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ACE Retiree Update

June 2015

Greetings from steamy Columbus, Ohio. I returned two weeks ago from the Charleston meeting where, in addition to great food, rich history lessons and catching up with friends, I attended the ACE board meeting and some amazing conference breakout sessions on apps, drones and web site development. Three retirees attended the meeting: Janet Rodekohr, Tom Knecht and me. More than 60 first time participants attended, which bodes well for the organization. ACE is definitely making strides forward.
- Bob Furbee, Retiree Director

Charleston Meeting and ACE by the Numbers

Charleston - Two hundred thirty-nine were registered for this year’s annual conference. There were more than 320 Critique and Award entries. Both of these numbers were higher than last year. Another successful ACE auction brought in about $3,500.

ACE – Our membership directory contains 457 entries. Of these, 74 are either life members or retirees who are paying lifetime dues on the payment plan. Also, ACE has $230,000 in its reserves. So, our organization is in good financial standing.

ACE Retiree Award of Excellence

This year’s recipient of the retiree’s highest award is … drum roll … Tom Knecht. Throughout his career at land grant institutions (University of Illinois, North Carolina State University and Mississippi State University) and in his retirement years, Tom has served ACE as a stalwart of integrity and professionalism. Tom was ACE president from 2001-2002. Other positions he has held within the organization range from state representative and SIG leader to chair of the 2011 ACE Strategic Planning Committee and committee member for the 2000 Risk Communication Workshop. Tom was also a guiding force behind the ACE Leadership Institute. He was retiree director from 2010-1012 and led the 2012 retiree survey. Tom has a talent for working well with others, both individually and on teams, whether serving as a member or leader. ACE continues to benefit from Tom’s perspective and knowledge.

ACE Retiree Director-Elect

And, Janet Rodekohr was installed as Retiree Director-elect during the business meeting at the conference. Janet served as ACE president from 1996-97. In her retirement, she continues to serve ACE whenever asked. She will collaborate with Bob Furbee throughout this year and will become retiree director at next year’s meeting in Memphis. Thank you, Janet, for stepping forward and accepting this assignment.

Retiree Personal Updates

Janet Rodekohr enjoyed a ski trip to Winter Park, Colorado in March. She took an intensive watercolor workshop with a Chinese artist and continues to try to master this challenging creative outlet.

Consider submitting a personal update on your life – anniversary or birthday celebration, interesting travel, health update, hobby update, awards and honors, and more. Send to bob.furbee@gmail.com.

Most Memorable Meeting

Fairbanks (1985)
Thirty years ago this week I traveled to our nation’s 49th state – Alaska, Land of the Midnight Sun – to attend the ACE International Conference in Fairbanks. Denali’s mountaintop glistened in the distance as the most memorable day of my life – June 27, 1985 – began! At noon that day I became president of the Agricultural Communicators in Education, accepting the gavel from USDA colleague Larry Quinn. What a humbling, exhilarating and challenging experience! Three hours later, my best friend, Cam Calvert, an ARS animal scientist, and I married each other at the Alaska Statehouse Courtroom with ACE friends Betty Fleming and Bill Carnahan in attendance. That evening, we surprised everyone at the conference banquet held on the banks of the historical Chena River. Raising champagne glasses, we all celebrated both our future life together and the continued impact and success of ACE! A great beginning to life’s next adventure. – Patricia Calvert

Honolulu (1975)
“My most memorable ACE meeting: It has to be 1975, Honolulu, Hawaii. Why? It was my first National ACE meeting, happening during my first year at the University of California, Davis. I met some special people there. Of course, I don’t remember program specifics, but do remember reporting on the meeting upon my return, with our Vice-president for Agriculture and Natural Resources and our Director of Cooperative Extension in the audience. They had to make sure they got their money’s worth from allowing me to attend!” – Gary Beall

Can’t Choose Just One!
“My favorite ACE meeting, that’s tough. I think of snippets of memories from several meetings: the nearly-all-night scavenger hunt at the Mackinac Island conference (1981), the thrill of meeting President Clinton at the Washington conference (2000), the riverboat ride at the Savannah conference (2002) and the exploration of Quebec City (2006). One conference I’ll never forget was the Hawaii conference (1975). I didn’t attend it but most of the folks in my office at the University of Nebraska did. While they were gone, the governor declared the state in a severe drought and I had to churn out lots of news stories on my own. It was a trial by fire that burned hot and dry.” -- Janet Rodekohr

San Antonio (2005)
“You sure posed a tough question, asking which ACE conference was most memorable. For me, though, I would have to say it was the 2005 meeting in San Antonio. I was president that year, so having survived more than a year of detailed planning there was great relief when the meeting finally came off smoothly. That was due to the tireless efforts of all my Texas colleagues. They made it happen. The meeting was notable for several reasons. First, we had the largest attendance ever, with (as I recall) more than 50 or so signing up the day the conference started. That had us scrambling to secure extra meeting space and more meals. Second, most folks who came had never been to San Antonio before (or even to Texas!) and found the site exciting and intriguing. And third, I remember so many people telling me that they were having so much fun (besides enjoying the professional development sessions, of course).” – Judy Winn

Rapid City (1991)
“While I have great memories from many an ACE meeting, one that stands out is the 1991 meeting in Rapid City, South Dakota. It was a great setting in the hills of western South Dakota. We were there during the 50th year celebration of the opening of Mt. Rushmore, rubbing elbows with President George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Stewart, and Tom Brokaw. But more importantly the program planning committee had done an excellent job inviting marketing guru Jeffrey Lant and Loretta LaRouche, humorist extraordinaire. Memories of Gary Hermance smiling broadly as he tried on kid’s cowboy hats in a novelty shop and Martha Filipic being stranded in Deadwood all add to the ambiance of that meeting.” -- Bob Furbee

Because of the positive response, we will be repeating last issue’s question for our next newsletter. The question is, “What was your most memorable ACE meeting and why?” Send your entries to bob.furbee@gmail.com by September 1.

Ashley Wood in Retirement

Since retiring six years ago, Ashley has been busy working on the original family home, built in 1886 by his great-grandfather W.D. Evins, who established Evinston, the town where Ashley and Sara-Nett live. The house is a southern-style folk Victorian structure with two stories, a large verandah that wraps around the front, and a bit of ornate work on both stories. He’s finished the outside, rewired, re-plumbed, and currently has several rooms that he’ll be finishing this year. The house is on the original family farmstead, which was designated as a “Florida Pioneer Family Farm” by the state agricultural commissioner. Ashley and Sara-Nett own and manage about 42 acres of this farmland and partner with his brother who owns and manages most of the 200 acres remainder. They raise beef cattle; have citrus trees, and a bit of forested land.

Ashley is active in a number of conservation/preservation organizations, working with other like-minded folks who are trying to keep as much open space and conservation lands that remain in Florida, while attempting to protect Florida’s natural springs, ground water, and natural areas.

For the past several years, Ashley has chaired Alachua County’s Historical Commission. This is a countywide commission that works directly with county government to set policies that protect historical resources, educate citizens about the history of the area, and work with other historical societies. He is also active in several of the area’s and state historical societies and groups. One society is working to preserve his town’s historic old store and post office, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Recently threatened with closure, they convinced the U.S. Postal Service to continue service at this historic post office. It is one of the few remaining historic store/post office buildings in the U.S. and housed the international ACE post office box for 15 years.

Through Smithsonian, Ashley and Sara-Nett found a tour group based in Oxford that they use to provide outstanding international travel. They’ve been to Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Malta, and Israel. The trips are mostly on a small (300 max.) ship with great tours, lecturers, and wonderful entertainment. During this year’s ACE meeting they were traveling in France, Spain, and Morocco.

Their son is a Federal Officer with the Department of Justice. Their daughter-in-law is the assistant graphics coordinator at IFAS, University of Florida, a gold and OPS award winner in ACE. Their daughter is the Apple computer coordinator for the Orlando Veterans Hospital. They have a three-year old grandson who they really enjoy. He spends three days each week with his grandparents and really appreciates being in a rural, quiet, and natural environment. This story, along with a photo of Ashley, appears on the ACE website.

Next issue feature: Meg Ashman

Calendar – Upcoming ACE Meetings

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

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