The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2012 participants completed a seminar on “Global Challenges and Leadership Opportunities” sponsored by GROWMARK from August 10-12, 2011 in Peoria. The seminar included sixteen sessions featuring nineteen speakers on topics that included entrepreneurism, global manufacturing and marketing, and clean water.
Over a two-year period the group is attending 14 seminars covering current social, political and economic issues in the agriculture industry. At the Global Challenges Seminar, participants heard from Thomas L. Churchwell, Midwest Venture Partners, Chuck Weaver, Central Illinois Angels, and Merle Rocke, EcoThermics, on the process for starting and funding a new global enterprise. Dr. Peter Johnsen, Chief Technology Officer of Arvens Technology, Inc. and a 2000 graduate of the IALP, spoke on “The Global Impact of Local Entrepreneurship.”
An entire day was spent at Caterpillar Corporation’s Mossville, Illinois facility where participants were greeted by Siamak Mirhakimi, General Manager, Electronics and Systems Integration Division, an Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation Board Member, who gave an overview of Caterpillar’s worldwide operations. Dr. Shah Tarzi, Professor, Bradley University’s Institute of International Studies, spoke on the opportunities created by democracy opening up in Middle Eastern countries. Bert Frost, Vice-President, Sales and Market Development for CF Industries, and Walter Neubauer, Caterpillar’s Competitive Analysis Group, presented a panel discussion on the challenges of conducting business in emerging economies, focusing on Brazil.
“Agriculture is a global enterprise,” said Joyce Watson, IALF President. “We’re empowering our class participants to be qualified as entrepreneurs as well as corporate leaders in numerous agriculture-related industries.”
Rita and Nathan Kress, owners of Kress Corporation in Brimfield, Illinois, addressed the Class of 2012 from the perspective of a smaller, family-owned company that has succeeded in the global marketplace. Tana Utley, Chief Technology Officer at Caterpillar, spoke about the company’s ability to adapt to change by utilizing technological innovations. Presentations were also given by Nancy Snowden, Director of the Caterpillar Corporate Office of Business Practices, on the importance of ethical business conduct, and by Andrey Denisov, Earthmoving Division – SEM Export Team, who talked about selling products in overseas markets.
The seminar also focused on moral challenges of global leadership and included presentations by Ted McKinney, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs, ELANCO, who spoke about the challenge of “Making Safe, Affordable and Abundant Food a Global Reality.” Dave De Geus, Sustainable Agriculture Lead for the Great Rivers Partnership of The Nature Conservancy, spoke about managing the cleanliness of the world’s great rivers. Dr. Todd Lindley, a District Governor for Rotary International, told the group about Rotary’s efforts to bring clean water to third world nations. Howard Brown, Science Officer at GROWMARK joined GROWMARK board member Chet Esther, in discussing their experiences with economic development on a recent visit to Ghana.
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation was founded in 1981. It is a non-profit educational corporation under Illinois law. A board of directors, comprised of recognized leaders in agriculture and business, oversees the program. Candidates for the leadership program are selected during a competitive application process. Men and women 25 to 49 years of age working full- in production agriculture or agri-related occupations are encouraged to apply. More information is available at www.agleadership.org.
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