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Volume 50 • Spring 2007 John Deere Green and OSU Orange Go Hand-in-Hand Graduates often seek companies values, vision, alignment, performance, that provide ways for them to use what people, communication, customer they have learned in their classes. They focus, global perspective, business also seek positions with companies with acumen, innovation, change and which they have had product experiorganizational flexibility. ence and perhaps ties to the departOSU BAE graduates employed ment from which they graduated. One with Deere said Deere is a company with ties to the BAE depart“perfect fit” with their agricultural ment is Deere & Co. engineering degrees. Deere & Co.’s world headquar“Deere hires heavily from mechanters are in Moline, Ill., with operations ical and agricultural engineering expearound the world. In 1837, company rience,” said Don Yarbrough, director founder John Deere built his first selfof Worldwide Combine Engineering cleaning steel plow in his one-man in Moline, Ill. “Having an agriculblacksmith shop. His business has tural background sensitizes you to the grown into a corporation that today The Deere & Co. World Headquarters. Photo provided. customer base, and that’s why Deere employs more than 47,000 people likes [ag engineers].” worldwide. Deere & Co. has equipment Yarbrough has been with Deere for 27 Although our records do not indicate operations in the areas of agricultural, years. He said he was hired to help put a who that person is, Deere & Co. and the commercial and consumer; construction test lab together when Deere was starting BAE department have had a relationship and forestry; credit operations; and three its product development center. for at least 30 years, according to the BAE support operations in the areas of parts, “I’ve been here ever since, and I love alumni employer database. power systems and technology services. it,” Yarbrough said. “Our employees and Another significant tie to the Deere & Co. and the BAE departour customers are a great group of people department occurred in 2000, when ment have ties via senior design projects, to work with.” Deere & Co. dedicated the John Deere alumni and the John Deere classroom. Graduates, whether recent or old, Distance Education Classroom in OSU’s “Our ties to John Deere began agreed that one of the “enjoyable” aspects Agricultural Hall. when our first graduate joined the of working for John Deere is working According to the John Deere Careers company,” said Ron Elliott, professor with the latest developments as well as Web site, the company has twelve core and head of the Oklahoma State Univerthe people. competencies that are used in conjunction sity Department of Biosystems and “I’ve felt that during my whole career, with an employee’s performance evaluaAgricultural Engineering. I’ve worked on interesting projects,” tion process. These competencies include Yarbrough said. “People here have a passion for farming — even when they don’t come from the farm. It feeds a different attitude — people want to take Letter from Ron Elliott ........... 2 BAE Awards Banquet .............. 4 care of the customer — and that drives the BAE news briefs ........................ 2 Scholarships awarded to 32 students whole atmosphere.” Senior design wins again .........3 From cattle to castles ...............7 Jim Pope, who is now retired, said his Employees share wisdom ....... 3 Greg Hart shares his experiences 38-year career with John Deere in Iowa Fall 2006 graduates ................. 6 Brotherly BAE ........................... 8 was “great” because of a common theme ASABE Oklahoma meeting .... 6 The story of the “ag engineering” Popes shared by employees: agriculture. Ning Wang joins family ........ 6 Annual seminar spotlight ...... 9 “I had the opportunity to know lots of Alumni Success Stories .........10 Ron Morgan shares tips with students engineers that worked for Deere [...] they were good, down to earth, hardworking

In this issue...

A word...

Weckler promoted Paul Weckler, assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in July 2006. Weckler teaches machinery for production and processing, as well as the two-semester senior engineering design project class and graduate thesis and research classes.

Marvin Stone elected to ASABE board Professor Emeritus, regents professor and ASABE fellow Marvin Stone was elected to the board of trustees of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers in April. The board of trustees has nine members who oversee the operations of the technical and professional society of more than 9,000 members.

BAE news briefs We are pleased to welcome postdoctoral fellow Fujian “Franklin” Ding to the BAE department. He is supporting the work of Paul Weckler and Carol Jones. Cortney Timmons, a junior, has been elected president of the Student Council of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology for the 2007-2008 school year. Rachel Carson, a junior, was selected as the executive director of the CEAT Career Fair to be held in September. She will work all summer in planning this event that annually draws more than 100 employers to the campus. Sarah Edens was elected in February as southern region collegiate 4-H president. She and 10 others represented OSU Collegiate 4-H and won the regional and national scrapbook award.


We welcome Geetika Dilawari, research engineer, and Sharla Lovern, extension engineer, to the BAE department. We say goodbye to Tim Propst and wish him the best in his endeavors.


from the department head Ron Elliott • Greetings to our alumni and friends as we celebrate this year the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. We should all be proud of our discipline’s rich history and exciting future! I encourage you to spread the word to others, both young and old. I’m not exactly sure when the counting started, but I noticed that this is “Volume 50” of our departmental newsletter. We owe a big thanks to editor Jessica Stewart as she finishes her year-long internship with us. This is no doubt the busiest time of the year in BAE. Students and faculty are wrapping up the spring semester, and we’re preparing for the FFA career development events as well as the annual visit of our BAE advisory committee. We’re expecting that 15 undergraduate and graduate students will complete their degree requirements this semester. Following final exams, seven of our students will be participating in two-week study abroad courses in either Italy or Germany. Three of our faculty are involved in leading these courses. We just held our 2007 Student Banquet, which was well attended by students, families, faculty and scholarship donors. We’re tremendously grateful for the generosity of our donors, who made it possible for us to award 32 scholarships totaling more than $29,000! We have many deserving students in BAE, and perhaps you would consider helping us get to a scholarship total of $30,000 or even $35,000 next year. Our students continue to excel in many different ways, both inside and outside the classroom. On page 3, you can read about Cortney Timmons receiving the highly competitive Udall Scholarship. In the column to the left, mention is

made of key leadership positions held by Cortney, Rachel Carson and Sarah Edens. We’re very proud of all of our students as they navigate a challenging curriculum and participate in extracurricular activities, while often holding down part-time jobs. Over the last 21 months, we’ve added six new tenure-track faculty in BAE. Also, a position in bioconversion engineering (fermentation) is currently being advertised. The addition of these topnotch individuals is making a real impact in our teaching, research, and extension programs. For example, we project that by this fall the enrollment in our biosystems engineering graduate program will have grown to nearly 40 students (24 masters and 15 doctorate). In campus news, you may have heard that our president, Dr. David Schmidly, is in the process of moving from OSU to the University of New Mexico. Dr. Marlene Strathe, our provost and senior vice president, has been appointed interim president, and an extensive search process is being launched to identify the university’s next president. If you’re going to be in Minneapolis for the ASABE International Meeting, I hope that you’ll be sure to join us for the OSU Alumni & Friends Social (see page 11). Also please mark your calendars for September 8, when we’ll host the annual alumni tailgate party at the BAE Lab. We’re always looking for ways to enhance our communication and networking with departmental alumni, so please send me any ideas that you might have. Also, we greatly appreciate leads on potential new students, as well as job or internship opportunities that we can share with our students. Thanks for reading, and please stay in touch. Best wishes!


Words of wisdom from Deere employees: Get an internship. Internships are a valuable part of the college learning experience, especially in BAE, where hands-on is important. For those interested in working at John Deere after graduation or during their college career, many opportunities exist, including internships, co-ops and student training programs. According to the John Deere Web site, internships for engineering and manufacturing students require agricultural engineering or other engineeringrelated majors; a 3.0 or better grade point average; and sophomore, junior or firstyear graduate student standing. Candice Johnson, a quality engineer with Des Moines sprayer works, said the “key” to getting an opportunity at John Deere is networking. During her colle-

giate career at Oklahoma State University, she completed five co-op sessions, which prepared her for her position today. “The co-op program is huge,” Johnson said. “There are at least 20 interns in Des Moines and 100 to 150 in Waterloo [Iowa].” Jack Boyer, a manager at the John Deere Product Engineering Center in Waterloo, said he “highly recommends” students participate in a summer internship or co-op session. Learning opportunities are also available for recent graduates. Boyer said those who are interested in a career at John Deere “should accept an assignment in an engineering intern program. “In this program, you will be provided with about three different work assign-

Deere, continued from page 1


people,” Pope said. Candice Johnson, 2004 biomechanical graduate and quality engineer at the company’s sprayer group in Des Moines, Iowa, facility said “working with design engineers and knowing the latest, greatest ideas that people won’t see for another year” makes her job interesting. According to the John Deere Web site, most factories have a product engineering department responsible for the design and development of their products. Yarbrough said the combine engineering department has its own test lab, shop floor and advanced design verification lab. Although most work is performed in design and test labs, Yarbrough said employees in his department perform combine field tests around the world to make sure the machines perform well in all conditions. Johnson said she is in the office “80 percent of the time,” but she also attends functions that allow her to take specific trips to look at machines and parts. Yarbrough said in addition to the “great” work environment, Deere and Co. has “very healthy” engineering budgets. Robert W. Lane, Deere & Co.’s chairman and CEO, said on the John Deere Web site that Deere is a company that “invests approximately $1.7 million a day on research and development.”


BAE Alumni with Deere and Co. • William Best, B.S. 1956 • Jack Boyer, B.S. 1978 • Bobby Davis, B.S. 1960 • Chad Dow, B.S. 1994 • Darcey Fesmire, B.S. 2001 • Greg Hart, B.S. 1979 • Candice Johnson, B.S. 2004 • Edward Kemnitz, B.S. 1967, M.S. 1969 • Roger Ketchum, B.S. 1986 • Terry Lefler, B.S. 1976 • Bobby Martin, B.S. 1978 • Donald Peck, B.S. 1968, M.S. 1973 • Jim Pope, B.S. 1961 (retired) • Robert Rauh, B.S. 1978 • John Ringer B.S., 1994 • David Sigl, B.S. 1975 • Randy Welch, B.S. 1979 • William Wood, B.S. 1959 • Don Yarbrough B.S., 1973 Although Yarbrough said employees are expected to travel and sometimes relocate, he also said John Deere is a “comfortable” place to work. “I couldn’t have picked a better company to work for,” Yarbrough said. If you work at John Deere and we did not include you, please let us know. E-mail to give us your update.

ments over a one- to two-year period,” Boyer said. He said while at Deere, an engineering intern will have opportunities to see various business practices and network with professionals. “This networking opportunity is often underestimated in value, but I can tell you after 28 years [working at Deere], its value is high,” Boyer said. Johnson and Boyer provided these tips if you are interested in a career with Deere: Apply while you are still in school, try to get a co-op, and maintain your grades. “Deere is always looking for good engineers,” said Don Yarbrough, director of worldwide combine engineering. For information about opportunities with Deere and Co., visit

Cortney Timmons named Udall scholar Cortney Timmons, biosystems engineering junior, received the prestigious Morris K. Udall scholarship in April. Timmons’ achievement gives her a one-time $5,000 stipend, as well the opportunity to have her picture and plaque mounted on the Scholar’s Wall in Oklahoma State University’s Student Union. In addition, Udall Scholars will gather in Tuscon, Ariz., in August for a leadership conference where they will have the opportunity to meet with policy-makers and community leaders. According to the Udall Web site, the Foundation awarded scholarships to more than 75 sophomoreand junior-level college students who demonstrated committment to careers related to the environment, as well as to Native American and Alaska Native students dedicated to tribal public policy or native health care. Timmons will also complete an internship this summer with Congressman Lucas and participate in a Cambridge study-abroad program. For a complete list of 2007 recipients and honorable mentions, visit


Scholarship recipients Glenn Morgan Memorial Scholarship Craig Spencer Annette & Bill Barf ield Scholarship Michael Matousek Jay G. Porterf ield Scholarship Seth Menefee, Grant Muncrief and Amy Stojkov Samuel Alton Clayton Memorial Scholarship Curtis Johnson Ronald T. Noyes Scholarship Cortney Timmons BAE Development Fund Scholarship Aaron Bartel, Steven DeLeon and Alexandra Jones W.B. Johnston Grain Company Scholarship Sarah Rowland McKay Brothers Scholarship Sarah Edens Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority Scholarship Rebecca Hoey Leon Crain Memorial Scholarship Matthew Lemmons, Coby Smith

Students, faculty, staff recognized at banquet Students, faculty and staff in the Graduating Seniors department of biosystems and agricultural engineering were recognized for their achievements at the annual banquet held April 14 at Meditations in Stillwater, Okla. The banquet, planned by the OSU Student Branch of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, had more than 135 guests in attendance. Special guests included the donors of scholarships, who had the opportunity to sit with their scholarship’s recipients. This year, the BAE department presented 32 scholarships totalling more than $29,000. In addition to rewarding students for their academic success, the OSU chapter of Alpha Epsilon, the honor society for biological and agricultural engineers, presented an award to an outstanding student and faculty member. Jessica Coryell received the Top Sophomore award for her academic achievements. Alpha Epsilon also recognized Glenn Brown for his outstanding service to students. David Bevill and Kristin Stephens were recognized for their work in the student chapter of ASABE and were named Outstanding Members of the Year. Graduating students were also acknowledged and given a gift on behalf of BAE by Ron Elliott, professor and head.

David Bevill, El Dorado, Ark. Clinton Cosgrove, McAlester, Okla. Lee Eldridge, Wharton, Texas Adam Gossen, Corn, Okla. Joshua Grundmann, Shawnee, Okla. Dustin Holden, Fletcher, Okla. Mohd Hussain, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Lance Klement, Bokchito, Okla. Buck Melton, Lawton, Okla. Ashley Oulds, Tulsa, Okla. Mohammed Siddiqui, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Kristin Stephens, Kingfisher, Okla. James Brady Stewart, Wichita Falls, Texas Kevin Taylor, Tulsa, Okla. For more banquet pictures, please visit the biosystems and ag engineering department site at

Lawrence O. Roth Scholarship Kyle Dollins E.W. Schroeder Scholarship Taber Midgley Dudley Barefoot Memorial Scholarship Brandon Mongold Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Scholarship Monica Murie Gerald Brusewitz Scholarship Chakara Tolsma


Tom and Jan Haan Scholarship Karl Garbrecht


The BAE department was pleased to recognize its outstanding students and graduating seniors. More than 20 scholarships totalling $29,000 were awarded to 32 students. All students attending the banquet gathered afterwards for a picture.


New scholarships presented at the 2007 BAE Banquet The BAE department was proud to announce the following new scholarships awarded to outstanding students in 2007:

European headquarters. Kristen was recognized for her outstanding work as a professional engineer in Kansas.

Wendell Bowers Scholarship Wendell Bowers was a key member of the departmental faculty from 1967 to 1985. He was an outstanding extension engineer and also served as assistant director of agricultural programs for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Now retired and living in Arizona, Bowers has been widely recognized for his leadership in volunteer programs.

Marvin Stone Scholarship Marvin Stone, regents professor, retired in 2006 following 24 years of exemplary service as a BAE teacher and researcher. Students greatly appreciated Stone’s teaching and mentoring, and in retirement he has continued his involvement with the department.

Greg and Kristen Hart Scholarships Both 1979 graduates of the department, Greg and Kristen Hart were outstanding students who met at OSU and later married. Greg’s highly successful career with Deere & Co. has led to ever-increasing responsibilities including a senior management position at Deere’s



Si and Kay Grider Scholarships Si Grider was very involved in international business. He and his wife, Kay, appreciate the value of enrichment experiences for students. Their daughter Annette and her husband, Bill Barfield (professor emeritus and previous department head of BAE), established this endowment in honor of the Griders to support international experiences for BAE students.

New Recipients Wendell Bowers Scholarship Stephen Eller Greg and Kristen Hart Scholarships Scott Clark and Jared Kinder Marvin Stone Scholarship Whitney Pebsworth Si and Kay Grider Scholarships Clinton Cosgrove, Stephen Eller, Matthew Gassen, Kelly Hogue Laura Merriman, Taber Midgley

Grider Scholarship Recipients

The scholarship program of the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department is entirely dependent on contributions to the OSU Foundation designated for Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. The Department and its scholarship recipients are sincerely grateful to all donors. The following are donors contributing $50 or more to the BAE Department since last year’s banquet: Fern Balaun Bill and Annette Barfield Brent and Gina Bolay Fred and Leatrice Bouse Wendell Bowers Glenn and Barbara Brown Jerry Brusewitz and Glenna Williams Dingding Chen Bobby and Irene Clary Conoco Phillips Co. Bob and Betty Day Floyd and Gayle Dowell David and Gay Elkins Ron and Judith Elliott Mark and Sabra Farabee Harry and Marsha Field Jim and Ruby Garton Darren and Jill George Tom and Jan Haan Halliburton Foundation Doug Hamilton and Paloma Cuesta-Alonso Roy Harrell Greg and Kristen Hart Randy Haynes Don and Helen Henderson Scott and Jeannie Henderson


Ray and Sandy Huhnke Mike and Linda Smolen Rex and Sherrie Ishmael V.R. and Gayathri Sridhar Levi and Lacey Johnson Lyle and Laura Stone Carol and Fred Jones Marvin and Bonnie Stone W.B. Johnston Grain Co. Al and Regina Sutherland Kem and Teresa Kadavy David and Janet Thompson Glenn and Kelly Kranzler John and Jane Tyner Min Li John Veenstra and Martha Weinert Jim Loftis Paul and Stephanie Weckler Richard and Anne Lowery Mark Wilkins David and Irene McKay Elizabeth Willoughby Ronnie and Sharon Morgan Richard and Shellie Willoughby F.W. Murphy Family Foundation Victor Wolff Duane Needham Dean Yoder Ron and Zona Noyes Ming Yu Peng Yue Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Jinhui Zhang and Jiansheng Yan Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association David and Nancy Zavodny Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority Xihai Zhang Craig Owen Shannon Parker Rob and Deette Pollock Jay Porterfield If we have inadvertently omitted anyone Charles and LaDonna Rice Larry and Jo Roth from this list, please accept our apology and Steve and Nancy Searcy gently remind us of that fact. Ward and Gina Simonton


Mechatronics professor joins the BAE family We are pleased to welcome Ning Wang to the BAE department. Wang, an assistant professor, holds a 75 percent research and 25 percent teaching assignment in the area of mechatronics. Currently, she is teaching a course in instrumentation and control. Wang said she came to Oklahoma State University because of the quality programs and research in power and machinery and sensors. She was impressed by Professor Emeritus Marvin Stone’s technological contributions and plans to continue in that line of research. Prior to coming to OSU, Wang was an assistant professor in the department of bioresource engineering at McGill University in Montreal. While there, she conducted research on pork meat quality detection, as well as maple syrup flavor detection and fruit quality. Wang was also a post-doctoral research associate for eight months in the department of biolog-

ical and agricultural engineering at Kansas State University and worked within the USDA Grain Marketing and Production Research Center. There, she worked on green wheat kernel detection and image analysis. Wang has a strong background in the engineering disciplines and received her bachelor’s of engineering with an emphasis on applications of electronic technology and automation from Beijing Agricultural Engineering University. She holds two Master’s degrees — a Master of Engineering from the Asian Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University, where she specialized in grain grading using machine vision and neural networks. While at KSU, she also finished her doctorate in the college of engineering with a research focus on instrumentation and control, image processing and embedded system design.

ASABE President a guest speaker at the annual Oklahoma section meeting


More than 50 participants celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers on Jan. 19 at the annual Oklahoma ASABE section meeting. Chris Stoner, chairman of the ASABE Oklahoma section, said the objective of the meeting was “twofold.” “[On the technical side, we wanted] to provide an update on current technologies or ongoing activities within the agricultural engineering field,” Stoner said. “On the business side, we wanted to get geared back up as a state section and get people energized about the society and its 100-year anniversary.” The one-day event included three sessions with presentations about alternative fuels, watershed protection and animal waste regulations. Ron Elliott, department head, presented the state of the Oklahoma State University Biosystems and Agri-


cultural Engineering Department, and Michael Matousek, ASABE student club president, spoke about the status of the club. “We were very pleased with the quality and diversity of the presentations,” Stoner said. “We covered many different aspects of engineering.” However, perhaps most memorable was a surprise visit from ASABE President Charles Sukup. Stoner said Sukup presented three videos on agricultural engineers’ landmark projects and spoke about this year’s centennial celebration. “We had requested someone from ASABE headquarters, but we didn’t know who was coming,” Stoner said. ”We were very pleased to have the international president visit.” Students Cortney Timmons and Sarah Rowland made presentations also. Stoner said the Oklahoma section is working on renewing annual meetings. “Let’s look to the future and be a better state chapter,” Stoner said.

Fall 2006 graduates Master’s Graduates Mary Campbell Coca-Cola Atlanta, Ga. Asad Khan Air Hygiene International Tulsa, Okla. Andrew Lyon Kansas Bachelor’s Graduates Rachel Cancienne OSU Graduate School Stillwater, Okla. Elizabeth Casey Purdue Graduate School West Lafayette, Ind. Sheetal Desai New Jersey Justin Dillingham Medical School Joe Paul Edwards Aquaterra Environmental Solutions Oklahoma City, Okla. Taylor Miller AGCO Corp. Hesston, Kan. Clara Rowden John Zink Co. Tulsa, Okla. Ryan Stricklin Chesapeake Energy Corp. Oklahoma City, Okla. Ryan Woolbright OSU Graduate School Stillwater, Okla.


From cattle castles


Greg Hart never thought seeing castles would be a normal part of the daily commute to his John Deere office. Cattle, not castles, were his norm. Although raised in Tulsa, Hart spent much of his childhood visiting his family’s dairy farms in Missouri and considered pursuing an animal science degree when he came to Oklahoma State University. Ultimately, he chose mechanized agriculture because of his “fascination with farm machinery” and the quality of curriculum and faculty in the BAE department. “Mechanized agriculture won due to the kindness and engagement of the faculty, focus on business and economics courses in addition to department studies, and belief that BAE would lead to more career opportunities for someone not headed back to the farm,” Hart said. Hart graduated in December 1979. Just before graduation, he began contacting companies for interviews. One of those companies was John Deere. Initially Hart was told there were no openings, but he could send his résumé. That fall, a John Deere representative was on the OSU campus and Hart arranged an interview. He was later invited to the Kansas City, Mo., sales branch for a second interview, which led him to a job offer. John Deere then hired Hart as a trainee for its service department in Wichita, Kan. “At that time, simply moving from Oklahoma to Kansas was a major adventure,” Hart said. “I never had any vision of living outside the U.S. or even living north of Kansas City or east of the Mississippi River.” However, after working in various John Deere locations in the U.S. for 25 years, Hart decided in 2005 to accept the director of marketing position at John Deere European headquarters in Mannheim, Germany. As director of marketing for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Hart worked within the agricultural product line in factory marketing, sales branch marketing and marketing support groups. He was involved with product and marketing planning, advertising, parts market-


ing, dealer development, order fulfillment, pricing and e-business. Other roles he has held in past assignments include working as branch field representative, governmental sales manager and division sales manager in John Deere’s North American sales branch operations. He has also served as product support manager and product line marketing manager in manufacturing operations. Hart credits the comprehensive mechanized agriculture curriculum with his success in his marketing and sales career, the area in which he wanted to work “because it has a good mix of involvement with customers, products and business challenges.” “The curriculum for a degree in mechanized agriculture included classes in ag economics, accounting, business law, computer science and technical writing as well as departmental courses in power and machinery,” Hart said. “These classes were very good exposure to business principles and helped build a foundation on which to understand how businesses operate and the role that marketing and sales plays in the overall picture.” In his role as director of marketing, Hart said he had “the privilege of working with excellent people, from customers and dealers to company personnel ranging from young field personnel to senior executives.” After almost three decades of working for John Deere, Hart said what he enjoys most is “the values represented by people deeply involved in agriculture and within John Deere.” Those values, listed on John Deere’s Web site (http://www.deere. com) are integrity, quality, commitment and innovation.

Hart’s success in the industry has given him the opportunity to live in seven different locations and hold nine different jobs in his 27-year career with John Deere. “Each has enabled me to experience new challenges and opportunities personally and professionally,” Hart said. Hart said he believes challenges “have to be viewed as opportunities. “I believe the greatest challenge is to adapt to change and be a positive part of finding solutions,” he said. This approach has helped Hart overcome obstacles, ...continued on page 9

A family affair Not only did Greg major in BAE but also his wife, Kristen, who graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s in agricultural engineering. Greg said Kristen graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. After graduation, Kristen worked for a large civil and mechanical engineering consulting firm in Wichita, Kan. Later, she began a career with a small civil engineering and surveying firm in Enid, Okla. In 1984, she began assisting the Dodge City, Kan. city engineer. She also received her Professional Engineering license in 1984 while she was with Dodge City. In addition to receiving her P.E. license that year, Kristen was selected as the Young Engineer of the Year for the State of Kansas. Greg said Kristen now “engineers their kids,” Kayla, 16, and Eric, 10.


Brotherly BAE: The “ag engineering Popes”


In many families, siblings have different dreams and destinations for their college careers. The BAE department, however, has had numerous sibling pairs and trios, including Terry, Berry and Sherry Britton; David and Peter McKay; Don and Bob Day; Matt and Adam Steinert; and Levi and Curtis Johnson, among others. Another pair is the “ag engineering Popes,” Jim graduated in 1961, while David graduated with a bachelor’s in 1970 and a master’s in 1971. The Pope siblings, who also include Gary Pope, a 1967 Oklahoma State University chemical engineering alumnus, and Mary [Pope] Dobrinski, an OSU education alumna, grew up in the small farming community of Loyal, Okla., in Kingfisher County. Although Jim, the oldest, began the OSU legacy for his other siblings, Jim said a “number” of his cousins had started school at OSU in various engineering disciplines. However, Jim had not yet heard about agricultural engineering upon high school graduation in the mid ‘50s. “I didn’t know agricultural engineering existed,” Jim said. “I thought I would major in agriculture, but then dad talked to a neighbor whose son, Gene Hunk, had majored in agricultural engineering because of his interest in both agriculture and technology.” Jim said he decided to pursue a degree in agricultural engineering because most of his experience was in agriculture, and he was also interested in mechanical things. David said Jim “paved the way” to learning more about the agricultural engineering degree. “We all grew up on a farm, so there was interest in agriculture and rural issues,” David said. “[ Jim] got started in the curriculum [at OSU] for agricultural engineering, which brought together the agricultural side of things with the technical side of engineering to apply those engineering principles to ag and related matters. It was a pretty good fit — we always worked with farm machinery. I’m sure my brothers being in engineering helped alert me to some of the options.” Although Jim and David both majored in agricultural engineering, each took a different option — Jim in power


and machinery, and David in environmental sciences and natural resources. Each option has served them well; upon graduation in 1961, Jim began a career with Deere and Co. in Cedar Falls, Iowa, which spanned 38 years. During his career at Deere and Co., Jim had a variety of roles. He was responsible for the design and development of tractors at the production engineering center, a manager of the engine series in worldwide product development, a reliability manager in Ottumwa, Iowa, and finally a division engineer in the hay and forage equipment department. He is now retired and lives in New Braunfels, Texas. Conversely, David is the chief engineer and director in the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Water Resources. David is responsible for the administration and creation of laws for water conservation, management and use. In addition, David represents Kansas in state water compacts and within the state legislature. Prior to his current position, David worked as an extension agricultural engineer with the Kansas State University cooperative extension in Manhattan, Kan. While there, he was responsible for water educational programs. He then took a position in western Kansas working in a groundwater management district, then assumed the position of assistant chief engineer for the state of Kansas. Their brother Gary took a different route, majoring in chemical engineering. He is a professor in the department of petroleum and geosystems engineering and director of the center for petroleum and geosystems engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2006, Gary received the prestigious Melvin R. Lohmann medal, which honors alumni of the college of engineering, architecture and technology for contributions to the profession that merit the highest recognition. Although none of the Popes had classes together, David said each brother was a member of, and lived in, FarmHouse Fraternity. David said he and his brother Gary would socialize there and discuss both personal and academic issues. Jim

Top: The Pope family at the Edmon Low Library — in front is Julie and David, left rear is Mary and John, right front is Joan and Gary and right rear is Jim and Bette. Middle: Jim, Gary and David enjoyed visiting FarmHouse in April 2006. Bottom: Gary, Jim and David at FarmHouse. Photos provided. began the tradition. “Being part of FarmHouse was a positive thing,” Jim said. “I was the first of the Popes to be in FH, and that was the reason Gary and David joined, too.” David said even through college, the siblings shared common interests. “We’ve always gotten along very well,” David said. “We’re close as a family — we still get together a couple of times a year and try to stay in touch even though we live in different states.” continued on page 11


Ron Morgan speaks at annual seminar spotlight In November, BAE was host to Ron employed with Ralston Purina Co. in St. Morgan, P.E., technology applications Louis, Mo. While there, he was product manager in the cementing manager of protein technolmethods division at Halliogies international; director burton Energy Services in of research and developDuncan, Okla. ment information systems; Morgan was on campus and senior project leader of Nov. 27-28 and spoke with central research. several groups of students as Morgan also developed well as faculty members. This ProCAM, an engineering is the second seminar in an economics computer software effort to have a professional costing method for negotiatalumnus speak annually to ing cost agreements for new students and faculty. products. Morgan spoke to He was an associfreshmen and senior classes ate professor of food engiabout managing change and neering at Michigan the importance of leadership State University, where he Ron Morgan and self-management. consulted with various food Morgan has more than and equipment compa27 years of experience in the areas of food nies as well as serving six weeks on the engineering research and development. United Nations Food and Agricultural He received his bachelor’s and master’s Organization international consulting degrees in agricultural engineering from team to India. OSU and a doctorate in food engineering Morgan has worked with Kraft from Texas A&M University. Upon gradGeneral Foods in Glenview, Ill., as the uating from TAMU in 1979, Morgan was department head of process engineer-

ing research and development of dairy products, frozen foods, dressings, spreads and pasta. During his three-year stint at Kraft, he led technical teams in conducting ProCAM-type assessments of frozen food products. After his extensive career in food engineering technologies, Morgan began working at Halliburton Energy Services in Duncan, Okla., in 1996. Morgan began his career at Halliburton as a senior scientific adviser, focusing on non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, rheology and heat transfer. Morgan said his experiences in the workplace inspired him to speak about soft skills — skills such as working in teams and understanding time management. “After 30 years of experience, I firmly believe that technical professionals often don’t reach their full potential due to their lack of understanding of the importance of soft skills,” Morgan said about his seminar. “I believe that each faculty member should be required to take some soft skill training, with the end goal of applying it to each course they teach.”

Harts, continued from page 7


whether “related to sales, new product development, product performance and customer support issues, […] or just the day to day business issues that exist in every company.” A more personal challenge he has faced is moving to, and living in, Germany. Hart said services and products citizens “take for granted,” such as finding where to get a car serviced or finding a U.S. item in a grocery store, caused him and his family to “re-learn some things.” Living in Germany has been an adjustment for Hart and his family, but he said they have had the opportunity to travel in Europe, visiting France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Italy, the Czech Republic and Poland. “These are all very different than a week at Tenkiller Lake in Oklahoma,” Hart said. Hart said though experiences in Germany are different than those in the U.S., the differences between John


in March, and resumed work in the Deere in the U.S. and John Deere in U.S. on April 1. Europe are minimal. Upon accepting the new position in “The main difference is that we have March, Hart said Europe had been a “great more immediate opportunities for growth experience,” but he was “excited about the of our existing products and services in opportunity to work in Europe,” he said. sales again and [work] more “John Deere has closely with our dealers been in business and customers.” for 170 years in the Although Hart and his U.S., compared to family had been living 5,000 only 50 years in miles from Oklahoma, they Europe.” continued to support BAE Hart said his department activities. Hart experience has and his wife funded a new been that customers in both markets Left to right: Greg, Kayla, Eric and scholarship, which was awarded at the scholarship are interested in Kristen Hart. Photo provided. banquet in April, and Hart building a relaassisted Ron Elliott, BAE tionship with their professor and department head, with the suppliers that delivers higher profitability May study-abroad trip. Though the Harts and productivity in their operations. are back in the U.S., they will certainly Hart continues to build relationships remember the castles along the way. with customers, but now he is back in the The editor would like to thank the Hart U.S. He accepted the position as sales family for their help with this story. branch manager for the Dallas branch


Alumni Success Stories Shea Pilgreen, B.S. 1997 Shea Pilgreen is an applications engineer with BAE and the Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacturing Excellence, an organization that is in partnership with the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service. Pilgreen works with small- to medium-sized Oklahoma manufacturers and provides on-site, focused engineering strategies for plan layout, process flow, equipment selection and product failure analysis. He began his position with the Oklahoma Alliance in October 2004. He is responsible for Oklahoma’s southeastern region, which is traditionally a furniture and wood industry area. Pilgreen said because he grew up in Waurika, Okla., and worked in Kansas for seven years, “trees were not a common occurrence” for him. He said it has been challenging learning everything about

Oklahoma’s wood industry. Pilgreen said the companies he works with typically do not have on-staff engineers, and they benefit from Oklahoma Alliance engineers’ experience. Prior to his position with the Oklahoma Alliance, Pilgreen was the chief engineer at Kincaid Equipment Manufacturing, a seed research equipment company in Haven, Kan. While there, Pilgreen managed the department, supervised design, assisted in sales, tested equipment and provided customer support. Recently, Pilgreen passed his Professional Engineering license exam. In addition, Pilgreen and his wife, Gina, welcomed baby girl Brighton in March and will celebrate their 10-year anniversary in May. They have two other daughters, Brooklyn and Bryleigh, and Gina is a high school math teacher in Silo, Okla.

Robert Mensch, M.S. 1962


Robert Mensch and his wife visited the BAE department in February for the first time in 33 years and 45 years after Mensch graduated from the department with his master’s in agricultural engineering. Mensch said upon arriving on campus, the “only thing he recognized” was the Edmon Low Library. Mensch has more than 30 years of experience in farm structure planning and design. After graduating from OSU, Mensch taught courses on planning and design of farm structures at Kansas State University. In addition, he performed schematic planning for KSU beef, hog and sheep research facilities. In 1968, Mensch developed his own consulting firm and organized Mensch Engineering Inc., a consulting business providing farmstead engineering services to livestock producers in Minnesota and Iowa. He continues to operate his business and also assists the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. He has held positions on the Minnesota Pollution Control


Agency’s earthen basin, concrete, and manure storage in Karst area advisory committees, and he was on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s livestock odor task force. In addition, he has been a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers since 1959. Other projects Mensch has completed include working with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization; working as a consultant and field engineer for the Land O’Lakes dairy export project; and working as a consultant to architects and engineers for the design of dairy facilities for University of Minnesota-St. Paul, dairy and poultry research facilities at Penn State University, swine husbandry and manure research facilities at University of Minnesota, and various swine, beef and goat experiment stations in Minnesota. In addition to Mensch’s experience and education, he was an officer in the Corps of Engineers for the United States Army Reserve from 1960 to 1967 and was discharged at the rank of captain.

LaDonna McCowan, B.S. 1977, M.S. 1996, Ph.D. 1999 LaDonna McCowan is an assistant extension specialist in the BAE department. She received her bachelor’s in agricultural engineering in 1977; her master’s in biosystems and agricultural engineering in 1996, and her doctorate in environmental sciences in 1999. McCowan is responsible for watershed management, residential awareness workshops and water well testing. Her primary objective is to help the minority and underserved communities in Oklahoma. Known across the state as “Ms. Water,” McCowan enjoys working with watersheds. McCowan recently completed the Stillwater Creek Watershed project, which covers most of Payne County, Okla. McCowan’s goal is to take technical concepts such as the groundwater model and interpret the information so communities and individuals can use the information and understand why it is important. In addition to educating Oklahomans, McCowan is involved with the Oklahoma Black Farmer’s Association, Stillwater Trash-off and Blue Thumb, which is a local stream-monitoring program. She also served as the executive director of the Oklahoma Landowners and Tenants Association for five years. The Retired Educators for Youth in Agriculture Programs, or REYAP, is one of her most recent successes. The REYAP workshop had its debut in July 2006 on the OSU campus. McCowan said more than 500 youth are involved in the organization. McCowan said REYAP was founded in an effort to increase minority students’ exposure to agricultural programs. After finding that only 4 percent of 4-H participants and 1 percent of FFA participants are minorities, the REYAP founders decided something had to be done to increase awareness. McCowan said the


Senior design team members win again Associate professor Paul Weckler and a senior design team were recently honored with the silver award in the 2006 James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation Awards Program for their entry, “Design of a Manual Cattle Chute.” Team members Joseph Biggerstaff, Matt Kilker, Ryan Haar and Taylor Miller competed against Ohio State University, Dordt University and University of Illinois UrbanaChampaign for division four awards. According to the James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation Web site, the foundation is the only organization in the United States solely dedicated to educating the public about the art and science of arc welding. The competition grants cash awards to recognize technical achievements. The foundation was created in 1936, and the first contest was held in 1938. The contest is open to universities and individuals who submit technical papers on the application of arc welding to design and production. Visit for pictures and other award winners.


organization works with youth in fifth to twelfth grades and they work with not only youth but also parents. McCowan will again work with students at this year’s REYAP conference, held on the Langston University and Oklahoma State University campuses. During her career, McCowan has received several awards. Most recently, she was recognized as a Martin Luther King Jr. Outstanding Leader in the field of higher education. Other recognitions she has received include Outstanding Black Engineer 1977; First African-American Female Agricultural Engineer in the Nation; and the First African-American Female Engineer in OSU’s Council of Partners Program. McCowan was also the first African-American female employee during a brief career with John Deere.


Annual to celebrate 100 years of agricultural and International biological engineering excellence in Minneapolis. Meeting Don’t miss the fifth annual BAE Alumni and Friends Social in conjunction with the International ASABE meeting in Minneapolis June 17.

Join alumni and friends for an evening of socializing and Italian cuisine. We will meet at the convention center and travel to Staccato ( For reservations and more information, call Steven Fowler at (405) 744-8394 or e-mail him at Please make your reservations by June 8.

Popes, continued David and Jim both mention their 2006 trip to OSU for Gary’s medal recognition was memorable. “We four siblings and our spouses met at OSU and really enjoyed being there for him,” David said. “It was also special because seven of the eight of us [siblings and our spouses] are OSU grads.” Jim said visiting campus in 2006 “revived” memories of commonalities between the siblings. Just as the campus has changed during the past 30 years, so has each brother. However, perhaps Jim sums it best about both OSU and his siblings. “The physical may change, but the character has not,” Jim said.

Your news is good news! We want to hear about you. We would love to include you in our “Alumni Success Stories.” If you have something you would like to share in the BAE Update. please send an e-mail to us describing your career, as well as any personal information. If you have recently participated in the success story feature, we would still like to hear from you. Our e-mail is baenews@ Or, visit http://biosystems. and fill out the Web form.

Alumni announcements Kim Hornbuckle, ‘04 M.S. passed the P.E. exam in fall 2006. Matt Steinert and Autumn Hood, both BAE alums, married Dec. 2, 2006 in Enid, Okla. Houssam Alosta and his wife, Suzanne, welcomed baby boy Omar on Feb. 9. Ryan Haar, ‘06 B.S., married Sarah Brown on March 17 in Wichita, Kan. Mike and Melanie White welcomed baby boy Cooper Quin on March 26. Chris Cross, ‘03 M.S., passed the P.E. exam this spring. Becky Ostermann, ‘04 M.S., was elected in April to the ASABE Nominating Committee. Elizabeth Casey, ‘06 B.S., received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She attends Purdue University where she is pursuing a master’s in agricultural and biological engineering.




Non-Profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE PAID Stillwater, OK Permit No. 191

Department of Biosystems and Ag Engineering 111 Agricultural Hall Stillwater, OK 74078-6016

May 5: Spring Commencement May 31-June 3: ASABE 1/4-Scale Tractor Competition Peoria, Ill. June 17-20: ASABE International Meeting Minneapolis, Minn. June 17: Alumni and Friends Social Minneapolis, Minn. Aug. 20: Fall semester begins Sept. 8: BAE Alumni Tailgate Party Oct. 6-9: Fall Break Oct. 20: Homecoming Dec. 15: Fall Commencement




Address Service Requested

BAE Update is a publication of OSU’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering and is published each semester to inform alumni and friends of activities in the department.

We invite you to submit comments, story ideas or alumni updates to: BAE Update 111 Agricultural Hall Stillwater, OK 74078 (405) 744-5431 Editor: Jessica Stewart

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid and educational services. This publication is issued by Oklahoma State University as authorized by the Dean of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural resources and has been printed at a cost of $1.45 per copy for 1,000 copies. # JLS 0407

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