2018 Grand President's Award Winners
In February 2018, four extraordinary Brothers were selected to receive the 2018 Alpha Gamma Rho Grand President's Award. Administered and nominated by a selection committee, the Grand President's Award is given to outstanding Fraternity alumni, age 40 or younger, who have achieved remarkable success in their professional careers and made great contributions to agriculture and Alpha Gamma Rho. The award demonstrates an honorable acknowledgment of the recipient's exceptional brotherhood, leadership, professionalism and knowledge of his industry.
Eric Halverson, Jason Hart, Garrett Hawkins, and Kevin Heikes were honored with the award at the four 2018 Leadership Seminars in Memphis, Reno, Kansas City, and Philadelphia. Each recipient spoke of the great opportunities out there for Alpha Gamma Rho members and the lessons that can be learned throughout their undergraduate years and beyond.
Garrett Hawkins was raised on a diversified farm near Appleton City, Missouri, where he, his wife Jennifer and three children reside today. He attended Missouri State University where he was a founding father of the Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho. When the chapter was a developing colony, Hawkins served as VNR of Planning and stepped up as Alumni President for Beta Omega after graduation.
In 2002, Hawkins earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business. Following graduation, Hawkins served as the national legislative programs director for Missouri Farm Bureau for 14 years where he directed the organization's national advocacy efforts and policy development process. During his tenure with the organization, Hawkins was appointed to the American Farm Bureau Federation's General Counsel Advisory Committee and Farm Bill Working Group. He was elected to the Missouri Farm Bureau employee credit union board of directors, serving two years as president. In March 2017, Hawkins was appointed Deputy Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
Hawkins provides advocacy training at the Missouri FFA Association's HYMAX and HYPE academies each year. Also a graduate of the Missouri Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow (ALOT) program, Hawkins has served on the organization's board of directors for over six years. Among his many accomplishments Hawkins was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree, the Honorary Missouri FFA Degree , ALOT alumnus of the Year, and ALOT Workhorse.
During his acceptance speech at the AGR Leadership Seminar in Memphis, Tennessee, Hawkins shared his thoughts on involvement and that all young leaders within agriculture should aspire and "do more." Hawkins used the example of "feed more, reach more, connect more, and empower more" – part of the Missouri Department of Agriculture's new branding, which tied in with the Leadership Seminar theme of "Broaden Your Brand."
Jason Hart attended Clemson University where he was initiated in to the Beta Zeta Chapter in the fall of 1995. During his time at Clemson, Hart served as Beta Zeta's VNR Recruitment, VNR Activities, and Vice President on Clemson's Interfraternity council. In 1999, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology and a minor in marketing.
Upon graduation, Brother Hart began working in the hunting and fishing industry as a sales representative for Avery Outdoors. He continued working in different sales and marketing positions for major companies within the industry, including Under Armour's Outdoor Division and Mossy Oak. Hart was awarded Emerging Markets Sales Manager of the Year by Under Armor in 2006 and Sales Person of the Year by Sports, Inc. Buying Group in 2010.
In 2014, Hart and other former Under Armour coworkers, including Beta Zeta Brother Josh Reed, founded Marolina Outdoor, Inc. Marolina Outdoor has two brands, Huk Performance Fishing and NOMAD Authentic Hunting. Both brands have gained distribution and a tremendous amount of market share in all 50 states. Hart is currently the Vice President of Business Development where he works in sales, marketing, product, media, conservation relations, and more.
While accepting his award at the Reno Leadership Seminar, February 10, Hart discussed relationships and the importance of making connections through the Fraternity. He shared his story of making AGR connections a priority and how it has contributed greatly to his personal success and the success of Marolina Outdoors. In the last 3 years, Marolina Outdoors has become a multi-million-dollar company employing 50 full time and 50 part-time employees. "That's 100 families that have been impacted by a brotherhood that started at Beta Zeta Chapter in South Carolina," Hart said.
"Just keep up with folks," Hart said, "in 10 years you might be doing multi-million dollar deals with them."
Kevin Heikes grew up on a cattle operation in southern Colorado. He attended Colorado State University where he was initiated into Rho Chapter in 1996. As an undergraduate, Heikes was involved in the President's Leadership Program, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Agricultural Council and Collegiate Livestock Judging. He was selected as the American Royal Student Ambassador in 1998 and served as a representative and spokesman for the American Royal and livestock industry.
In 2000, Heikes graduated from Colorado State with a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness and continued his schooling at Kansas State University where he received a Master's in Agribusiness in 2010.
Heikes spent almost a decade helping grow Farms Technology, an online and mobile grain trading AgTech startup. In 2009, Heikes was the Colorado State University spotlight alumnus and in 2015, he was selected by Kansas City Business Journal as a 2015 Next Gen Leader.
In 2016, Brother Heikes became the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer for IN10T, a digital agriculture company. IN10T is focused on solving farmer adoption challenges in agriculture and committed to advancing agriculture innovation by improving farmers' profitability, productivity, and sustainability using advanced technologies and processes.
Heikes was honored with his award at the AGR Leadership Seminar in Kansas City, Missouri on February 17. During his acceptance speech, Heikes shared his story of struggling with a heart condition that put him and his family through 4 life-threatening strokes. He emphasized how hard times help you to reflect on what is most important in life and how important it is to make the most of the time you have.
"Keep understanding your ‘why' and keep writing your story," Heikes said, "Putting others first, and making others better, will help you make yourself better in the long run."
EricHalverson was raised on the farm in rural Forest River, North Dakota. He attended North Dakota State University, where he was initiated into Epsilon Chapter in 1995. In 1999, Halverson graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Bio-Systems Engineering.
Upon graduation, he returned to the Halverson family farm, known as Black Gold Farms, as one of the fourth-generation family members with a focus on new technology. In the fall of 2014, Eric succeeded his father, Gregg, as CEO of Black Gold Farms, a multi-state farming operation focused on potato production in excess of 25,000 acres.
Brother Halverson has been active in the industry as a member of the Association of Agricultural Production Executives (AAPEX), where he was elected to serve as President in 2017. He currently sits on the Board of Potatoes USA, where he has held positions on the Executive Committee and the Administrative Committee. Halverson serves on the Grower Shipper Board of United Fresh and is also the current Vice President of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association.
Halverson was honored with the award at the AGR Leadership Seminar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 24. During his acceptance speech, Halverson spoke about patterns of successful people. "The most successful people I know have some common methods," Halverson said, "they know where they want to go and then they make decisions that will allow them to get there. They don't wait for things to happen, they make it happen."
Learning how to adapt to situations and work with others' different personalities, especially within an Alpha Gamma Rho chapter, was another highlight of Halverson's advice. "As you transition into a career, it is so important to leverage those experiences of learning how to work with different people into effective and cohesive teamwork in your work place," Halverson said.
Grand President's Award Winners
Taylor Brown, Montana State
Mike Jackson, Purdue
Jay Vroom, Illinois
Jim Zarndt, Wisconsin-Madison
Jack Kaltenberg, Wisconsin-Madison
Dwight Seegmiller, Iowa State
Walt Whitcomb, Maine
Sam Brownback, Kansas State
John DeRuiter, Cal Poly State-SLO
Frank Moore, Tennessee-Knoxville
David Buckman, Missouri
John C. Cottingham, Purdue
Frederick McClure, Texas A&M
Ole Meland, Cal Poly State-SLO
Tom Davis, Purdue
Scott Moffitt, Kentucky
William C. Schilling, Nebraska
Jerry Weller, Illinois
Terry Bass, North Carolina State
C. James Bode, Oklahoma State
William C. Miller, Kentucky
Jay S. Poole, Virginia Tech
Charles "Chuck" Clemons Sr., Florida
Dave Parker, Purdue
Paul Schulte, Oklahoma State
David L. Bracht, Nebraska
Ed Jernigan, Middle Tennessee State
Ted A. McKinney, Purdue
Michael Bret Thurmond, Georgia
Jay L. Ewald, Minnesota
Brose A. McVey, Purdue
Brian Moeller, Illinois
Tony D. Williams, Texas Tech
Steven L. Stice, Illinois
Jeffrey L. Warner, Western Illinois
Kraig Wagenecht, Western Illinois
Randall Little, New Mexico State
Charles Woodside, Nebraska
Dave E. Anderson, Kansas State
William Carriere, California-Davis
Timothy Minert, Nebraska
David A. Rold, Illinois
Jeffrey D. Adkisson, CAE, Western Illinois
Russ Galle, Kansas State
Charles Hall, Tennessee-Knoxville
Rick Nagel, Purdue
Merle G. Flowers, Auburn
Doug Griffin, Purdue
David B. Reis, Illinois
Daren Coppock, OregonState
Doug Eckrote, Purdue
Anthony Haynes, Tennessee-Martin
David McDonald, Iowa State
Bryce Kelly Sr., Florida
John L. Kruse, South Dakota State
Paul Weubbe, Cal Poly State-SLO
Wayne Worthley, Minnesota
Paul Boettcher, Wisconsin-Madison
Todd D. Johnson, Kansas State
Shane C. Kitchen, Mississippi State
Kevin Ochsner, Colorado State
Tracey Binkley, Tennessee-Knoxville
Rich Engel, California-Davis
Corey Geiger, Wisconsin-Madison
Bill Hayen, Missouri
Michael Gomes, Cal Poly State-SLO
Grady Roberts, Florida
Michael Wainscott, Kentucky
Thomas White, Tennessee-Knoxville
Daniel Foor, Iowa State
Allen Lambright, East Texas State University
Michael Revelle, Tennessee-Martin
Jim Zumwalt, Illinois
Raymond Hodge, Florida
John Latham, Iowa State
Tom Lilja, North Dakota State
Glenn Poxleitner, Idaho
Michael Bosco, Tarleton State
John Demerly, Purdue
Steve Hanson, Iowa State
Sean Kouplen, Oklahoma State
Cody Lane, Tarleton State
Devin Nunes, Cal Poly
Adam Putnam, Florida
Jeffrey Rowe, Iowa State
Matt Fanta, Wisconsin-River Falls
Jerry Gilliam, Murray State
Marc Paulson, Minnesota
Peter Tomlinson, Connecticut
Lynn Becker, Minnesota
C. Elliott Marsh, Jr., Georgia
Jesse Singerhouse, Wisconsin-River Falls
Jerrod Westfahl, Kansas State
Chad Dummermuth, Iowa State
Joe Kelsay, Purdue
Thad Koenigsfeld, MIssouri
Adam Manwarren, Minnesota
Jason Grady, Kansas State
Sam Watson, Georgia
Will Wittler, Nebraska
Jeremy Zweiacker, Oklahoma