Colleen Callahan is the newly announced Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “I’m honored to be asked to serve in the Pritzker Administration and humbled to be in a leadership position. I’m also eager to work with the dedicated DNR career staff, to learn from them, and collaborate on ways to help meet the needs of enhancing Illinois’ natural resources. I welcome the opportunity to communicate the importance and impact of our natural resources and the diverse responsibilities of Illinois DNR. From mines and minerals; to museums and management of lands; from parks to preservation of history; from water to wildlife – the oversight is vast and various. I’m looking forward to connecting with those who use and those who depend on our state’s greatest asset, our natural resources.”

Max Armstrong (Farm Progress, Batavia, Illinois) reports that he had a “fun ride,” courtesy of the Purdue Agriculture Alumni Association on February 2, 2019, in Indianapolis, Indiana. “The university has an annual luncheon called the Purdue Ag Fish Fry. They always try to have an interesting program, and this year they brought back four former Purdue Ag School deans, and those four joined the current dean on the panel.” Armstrong added, “They asked me to moderate the panel, which I was proud to do, of course. The real thrill, though, was to have them deliver me to the stage riding in the official Purdue mascot, the Boilermaker X-Tra Special, the little locomotive that goes to all sports events.

Mike Adams, host of Adams on Agriculture (Jacksonville, Illinois), was named Ag Journalist of the Year by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association at their 2019 annual convention. Adams on Agriculture is a national agricultural talk show featuring a mix of commentary on agricultural issues and interviews with decision makers, such as members of Congress, USDA personnel, and leaders of agricultural organizations.

Last April, Mark Oppold left full-time employment at RFD-TV after a nearly 30-year association with RFD-TV Founder and President Patrick Gottsch. Word around the farm broadcast industry was that he retired, but his wife, Kathi, said, “He didn’t actually retire. He just redirected.”  While leaving full-time employment, Oppold continues to perform hosting and reporting duties for RFD-TV at conventions and trade shows. Those duties have included two private one-on-one interviews with President Trump, which Oppold says are career highlights. Free of his daily duties, part of Oppold’s redirection is a reintroduction of a piece of his broadcast history.

Gina Cerrentano is currently completing an agricultural communications degree at Iowa State University while working full-time at KICD Radio (Spencer, Iowa) as the Assistant Farm Director. She expects to graduate in May 2019. She is new to farm broadcasting, but she has prior experience in both radio and public relations, having interned with OsbornBarr in 2018.  Growing up in a northwest suburb an hour outside of Chicago, Cerrentano doesn’t have much experience in agriculture, but as she ventured off to college, she found a passion and interest to learn more.

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