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ACE Retiree Update

January, 2017

A New Year

It’s time to kick off the new year with memories from old friends. What better way to look forward than to glance back a minute? It helps you focus on what’s important, like friends, work that means something and satisfaction in a job well done.

My call for responses about your leadership roles in ACE resulted in a shower of memories from all over the country. I plan to include several in the next few newsletters so if you’d like to add yours to the mix, please send it to me. This edition includes notes from Bob Furbee, Terence Day, Jim Evans and Ralph Ballew. And thank you for your thoughtful and memory-jogging responses.

Janet Rodekohr
ACE Retiree Director

In This Issue

  • Welcome to Our New Lifers
  • Call for Nominations
  • New Orleans Retirees Session
  • Development Fund Needs You
  • Why I Serve
  • Upcoming Events

Welcome to Our New Lifers

The ACE Board of Directors approved the nomination of three ACE retirees to the Life Member level. They are Tom Merrill, Randy Anderson and Gene Hettel.

Tom Merrill
is trying to figure out where his first 15 months of retirement went and wondering how he ever found time to work. Although some people worried he might “get bored” after retiring from his 30-year career with LSU Ag Center Communications in October 2015, that certainly hasn’t been the case.
Among his variety of volunteer projects are serving as chairman of Baton Rouge Pride, working in his local Metropolitan Community Church congregation and serving with his husband, Dr. Patrick Cain, as this year’s royalty for the Krewe of Apollo Baton Rouge. Couple that with officially being “newlyweds” after 20-plus years together and the task of downsizing to a condo and cleaning out 20 years of “stuff” from their larger home in Baton Rouge, and the Cain-Merrill household hasn’t seen many “free” minutes.

When there is spare time, however, they’ve been traveling (spending three weeks at the Cain family cabin in Colorado this summer) and enjoying their second home in the French Quarter in New Orleans, where they pride themselves on eating too much and maybe even having a cocktail or two.

Just to keep him in practice with meetings and teleconferences, Tom is still serving on the planning committee for the ACE conference this summer in New Orleans and invites all of you to join us there. Occasionally, he even finds time for an e-book or two and looks forward to eventually spending more “leisure time” in a few years after Dr. Cain retires from being an emergency physician. Beyond question, life is good, and retirement is great!
Randy Anderson says: I retired from the Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service nearly four years ago. At the time of my retirement my official title was Web Design/Developer. I handled all of the online web activities for the entire Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service system.
Since retirement I have been involved with various activities including the supervision of building a new "forever" home here in Laramie.  Yes, the winters are a little dicey, but you can't beat the summers (no 100+ days, no humidity, no big bus of snakes)!

Currently I am driving a support vehicle for the local school district helping transport some identified needs students to and from school on a daily basis. In addition I’m keeping busy with my lifetime hobby of family genealogy, I currently have information back 14 generations on one side of the family!
Gene Hettel writes: After 43 years in agricultural communication and a member of ACE (seven years at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, six years at Iowa State University Extension in Ames, nine years at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, and the last 21 years at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines), I am retiring with my wife of 32 years, Aurora. 
We will be using Calamba, Philippines, as our home base, but will also be spending some time back on the Hettel family farm in Norwalk, Ohio. I'm keeping my hand in the communication game a little bit by doing occasional consultancies at IRRI, which is just a few kilometers down the road from where we live on the slopes of Mount Makiling. I'm currently doing the substantive edit of a major IRRI publication that will be an online resource, Rice Diseases: Biology & Selected Management Practices.

I can be reached on email at genehettel@gmail.com

Call for Nominations

The board has issued the annual call for nominations for ACE awards, to be presented in New Orleans. If you may have someone in mind for the ACE Retirees Award of Excellence, let me know. I’d like to submit a nominee by the deadline February 17.

New Orleans Retirees Session

Thanks to some volunteers who stepped forward, we have submitted a session for soon-to-be-retirees at the ACE Conference in New Orleans. Called “Life Goes On — Planning for Retirement,” it will feature an illustrious panel of Tom Knecht, Judy Winn, Tom Merrill and Linda Benedict. I will moderate the discussion, which will cover both the practical and the emotional questions facing new retirees. We will know soon if the session has been accepted.

Development Fund Needs You

The ACE Development Fund supports grants for ACE members to learn, explore, discover and share something new in their field. Recent grants are helping members produce training videos, delve into software and technology, and preserve archival materials. It’s exciting to see how they use these funds, which were established many years ago by ACE members like you.

The fund gets a fresh infusion each year from the ACE auction during the conference. But ACE members’ interest in supporting the auction has faded a bit in recent years so we’re always searching for ways to support this vital program.

Retirees know the value of professional improvement and continually learning and challenging themselves in their field. So I’m asking you to consider donating to the ACE Development Fund as a way of giving back to your professional association. Just send a check to ACE, designated for the Fund. If the retirees kick in, maybe we can challenge the members to match our generosity.

Why I Serve

In the November newsletter, I asked you: Why did you volunteer to lead and what did you get out of it?
Here are four responses with more to come in future newsletters.

Bob Furbee

In the early ‘90s I was appointed chair of the ACE membership committee. This is about the time that ACE was hoping to have 1,000 members by the year 2000.  Our team was made up of a collection of sharp, energetic ACE members who took this charge to heart.  Members included Michael Gross, Maine, and Tana Kappel, Montana, and others I can't remember. We planned several out-of-the-box recruitment pieces with "catchy" copy and lots of color and complex folds as well as a storyboard for an upbeat video.  We breezed through the process and during our last phone call prior to our Board presentation, we talked about how proud we were of the products we planned and how well we worked together as a team.  We all agreed it was the most efficient and best ACE committee we had served on.  Unfortunately the ACE Board did not share our unbridled enthusiasm for our recommendations and we eventually reverted to creating more traditional recruitment pieces.  But it was fun while it lasted.

Terence Day

My life view calls for active participation in professional organizations.  Early in my career in daily journalism, in the late ‘60s I specialized in ag reporting and joined the Newspaper Farm Editors of America.  Desperate for a western officer, I suppose, the organization appointed me as western states vice president, and I accepted.  Indirectly, this soon led Washington State University to offer me a non-teaching, non-tenured faculty-level position.  I retired from that position 32 years later, during which time I served ACE in several positions, and served the land-grant university system by serving on a variety of committees, including a USDA committee charged with improving urban understanding of agriculture.

My ACE service included more than a decade as a journal article reviewer, and at least a decade (as I recall) as state rep.  I also served on ACE conference planning committees.  I welcomed these opportunities both as a professional obligation and a vehicle for professional development.

I perceive that there has been a strong movement away from faculty appointments for communicators who don’t teach and do research.  It was well underway when I retired in 2004.  Frankly I was able to engage in these professional activities because I was a faculty member.  One of the advantages of faculty status (some would consider it a burden) is the expectation to be involved in research, teaching and committee work.  Also, to work with minimal direction.

My perception was that at some institutions faculty are given more support from administration to travel, to be involved in professional meetings and activities, etc., than are classified staff. In my day many colleagues in some states had to travel to ACE meetings at their own expense.  But throughout my career, WSU administration fully supported my professional society activities, including travel to committee meetings and conferences.  My administrators viewed requests for my participation in ACE as reflecting favorably on WSU.

Yes, serving ACE required extra hours; but that is one of the advantages of faculty status.  No one told me that I couldn’t be in the office working at midnight or four in the morning.  And I firmly believe that I am the person who benefitted most from time and energy devoted to ACE.

Jim Evans

One of my favorite memories of ACE traces back perhaps to about 1990 when our Illinois members hosted a North Central Region conference here in Champaign-Urbana. Anita Povich was a key leader of the planning team and all of us got into the spirit of the occasion. A theme, "On the Horizon," permitted featuring this prairie region of the Midwest and helped give a forward-looking thrust to the program. I remember attending an evening planetarium show about prairie skies. We hoped the visiting ACE members enjoyed this conference and I recall how the planning and hosting activities added teamwork and ACE spirit here.

Ralph Ballew

My involvement in ACE was primarily to learn more and get to know personally many of those professionals in the organization from around the country who were tops in the field of communications. I would read about what these men and women were doing in their particular state, or on the national level, in our ACE publications. I was “awe struck” then, and still am by these many communication trail blazers! I did learn from them and they did help me do a better job! Even now, after 26 years in retirement, I still get a thrill when reading or hearing about them. And getting to know many of them personally was a major highlight in my career.

Upcoming Events

February 17: Deadline to submit nominations for ACE awards
June 13-16: ACE Conference, New Orleans
2018: Ag Media Summit join meeting with ACE, Scottsdale, AR, August 4-8
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