Award winners will be honored March 9 in Manhattan
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Leaders in agribusiness, the arts, diversity, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, local foods and tourism are being recognized by Kansas State University’s Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development as Leaders of the Year for 2017.
“These leading Kansans should be commended for their innovative ideas and service to rural communities,” said Mike James of Phillipsburg, chair of the board of directors of the Huck Boyd Institute.
This year’s award categories and winners are: Agribusiness – Alan VanNahmen, Farm Buddy, Kansas/Indiana; Community Service – Tracy Teeter, The Main ARTery, Ulysses;
Diversity and Service – Cameron Bradshaw, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, Jetmore – Collegiate; Kim Thomas, Mayor, Stockton – Professional; Entrepreneurship and Business Development – Jill Mason, Confetti & Cashmere Party Boutique, Manhattan; Rural Grocery and Retail Foods – Terry Olsen, Eastside/Westside Markets, Manhattan; Rural Manufacturing – Mike Kilkenny, Taylor Forge, Paola; and Tourism – Dan and Brenda Pace and Amanda Kaufman, Collingwood Barn, Pretty Prairie.
The winners will receive their awards at a luncheon in Manhattan on March 9.
Alan VanNahmen grew up on a family farm in southwest Kansas where one of his major tasks was driving the combine during harvest time. After studying at K-State, he embarked on an international career developing harvesting equipment with John Deere and Claas. As he saw farmers trying to present their innovative equipment ideas to major manufacturers, he thought that those farmers needed a friend to help them. In 1991, he founded a company called Farm Buddy to assist farmers with product design and development. He now serves as a consultant for farmers and agribusinesses, including those who are developing the ARRO Head harvesting system for grain sorghum. According to industry sources, there is no one in the country who knows more about grain harvesting systems than Alan VanNahmen.
Tracy Teeter is an artist and art gallery owner in Ulysses. A painter in pastels, Tracy befriended a fellow artist and they hosted an art show in the community during 2005. It was so successful that it became an annual event and led to the creation of a downtown art gallery called The Main ARTery. This gallery has grown to include 26 fine artists and 20 vendors from across the nation. Next door to the gallery is Main ARTery Plus, a home décor, antique and furniture store also owned by Tracy and her husband Lynn. The Main ARTery has become popular for buying gifts and has been compared favourably with galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Customers from coast to coast have visited the store and from as far away as Germany and Norway. For more information, see www.mainarterykansas.com.
Cameron Bradshaw comes from a family farm near Jetmore. His family is involved with the National Black Farmers Association which advocates for African American farm producers. Along with his father, Rod Bradshaw, Cameron was able to meet with the top administrators of USDA to talk about the challenges facing black farmers. Cameron is an agriculture student at K-State and an active member of a student organization called MANRRS – Minorities in AgricultuHe H
re, Natural Resources and Related Sciences.
Kim Thomas grew up at Plainville and spent time with her grandparents at Nicodemus. She studied at Emporia State and then worked for Southwestern Bell in northwest Kansas as a communications technician. After she moved to Stockton, her friends encouraged her to run for city council and she was elected in 1999. In 2002, she became mayor – a position she has held ever since. She got involved in the League of Kansas Municipalities and in October 2016, became the president of that organization. Kim is the first female African American mayor in the state of Kansas and the first female African American president of the League of Kansas Municipalities.
Jill Mason grew up on a Dickinson County farm and studied hotel and restaurant management and minored in business administration at K-State. After graduation she got an internship with the Kansas City Chiefs. She worked her way up to booking the Stadium Club at Arrowhead Stadium which led to her planning and implementing major events in Los Angeles. She came back to Kansas to the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan and then started a planning and party supply business of her own called Confetti and Cashmere. She owns a retail store by that name in Manhattan and an online business which serves customers from Alaska to Alabama. For more information, go to www.confettiandcashmere.com.
Terry Olsen learned about plants from her father, K-State plant pathology researcher Leon Edmunds. Terry started working at a local stand selling produce during the summer while a student at K-State. She and her sister eventually bought the produce stand and created what is now Eastside and Westside Markets in Manhattan. Terry gets products from local sources as she can and then seeks out the best produce in the region. During various seasons, her stores also offer bedding plants, Christmas trees, Kansas products, fruit baskets for local delivery, and gift boxes for shipment. Eastside and Westside Markets have operated for 40 years. Terry also served as president of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information, go to www.eastsideandwestsidemarkets.com.
Mike Kilkenny is CEO and owner of Taylor Forge Engineered Systems in Paola, with facilities in Tulsa and elsewhere. Taylor Forge manufactures large, heavy steel products for the natural gas, oil, defense and aerospace industries. It is believed to be the world’s leading supplier of products called slug catchers and pig traps which are used in the natural gas industry. The company’s other products have applications for use in space travel, submarines and offshore oil platforms. Besides the U.S., Taylor Forge serves customers in more than 30 countries around the world. For more information, see www.taylorforge.com.
The Collingwood Barn is a venue near Pretty Prairie where Amanda Kaufman coordinates weddings and other special events. The barn was originally built by John Martin “Mart” Collingwood in 1913 and is owned by Dan and Brenda Pace. It was used for a family wedding in 2011 but was damaged by a powerful storm in 2015. Brenda and Dan, with the assistance of Mattie Giefer and the crew of GCI Roofing and Construction at Kingman, decided to rebuild the barn and convert it into an events center. Today, the Collingwood Barn events center is a beautifully restored structure with modern lighting and electricity, surrounded by a spacious lawn. At more than 16,000 square feet, this is believed to be the largest barn in Kansas. The facility is designed for weddings, corporate events, and special occasions. For more information, go to www.collingwoodbarn.com.
The 2017 Huck Boyd Leaders of the Year winners were selected by entrepreneurship students in K-State’s College of Business. Each year the Huck Boyd Institute selects its leaders of the year from among those featured on its weekly Kansas Profile radio program and column during the previous 12 months. Kansas Profile is distributed by the K-State Radio Network and K-State Research and Extension News Media Services to radio stations and newspapers state-wide.
The Huck Boyd Institute is a public/private partnership between K-State Research and Extension and the Huck Boyd Foundation. The Foundation office is at the Huck Boyd Community Center in Phillipsburg. The Institute office is at Kansas State University in Manhattan.