​Industry Leaders Discuss Real-world Issues and Policies


AREC alumna Julie Bowling, assistant general council for Tennessee Farmers Insurance Companies, speaking to students
​AREC alumna Julie Bowling, assistant general council for Tennessee Farmers Insurance Companies, speaking with students about agricultural law in the 2019 Executive Seminar Series.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Students enrolled in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics’ (AREC) popular Executive Seminar Series benefited once again from an impressive array of successful agricultural professionals and industry leaders, many of whom are Herbert College of Agriculture alumni. This provided the students with an insider’s perspective to the most pressing agricultural issues and an opportunity to consider the myriad of options available to them as they prepare to chart their own career paths.

“Topics covered in this class aren’t from a textbook but from the real world, taught by people who are at the cutting edge of these issues, industries and policies,” said AREC associate professor Chris Boyer who co-led and developed the class with AREC assistant professor Karen DeLong.

Speakers for the 2019 series included:
  • Tim Cross, senior vice president and senior vice chancellor, UTIA
  • Jim Herbert, founder and former CEO of Neogen
  • Lynn Petr, executive director of Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR)
  • Julie Bowling, assistant general council, Tennessee Farmers Insurance Companies
  • Jeff Siegrist, managing partner of Siegrist & Company
  • Donnie Smith, former CEO of Tyson Foods and UT Board of Trustees member
  • Kelly Jones, Former Vice President of R&D for Mondelēz International
  • Rick and Bonnie Malir, founders and owners of City BBQ
  • Bill Johnson, President and CEO of Farm Credit Mid-America
  • Magdy Hefnawy, president of Ag-Tech International, Inc.
  • Andy Holt, Tennessee state representative
  • Wade Smith, vice president of OSI Group
  • Robert Brown, president and chief forecasting officer of Robert Brown, Inc.

“This class has a remarkable impact on our students,” said DeLong. “They are able to realize that the entrepreneurs, executives and industry leaders who speak to them each week were once students just like them. It has empowered our students to realize that one day they will achieve the same success and will come back and speak in this class.”

“This has been one of my favorite classes throughout college,” said Herbert College of Agriculture student Christiana Greer. “Getting to hear how different individuals have used their degrees and found success has been so motivational. It opened my eyes to all the different paths that I can take after I graduate.”

The AREC 395: Executive Seminar Series will be offered again in fall 2020.