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ACE Retiree Update

September 2015

Good Day to All,

It’s never too early to begin thinking about traveling to Memphis in June for the ACE annual conference. I’m hoping that our retirees in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri and Kentucky area, in particular, will consider making the trip to this soulful city on the Mississippi River.

You can join us for free on June 12, 2016, meeting with other retirees and past ACE presidents before going to general reception in the early evening. You’re certainly invited to stay for more of the program that week if you like, paying a daily fee or staying for the entire meeting paying full registration. Make sure you take advantage of the retiree discounted registration is you choose to stay on. More detailed information on the meeting is forthcoming. Registration will take place next spring.

The ACE Fall Board meeting will be held in Manhattan, Kansas at month’s end.  One of the topics will be ways to improve professional development opportunities for our membership, both at the annual conference and throughout the year. If you have ideas, please send them my way so I can include them in our discussion.

In this issue, check out two ag impact statement websites as well as personal updates on our busy retirees. Also, catch some of our members’ memories at ACE conferences throughout the years.  And finally, see how our featured retiree, Meg Ashman, is doing. The activity of our retirees is almost dizzying.

In hopes of keeping the memories flowing, Janet Rodekohr (your retiree director-elect) and I are changing the question in the next issue of the newsletter. Instead of “your most memorable ACE meeting,” the question will be “What is your most memorable character in ACE?”  Is there an ACE member who, for any reason, stood out to you?  And then answer the question, why?  Please send in your contribution by December 1, 2015.

Thanks and the best to you all,
Bob Furbee, ACE Retiree Director


Check It Out

Many of us worked on building impact statement databases. We built websites, wrote and submitted impact statements to institutional and national databases, and trained scientists and Extension specialists and agents to measure impact and write about it. Then the national effort slipped away. Now it’s back!  Check out the Land-Grant University System website out of Texas A&M, led by Scot Cummings. It’s an ambitious endeavor to collect solid impact statements from land-grant institutions. Then go to Ag Is America to see how a lobbying group is using this valuable work to tell the land-grant story.

Retiree Personal Updates

Garvin Quinn’s travel opportunities since his retirement three years ago have included Baltic, Caribbean and Northeast U.S./Canada cruises as well as several other vacation trips. Garvin and Clarice particularly enjoy the freedom to “pack our bags and go” on relatively short notice. They live in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where Garvin also serves as first vice president of Payne County’s chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) organization.

Dave McAllister, who retired from USDA/CSREES 10 years ago, lives half the year in Minden, NV (near Lake Tahoe), and the other half in Palm Springs, CA with his husband Dick Beamer, whom he was finally able to legally marry last year after 31 years together.  Dave and Dick like to travel internationally and volunteer in Minden for an organization ("Backpack Buddies") that prepares bags of donated food to needy school kids to take home for the weekend. Dave also does pro bono editing from time to time.

Larry Quinn retired as Assistant Director of Communications for USDA in 2009, having had the privilege to work with 13 Agriculture Secretaries (including current Secretary Tom Vilsack). In December 1984, he produced a live satellite video news conference with President Ronald Reagan and Agriculture Secretary John Block from the USDA TV studio, which now carries Larry’s name. In addition to his 35 ½ year career at USDA, Larry also spent 5 ½ years at Texas A&M University’s Department of Agricultural Communications. In retirement, Larry writes and edits a monthly newsletter for the National Association of Farm Broadcasting called “Airing on the Side of Agriculture.” This keeps Larry connected to agricultural communicators and helps build pride in the ag broadcasting profession.

Evie Engel and her husband, Tom, have focused on health, fitness, and travel in their retirement. International visits include France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Central and South American countries along the Pacific Ocean, Canadian provinces, Mexico, China, Tibet, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines! Next spring they will be wine and food tasting in Croatia, followed by a week in Barcelona. Domestically they’ve been to Boston, Austin, D.C., New York City, San Diego, San Francisco, Charleston, Hawaiian Islands, and Chicago. A Memphis and Nashville trip is planned for this fall.

Ralph Ballew and his wife, Vera, celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on August 8. Ralph says they have been blessed with a wonderful life. They have four children, 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. In addition Ralph was inducted recently into the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. The Senior Hall of Fame was created to recognize the selfless advocacy of Alabamians aged 60 and older for their outstanding contribution to the lives of older Americans. Congratulations, Ralph, on this wonderful honor.

Ned Browning wishes that he could have joined the group in Charleston this year. He fell in love with the city while his son was in college there. The problem was that the meeting overlapped with a long-planned 40th anniversary trip to Quebec. “Oh well,” he says, “so many trips, so little time in retirement.”


Most Memorable ACE Meeting

Hawaii -- No Ka ‘Oi -- 1975

Anita Povich’s all-time favorite ACE meeting was on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel. Preconference room rates were $10.50 per night; a room at Hale Aloha dorm was only $5 night. Registration was $35 and included the Polynesian Cultural Center, Punchbowl, and Iolani Palace.

Best of all, the program, “Come Alive in ’75,” featured a mix of communications experts from all over the world –American Samoa, Australia, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Taiwan. This meeting definitely stimulated her interest in international venues, especially the session on “Communications in Pago Pago.”

Kathy Alison, Ralph Reeder, Ham Kenney, Lyle Webster, Lee Shields, Lorraine Kingdon, Joe Marks, Lee Shields, and incoming President Del Hatesohl talked about new audiences and technologies. Many lifelong friendships developed at this meeting. Just imagine your colleagues dressed in muumuus and Aloha shirts as they met to strategize.

Anita was a member of the small ag communications staff in Hawaii, so their host responsibilities were varied: summon first aid when a member was hit in the head by a Frisbee; gather Hawaii staff who could dance the hula and teach it to their visitors (malihinis). Alice Vernon (IL) danced a mean hula onstage, and Gordon Graham (AZ) wore a lava lava and danced as ‘Gila Man.’

Every ACE meeting is usually a great one, but the Pacific Ocean, trade winds, and international communicators made this one particularly memorable for Anita.  

Washington, D.C. 1984 and Portland, Oregon 1989

Evie Engel has two favorite meetings. The first was the Ag Congress in Washington, DC, where Terry Meisenbach, Frankie Gould, and Evie were Pioneer Award winners. Meeting these two individuals early in her career established many years of working together on numerous ACE activities and developed long-term friendships with them. Evie notes that those were the days when Pioneer Award winners were under the age of 35.

Evie also recalls the 1989 ACE meeting in Portland, Oregon, when the Oregon staff hosted 300+ people, the biggest conference at that time. They focused on speakers and events that were Oregon specific. At that time the host state members were responsible for every aspect of the program, events, transportation, and activities. It was an exhilarating and exhausting experience...and the first and only conference where Evie didn't attend one session other than the ones where she introduced speakers or was a presenter!

Mackinac, Michigan 1981

While Ralph Ballew enjoyed every ACE meeting he attended, one of his favorite meetings was the one held on Mackinac Island, Michigan. His youngest daughter, Julia, joined Ralph and Vera, and she had a ball. One of the memorable charms of the island was “no cars.”  They enjoyed the boat ride and Ralph and Vera made a trip around the island on a bicycle built for two. Julia attended several meetings with her parents and developed friendships with boys and girls from other states who also attended with their parents. She maintains some of those friendships to this day, although she has moved across the Atlantic to Leeds, in northern England.

Fairbanks, Alaska 1985

Larry Quinn’s most memorable ACE conference was at the University of Alaska when he was serving as ACE president. About 90 members attended. The longest day with 24-hour daylight occurred during the meeting, and one evening was spent at a location above the Arctic Circle. On their return trip to Fairbanks, the bus stopped so ACE members could photograph a rainbow at midnight. The keynote speaker was Agriculture Secretary John Block, who spoke via live satellite video connection from USDA studio. The meeting focused on Pacific Rim issues and cross cultural communications, both topics that could best be covered in Alaska. Larry reports that he was the second USDA communicator to be ACE President. The first was Reuben Brigham. At the meeting, Larry turned the gavel over to Pat Calvert, who became the third USDA professional to lead ACE.


Please consider sending in your responses to “your most memorable ACE character, and why” by December 1 for the next issue of the retiree newsletter.


Calendar – Upcoming ACE Meetings

Memphis – June 12-17, 2016
New Orleans – June 11-17, 2017


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