How long have I been involved with CNATCA?
I’ve been involved with CNATCA for approximately four years, though I knew of the organization since early 2001.
Tell us a bit about your personal background. Where were you raised? (Education, Family, Career)
I was born and raised in the Ada, Minnesota, area which is situated approximately 60 miles north of Fargo-Moorhead and is located on part of the ancient sea bed of Lake Agassiz which now hosts the Red River Valley of the north that extends from Southwestern Minnesota all the way to Winnipeg, Manitoba, CA. I attended several colleges and universities, culminating in my Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. En-route, I spent four years in the South Pacific as a teacher in Papua New Guinea, and on the faculties of Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana – “Middletown USA”), The University of Minnesota – School of Public Health (Minneapolis, MN), St. Mary’s College (Winona, MN), the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and most recently, out of retirement, at Lake Region State College (Devils Lake, ND).
Most of my career has been spent in academic centers, and of that, most in the fields of public health and clinical medicine. During the 1990’s I directed the National Farm Medicine Center and was Director of the Marshfield Education and Research Center located at Marshfield Clinic (Marshfield, WI). Marshfield Clinic is the largest integrated health care delivery system in rural America, so I had the opportunity to actively participate in building a large regional medical care insurance and delivery system serving 4,000,000 unique patients in eastern Minnesota, the upper peninsula of Michigan, and all of central and northern Wisconsin. In that role, I was often involved in rural workforce development, some issues pertaining to rural transportation such as emergency medical service delivery, 24-hour round-the-clock delivery of medical specimens and antimicrobials, and IT.
Most recently, since moving to North Dakota in retirement – that didn’t last very long as I really don’t care for that function – I have been involved in designing and developing precision agriculture training programs, culminating with my own program located at Lake Region State College, which is the largest training program in the U.S. Other programs that I have been an advisor to include centers in Kansas, Nebraska, and Minnesota. I am also involved in “big data” initiatives within the Big Ten University setting, so the computer sky is the theoretical limit to central activity there.
Describe one of your current projects that you are excited about and how it relates to CNATCA.
- Convening stakeholders and policy makers who are located within or focus, at least in part, on rural areas within CNATCA’s core area in order to explore and frame legislative responses to issues of concern within such areas.
- Sponsoring and conducting technical conferences that explore topical issues and ideas of relevance to rural areas within North America.
- Publishing a newsletter that responds to the needs of rural economic developers, mayors and council-persons, entrepreneurs, and voluntary community organization Boards.
- Developing and publishing op-ed pieces that thoughtfully explore current economic development ideas and challenges.
CNATCA possesses a very ambitious agenda. To accomplish this, what do you think CNATCA should be focused on over the next five years?
- Lobbying where necessary on policy issues relevant to rural economic development and transportation.
The largest focus must be on free trade. That issue impacts all of rural North America and threatens the very core of its economic development. Next, the focus must be on transportation, for without adequate systems, rural economies will stagnate and ultimately fail to deliver on economic development aspirations. Thirdly, the focus must remain on the IoT and ancillary issues such as connectivity, cyber-security, and formation and delivery of IT workforce training within rural areas. And, some resources must be preserved and directed toward ensuring vitality of the organization itself.