PDA Awards: And the Winners Are…..

Written by NAMA on Friday, August 15, 2014 , 8:18 am

NAMA is proud to present the 2014 Professional Development Award Winners!

Marketing Communications:

Ryan Parkin, Marketing Communications Manager, Beck’s Hybrids

Ryan Parkin is the marketing communications manager at Beck’s, a family-owned, retail seed company. With his leadership, encouragement, enthusiasm, and motivation, he has led an in-house marketing team to award-winning success. But most importantly, Ryan’s innovative ideas, excellent leadership, and knowledge of the seed industry have helped increase sales across Beck’s marketing area.

Not only is Ryan dedicated to being the most successful marketing communications manager, he’s committed to touching the lives of farmers throughout the country. In 2013, Beck’s launched the “Why I Farm” movement in an effort to honor the American farmer. Ryan’s vision went beyond caring about his role, but doing something bigger than all of us. Since the release of the movement, there have been nearly 16 million online impressions with more than one million page views on the “Why I Farm” website.

Each year, Ryan and his in-house team strive to develop sales materials and an advertising campaign that triggers an emotion, leaves a lasting impression, and generates discussion that ultimately helps to increase sales. In 2013, Beck’s won the Best of Show in Advertising at the Best of NAMA Awards in Kansas City, Mo., for their “Suspect of Success” campaign.

Ryan continues to be engaged in regional NAMA activities. He has helped host a regional meeting and attends meetings when management duties allow. When the Mid-America chapter started to become more active, Ryan encouraged his team members to get involved.

Product/Species Management:

Kelly Smith, Product Management Administrator, Kuhn North America, Inc.

Kelly has greatly added to her overall knowledge of Kuhn products and strategies by becoming more actively involved in the development of one of their key products, the SR 100 GII SpeedRake. She took it upon herself to be a driving force to setup the marketing activities for this product range, including working with marketing on a photo and video shoot for the machine, helping develop the features and benefits PowerPoints and sales booklets that are given out to dealers, as well as writing and delivering the product review video that is shared with customers and dealers through our website and YouTube channel.

Kelly has developed an extensive knowledge of price pack and machine price list creation. She is in charge of developing the Kuhn and Kuhn Knight price books, which include the features and benefits for all of the machines. One major area where Kelly is involved is the Kuhn North America Competitive Intelligence Monitor. This program was initiated last year and is a global initiative to collect information on competitive companies’ sales, developments and marketing activities in order for the company to be well-informed and make better decisions. This allows colleagues in other countries and factories to be more comfortable discussing and investigating opportunities and issues as they know Kelly personally.

Kelly is an active member of Badger NAMA serving as a Careers Co-Chair. In this role, she helps cultivate future agri-marketers as liaison for the University of Wisconsin – Platteville’s student (Pioneer) NAMA chapter. As a liaison for Pioneer NAMA, she offers her professional opinion on marketing plan drafts, serves as the contact between Badger NAMA and Pioneer NAMA, and encourages students to reach new heights with their marketing and career plans. In addition, she sets up meetings between both organizations and encourages student involvement with professional events and tours.

Public Relations:

Lisa Adams, Principal, Public Relations, Sage Virtual Communications

Throughout her career, Lisa Adams has become one of the most recognized and respected agricultural communications and public relations agency professionals in crop production. After more than 20 years of experience encompassing work within highly respected communications agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, AdFarm and Woodruff Sweitzer, Lisa took the ultimate leap and established Sage Virtual Communications, her own public relations entity, in September 2011.

 Leveraging her industry experience, vast network and numerous media relationships, Lisa has built Sage Virtual Communications to be the means by which she can concentrate her time and talent on the strategic as well as tactical needs of clients in a more focused, fast-paced approach that is unmatched by larger agencies. From collaborative crop e-newsletters with highly respected industry editors to forging partnerships with university experts and working with sales personnel to creatively extend their reach, Lisa observes no boundaries when building a successful communications plan.

Lisa’s tremendous work ethic and dedication to her clients’ success has flourished beneath her own entity.  Lisa took the opportunity to start her own business in order to truly dedicate her time and talents on directly impacting her clients’ short and long term business.

A MoKan NAMA Chapter member for years, Lisa’s most profound NAMA impact is through her volunteerism as a Student NAMA Marketing Competition Judge. At the 2012 competition, Lisa served as a semi-finals judge and the year prior as a preliminary round judge, graciously giving of her time, talents and expertise to guide the next generation of agricultural marketers. After her very first judging experience, Lisa expressed that she was “hooked” by the students’ passion, energy and enthusiasm and couldn’t wait to judge again. As a role model for those who think outside the box, Lisa’s own passion for agriculture and agriculture communications shines through to the students while her fair and honest critiques provide valuable insights on areas for improvement toward next year’s competition. As a professional member, being involved in the student competition is one of the greatest, most unselfish contributions one can make toward the future of NAMA, and Lisa benevolently does so year after year.


Gary Vorpahl, Director of Marketing, Hoard’s Dairyman

Gary was hired by W. D. Hoard & Sons Company in 1984 and currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing for Hoard’s Dairyman. Gary’s responsibilities encompass managing a national sales staff, internal market research, publication marketing, and income enhancements. During his tenure, Gary has worked tirelessly to change or help implement change not only at Hoard’s but overall in the world of ag BTB publications.

Here is a sampling of his career achievements; the creation of Hoard’s exclusive-content webinars starting in 2011 and Hoard’s Dairyman Intel starting  in 2013. He provided guidance in the launch of Hoard’s website in 1996 and re-launched with additional staff in 2009 and helped facilitate building the welcome center as part of the new Hoard’s Dairyman parlor/barn facility built in 2007. Gary has been working to make the annual Hoard’s Dairyman Marketing Study the most complete producer survey available to the dairy industry. And working with agencies to develop Hoard’s Dairyman annual Agri-Marketing Cow Judging Contest that has garnered much recognition (wins and merits) at both Regional and National Best of NAMA.

Gary’s enthusiasm for agriculture has led to his involvement and leadership in many industry organizations. He is a key player in the Wisconsin Agri-Business Council, a group comprised of agri-business people and farmers who look out for the interests of agriculture in the state legislature and the public. Since 1984, Gary has been a vital cog in the organization, serving as president for most of his time on the board. He is also past chairman of the American Business Media-Agri Council, which represents the leading agricultural magazine titles in the U.S. and Canada.

Gary has been an active NAMA member since 1974 and has served in a wide array of positions on the chapter, regional and national level including nearly twenty years of service as a chapter officer. He likely holds the chapter record for events attended, and rarely passes up the opportunity to sponsor an event when asked. Perhaps his greatest achievement in all those years of service in NAMA has been in the role of mentor to hundreds of younger members and being an inspiration for anyone looking to succeed in agricultural communications or sales.

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