Purdue Extension awards 3 for outstanding service

October 16, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Three Purdue Extension leaders received special recognition Thursday (Oct. 16) for the exceptional service they have provided through their profession to the university and the people of Indiana.

Special awards presented during Extension's annual Professional Development Conference luncheon included:

* Outstanding Extension Specialist: Steve McKinley, Extension specialist in 4-H youth development. McKinley has served Purdue Extension for more than 20 years. He was recognized for his efforts to stay abreast of best practices in volunteerism at the state, regional and national levels. He is considered to be at the forefront of online volunteer development and easily shared 4-H materials and courses.

McKinley also provides leadership for the Indiana 4-H Junior Leader Council and Conference, the State Fair Youth Leadership Conference, the Indiana 4-H Congress and leadership program, and Indiana’s Operation Military Kids initiative.

* Paul B. Crooks Award: Jim Luzar, Extension director and agriculture and natural resources educator in Vigo County. Luzar has served Extension for nearly 20 years in Putnam, Montgomery and Vigo counties.

Luzar has been called an expert resource statewide in horticulture and farming education. He also has a track record of sustainable, innovative and engaging program efforts, including the Giving Garden project and Camp RAVE Garden. The Giving Garden annually produces more than 25,000 pounds of fresh produce for local soup kitchens and food pantries. Camp RAVE Garden teaches inner-city youth about vegetable production.

Luzar also is known for being quick to assist other counties with programming efforts and in times of educator vacancies.

* Purdue Extension Director’s Award: James Mintert, director of the Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture, professor of agricultural economics and Extension economist. Extension Director Jason Henderson said Minter has provided invaluable support during Henderson’s first year in the position.  

“Mintert has been a trusted transitional resource,” Henderson said. “He has offered insights on the functions of the office, informed perspectives on Extension initiatives and constructive counsel.”

Mintert previously served as assistant director of Purdue Extension and agriculture and natural resources program leader.

Mintert also was an Extension leader, professor and livestock marketing economist at Kansas State University. Mintert has authored more than 200 publications on livestock industry economics. 

Writer: Emma Hopkins, 765-494-8402, hopkine@purdue.edu 

Source: Jason Henderson, 765-494-8489, jhenderson@purdue.edu

Note to journalists: Photos of the award recipients will be available at http://www.ag.purdue.edu/extension/awards/

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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