ACE Retirees Update
Do you remember that old TV show? Actually, about the only thing I remember about it is the title and that Johnny Carson was on it. He was born and raised about 15 miles down the road so we kept up with his career.
When it comes to ACE, the people you trust are your mentors… the people who took you under their wing and helped you succeed in your professional career and your association. They played a key role in your success, usually with no thanks or recognition. Until today.
Several of you wrote about your ACE mentors. I think you’ll enjoy reading about them. And you may even find your own name among the honored.
We also welcome two new life members to the group.They have shown their trust in ACE through their long-term commitment to it. That’s impressive.
Trust. It’s a risky concept but when it’s well placed, it means the world.
ACE Retiree Director
Update on Scottsdale
New Life Members: John Wozniak and John Crosiar
Catching Up with Crosiar
If you read the latest ACE Update, you are already wishing you could be at the Ag Summit with ACE `in Arizona in August, right? Who wouldn’t? Yes, it’s going to be hot. But what do they always say? It’s a dry heat so it’s not so bad. But just in case, yes, the hotel has air conditioning. Registration and hotel reservations will be available later this spring so keep an eye on the ACE website for further details.
Terry Day and Tom Knecht answered the call for speakers to present a session on freelancing in retirement (and on the job). We’re waiting patiently to hear if it has been accepted for the Ag Summit/ACE meeting.
John Wozniak joined our retirement ranks in May, 2016, and wrote about his post-retirement exploits in a July 2016 newsletter. Now he has made the leap to Life Membership with the board’s approval at its January board meeting. Congratulations, John!
John Crosiar has completed requirements for life membership status and, pending approval by the board in its February board meeting, he will also join us. Welcome!
I asked John to tell us a bit about what he’s been doing in retirement. You’ll enjoy his update:
It’s been just over four years now since I formally ended my 38-year professional career that stretched all the way from Moscow (Idaho!) to Eugene-Springfield (Oregon). Most of that time has been filled with work assignments outside of fields traditionally related to agriculture, but I have always maintained my lifelong, bedrock interest in and support of rural values.
I grew up on a five-acre “farm” in central California and was very active in 4-H. After my family moved to western Oregon, I earned a BS in entomology in 1969 from Oregon State University in Corvallis. It was during this time that I decided, thanks to struggles with organic chemistry, that I would do much better writing about science that trying to do it! I then served in the U.S. Air Force for four years as a military public health technician, with training assignments in Texas and duty assignments at Edwards AFB in California and at Naha AB in Okinawa, Japan. After my discharge, I headed off to graduate school, earning an MS in agricultural journalism in 1975 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Grad school is when I began my association with ACE, and my active involvement included serving as state representative while I was an assistant agricultural editor and assistant extension professor in the College of Agriculture at the University of Idaho in Moscow. During those early years, I also attended several state and national ACE meetings and participated in online and face-to-face trainings. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and working with ACE colleagues from across the West and around the nation.
But soon my career veered away from agriculture and I went to work in the news bureau at the University of Oregon in Eugene in 1979. After 25 years in various roles there—covering research; writing, editing, and proofreading news releases; and editing the university calendar and employee newsletter—I moved to the UO publications office, becoming its assistant director and university editor for the final nine years of my career.
Since retiring on October 1, 2013, Donna, my home economist wife of 47 years, and I have spent lots of time lovingly looking on—and babysitting as needed—our two grandchildren, a boy now 7 and a girl almost 4 years old. They are bilingual and live with our only son and his wife (both accountants) in Tigard, a suburb west of Portland, Oregon, that is about a two-hour drive from our home in Springfield. We’ve taken overnight and longer trips together to the Oregon coast and other destinations around the state, and in 2015 we spent a week in southern California at Disneyland, Sea World, and Lego Land. (A return trip is planned when our granddaughter is a bit older and likely will appreciate it more.)
In 2014, Donna and I took an auto trip to see a nephew and a cousin in the Denver area, followed by visits to the Grand Canyon and other national parks and monuments throughout the Southwest. As long as our health and resources hold up, other travel is on our radar—an exploration around eastern Oregon by car, a possible shipboard cruise to Alaska, and a likely trek by train across Canada—but nothing is definite yet—that is, no deposits or reservations have been made!
I have not taken on any part-time or freelance work since retiring, although I keep a finger in things by writing, editing, and proofreading copy for the organizations my wife and I are involved with as volunteers—me, a 20-plus-year involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association including service as secretary of the local Regional Action Council, and Donna, a more than two-decade commitment, in temporary paid and volunteer positions, as a Master Food Preserver with the OSU Extension Service. I’ve also continued to enjoy playing my flute in the Eugene New Horizons Band (during the school year) and the One More Time Marching Band (summers). And I do a little philately and genealogy, too. So Donna and I are definitely staying busy in retirement, staying off the streets (except when I’m marching in the band!), and staying occupied with our family, friends, and various avocations.
I am honored to be eligible now for ACE life membership. Even though I’ve had a limited involvement with the organization over the years, I have remained committed to its purposes and goals. That’s why I’ve continued to pay my dues to support its success!
Several people responded to my request to name your ACE mentor(s). Here are your accolades.
I didn't have a mentor that I interacted with on a regular basis. I did, however, have several ACE members whose advice I sought and appreciated when I was in ACE leadership roles. Foremost among them was Joe Marks. He took his leadership roles seriously, but also with a sense of humor and a sensitivity for people's feelings. He used those skills for resolving conflict and getting agreement on direction for the organization.
Here, in no particular order, are others I looked to for advice: Eric Abbott and Bob Furbee (developing our relationships in Russia); Larry Quinn, Pat Calvert, Gwil Evans, Larry Whiting, Dave King, Linda Benedict, Bonnie Reichert, Terry Meisenbach, LaRae Donnellan, and Janet Rodekohr (for their leadership experience); and Ashley Wood (for getting me through my year as ACE President).
Now, my current, and highly valued, mentor is my wife, Sue. She has learned enough Spanish to keep me out of trouble while we spend our winters here in Mexico. And it really is "A Wonderful Life!"
The influential mentors I recall with greatest admiration and appreciation were Dutch Elder, Iowa State (a president of AAACE within his first five years in the field) and Bry Kearl, University of Wisconsin (a low-key intellectual, the most brilliant ACE I met in all my years). Both were persons who seemed to present situations in which I had opportunity and support to do things I had not done before. Dutch put me on programs to report research at regional (Purdue) and national (Berkeley) AAACE meetings in my second year on his staff; lifetime relationships began to develop. Bry proposed me for participation in an early (1965) international conference on communication support for what was later called the Green Revolution. That impact did not diminish — but it was 15 years later that its expression generated nearly two decades of the most exciting "retirement " years I could have imagined. Bry's example was even more immediate when I became AAACE president shortly after he was — as director and officer, I studied at the table of Bry's presidency.
My ACE mentor was Bob Kern. Although I was trained to be a newspaper reporter, he took me under his wing and taught me that you can still be a professional journalist and make a difference in the world by being part of land-grant university extension services. A former president of ACE, he was the one who coined the term “consulting communicator” and convinced us that we deserve a seat at the table as educational strategies are planned. Bob was a master strategist and an excellent writer. I’m forever indebted to him. He’s now in his 90s and still going strong. I visited him in September and plan to make another trip to Ames, Iowa, in 2018 to see him again. If any other Bob Kern fans are out there, let’s have a reunion!
In many ways, Larry Whiting served as my mentor as well as my boss. He pushed me out of my comfort zone as associate head of our department at Ohio State in the early 1990s, encouraging me to apply for the position of department chair at Kansas State. And he supported me through my tenure there, giving quality advice and counsel when sought. Earlier in my career, I often relied on Howard Frisbee, an editor at Ohio State, for his pearls of wisdom based on his many years in Extension.
Dan Lutz told me ACE membership would open doors and supported my membership when I was a lowly editorial assistant at the University of Nebraska. It was at a regional ACE meeting in Iowa where I learned about the masters program in agricultural journalism at the University of Wisconsin. When I graduated from UW and moved to a new position at the University of Georgia, Roland Brooks was the state rep who knew everything about ACE and encouraged everyone to join, enter C&A and attend conferences. But it was Gary Hermance who plucked me out of a regional meeting and encouraged me to run for regional director and take a leadership role in ACE. And there is a long list of ACE friends who taught me what it means to be a professional communicator: Joe Marks, Faith Peppers, Holly Young, Dave King, Frankie Gould, Terry Meisenbach, Bob Furbee, Ken Kingsley, Ashley Wood and many others. ACE is loaded with mentors.
I, too, have had a number of mentors throughout my ACE-related career, including my grad school advisor, the late Richard "Dick" Powers at Wisconsin and William "Bill" Stellman, my supervisor at Idaho. (I hope I'm right, but as far as I know, Bill is still alive, although I'm unable to find him in the member directory on the ACE website.) Each of these men inspired me with their knowledge and skills while guiding my professional development, and I appreciate their role in shaping the communicator that I became.
The latest ACE Update lists all the award nominations that are due March 1. The Retiree Award of Excellence recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, service, and involvement with ACE retirees and life members or within the larger organization. The nomination form can be found on the ACE website.