Agricultural Alumni Association honors 3 at spring event
The Kansas State University College of Agriculture Alumni Association recognized one of the founders of U.S. Premium Beef, a Kansas Wheat executive and a K-State entomologist for their contributions to agriculture and Kansas during its annual Wild for Ag events on May 4, at the K-State Alumni Center.
Steven Hunt, Liberty, Mo., received the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award. He currently is an adviser to U.S. Premium Beef LLC, a marketing company that provides U.S. beef producers with an opportunity to retain ownership of the beef they produce from the ranch to retail. He helped found the company in 1996 and served as its chief executive officer from its formation until January 2013.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics in 1981, Hunt worked in many areas of commercial banking including direct agricultural lending, credit training, finance, international and commercial lending, and pursued his lifelong interest in production agriculture.
Hunt had a seat on the National Beef Packing Company board of directors for 16 years and is active in various trade and civic organizations, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Roundtable, the American Royal board of directors, the Midwest U.S.–Japan advisory board, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Meat Industry Council, Boy Scouts of America and the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center advisory board.
He was named the college’s 2001 Outstanding Young Alumnus and the 2002 Distinguished Alumnus for the Department of Agricultural Economics. Beef magazine listed Hunt in its “Beef Top 40” of individuals who influenced the beef industry over the last 40 years. He also received the 2010 Jay B. Dillingham Agricultural Leadership and Excellence Award from the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City.
The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award was presented to Justin Gilpin, a 1998 milling science and management graduate. Since 2009, Gilpin has led Kansas Wheat, a cooperative agreement between the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. As CEO, he guided the completion of the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center located across the street from Bill Snyder Family Stadium in the K-State Grain Science and Industry Complex.
He also serves as chairman of Heartland Plant Innovations and as a member of the Wheat Quality Council board of directors. Gilpin also holds an adjunct faculty position in K-State’s Department of Grain Science and Industry.
Before accepting the CEO position, Gilpin worked at General Mills, Inc., where he coordinated logistics for three flour mills. From 2000-06, Gilpin was an international marketing specialist for the Kansas Wheat Commission, where he was the primary contact for international trade teams, led research and other contractual investments and coordinated harvest quality samples, tests and grading in conjunction with KWC partners.
Gilpin has been involved in a number of U.S. Wheat Associates committees and is past-chair of the Kansas City Board of Trade Cash Basis Committee. He was recently recognized as an outstanding alumnus by the grain science and industry department.
Greg Zolnerowich, professor of entomology, earned the David J. Mugler Outstanding Teaching Award.
Since 1999, this annual award recognizes a teacher in the College of Agriculture who emulates the personal and professional qualities demonstrated by former Associate Dean David Mugler.
Zolnerowich joined the K-State faculty in 1999 and currently teaches seven undergraduate and graduate courses. He is best known for the course, Insects and People, which draws students from a broad range of majors. The popular course looks at the global impact of insects and other arthropods as animal and plant disease vectors, agricultural pests and pollinators.
He won the 2012 K-State Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the 2005 Commerce Bank Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching. His enthusiasm for the subject matter and creative teaching style consistently earn high evaluations from students.
In addition to his teaching duties, Zolnerowich serves as curator for the K-State Museum of Entomological and Prairie Arthropod Research in Waters Hall. He also has earned $1.3 million in grant funds for his research program on insect systematics, which is the study of the diversity and relationships of organisms.