JOB: manager of the research farms for animal sciences since 1990.
EDUCATION: He came to the UI from the University of Georgia at Athens where he earned a master's degree in animal science; while working at the UI he earned a Master of Business Administration degree.
Everyone knows there are farms at the South Farms, but exactly what kinds of animals are kept there?
We have eight animal research units -- a dairy farm, the poultry farm, a horse farm, the beef cattle farm, the sheep farm and three swine farms. In addition we have two service units -- whose main job is to service the research units. The General Farms Unit grows and harvests the forage and crops for the units and services the farm units by cleaning pens, mending fences and general maintenance to facilities and equipment. Staff members at the Feed-Stores Unit are responsible for feed ingredients, blending diets and delivering them to the various livestock research units.
How many employees do you oversee?
We have about 48 full-time staff on the farms and about 25 to 30 part-time students.
Does your job as farms manager keep you tied to a desk or are you out in the barns?
In the past it was split about 50-50, but in the last couple of years, I have spent a lot more time behind the desk. In recent years I have had to spend a lot more time working on regulatory issues, as well as gathering and preparing information necessary for the eventual move of the South Farms. Recently we have moved more into the planning phase for the new South Farms.
The move of the South Farms farther south has already started hasn't it, with the building of the Motorola facility in the new research park?
Yes, I guess you can say the move has started, as the university is developing a research park at the corner of St. Mary's Road and First Street, onto what is called the Old Swine Farm. Motorola is the first firm planning to move into the research park. We have about four different facilities being affected. All of the old facilities are going to be torn down but they will be replaced somewhere else on the farms.
Why were you interested in a career in animal science?
I really didn't grow up on a farm but I grew up in a farming area near Detroit, Mich., and I ended up working on a lot of farms that were nearby. I've always loved being outdoors and working on farms with livestock. I also spent a lot of time building fence and putting up hay and things like that. I liked working with livestock and animals and so when I went to college it was just kind of natural to go into the animal sciences.
Do you live in the country with livestock of your own?
I live in rural Urbana at Seller's Corner. But we just have dogs and cats right now. We've had a zoo, believe me, from guinea pigs and hamsters to birds and fish and everything in between.
Would you and your wife eventually like to have a livestock farm?
I just don't have time. Most of my time off work is spent with my two daughters. They're both really active in sports. My oldest daughter, Megan, is playing junior high volleyball and last night we had a game in Potomac so we had to cut out of here and go to the game and it was 8:30 before we got home and there's just not time for much else.
She finished basketball in the fall and when volleyball is over, there's track. And before track finishes, summer softball begins. A good friend and I coach summer league softball and my oldest daughter's always been on our team. And that lasts until the first of August. It keeps us very busy. She will start high school and high school sports this fall. My youngest daughter, Lindsey, has played softball for two years now, and will begin other sports as she enters the fifth grade this fall.
Managing the South Farms must be one of the coldest jobs on campus, don't you think?
No. Those guys in the dairy barns, the horse barn and the beef cattle barn are outside a lot and they're the ones who take most of the brunt of this weather. I go in and out a lot. I keep a lot of insulated clothes here for the cold, but generally, I don't even wear a coat lots of the time just because I'm not out that long.
What do you like best about your job?
One of the best parts is that it's so varied. I do a lot of different things. There are always lots of issues to think about and the possibilities with this move are exciting.
The biggest problems we face right now on the farms is that they're very old. They're run down. And they're just really not good facilities to do research in or to raise animals in anymore. And the possibilities of us moving into new facilities is very exciting and the planning process is exciting. And I think everybody will feel so much better about their jobs when we are moved into well-designed facilities.
What about the animals? Do you have a favorite?
Well, most of my experience has been with beef cattle and they're still my favorite. But I like them all.
Ever been hurt?
Not seriously. I've been kicked, been stepped on, been bumped and I've been rolled over, but I've gotten nothing more than a bruise. But you have to be careful. What's play to a 1,200- or 1,400-pound cow will hurt you and me. So you have to be cautious.