Sharing ideas for our future

Cougs football field during Saturday's game.

Last week was a whirlwind, between meetings in Baltimore followed by the WSU Foundation events on Thursday, meetings with some of our strongest partners on Friday, and of course football on Saturday.

I had a chance to meet WSU alumni and supporters Ken and Sue Christianson for the first time on Friday. What a nice couple! Thursday afternoon I met Mark Schuster from Idaho potato company Lamb Weston. I can’t wait to learn more about the operation. On Saturday I saw WSU faculty and CAHNRS supporters Don and Joye Dillman again. Don and I talked a bit more about CAHNRS strengths and needs. I always walk away from him with ideas.

During the game, I had a chance to meet Steve and Mary Gordon from the Anderson Hay & Grain Company and learn about their hay business. I look forward to visiting in Ellensburg. During the 4-H tailgate, I met the pair of graduate students who train the racing cockroach. It turns out that one of the trainers, Emily Rampone, grew up only about 30 minutes from me on the other side of the country — talk about a small world! Scot Hulbert was a great sport about having a roach crawl on his arm. I kept my distance. Homecoming weekend proved to be a great opportunity to meet partners and supporters. Before I knew it, we were into the third quarter of the game.

This week, the chairs and directors meet to continue crafting the future  of CAHNRS as it relates to having a greater impact on  Washington through learning, discovery, and engagement. I am looking forward to opportunities to share the ideas across CAHNRS and gather feedback.

Later in the week I will meet the Mount Vernon, Whatcom County, and Skagit County teams. Before heading back to Pullman, I have a meeting with the Washington State Wine Commission as well as a day of meetings in Spokane that includes the Washington Grain Commission and a retirement reception for Glen Squires, the Grain Commission’s CEO. In between are meetings with CAHNRS supporters and alumni.

Overall, I am settling into the pace and activities that come with the position. Going into football season I had no idea where the activity would land on the “fun scale,” but it turns out to be pretty high and consistent from week to week. Hopefully the Tenure and Promotion Committees (Extension and Research/Teaching Committees) ranked their package reviews high on the “fun scale.” The Research/Teaching Committee met last week after what I am sure was as many hours of effort reading as assessing each case. Next year we will move to a single committee to better reflect how the three land-grant missions intersect.

I am about halfway through Cashup Davis: The Inspiring Life of a Secret Mentor. I need to get back to it as in the next chapter I believe he starts hotel construction!