College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
2010 Alumni Awards
Please join us in congratulating the 2010 CALS Alumni and Friends Award recipients for their outstanding service to the college, Idaho, and their professions. Awards are sponsored by the UI CALS Alumni and Friends Association board of directors. Find information and nomination forms for the annual awards www.uidaho.edu/cals/alumnifriends.
Jay Penick, Spokane, Wash., serves as president and chief executive officer for Northwest Farm Credit Services and Agricultural Credit Association. Under Jay’s leadership, his company implemented a scholarship program of $32,000 each year for students attending higher education.
Phil Soulen, Weiser, is influential in Idaho’s farming and ranching communities. Soulen has served on the University of Idaho Silver & Gold Cabinet, the UI Foundation, the College of Natural Resources Advisory Board, and the College of Agricultural Consulting Council. He is a member of the University Leadership Circle and the Steer-A-Year Club and is president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Phil has served Idaho as Agriculture Task Force chair for Gov. John Evans; chair of the Lamb Council for American Sheep Producers; and president of the Idaho Wool Growers Association. Phil currently serves on the Weiser Cemetery District and the foundation board for Weiser Hospital.
Outstanding service awarrd recipients.
Top photo: left of Dean John Hammel is Jeff Harper,
and to his right is Dough Gross.
In the bottom photo, alongside Development
Director Kimberly O'Neill (white blouse) are from left,
Steve Braun, Allison Touchstone, and Robb Steinke.
Allison Touchstone ’95, ’97, ’10, Kuna, is a senior instructor in the University of Idaho Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, Boise. After teaching at Kuna High School for 9 years, she served as program manager for agriculture and natural resources with the State Division of Professional-Technical Education.
Steven Braun ’95, ’04, Troy, has instructed in agricultural science and technology and served as FFA advisor for Troy Junior/Senior High School for 15 years. Steve has been recognized by the Idaho Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association (IVATA) and the National Association of Agricultural Educators. He was honored as the Idaho Ag Teacher of the Year in 2004, 2007, and 2008.
Travis Jones ’99, ’02, Boise, is executive director of the Idaho Grain Producers Association. Travis graduated from Leadership Idaho Agriculture in 2008 and now serves as chairman of the CALS Dean’s Advisory Board. He has served as the CALS representative on the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET). Travis was elected co-chairman of the 2011 Larry Branen Idaho Ag Summit
Mike Rush ’77, ’82, Boise, is executive director of the State Board of Education. Rush has served as president of the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technology Education, has received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Vocational Information Association, and honorary state FFA degrees in Idaho and Pennsylvania. He also received the Honorary American FFA degree.
Robb Steinke ’84, Twin Falls, is a senior relationship manager for Rabo AgriFinance and is senior appraiser and manager of the company’s western U.S. appraisal division. Actively involved in his community, Robb serves with Boy Scouts, the school board, and Knights of Columbus. He also advises both the Dean’s Advisory Board and CALS Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology.
Steve Wilder ’79, ’87, Meridian, runs one of Idaho’s premier secondary agricultural education programs at Meridian High School. Wilder is president-elect of the Idaho Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association (IVATA). He is also a member and one of Idaho’s voting delegates of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). Steve is also active with the Idaho Wool Growers Association, Lions, Kiwanis, Boy Scouts, and 4-H.
Doug Gross ’75, Caldwell, is president and owner of Gross Farms, Inc., and Gross Seed Co. Also, he is vice-president of the Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative. Doug has served on the Idaho Potato Commission and is currently on its Ag Affairs Committee. Doug is a member of the U.S. Potato Council and serves on the Wilder Fire Department Board.
Jeff Harper ’75, Mountain Home, is president and owner of Flying H Farms and Flying H Seed. Jeff serves on the board of directors of the U.S. Potato Council and is president of the Potato Variety Management Institute. Jeff was appointed to the Idaho Potato Commission by Gov. Butch Otter and currently chairs the Research and Education Committee. He’s also on the local Northwest Farm Credit Board of Directors and is an active Vandal Booster.