You may recall last week’s Spotlight in which I gave brief information about some of the retirees honored at a luncheon given by Michigan State University April 10 and also honored at the reception we co-hosted with the Michigan State chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) at the Kellogg Center. Since we had quite a list, I decided to break them up into two separate editions. As promised, I share information about the rest of the retirees below.
Gerard (“Gerry”) Adams, associate professor in the Department of Plant Pathology with additional appointments in MSU Extension and AgBioResearch, focused on mycology, diseases of nursery crops and forest pathology throughout his career. His research helped cast light upon the causes of Alder dieback and other important tree diseases. He engaged in U.S. Forest Service projects, investigating important forest pathogens in the Rocky Mountain areas, Alaska and Michigan. His work included research on the taxonomy of fungi that cause canker disease on a wide range of trees, resulting in his co-authoring a book on the taxonomy and morphology of Cytospora species. Gerry will continue his work in mycology at the University of Nebraska where his spouse, Heather, serves as a faculty member.
David E. Andersen, regional land use educator, Alger County, joined MSU Extension as an SFI program agent, and in 1997, he became the county Extension director of Schoolcraft County. Early in his tenure in Schoolcraft County, he successfully facilitated the Community Assessment Process. He built strong relationships with the county commission, made numerous new partnerships with county agencies and organizations, and creatively found ways to build support and program staffing levels within the county. In his time with MSU Extension, David’s administrative abilities built a strong county team.
Benjamin Bartlett, senior Extension educator, began his professional career with MSU in 1977 as the manager of the Upper Peninsula Experiment Station. He joined MSU Extension in 1983, serving as the U.P.’s dairy and livestock agent/educator for 28 years. Dr. Bartlett has received numerous awards, among them the ESP Visionary Leadership Award, the Outstanding Extension Educator Award, the American Sheep Industry Flock Guardian Award, the Growing UP Agriculture Association’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award and the Distinguished Extension Academic Staff Award.
Sandra S. Batie joined the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics in 1993 as the first holder of the Elton R. Smith Professor in Food and Agricultural Policy. She specialized in environmental, natural resource and agricultural policy issues. She served on numerous committees of the National Academy of Sciences Board of Agriculture and served as trustee and chair of Winrock International and of the International Rice Research Institute. She also served on the Board of Directors and as president of the American and Southern Economic associations. Dr. Batie was named a fellow in the American Agricultural Economics Association (now the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
Stephen B. Fouch, county Extension director, joined MSU Extension in 1976 as a research technician for the district horticulture agent in Traverse City. He then served as the farm supervisor for the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center, an MSUE agriculture agent and the county director of Benzie, Chippewa, Crawford and Mackinac counties. Stephen has received numerous awards, such as the NACAA Communication Award, the NACAA Public Relations in Daily Efforts Award and the Vanguard Award for Master Gardening Efforts at Kinross Correctional Facility. He has been acknowledged for recognition from the NW Farm Bureau and received an MAEA President’s Citation.
John Grix, director of Kettunen Center, joined MSU Extension in July 1986 after spending five years working in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He started out as a county Extension 4-H youth agent and was appointed associate program leader and later director of the Kettunen Center. As the center’s director, he has overseen major renovations and additions to the facility that served to improve the center’s hospitality and learning services capacity. His leadership helped to define the center as a nationally recognized conference and meeting site. John served as president of the International Association of Conference Center Administrators (IACCA). Through that organization, he received the Certified Conference Center Professional designation – one of the first in this country. He also served as president of the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff (MAE4-HYS).
Frederick (“Fred”) Hinkley, county Extension director, Ogemaw County, joined MSU Extension in 1974 in Van Buren County. He left Extension in 1981 but returned in 1994 to Sanilac County as a livestock agent as part of the animal initiative. He has served as the Extension resource agent in Sanilac and Huron counties, the program committee chair for the Regional Management Team, the county Extension director in Ogemaw County and the acting county Extension director of Oscoda County. Fred has received numerous awards including the John A. Hannah Award in 2011, the Regional Award for the “Milk Marketing Clubs” program and a team award for the Northern Michigan Grazing Conference.
Marion E. Hubbard, Extension educator, started working at MSU Extension in 1990 as the Macomb County Extension home economist, where she managed the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and the Family Nutrition Program (FNP). In 1994, she moved to Wayne County as the Extension home economist. There, she continued to manage the EFNEP and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. She has received numerous awards such as the National Coalition for Consumer Education Healthy Communities Recognition, Michigan Distinguished Service Award, Michigan Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (MEAFCS) Marketing Package Award for the Wayne County Project FRESH and the MSU Extension Certificate of Achievement for the Facilitator Excellence Workshop.
Maurice J. Kaercher, county Extension director, joined MSU Extension in 1983 as an agricultural Extension agent in Kalamazoo County and spent 20 years in Kalamazoo before relocating to St. Joseph County. In St. Joseph County, he served as a regional livestock educator and then county Extension director before retiring in May 2011. In 2008, he was the first to introduce “Annie’s Project” to Michigan. In 2003, he was recognized as Michigan Cattlemen’s Association member of the year. In 2005, Maurice received the Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Agriculture Extension Agents. In addition, both the St. Joseph Farm Bureau and Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau recognized him with the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award in 2009 and 2011. In 2011, he received the “Above and Beyond” award from the St. Joseph County 4-H program.
Juan Marinez, MSU Extension program director, joined MSU Extension in 1973 as a program leader in special programs. He also served as a regional Extension supervisor for MSU Extension. From 1999 to 2002, he worked for Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman as the national program coordinator on farm workers and secured $20 million to farm workers who had been negatively affected by natural disasters, the first-ever available funds to go to farm worker assistance during a natural disaster. Most recently, Juan served as an assistant to the director where he was responsible for establishing a nationwide network of community-based, nonprofit organizations serving migrant/seasonal farm workers living in low-income situations. He established the first Hispanic farmer’s cooperative in Michigan. His research work on enumerating Hispanic farmers has had a positive impact on the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistical Service census.
Dennis McClure, county Extension director, started out with MSU Extension in 1986 as a 4-H program assistant in Montmorency County. He served as a county Extension director for 22 years and served as an Extension educator for Firewise and youth development. He helped to develop a community education youth group, implemented gypsy moth programming, helped to bring the nurse practitioner program to northern Michigan, and was an original member of the Small Farm Conference planning committee and a facilitation trainer. In 2010, Dennis assisted the AuSable River Estate Association in protecting homes from wildfires and in becoming Michigan’s first Firewise Model Community. He received numerous awards including a team award for the “Small Farm Conference” and the 4-H Presidential Award.
Daniel B. Rajzer, county Extension director, joined MSU Extension in 1985 as an Extension agricultural agent in Van Buren County. In 1994, he became county Extension director (CED) in Cass County. As CED and Extension agricultural agent, Daniel developed educational programs designed to meet the local needs of agricultural producers with responsibility primarily in the field crops and livestock area. He also provided leadership in determining priority needs with stakeholders and helped to develop and implement meaningful programs. He has received numerous awards such as the Distinguished Service Award from the NACAA and the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the Cass County Farm Bureau. He completed the MSU Extension Mentoring Program in 2007 and was an MSU Extension Leadership Academy graduate in 2008.
Susan B. Smalley, assistant professor in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies, served in Extension from 1970 to 2007 as home economist, county director, regional supervisor, program leader and specialist. Beginning in home economics, she broadened her scope to encompass agriculture, finally focusing on sustainable food and agriculture, especially small farm business planning, marketing and management. She organized seminars for students interested in sustainable agriculture that helped lead to MSU’s Student Organic Farm. She taught classes and co-facilitated multicultural self-awareness workshops. She was a founder of Michigan Food and Farming Systems and the Michigan Farmers Market Association. She received the MSU Distinguished Academic Staff Award in 2003. Dr. Smalley helped coordinate annual U.S. Department of Agriculture sustainable agriculture research grants for nearly a decade. She co-authored evaluation studies of USDA sustainable agriculture projects in the North Central and Southern U.S. In 2007, she became director of the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU, helping lay the groundwork for MSU’s new Center for Regional Food Systems.
William (“Bill”) L. Steenwyk, Extension educator, joined MSU Extension in 1984 as a Barry County Extension agricultural agent. He has also served as the Extension agricultural agent in Kent and Ottawa counties, was the acting county Extension director in Kent County and became the county Extension director in Ionia County in 1997. He has worked as an Extension educator for vegetable crops since 2007. He also wrote a weekly newspaper Farm Talk column. He frequently represented agriculture and MSU Extension to western Michigan broadcast and print media, and appeared as a special guest on TV and radio talk shows. He has authored and reviewed a number of Extension bulletins. Bill won several awards in his time at MSU Extension, including the Outstanding Pesticide Applicator Training Program Award, the NACAA best slide presentation in soil science and the MAEA Presidential Citation.
Vera J. Wiltse, MSU Extension educator, began her career with MSU Extension as an Extension educator in Isabella County, where she provided leadership for initiating the Horseback Riding for Handicappers program (now PEP, the Proud Equestrians Program,) and the Isabella County CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition. She also organized a committee to initiate 4-H programming for 5- to 8-year-olds before it was adopted statewide and shared the Michigan Barn and Farmstead Survey history initiative model in intergenerational knowledge transfer with many youth and adults. Vera has served as adjunct staff to the MSU Museum, and she was involved in international 4-H programs. In October 2010, she became a part of the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute. She received the 1990 MSU Extension John Hannah Award for her work with the Michigan 4-H China Project and has also been recognized with the Michigan and National 4-H Distinguished Service awards, Michigan and National 4-H International Programming Award and the Outstanding Quality Program Award at the National 4-H International Coordinators Conference. In 2004, she was inducted into the 4-H Emerald Clover Society.