Four WIU School of Ag Graduates Named Distinguished Alumni
May 4, 2022
MACOMB, IL – Four graduates from Western Illinois University’s School of Agriculture have been named Distinguished Alumni.
The honor is a practice that began in 2020 in the course of the faculty’s one hundredth anniversary. This 12 months’s honorees are 1985 Agriculture alumnus Mary Barnes, of Nebo, IL; 1983 Agriculture and 1986 MBA alumnus Marsha Webster, of Allerton, IA; 1987 Agriculture alumnus Kurt Rahe, of Bluffs, IL; and 1987 Agriculture alumnus Mark Dempsey, of Fowler, IL.
Mary (Turnbull) Barnes: Barnes, a 1985 graduate with a level in Agriculture, was the primary feminine WIU graduate to safe a secondary agriculture trainer place in Illinois and one of 4 who taught within the state in 1985. She has additionally served on the part, district and Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers (IAVAT) and the Illinois FFA Board of Directors.
Barnes has taught at Barry Community School in Pike County; Western High School in Barry (consolidation of Barry and West Pike); and Pleasant Hill High School.
She obtained the 2008 National Association of Agricultural Education (NAAE) Teacher Mentor award winner in Illinois, in 1995, was named the Outstanding NVA (NAAE) excellent Region IV trainer, in 1996 and 2019, obtained the District III Excellence in Teaching Award alongside together with her FFA American Farmer Degree in 1983 and the Honorary American FFA Degree in 1999.
Barnes accomplished her Master of Science diploma at Southern Illinois University in Agriculture Education and Mechanization. She retired in 2019, after 35 years of instructing.
“Through the years, I’ve seen many modifications in agriculture and schooling, however the college students nonetheless want and need to have somebody consider in them,” she mentioned. “All lecturers have that potential to make a constructive distinction of their college students’ lives. Making the distinction has led me to take pleasure in a easy life, elevating my kids, instructing God’s kids, and caring for the land. I credit score my success to doing issues I’ve a ardour for and being adaptable to life’s change.”
Barnes has served as an advisor to 4 FFA chapters and taught greater than 4,000 college students about agriculture and FFA. She and her husband, Jerry, have two kids.
“I’m so honored to be amongst an elite group of people such because the WIU Distinguished Alumni inside the School of Agriculture,” she mentioned. “My life’s work has allowed me to make a constructive distinction within the lives of youth.”
Marsha Webster: Webster, who obtained her bachelor’s diploma in Agriculture in 1983, and her Master of Business Administration (MBA) diploma in 1986.
Her skilled profession has concerned many roles – Commodity Trader, CFO, Director of Operations, Consultant – to call a couple of, at a wide selection of firms – Hawkeye Gold Division, The Andersons, PIC, Tyson Fresh Meats are just a few of the 12 firms she has labored for in her profession. For the previous 10 years she has been employed by J.D. Heiskell Company, a 136-12 months, household-owned firm.
“I’m humbled to obtain the WIU School of Agriculture Distinguished Alumni Award,” mentioned Webster. “WIU was my residence for six years whereas I obtained my undergraduate and graduate diploma. The School of Agriculture gave me a terrific basis to construct my profession and lots of life-lengthy mates.”
Webster’s true ardour is the livestock business. She and her husband, Jon, additionally a WIU animal science alumni, stay in southern Iowa and have a cow/calf herd in northern Missouri with their son, Ty, and his household. Marsha and Jon even have a daughter, Jessica Moore, who lives in Madill, OK.
Kurt Rahe: Rahe, a 1987 agriculture enterprise graduate, started his profession as a gross sales consultant with Asgrow Seed Company within the Illinois and Wisconsin gross sales territories. After six years, Rahe was promoted to guide a gross sales workforce in Indiana for 3 years, earlier than changing into the Eastern Regional Manager for Asgrow. When the corporate was bought by Monsanto, Rahe and his household moved to St. Louis, MO to proceed his profession and to start working in advertising, provide chain, strategic account operations, and account administration inside the licensing group.
Rahe led one of the highest Strategic Accounts and finally headed the U.S. Soybean Portofolio workforce, earlier than retiring from Bayer in 2019, after 32 years of service. He and his spouse, Dana, who graduated from WIU in 1987, with a level in administrative workplace administration, bought a house farm in Bluffs, IL, the place they increase corn and soybeans, together with registered Angus cattle. Rahe additionally turned the overall gross sales supervisor for Burrus Seed Company in Jacksonville, IL.
At WIU, Rahe turned a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, like his 4 brothers earlier than him – changing into president throughout his time on campus. He turned a member of the 1984 Livestock Judging Team, and served on different ag-associated golf equipment, together with Hoof N Horn, Collegiate FFA, Ag Business Club, Ag Council, and Alpha Zeta.
Rahe and Dana have two sons, Nathan and Jared.
“I’m very honored and humbled to obtain the 2022 School of Ag Distinguished Alumni recognition,” mentioned Rahe. “WIU ready me very nicely for my 35-12 months profession within the seed business, bringing improvements, applied sciences, and improved genetics to growers throughout the US. My ardour for WIU continues as I’m at the moment serving on the Ag Advisory Board to help within the progress of the School of Agriculture.”
Mark Dempsey: Dempsey, a 1987 WIU graduate, with a level in agriculture science, at the moment owns Bigneck Outfitters, a searching enterprise, and RKBA Gun Range. After commencement, he returned to his household farm close to Quincy, IL and is now in his thirty fifth 12 months working the farm, first together with his father and now together with his son.
During his farming profession, Dempsey received second place within the National Corn Growers yield contest in 2004, and took first place in 2008, with a 348-bu. yield per acre. He additionally enjoys specializing in the advertising facet of agriculture.
While at Western, Dempsey was a member of AGR, the Hoof N Horn membership, in addition to a member of the 1987 Livestock Judging Team. He continues to be energetic on campus, serving six 12 months on the School of Agriculture’s Advisory Board, and a few years because the president of the AGR Alumni Association.
Dempsey, and his spouse, Milicent, have two kids, Grant and Gabrielly, who’re each WIU School of Agriculture graduates.
For extra details about the WIU School of Agriculture, go to wiu.edu/agriculture.
Posted By: University Communications (U-Communications@wiu.edu)
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