April 23, 2008

Agriculture college honors three industry leaders

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The College of Agricultural Sciences at Southern Illinois University Carbondale honored three all-star achievers at a dinner held April 17 in Carbondale for the College Leadership Board.

Illinois Soybean Association Chief Executive Officer W. Lyle Roberts Jr. of Bloomington received the college's annual Service to Agriculture Award. Green View Companies Vice President of Landscape Operations Tim Southey of Bloomington, a 1980 graduate of the college, received its annual Outstanding Alumnus Award. Illinois Soybean Association Chair David Hartke of Teutopolis, a 1993 graduate, was named the 2008 Young Alumnus.

The three, who, in addition, serve on the leadership board, received commemorative plaques. Portraits of Roberts and Southey will hang in the college's recently instituted Hall of Fame. Southey also will deliver the college's commencement address May 10.

Dean Gary L. Minish said all three men had strong ties to the college.

"They know our people and our programs really well, and you don't have to call them (for help) — they're there," he said.

Roberts, a force in the soybean association for nearly two decades, administers the state's soybean checkoff funds, develops the association's educational and promotional programs, and coordinates the programs and activities of state and national soybean groups.

"He's one of the most respected and effective CEOs I've ever had the pleasure of working with," Minish said.

"He's also been instrumental in supporting the four state universities with agriculture programs and bringing them together for collaborative research and teaching."

Southey, a registered landscape architect with state certification as a nursery professional, oversees landscape design, installation and maintenance for all five Green View locations and has won a number of awards for his work.

"He continues to contribute to the landscape teaching program, speaking to classes, mentoring students, bringing them on board as interns and employees," Minish said, noting that Southey had contributed the materials and worked with the landscape faculty and students to install the new garden at the Agriculture Building's entrance.

"He's been a loyal alumnus in every sense of the word — to his department and his college and his university."

Hartke, who with his family raises corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle and hogs, served two terms as the soybean association's District 14 director before his election to the chair's position. He's also active in the Effingham County Farm Bureau Young Leaders and the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce.

"He's young, but he's way ahead of where you'd expect him to be, " Minish said.

"He's one of the youngest people to be elected chair, but it's based on a solid record."

The leadership board's 100 members represent a broad spectrum of the agriculture, food and forestry industries. They provide guidance and support for the college's teaching, research and outreach missions.