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ACE Retiree Update

March, 2017

Spring Is in the Air … Somewhere

The calendar says it’s spring. We started early in Georgia with daffodils in January azaleas in February. But it’s freezing rain today with predictions of 80-degree weather next week. Many of you have experienced the same boomerang weather.

So what’s that got to do with ACE? Not much. We Southerners just always start every conversation with the weather.

But we do have ACE news to share. The best news is we have two more new life members: Linda Benedict and Martha Filipic. I’m thrilled to announce that Linda is also our newly elected retiree director. She will serve starting in June as the acting director and take over when I complete my term in 2018 at the Scottsdale meeting.

Read on for more highlights. And enjoy your spring — whenever it gets to you.
Janet Rodekohr
ACE Retiree Director

In This Issue

  • Welcome to Our New Lifers
  • Register Now for the Big Easy
  • Your Best Advice
  • Why I Serve
  • RFP Coming Soon
  • Upcoming Events

Welcome to Our New Lifers

The ACE Board of Directors approved the nomination of two recent retirees who opted to join the ranks as ACE Life Members. Both are past presidents and active professionals. Please help me welcome Linda Benedict and Martha Filipic.

Linda Benedict writes:

I’m newly retired, as of January 2017, from LSU AgCenter Communications, where I was associate director and professor. My immediate plans are to go back part-time for six months to edit Louisiana Agriculture, the AgCenter’s quarterly magazine. Outside of that, I am tackling numerous personal writing and photography projects that I’ve been saving up for decades. That’s what’s great about being a journalist — we can practice our profession forever!

Martha Filipic Is the lucky recipient of a retirement gift from her colleagues: lifetime membership in ACE! She writes:

After working at The Ohio State University since 1987 — and after an embarrassingly long countdown — my first day of retirement was Feb. 1. So far, I feel like I’ve barely had a chance to figure out this new gig. The best part so far: Not setting the alarm for 5:30 a.m. five days a week. That in itself is a blessing.
I spent much of February working with my husband, Tony, updating our den: new paint, new flooring, new shelving, new desk and a whole new look. I hope to do some freelancing in the future, and the new den will be a refreshing place to work.
As of this writing, Tony is eagerly anticipating a hip replacement, and after helping him recuperate, I’m looking forward to finding my niche in volunteer work. This fall, we’re planning a nice long trip to Europe. And at some point between now and then, I hope to get my sea legs regarding my new retirement routine. (Photo right: Martha and Tony at her retirement party)

Many thanks to any and all ACE members who contributed toward my Life Membership payment. I’m profoundly grateful for your generosity, and for the collegiality and camaraderie I’ve enjoyed with you over the years. Being a member of ACE has expanded my horizons and opened up many new opportunities for me. I am proud to be a new Life Member.

Register Now for the Big Easy

The ACE conference June 13-16 is taking delicious shape as the planning committee works to book topnotch speakers, explore New Orleans and select menus. Registration is now open, so get started. Be sure to watch the video on the home page to get a feel for this amazing city through the conference theme, ACE Renewal.
We do have a winner this year of the ACE Retirees Award of Excellence. So plan to come and support our No. 1 retiree. Another good excuse to visit New Orleans in June!

Your Best Advice

Our retirees panel presentation called Life Goes On: Planning for Retirement is scheduled for June 14 at 11 a.m. Presenters are Thomas Merrill, Linda Benedict, Judy Winn and Tom Knecht. I’ll be there too.
We could use your help. What’s your best advice to people nearing retirement? I’ll put together a handout of your gems of wisdom so please send a nugget or two to me at jrodekohr@bellsouth.net

Why I Serve

Continuing our series on why you served in a leadership role in ACE, here are contributions from Ted Hutchcroft, Marci Hilt and Jack Sperbeck. They answered this question: Why did you volunteer to lead and what did you get out of it?

Ted Hutchcroft

I joined ACE in spring 1959 when I became Information Director of the National 4-H Foundation. The Gainesville meeting was my first and Las Cruces was my second. At that time I could only be an associate member, not active. It was several years more before persons not on extension and USDA rolls could be active members. Nevertheless, I regularly attended meetings as this contact with ACE professionals was useful to the 4-H Foundation.
I spent several years in Costa Rica for the 4-H Foundation as director of the Inter-American Rural Youth Program. During that time ACE rules were changed and I became eligible to be an active member. I was on the committee chaired by Holly Young. At the St. Paul meeting I was presented the ACE Professional Award and a year or so later the International Award. With Ellen Maurer we created the international section’s newsletter.
I am a long-time ACE member and now a Life Member. It has been an important part of my professional life.

Marci Hilt

I volunteered to run for the post of DC Regional Director in 1998. I was at the ACE meeting in Asilomar, Calif., when I learned that no one else had volunteered to run for the post. Because the DC Region of ACE was unique, I felt it was important for the DC Region to be represented on the ACE Board. My ACE friends who were at Asilomar urged me to run.
While I was DC Regional Director, the region became quite active again and we worked to attract many additional federally-employed communicators, as well as communicators with agricultural organizations headquartered in Washington, DC. We increased membership by offering free monthly communications workshops in USDA’s Secretary’s Dining Room. Partnering with USDA, and with strong support from USDA's Cooperative Extension Service (now NIFA, I believe), the DC Region of ACE also held several well-attended and extremely profitable regional conferences – one of them at the White House Conference Center.
What did I get out of it? It was gratifying to be involved with an organization that was able to offer free monthly hands-on practical communication advice. We never paid a speaker; when agricultural reporters found out a competitor had spoken, they were eager to speak, too. Our regional workshops, which tackled timely communications topics, were also extremely low-cost and usually sold out.
The DC Region of ACE was unique because it was the only region of ACE that had the bulk of its members from federal government agencies and had support from the entire 26 agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At one point, we even had representatives from each USDA agency, plus 4-H. Sadly, in the ensuing years and with the dissolution of the DC Region, I’m afraid ACE has lost relevance for most agricultural communicators in the Washington, DC, area.

Jack Sperbeck

In my early days I was encouraged by Eldon Fredericks, Harold Swanson and others on the Minnesota staff to join and get involved in (then) AAACE. Great advice and mentoring.
I observed the leadership by ACE officers and directors, and when asked to run for director of the North Central Region by (then) director Don Esslinger, it didn't take me long to agree. The subsequent  years of  attending ACE meetings and serving on the board were the most enjoyable and fulfilling of my career. At one time, through attending regional and national meetings, I personally knew the majority of ACE members, numbering around 700 members in those days. I am so thankful for the experiences and fond memories.
Note: It’s not too late to add your answer to the question as well. If you’d like to contribute your experiences to a future newsletter, send your response to me at jrodekohr@bellsouth.net

RFP Posted

Click here for our RFP (Request for Proposals) to manage the business of ACE. With Holly Young’s imminent retirement, a taskforce has put together the RFP to reflect the needs and wants of our professional association. If you are interested or know someone who could do the job, we need to know.

Upcoming Events

June 13-16: ACE Conference, New Orleans
2018: Ag Media Summit join meeting with ACE, Scottsdale, AZ, August 4-8
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