship of old cameras,” he says. “It’s truly amazing.”

This appreciative observer also is an avid fan of foreign movies, another deeply rooted hobby. As a high school student, Tso spent much of his free time at the nearby French cultural center, where he watched Japanese and French films. “It was the only place with air-conditioning,” he laughs.

 “Movies and photography allow me to enhance experiences in my life without being directly involved,” he adds. “(What I see) can be joyful or sad . . . but it always enriches my life to see how other people live or deal with their lives.”


1981 Ph.D., Biochemistry
Post-doctoral fellow
1981-1984 Post-doctoral fellow, Biochemistry, Cornell University
1984-1987 Stanford University, Genetics
Stanford University Cancer Biology Fellow
American Cancer Society Senior Post-doctoral Fellow
1987-1989 Staff Scientist, Protein Design Labs, Inc.
1989-2001 Senior Scientist, Protein Design Labs, Inc.
2001-present Director of Oncology, Protein Design Labs, Inc.


“At Purdue, I enjoyed the direct benefits of close interaction with my professors. I gained a very clear sense of professional direction from them.”
J. Yun Tso
2002Nels AckersonPotomacMaryland
An attorney with a passion for international travel, Nels Ackerson was the ideal candidate to lead an intricate cross-cultural charge: Establishment of Egypt’s first American law office—Sidley & Austin & Naguib—in 1982.
Equally important to the legal landmark, however, were the personal experiences and impressions Ackerson gained through three years in the Middle East.
“Living and working in Egypt was completely unlike anything I’ve done before,” he says. “There’s so much to understand about a culture that goes back 4,000 years. Sites such as the Temple of Karnak ruins display signs of a civilization impossible to imagine in terms of intellect and sophistication.”
Visiting rural villages offered insights to the country as well. “The level of near-destitute poverty of many village people was overwhelming,” Ackerson recalls. “But the character of those who wanted to rise above it was amazing. Egypt is a poor country, but its people are very noble.”
Ackerson also seized the opportunity to act as an ambassador of sorts. “Many Egyptians have had great admiration for Americans in the past, but, in recent years, that’s shifted toward fear and misunderstanding. Too often, Egyptians have found that the Americans in their presence didn’t represent the high ideals they expected. Too many Americans enter the country with arrogant or superior attitudes, and they ignore Egyptian culture and traditions.”
Ackerson’s returned to Egypt several times, always reuniting with colleagues and friends. “I’ve seen enough examples in career paths and policy changes to know that my presence there has made a difference,” he says. “Going through such a rigorous, intense, and rewarding experience to create something unique left me with very strong connections.”

Nels Ackerson
2002William R. AimutisBlaineMinnesota
No doubt William Aimutis could recite this litany—along with friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent—in his sleep. The 12-point Scout law he first learned as a youngster growing up in Crown Point, Indiana, is the same creed Aimutis shares with his two sons, Vince (18) and Don (15), and with the members of Rockton Boy Scout Troop 619.
“I like the ideals of Boy Scouts, and I enjoy teaching youth lessons in leadership,” says Aimutis of his 10 years as Scoutmaster. “My first passion is the outdoors, and scouting combines everything I love.”
Nature provides plenty of adventure as well, and Aimutis recalls one escapade in particular. During an outdoor camping jaunt in Galena, Illinois, his assistant scoutmaster was rushed to the hospital with an appendicitis attack. As Aimutis drove back to the campsite, cold rain turned to heavy snow. “After your first camp-out in bad conditions, you figure out ‘who’s who’ pretty quick,” he laughs. “Kids haven’t changed as much as they think.”
Aimutis can look forward to further high-energy quests, thanks to his recent role as leader of the Venturing Crew, a co-ed group of 14- to 20-year-olds. On the agenda are backpacking, water skiing, rock climbing, and a Colorado hiking trip. In addition to family fishing vacations this summer, Aimutis also hopes to visit his favorite spot in the country—the mountains of New Mexico—for a scout training program.
“My philosophy is you can’t be over-trained when it comes to working with youth. And my objective is to train today’s youth, so they can carry on leadership lessons.”

William R. Aimutis
2002P. Stephen BaenzigerLincolnNebraska
Give Stephen Baenziger some ballads to listen to and a ticket to travel, and he’ll tell you he’s a happy man. Both are pastimes he relishes.
He not only experiences great pleasure listening to music from the 1960s and 1970s, he enjoys learning the stories behind the lyrics, too.
“What’s most interesting to me is realizing that the song writer felt the emotion, too,” Baenziger says. “I find it interesting to think about the origin of these songs and what the writer was thinking, like the former slave ship captain who wrote “Amazing Grace,” and Woodie Guthrie’s “This Land,” when he talks about land being taken away from the average American. I like learning where these songs come from.”
As in the tune, “On the Road Again,” Baenziger also enjoys seeing the world. And he’s traveled much of it—Central and South America, Australia, China, Japan, many European countries, Turkey, Israel, and countless other spots.
Among his favorite trips is one he shared with his daughter Aubrie a couple of years ago, when the two spent New Year’s Eve in Paris, a high school graduation gift to her. Another that stands out is a trip to a small village in Western China. “I became the oddity to check out at the bustling market,” he recalls.
Experiencing different cultures, as well as checking out the local agriculture scene, are highlights for him. “I just love travelling,” he says.
On his wish list for future travels are Eastern Australia and Southeast Asia. And this wheat breeder says, “I’d love to see the great wheat production areas of the former Soviet Union.”

Stephen Baenziger
2002Francis “Frank” P. DeGennaroHockessinDelaware
Purdue University gave Frank DeGennaro a running start—literally.
An avid jogger, DeGennaro first put Nikes to pavement as an undergraduate. Matching him mile for mile was Stephen Weller, DeGennaro’s major professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
“I caught the running bug at Purdue, and I’ve had it ever since,” says DeGennaro. “Five- and ten-kilometer races were just getting started then, and every fair in Indiana was adding them. Steve and I hit a different race every weekend.”
DeGennaro hopes to run a marathon this year, a goal that eluded him in 2001. “I ran the Philadelphia half-marathon last September as training for an October marathon, but something happened to my foot, and I was toast by the race’s end.” This year, he’ll add more recuperation time between half and full marathons. Typically, DeGennaro logs three to four miles several times a week, with distance runs on weekends. “I’m amazed at how the body adapts to distance. I’ll get up to eight miles, feel great, and actually crave more miles the next week.”
Although training is exhilarating, DeGennaro puts fitness ahead of competition. “Running a marathon is a life goal, but I won’t sacrifice running for the rest of my life to achieve it. My Dad died of a heart attack in his 50s, and there’s a prevalence of heart disease in his family. Running’s the way I take care of myself.”
Less aerobic activities also contribute, such as tending an expansive garden behind his 140-year-old home, just outside Wilmington. “The whole process—starting from seed in the middle of winter and going all the way to summer and fall and seeing the fruits of your work—is in my blood.”

Frank DeGennaro
2002Charles J. DietzenZionsvilleIndiana
Growing up in a Kokomo, Indiana, family that cared for more than 150 foster children, Charles Dietzen learned early about compassion and living with zest. It led him to become a physician. And it’s taken him to the top of Mount Shasta, on an Arctic dog sled trip, and to professional wrestling rings as Dr. Doom.
He’s since rolled those into a single passion: a life of adventure and caring. This June it will take Dr. Chuck, as his pediatric patients call him, to a houseboat on the Amazon, where he’ll provide medical care during his travels. July will find him in Ecuador. And these are after his March medical missions to Honduras and Haiti.
His travels to six or seven countries a year are part of the nonprofit Timmy Foundation, which he founded in 1994 and named for a brother who died as an infant. The foundation provides for children’s needs around the world by serving as a clearinghouse for volunteers, medicine, food, educational resources, clothing, and other supplies. “We organize trips. We help volunteers find their mission,” Dietzen says. “I tell people we weren’t all born to be doctors, nurses, and therapists, but we were all born to be healers.”
Stateside, he’s equally committed to youngsters, in his medical work and his service as medical director at CHAMP Camp for medically fragile children. There, he challenges the “fragile” label by engaging children in vigorous outdoor activities. “I take kids with disabilities and give them arenas to display their abilities.”
His inspiration, he says, are the children themselves, whom Dietzen regards as heroes. “They are so incredibly wise. Medical school gave me knowledge. My patients make me wise.”

Charles J. Dietzen
2002Naim M. IrakiJerusalemIsrael
When Naim Iraki came to Purdue University to earn his doctorate in plant physiology, he packed his camera. While photography had been his hobby since his late teenage years, it was at Purdue that his interest blossomed.
His favorite subjects are natural landscapes and “people in important events,” he says. He shoots with color film, but also enjoys black-and-white photos. The hobby, he says, is “a way of preserving in my mind certain events or beautiful locations I visited and the ‘story’ around each of them.”
Photography also gives him an opportunity for personal creativity. “I view photography as an art that can be used for expressing my thoughts and feelings through the kinds of objects and the poses I select.” He doesn’t currently develop his own photographs, but he’d like to. “A large part of the art is also in the film developing process.”
While Iraki doesn’t exhibit his photographs publicly, he enjoys displaying them for family and friends. “The reward I get from photography is the pleasure I feel when recalling the event or the location I visited,” he says. “It is a kind of going back to the past and reliving a good time. One photograph may even remind me of a period of several years of my life.”
And if a photo has captured a sad time, he thinks back and asks, “What caused it to happen? Could I have avoided this happening? How can I avoid similar events in the future?”

Naim Iraki
2002Ted A. McKinneyIndianapolisIndiana
Ted McKinney well remembers earning his first blue ribbon. He was 10, his project was photography, and, as a member of the Blue Ribbon Chasers Club, he entered his work in the Tipton County Fair. He received another blue ribbon at the Indiana State Fair, and, he recalls, “It is incredible what that will do for enthusiasm and motivation for the future.”
The experience not only motivated McKinney, a 10-year 4-H member, throughout his life, it planted the seed for his passion today: investing in youth.
He does that through his old favorite, 4-H, currently serving on the Indiana 4-H Foundation Board, and through the FFA, another organization he was active in as a youth. Today, the National FFA Center is right next door to Dow AgroSciences, where McKinney works. “I led the committee that brought the center here. I’ve advised them from time to time. And I serve as a good neighbor,” McKinney says. “I got so much out of those two organizations, I feel there is some duty to give back.” 
Besides, he believes in both. “4-H teaches involvement, skill development, interacting with others, and various qualities. And FFA is unequivocally the premier youth development organization in the world. You can learn public speaking and parliamentary procedure, and how to run a business, keep records, and make investments. And you can develop your leadership skills.”
The father of three—two in high school and a third grader—McKinney devotes his spare time to their activities, which include football, cheerleading, basketball, Girl Scouts, and— no surprise—4-H. “I don’t miss very many of their activities,” McKinney says. “That’s important to me.”

Ted McKinney
2002Bradley T. ShearesLansdalePennsylvania
Ask anyone who knows him. In every language, the name Brad Sheares translates to “basketball nut.”
“I played on Purdue co-rec and intramural teams, but I was told to never quit my day job,” laughs Sheares. His love of the game hasn’t dimmed through the years, and he’s equally enthralled whether the competition is at the elementary school level or the pros.
Basketball fever is contagious, he says. Sheares’ three daughters play the game, and he thoroughly enjoys rotating one of the three to join him for Philadelphia 76ers games. “There’s no better experience than sharing the excitement and exhilaration of basketball with my daughters,” Sheares says.
Road trips are a symptom of basketball fever too, and the 2000 Indianapolis Final Four experience was a particular highlight. “I got tickets at the last minute and invited my brother, Reuben, who’s a cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio. We drove back to Columbus after the games, because there were no hotel rooms available. Even the clocks worked in our favor. Columbus switched to daylight savings time on Sunday, so we gained an extra hour of Indianapolis excitement along with Monday’s final game.” On the job, memorabilia such as Michael Jordan etchings, a signed basketball, and coffee table books find special spots in Sheares’ office.
An accomplished businessman with a scientist’s perspective, Sheares also sees basketball’s practical life applications. “There’s an art and science to the game. It’s a true team sport because you can see vividly how a team plays better than any single individual. Even if an individual is not particularly skilled, if he or she plays hard and sound, the team benefits as a whole.”

Bradley T. Sheares
2001Eric A. BrownAustinMN
Sometimes, journeys in the right direction unfold a map for life - particularly when 4-H is your compass and dad is your navigator. Such was the combination that led Eric Brown to his career in Austin, Minnesota, with Hormel Foods Corporation. Growing up on the family farm just north of Lafayette, Brown raised purebred hogs as a youngster and was a 12-year 4-H member. He and his dad traveled annually to state fairs and national shows, including Austin’s National Barrow Show, sponsored by Hormel. “After graduation, I sent letters to about 50 different food companies, including Hormel,” Brown recalls. “As we progressed with interviews, I felt I already knew the company. It all came together and was a good choice for me, based on my understanding of raising hogs.” Brown also offered his employer keen senses of history and stability. His great-great-grandfather, Peter 0. Brown, moved from Chillicothe, Ohio, to Tippecanoe County in 1829 and settled the family’s original farm. Brown recalls that as a child he found arrowheads in the fields, and that he heard stories about Peter Brown’s father-in-law, who was killed by area Indians. He remembers hearing how neighbors’ homes were moved when Highway 43 went from dirt road to blacktop, and of the horses used to grade the county’s first highways. “My family’s stories gave me strong roots,” Brown says, “and my farm experiences led to a strong work ethic. I learned what it takes to raise food.” Today, the family farm has grown to 5,500 tillable acres and is co-owned by the three Brown brothers. Known as Tip Top Farms, it includes the original 160 acres homesteaded by Peter Brown. In addition to anchoring the Brown family, these historic acres also have cultivated serendipitous paths for their caretakers: Brown joins his father, Donald, grandfather Wilbur Brown, and brother Bruce Brown in a distinguished line of Purdue graduates.Ohio, to Tippecanoe County in 1829 and settled the family's original farm. Brown recalls that as a child he found arrowheads in the fields, and that he heard stories about Peter Brown's father-in-law, who was killed by area Indians. He remembers hearing how neighbors' homes were moved when Highway 43 went from dirt road to blacktop, and of the horses used to grade the county's first highways. "My family's stories gave me strong roots," Brown says, "and my farm experiences led to a strong work ethic. I learned what it takes to raise food." Today, the family farm has grown to 5,500 tillable acres and is coowned
by the three Brown brothers. Known as Tip Top Farms, it includes the original 160 acres homesteaded by Peter Brown. In  addition to anchoring the Brown family, these historic acres also have cultivated serendipitous paths for their caretakers: Brown joins his father, Donald, grandfather Wilbur Brown, and brother Bruce Brown in a distinguished line of Purdue graduates.
2001John S. CastraleMitchellIN
Living next door to Indiana’s Spring Mill State Park and enjoying birds as a pastime as well as profession blur the lines between work and play for John Castrale, a nongame biologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife. And while he enjoys reading a fast-paced thriller for pleasure, that, too, can reflect a typical day. That’s because two species that fall under his care are peregrine falcons and bald eagles, which offer Castrale quite an adventure when he’s tagging the birds or checking nests as part of his restoration projects. A workday might find him flying in a helicopter surveying riverbanks or donning a hard hat and safety glasses to protect himself from the birds, which can be fierce about protecting their young. “It’s an adrenaline rush,” he admits. His banding work has taken him to the 31st story of an Indianapolis building and high on power plant smokestacks along Lake Michigan. The falcons and eagles are just two of 300 species of Indiana birds he looks out for and takes calls about. “Most questions about birds get referred to me,” he says. His passion carries through on vacation, when he often discovers how small the world is. On a recent family trip to his grandparents, birthplace in Usseglio, Italy, he was touched by a special connection when he spotted his first red-backed shrike, a member of the same family as Indiana’s logger-head shrike. “I like seeing different cultures and birds, habitats when I travel,” he says. While he’s not meticulous about keeping his life list of bird sightings, which ranges from 400 to 500 species, “on trips I like to tick off birds I spot,” he says. And he often helps other birders add to their own list by hosting them on his backyard deck, where they might hear the song of a visiting chuck-will’s widow.projects. A workday might find him flying in a helicopter  surveying riverbanks or donning a hard hat and safety glasses to protect himself from the birds, which can be fierce about protecting their young. "It's an adrenaline rush," he admits. His banding work has taken him to the 31st story of an Indianapolis building and high on power plant smokestacks along Lake Michigan. The falcons and eagles are just two of 300 species of Indiana birds he looks out for and takes calls about. "Most questions about birds get referred to me," he says.
His passion carries through on vacatiorn'i, when he often discovers how small the world is. On a recent family trip to his grandparents' birthplace in Usseglio, Italy, he was touched by a special connection when he spotted his first red-backed shrike, a member of the same family as Indiana's logger-head shrike. "I like seeing different cultures and birds' habitats when I travel," he says. While he's not meticulous about keeping his life list of bird sightings, which ranges from 400 to 500 species, "on trips I like to tick off birds I spot," he says. And he often helps other birders add to their own list by hosting them on his backyard deck, where they might hear the song of a visiting chuck-will's widow.
2001Mamou K. EhuiWashingtonD.C
Reading works by Maya Angelou. Listening to Natalie Cole, B.B. King, African music with lots of rhythm, and some jazz. Taking walks. These are the weekend pastimes that rejuvenate Mamou K. Ehui for the high profile, nonstop pace of the work week. She’s currently an agricultural economist at the World Bank on a one-year staff exchange program with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. “One of my favorite pastimes is listening to music on weekends and enjoying quiet moments. This is because of my busy schedule during the week,” she says. “I also like walking, to re-energize and think.” These are imperatives in taking care of herself, Ehui says. So is traveling to Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa each December to spend time with her extended family, which includes two sisters, four brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and her 4-year-old daughter, Marie Danielle. ‘This is what Africa is about - family,” she says. ‘We home from quite big families, and all the children are there. My husband has a very busy schedule, too, so these are very precious moments. That is why we don’t miss the holidays at home.” The substantive training Ehui received at Purdue has served her well in the decade she’s been at the United Nations, she says. “Now I appreciate the hard time my professors gave me,” she quips. At the U.N., she served the last five years as the first woman to be named special assistant to the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, one of five U.N. commissions. ‘The groundwork at Purdue provided me with tools to successfully enter the U.N. system, to address and analyze economic problems, and to remain very competitive,” she says.to address and analyze economic problems, and to remain very competitive," she says.
2001Simeon K. EhuiAddis AbabaEthiopia
Growing up in Africa’s Ivory Coast, Simeon K. Ehui knew firsthand what it was like to be poor. “I come from a very modest family. We had no electricity in our home,” he says. “I lost my father when I was 10, and my mother sold cloth in the marketplace to earn money.” Today when he visits his home country, he says, “I see the same type of child in the same situation, and it hurts my heart. So wherever I am, I try to help.” Despite his childhood hardships, he’s been lucky, Dr. Ehui says. His mother worked to send him to school. He earned a graduate scholarship from his country’s government and other awards and fellowships along the way. And in return, he’s devoting his life to helping others. Professionally, Ehui contributes as leader of the policy analysis program of the International Livestock Research Institute in Ethiopia. The organization’s mission is to improve sustainable livestock production. Personally, he helps to ease the pain of poverty in several ways. “Being involved in humanitarian activities is my biggest pastime,” Ehui says. Many of his contributions have been through his leadership in the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa - donations to Sister Jember’s Slum Area Development Project, Hanna Family Home for Orphan Children, and a training center for street girls. He also was instrumental in launching the Lighthouse Project for Ethiopia, which provides shelter for homeless mothers, food for six months, and loans to establish small-scale businesses. And he’s secured assistance from the West Lafayette, Indiana, Rotary Club to further these projects. “I believe I should help,” he says. “I am deeply involved in solving community problems.”
2001McArthur FloydNormal AL
When McArthur Floyd’s friends and family gather, they can count on one certainty: They’ll enjoy starring roles in a Floyd classic. “I’ve been the official videographer for the past 13 years,” Floyd laughs. “Whenever you see me, I’ll have my camera with me. One of these days, I plan to sit down, organize my collection, and put together a ‘world’s travels’ tape for the family.” New releases routinely join the archives. Floyd videotapes family holidays, vacations, and friends’ weddings. He’s most enthralled by natural scenes, and he has documented trips to the country’s national parks. He’s visited all but four, and he hopes to add Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to the docket soon. ‘‘I’m motivated by the joy of recording special moments, and also by the expressions of joy when I share tapes with family and friends,” Floyd says. Sharing joy takes many forms - whether he’s leading a young adult “Facts of Life” Bible class or encouraging students at Alabama A&M. The spirit, Floyd says, is rooted in the 13 months and 21 days he spent in the Vietnam jungles three decades ago. “It was a very troubling period, but one of real evaluation for me,” he recalls. “I often felt I was fighting a war for a country that didn’t seem to appreciate me as a person. “But I learned to look for the positive in everyone I meet, and to take something good from every experience. Life is more than what comes to you - it’s what you give to others.” Floyd next hopes to spend time in Africa, applying biotechnology to increase the food supplies in various countries on that continent. As he travels, he’ll share his expertise - and sharpen his keen videographer’s eye.
2001Lawrence R. RueffGreensburgIN
When Larry Rueff walks a famous Civil War battlefield, he traverses more than landscape. Rather, the self-described history buff sees stories unfolding - tales only Gettysburg or Chickamauga can tell. “These soldiers were people just like us,” says Rueff, whose Civil War study spans 15 years. “They were just caught up in a very tragic situation at an amazing time in United States history.” Rueff collects old photographs and newspaper articles about the Civil War as well. “It’s intriguing to chronicle the country’s transition,” he says. Rueff’s mother, Jean, an 83-year-old former schoolteacher, first opened his eyes to history. “Mom always said people made history boring by taking the story out of it,” Rueff recalls. “When you put in stories, people come alive, and it’s fascinating.” He recalls family vacations to Boston and sites such as the Old North Church and Liberty Bell. “Those trips really hooked me. Mom had a story for everything I saw.” One of her favorite tales always included a chapter on her son, the history teacher, Rueff laughs. Although his career path diverged from that foretold by his mother, he shares his mother’s love of storytelling, giving frequent presentations to the Rotary Club and other local groups. History will come alive for him again this summer, when Rueff and two friends travel to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Civil War battlefield jaunts are an annual tradition for the three, who share a passion for history. “When I visited Chickamauga in Georgia, I learned one of the battle heroes was a soldier from Greensburg,” Rueff says. “After the war, he moved south and became the mayor of Chattanooga. “Those are the stories I love to hear, and I love to tell.”
2001Henry L. ShandsFort CollinsCO
Good stewardship and a willingness to treat others fairly guide the work of Henry Shands, whose career spans academics, industry and government. He currently is director of the National Seed Storage Laboratory and National Animal Germplasm Program in Fort Collins, Colorado. To give him focus for the day ahead, he takes an early morning run. “When I’m on my run, I can think most clearly,” he says. “It’s a time to contemplate what I’m going to be doing during the day, to think ahead and to think things through. It’s been especially helpful when dealing with international negotiations and sensitive subjects.” His international associations also are enhanced by the years he spent at Purdue, where he knew students from around the world. “I still have contact with many outstanding students I met at Purdue. That’s been a wonderful association, having that linkage, and it stimulated much of my interest in the international scene.” In Fort Collins, he says, “We have agreements with many of these countries, storing seeds for security. It’s nice to have linkages that transcend years of time and political wars. The bond you get as a costudent is something to be cherished.” While going the distance as a jogger helps him do the same on the job, running also has been a lifelong interest. He has passed the finish lines in marathons from Boston to Toronto, Indianapolis to Wichita. And now that he lives in Colorado, he’s added cross-country skiing to his outdoor repertoire. “I have to have something during the day to keep me somewhat fit to tackle the rest of the day,” he says. Indoors, he enjoys making fine furniture “when I have time,” and many pieces now fill his children’s homes.
2001Robert W. WotzakFullertonCA
Growing up in Chicago, Robert Wotzak was encouraged by his aunt at the University of Chicago to stretch a little and try something new. That first “something new” was coming to Purdue University. The second was choosing food science over biology for his master’s, so that he could use science in an applied fashion. “At the end of a two-hour lab, you can eat the sauerkraut, versus a chemistry lab, where you don’t dare taste the unknown,” he quips. Wotzak continued making “outside the box” decisions as he began his career. His first job was with Carnation Co. in southern California. “I had offers closer to home, but I said, ‘No, this will be the most challenging.”’ He also spent four years in Australia while working for Campbell Soup Co. “I don’t follow the normal path,” he says. Now he’s back in southern California, this time working for ConAgra Grocery Products Co. His passion is the outdoors, sometimes at sporting events involving his three children. Most often, his outdoor activity is walking -10 or 12 miles every weekend. “It’s a chance to break out and think and relax a little bit,” he says. He also enjoys gardening at his family’s San Juan Capistrano home. While flowers have been the mainstay, this spring he’s stepping off the familiar path. “We’re trying vegetables,” he says of the family garden. “I’m building big planter boxes, and hopefully we can control the soil and moisture and keep the gophers out.” What’s ahead? “That’s what scares me,” he laughs. “I tend to sit some place for a couple of years and then ask, ‘Now what?”’
2000D. William “Bill” BiddleRemingtonIN
Deep roots, reverently honored by D. William Biddle, fuel his strength. They send him to church early every Sunday for choir practice, a tradition he began as a youngster at the invitation of his aunt Martha, the church organist. They prompt him to preserve a midfield windmill near the site of the house where his grandfather was born, and to live in the house where his father was born-reminders that he’s the fourth generation to farm in Benton County. And they keep him involved in countless agricultural and Purdue organizations, because people and their ideas are the rewards in his life. “I watched my dad,” Biddle says, “He did a lot of these things, and it seemed like the right thing to do.” His father brought him to Purdue for the Ag Fish Fry and Big Ten games years before Bill was old enough to be e student, and he keeps coming back today,35 years after he earned his agricultural economics degree. • Watching his father also inspired Biddle’s long commitment to agricultural organizations. His commitment included board posts and leadership rol.es for Agricultural Alumni Seed improvement Association; American Soybean Association; Indiana Crop Improvement Association; Indiana Institute of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition: Indiana Seed Trade Association; and Public Varieties of Indiana. “The rewards of my involvement over the years are the good people I work with, who then become good friends, and their new ideas,” Biddle says. “Each one has something to offer. Some people measure their success with dollars. I measure mine by the people in my life.” And that explains why he loves waving the Purdue flag every chance he gets, why he sings “Amazing Grace” with such appreciation for life, and why “Born in the U.S.A.” is one of his favorite songs.
2000Mark W. BitzPlainvilleNY
Armed with a bachelor’s from Purdue and a master’s from Cornell, Mark W. Bitz set out to take on the world. For him that means a life of learning and teaching, little of it in classrooms. By day, he’s president and general manager of a 500,000-bird turkey farm and related businesses, where one of the company’s 10 strategies is “learn, learn, learn.” He’s also an avid reader and writer, particularly on practices for living and marriage. “I learn about what is universal and what is particular,” Bitz says. “Some of the most critical conflicts in our time are the perspectives that come out of traditional religions versus science. I’ve tried to glean from both some practices for living well and organizing a business, a family, and a culture.” Bitz also opens doors of learning for others. On the job, he developed a 20-week employee training program. Outside of work, he chairs the New York State 4-H Foundation Board and serves in a group at Cornell that is reformulating 4-H programs, both aimed at helping adults spend more time with children. On the Purdue rowing crew he learned that play, too, has value. “What I loved at Purdue was that people have good balance. I learned lots in the classes, and there was time for extracurricular activities. I got fully as much out of those experiences as I did out of the classroom.” Today, he teaches that lesson by coaching youth soccer. Bitz also helped develop and build The Pioneer Experience, a central New York facility replicating yesteryear, and Plainville Farms welcomes thousands of school children for tours each year. “Usually, if I’m involved in something, it doesn’t stay the way it was when I found it,” he says. “I like to think I leave it better. For sure, it ends up different.”
2000Ronald P. CantrellLos Banos, LagunaPhilippines
Gardening and golf might be among the interests Ronald P. Cantrell would pursue if the call to advocate for the world’s hungry didn’t ring quite so loudly. Instead, his passion as director general of the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines permeates every aspect of his life and occupies virtually all of his time. The roots of that commitment extend to his years at Purdue University and the time he spent in West Africa heading a farming systems team. There he first heard hunger’s cry. And he’s since listened to it in several Asian countries. “It’s a real crisis,” Cantrell says, citing 1.2 billion people who live on less than a dollar a day, those who spend nearly all their income on food, and the 800 million people without sufficient quality or quantity of food. Those numbers fuel his advocacy. “Not having enough food or having to spend 80 percent to 90 percent of your income on food is a very solvable problem. It’s not an easy problem, but it’s solvable. And it needs the attention and support of people throughout the world,” Cantrell says. He believes the answer lies in science and agriculture working together to produce more food and to make it more available and affordable-the institute’s research mission. Looking at projected population growth, Cantrell notes, “In the next 30 years we’re probably going to have to produce 30 percent to 50 percent more rice with less land and less water.” That alone poses quite a hurdle. “This is coming at a time when people are not as aware of the poverty of the world, so we are not as able to raise funds as we were years ago.” That further motivates Cantrell. “It’s a tremendous challenge, but these people need the best science has to offer.”
2000Barbara ChattinArlingtonVA
Thinking on her feet fills much of Barbara Chattin’s workdays, especially during the .six months or so of every year that she spends at the Geneva, Switzerland, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. So when she has a little time off from trade negotiations, she takes those overworked feet on mini-vacations in the Swiss countryside. “Switzerland has an incredible train system. I ride the train out to different little towns. At each town you can get off the train, get a map showing where hiking trails are and how long they are, and you can walk,” Chattin says. “And strange as it may seem for Switzerland, you can find some trails th.at don’t require you to be scurrying up a mountain or down narrow paths and ledges.” • Living in Arlington, Va., and flying frequently to Geneva for. extended stays, Chattin needs a portable and very parNlme hobby .. Hiking fills the bill on both continents. In Virginia, she also enjoys her own home’s flower garden. Hiking is especially beneficial in Switzerland, where the scenic meadows she walks to offer an occasional respite from intense trade discussions. Negotiations constitute the bulk of her job, and being able to think on her feet is her greatest challenge, Chattin says. “The more articulate you are, the better the job you do,” she says. “You can have a position identified ahead of time. You may know the general principles you’re trying to convey. But no one can script it. And when you’re from the United States, every word you say, people are taking down.” Her years at Purdue, which went beyond agricultural economics to include some animal science, process engineering, and a broad interdisciplinary experience helped prepare her. “It was a foundation, working with people who have a different framework,” she says. “It’s very similar in the government.”
2000J.B. PennMcLeanVA
J.B. Penn ranks his trip to West Lafayette as a graduate student among the toughest of his life-a marathon drive from comparatively balmy Baton Rouge, La., that culminated with a bitter cold January snowstorm. The voyage to Purdue University, however, paved Penn’s path for considerably friendlier, and more colorful, journeys, “Department head Charlie French had a very aggressive management philosophy,” Penn recalls. “He recruited the best faculty and graduate students, and he greatly expanded the number of foreign students. The size and status of the program meant I competed against the very best, nationally and internationally.” • Penn has little competition when it comes to globe-trotting. He’s logged 65 trips to Poland, the first in 1982 at the height of the Cold War. Penn witnessed a dramatic metamorphosis through the years, one that took the country from black-and-white to Technicolor®. “Poland was a pretty bleak place before 1990,” he recalls. “The climate makes .the afternoons seem dark, and lights were always dim. People didn’t care what they looked like. Their dress was very utilitarian and functional. “After the fall of Communism the change was remarkable-awnings appeared on buildings, streetcars were painted, and women started dressing in bright colors. People who were stifled just burst open with energy, enthusiasm, and creativity.” Travels occasionally take Penn back to his hometown of Leola, Ark., where his parents, both 95, still live on the home farm. Several years ago, Penn purchased the adjoining farm-500 rolling acres once owned by his grandfather.
2000Kenneth L. SchwabShreveportLA
Kenneth Schwab sees many lives in• pieces of wood, and his visions inspire handcrafted furniture designed to link generations. An old walnut tree on the family’s Wolcott, Ind., dairy farm captured his heart and imagination, Schwab says. When the tree was cut down, he kept several large pieces. And when Schwab took up woodworking years later, he honed his skills on the pieces of wood that represented family, permanency, and roots, fashioning an intricate loveseat that graces the entryway of his Shreveport, La., home. “Woodworking is very therapeutic,” Schwab says. .”It’s so rewarding to have tangible, hands-on evidence. of completing a task don’t always experience that in the ‘people’ business,” A handcrafted wooden rocking horse stands sentry in the entryway as well. His three sons have long outgrown it, but the toy remains a sentimental favorite, Schwab says. Hidden treasures are joys as well. Schwab is always on the hunt for antiques and he’s an avid refinisher. “I like to find old furniture that’s been painted,’’ he says. “It’s rewarding to liberate the beautiful wood that lies under the surface.” Stories lie beneath the veneers as well. A cabinet, handcrafted by Schwab’s great, great, great-grandfather and passed down to the oldest son of each generation, serves as an enduring lesson in history and perspective. “I look at that piece every day, and I’m reminded of its many lives in many different homes throughout the decades,” Schwab says. “It carries an incredibly rich history. “I find the older I get, the more connected I am with family and heritage. My family is my passion.”
2000Sue A. ShadleyIndianapolisIN
Sue Shadley believes in the magic of open spaces, cherishing equally the charms of her six and one-half forested acres in north Monroe County and the spells cast in the wilds of Africa. Preserving such riches is her life’s passion. “I felt so wonderful when I stood in the middle of African grasslands and realized how much land has been set aside,” says Shadley, who has .traveled twice to Africa. “We lose so much with every endangered species that disappears. Balancing human needs with wildlife needs is a critical, delicate task.” The leopard initially inspired Shadley’s visions of Africa and fueled her passion for wildlife. She studied the endangered species and researched laws to protect it for an undergraduate class project. “I knew someday I’d have to see this animal,” Shadley recalls. “My first trip to Africa, I saw wildebeest, hippopotamus, antelope, cheetahs-even giraffes running alongside the dirt runway when we landed in Nairobi-but no leopards. “I went back a few years ago and had to go all the way into Tanzania to see a leopard. But I saw one, sound asleep in a tree.” Closer to home, Shadley is slowly but steadily turning her property back to forest. Since buying the land in 1986, she’s planted about 500 White Pine, Norway Spruce and Red Pine, and an arboretum, situated along her creek, boasts 30 varieties. Shadley also is nurturing a flower garden planted a century ago by the property’s original owner. Under her green thumb, hundred-year-old rose bushes and peonies thrive. “I’ve always loved nature, animals, and the outdoors,” Shadley says. “Mom tells me that when I was a baby, all she’d have to do to keep me happy was to lay me under a tree and let me watch the leaves blow.”
2000Marion P. WilliamsConcordMD
Raised on his family’s 40-acrefarmin.Salem, Ind,, Marion Williams cultivated a love of the outdoors, an appreciation for the fruits of the earth, and a passion for health and nutrition. The elements-precursors to Williams’ career in food technology first were glimpsed in the shapes of apples, plums, cherries, and pears. “I started working odd jobs when I was 8 years old, and from age 11 to 18, I worked in an orchard, picking fruit in season and grading it out in the winter,” Williams recalls. “The most I ever made was $5. a day for a 10-hour day, but I managed to save enough for one semester at Purdue.” Once there, the objective was singular-succeed. “You .live with yourself 24 hours a day, and you do .whatever it takes to make. yourself comfortable,” Williams says. “I wanted to achieve, not fail. And that’s what drove me.” Williams excelled. Scholarships financed the rest of his Purdue education and a single conversation with Philip Nelson, who was completing his Ph.D. in food science at the time, defined his interests. “Something clicked when I talked to Phil about how science plays a role in getting a product from the fields to grocery stores,” Williams says. “I didn’t realize it as I picked apples and peaches, but fresh market produce was a latent interest of mine. It all came together at Purdue.” Today, a love for the great outdoors translates to weekly golf rounds and occasional company-sponsored tournaments. “I enjoy golf, but I think I’ll keep my day job,” Williams laughs. And yesteryear’s fresh fruits are today’s juices. An advocate of fruits and vegetables, Williams’ daily nutritional lineup includes a glass of purple grape juice-Welch’s, of course.
1999Walter J. ArmbrusterOak BrookIL
Walter J. Armbruster earned bachelor’s (1962) and master’s (1964) degrees in Agricultural Economics from Purdue and a doctorate in Agricultural Economics from Oregon State University (1970). He is currently Managing Director of the Farm Foundation. Here are some of his thoughts on education, career, and life: On his early years: “I grew up on a small farm near Lawrenceburg in southern Indiana. We didn’t earn a living on the farm, but we learned the work ethic by raising enough animals to feed ourselves and to take to market, and by growing feed and grain for the animals and tending a huge garden. I spent many hours hunting and fishing and pursuing other outdoor activities, and that background gave me an appreciation for agriculture and for the environment.” On deciding to come to Purdue: “I came to Purdue intending to be an engineer, but after the first year I didn’t find that very appealing. Some aptitude tests identified several possible majors, and I went around and talked to people in those departments. Ag Econ came across as the most interesting. I was in the first undergrad agribusiness management program and continued that focus for my master’s. I was the first in my family to come to Purdue: my four younger brothers are all Boilermakers too.” On major Purdue influences: “My Purdue education formed the basis on which I was able to build a career. Interaction with recognized leaders in agricultural economics and policy helped me find the opportunities that fit me. “Another major influence was the food service work that I did to help put myself through school. First as waiter captain and then as head waiter, I was in charge of a 90-person wait staff. It was great experience to learn how to manage people and schedules. It was very demanding in addition to my classroom work, but I also made a lot of good friends in the process.” On his career: “The most rewarding thing about my work is the opportunity to interact with national and international agricultural leaders in both public and private sectors. “The Farm Foundation serves as a catalyst, bringing a lot of people together to talk about various topics. I meet many interesting people that way. “I can really say I enjoy my work. It has brought opportunities for extensive travel in the United States and abroad. Last summer my family spent three weeks in South Africa. It is a beautiful country, with. some big challenges for agriculture and food production.” On his philosophy of life: “Look ahead, do as good a job as you can, and let the recognition come from that.” On his hopes for the future: “I hope we can produce a good quality, safe food supply for as many people in the world as possible in a manner that is environmentally conscious. Personally, I’d like to help bring people together to shape the agenda for agriculture in the future.” His advice to students: “Get a sound education to in something with basic interest to you. Then follow the leads you get and you’ll find a way to apply that knowledge to serve broader society and to find a satisfying career for yourself and your family.” Highlights/Armbruster Education B.S., Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, 1962 M.S., Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, 1964 Ph.D., Agricultural Economics, Oregon State University, 1970 Career 1978-present Farm Foundation, Oak Brook, Illinois Managing Director Associate Managing Director 1976-78 United States Department of Agriculture Staff Economist, Agricultural Marketing Service 1968-76 United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service Honors and Associations American Agricultural Economics Association, Past President American Agricultural Law Association, Past President International Association of Agricultural Economists, Secretary/Treasurer Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics International Food and Agribusiness Management Association North Central Rural Development Center, Board of Directors Family Dr. Armbruster’s wife, Helen, is a homemaker and does the most important job of raising their 11-year-old son, Sean, who does a little bit of everything, including playing piano and percussion in marching band, playing soccer and baseball, and singing in the church choir. Dr. Armbruster has coached the soccer team and has learned as much as his son has in that endeavor. Display quote/Armbruster “The most rewarding thing about my work is the opportunity to interact with national and international agricultural leaders in both public and private sectors. The Farm Foundation serves as a catalyst, bringing a lot of people together to talk about various topics. I meet a lot of interesting people that way.”
1999William T. Boehm CincinnatiOH
William T. Boehm earned master’s (1972) and doctorate (1974) degrees from Purdue in Agricultural Economics. He is Vice President of Logistics with The Kroger Company. Here are some of his thoughts on education, career, and life: How he decided to come to Purdue: “I decided on Purdue on the strength of the faculty and the history of the department. There were all these big names like Earl Butz, Don Paarlberg, and Charlie French, and if you knew anything about Ag Econ, you knew that these guys were like the winners of the Super Bowl. Being recruited to join a team that had won the Super Bowl was pretty exciting.” On his early life influences: “I was born and raised on a little dairy farm in central Wisconsin, and I learned all the lessons life that teaches you, like contributing, working hard, and having personal accountability. From the time I was a sophomore in high school, I knew I wanted to go to grad school and get a Ph.D. degree in Ag Econ and I never deviated from that. I thought there was great significance in being involved in something that fed people.” On the value of his Purdue degrees: “I have been extremely lucky in my career. I spent time as a faculty member, and I learned a lot from the academic environment. I also spent four years in Washington, D.C., and learned about how government works. For 18 years, I’ve been at Kroger where I have actually been involved in making the food system work. In each case what I’ve been able to learn as I’ve earned a living is the most important part.” His philosophy of life: “This philosophy comes from my dad, and it’s that the harder I work, the luckier I get. I really believe in working and learning and that each of us has a responsibility to develop and use the talents the good Lord gave us. It’s that simple, and the rest takes care of itself.” On the future: “Personally, my wife and I would like to retire and live on a sailboat. If possible, I’d also like to spend some time giving back in a university environment. “As for the future of agriculture, there’s still a lot that needs to be done in order to feed a growing world population. But, it’s important to remember that I came of age professionally believing there was going to be a huge world food crisis, and the fact is, the miracle of agriculture, with increased productivity and technology has changed that. It’s been great to witness and be a part of that. “My hope for the future is that we can build on that progress and go forward. The main problem I see is an imbalance of distribution more than a shortage of resources, but I am optimistic that the science of agriculture and the people who practice it are going to figure out a way to make it all work. I’m a real optimist about the future as it relates to our industry.” On his best Purdue memory: “My best Purdue memory is arguments in the coffee room. For those of us who graduated with Ag Econ Ph.D.’s in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was a very stimulating, high quality, open academic environment. There wasn’t a better Ag Econ education in the country. Grad students were expected to challenge the faculty, so we learned how to debate and express our ideas. It wasn’t book learning so much, although you’d better be able to do those mathematical calculations, but you’d also better be able to stand up and defend what you did in an open forum that didn’t have anything to do with the classroom. Applying those skills-thinking though a problem, shaping it, analyzing it, selling it-that’s how people succeed.” Boehm/Highlights Highlights Education B.S., Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, 1970 M.S., Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, 1972 Ph.D., Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, 1974 Career 1981-present The Kroger Co. Vice President, Logistics Vice President, Grocery Procurement Vice President, Corporate Planning and Research Director of Economic Research 1979-1981 President’s Council of Economic Advisors Senior Economist for Food & Agriculture 1976-79 United States Department of Agriculture Branch Manager, Food Economics, Economic Research Service 1974-1976 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics Honors and Associations Chairman, National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board, 1999 National Board of Directors, Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity Board of Directors, People Working Cooperatively International Food & Agribusiness Management Association Alpha Zeta Centennial Honor Roll, 1997 Cincinnati United Way Appeal Cabinet, 1991 Family Dr. Boehm and his wife, Debbie, met in Wisconsin when she was the State President of the Future Homemakers of America and he was the State President of Future Farmers of America. They were married while he was at Purdue, and lived in married student housing by the golf course. Debbie worked as secretary in the Poultry Science Department and took courses at Purdue to finish her degree in Sociology. Today Debbie is an event planner and does volunteer work in Cincinnati. They have two children. Adam, 24, is a senior at the University of Cincinnati, studying communications and public affairs. Andrew, 19, is sophomore at Dennison, studying communications. Both are better golfers than their dad. Display quote/Boehm “I decided on Purdue on the strength of the faculty and the history of the department. There were all these big names like Earl Butz, Don Paarlberg, and Charlie French, and if you knew anything about Ag Econ, you knew that these guys were like the winners of the Super Bowl. Being recruited to join a team that had won the Super Bowl was pretty exciting.”
1999Daniel J. CantliffeGainesvilleFL
Daniel J. Cantliffe graduated from Purdue in 1967 with a masters in Horticulture. He earned his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from Purdue in 1971. He is Chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Here are some of his thoughts on education, career, and life: His fondest Purdue memories: “Purdue was undefeated in football when I was there, and quarterback Bob Griese got the Boilermakers on the map. He was followed by Leroy Keyes and Mike Phipps, who all went on to the pros. Every time I see or hear those guys on television, I think of my years at Purdue.” On the value of a Purdue education: “Because of the excellence of the institution, I continually meet people I knew at school-all of us made out very well for ourselves. Purdue was simply the very best institution for what I wanted to study. My experience at Purdue built my self-confidence. When you meet with and learn from the best, you strive to reach their standards.” On his favorite honor: “Being honored by my alma mater is my proudest accomplishment. The one area I enjoy the most is working with students, and going through graduate school helped me a great deal in working with and mentoring students. Some people just talk and give out information. Others, like myself, like to see people learn and enjoy the process. I never tire of the thrill of working with students.” On his biggest professional challenge: “Growing up seven miles outside of New York City, I didn’t know much about agriculture. It took me about a semester to spell and say ‘horticulture,’ and to begin to develop a sincere appreciation for agriculture. But I’ve seen a lot of changes since the mid ‘60s, and my biggest concern is the seeming lack of public concern and awareness of the world’s food supply. We’re gambling with a lot of our best production areas, and many are covered up with cement and condominiums. “I’m trying to bring science to the forefront that will help us solve future problems. For instance, methods of protected agriculture are beginning to allow us to use marginal lands for production of high-value crops. In northern Florida, for instance, areas that traditionally were not used for winter production are now producing raspberries, peaches, blueberries, and practically any kind of vegetable. We’re in the process of converting large-acre farming interests into small greenhouse or tunnel operations. This whole area of protected agriculture will continue to explode.” On his personal credo: “Get a good education, and work hard while you’re young. Don’t expect to get something for nothing. Worry about what you need to succeed, not about what others have.” Highlights/Cantliffe Education B.S., Delaware Valley College, 1965 M.S., Horticulture, Purdue University, 1967 Ph.D., Plant Physiology, Purdue University, 1971 Career 1974-present University of Florida, Gainesville Chairman, Horticultural Sciences Department Professor, Fruit Crops Department Professor, Vegetable Crops Department Honors and Associations Member, American Society for Horticultural Science Member, American Society of Plant Physiologists Member, American Society of Agronomy Professorial Excellence Program Award, University of Florida, 1996 United States Department of Agriculture Group Honor Award for Excellence, 1997 Outstanding Researcher Award, 1997, American Society for Horticultural Science Family Dr. Cantliffe and his wife, Elizabeth, are parents of four daughters, and grandparents to four granddaughters. Their oldest child, Christine, is a nurse; Deanna, a schoolteacher, was born in Lafayette; Danielle, a recreational therapist, was named for her father; and youngest daughter Cheri is a schoolteacher in Davenport, Iowa. Display quote/Cantliffe “Growing up seven miles outside of New York City, I didn’t know much about agriculture. It took me about a semester to spell and say ‘horticulture,’ and to begin to develop a sincere appreciation for agriculture.”
1999Joann K. GreenIndianapolisIN
Joann K. Green graduated from Purdue in 1977 with a BS in Landscape Architecture. She is president of Claire Bennett Associates of Indianapolis. Here are some of her thoughts on education, career, and life: On her earliest influences: “Growing up with four older brothers, I was always treated like one of the ‘guys,’ and my parents encouraged me to take on many nontraditional responsibilities and challenges. “My father had a profound influence on me as a person and as a professional. He always said, ‘You can never go wrong by trying to treat others fairly.’ In my early years, when I’d get frustrated with a client, he’d remind me the client is almost always right. I’ve grown to understand exactly what he was talking about. “My father was a construction project manager, and he used to take me to his construction sites. He would look at these huge buildings and stand in awe of what had come out of the ground-what he had been a part of. For many years, my father was invited to Purdue once a year to speak to civil and structural engineering classes.” On choosing Purdue: “Two of my older brothers graduated from Purdue with degrees in mechanical and civil engineering. Both of them secured good positions, and their experiences impressed upon me the need to go to a school where I could be assured of finding desired employment right after graduation. Purdue also had an outstanding academic reputation.” On choosing landscape architecture: “In the 1970s, many students were selecting interests based on causes, and the environment was my cause. At that time, there were areas in Indianapolis that were very unattractive and insensitive to the natural environment. I remember driving down Keystone Avenue, an early poor example of suburban strip development, and thinking to myself, ‘What can I do to make sure this kind of development doesn’t continue?’ I also wanted to study something that would combine my interests in technology and art. I felt landscape architecture would be a good marriage of the two.” On her most significant professional accomplishment: “I am most rewarded by my role in the design of public spaces. I often see the trails I’ve designed, and see them being used and enjoyed by families. I take every opportunity I’m offered to appropriately and creatively plan and protect the environment. That is what’s so great about what I do-I get involved in everything from planning pocket parks to county-wide land use strategies. I enjoy all the aspects equally.” Her life philosophy: “I try to treat each day as a gift. This attitude helps me keep my life in perspective. It also helps me to focus on the appropriate treatment of others.” Booklet highlights/Green Education B.S., Purdue University, Landscape Architecture, 1977 Registered Landscape Architect in Indiana since 1982 Career 1992-present Claire Bennett Associates, Inc. Vice President, 1992-1997 President and Owner, 1997-present 1987-1992 Howard Needles Tammen & Bergendoff Director of Planning and Landscape Architecture 1985-1987 CSO Architects, Inc. Project Manager 1977-1985 The McGuire and Shook Corporation Project Landscape Architects Honors and Associations Purdue University Landscape Architecture Outstanding Alumni, first recipient, 1994 Board member, Department of Capital Asset Management-City of Indianapolis, 1998 Secretary (1993-94), Fund-raising Coordinator (1993), Indiana Make-A-Wish Foundation Advisory Committee, Indiana Vietnam and Korean War Memorial, 1992 State Chapter President (1985), State Chapter Treasurer (1980-1983), American Society of Landscape Architects Family Joann Green’s husband, Steve, is a construction project manager for Toth Ervin, Inc., in Indianapolis. They are the parents of twins, 14-year-old Conner and Hadley. Like his mother, Conner is interested in the environment, particularly wildlife conservation, and enjoys outdoor recreation and camping. Hadley loves reading and sports. They love to travel as a family and all four are regular fans of Purdue University basketball and football. Display quote/Green “I try to treat each day as a gift. This attitude helps me keep my life in perspective. It also helps me to focus on the appropriate treatment of others.”
1 - 100Next