The National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) officially announced their new Executive Director today. He’s Bill O’Neill. I think it’s very interesting to see a broadcast organization (that I’ve long belonged to) hire a “print” person. There are certainly challenges ahead for NAFB and maybe Bill can bring some new ideas to the organization to help them out! Look for an interview with Bill here as soon as I can get in touch with him. Gene, good job in the interim. I agree with Emery.
NAFB President Emery Kleven had this to say:
It is my pleasure to announce that Bill O’Neill will join NAFB as the new Executive Director effective August 1, 2005. This is the position that Gene Millard has held since the first of this year. Gene will stay on during this transition period in a consulting capacity until our November convention in Kansas City. At that time, his continuing role with NAFB will be determined.
Gene Millard was hired as Executive Director of NAFB to take the position vacated by Ken Root on January 15, 2005. Gene informed the NAFB Board of Directors at that time that he did not see this as a long-term position, especially with his commitments to other industry boards and the operation of Millard Family Farms. He agreed to serve as Executive Director for up to two years or until a suitable candidate could be identified. Neither Gene, nor the board wanted to use the Interim Director title, as we wanted to give him full authority to do the business of the association. On this point, he has done work above and beyond what was expected. His many years of management have helped NAFB become a more efficient organization. Gene focused on establishing solid business operations and prepared NAFB for a productive future.
One of the many roles given Gene when he became Executive Director was to at some point, find and identify a person who would be capable of taking over the position as the NAFB Executive. This was a process that could take 6 months or 18 months. There was no definite timeline on it. As it turned out, we became aware of a highly qualified candidate, Bill O’Neill.
Bill was with Vance Publishing in Lenexa, Kansas for more than 28 years as an editor, publisher and from 1998 – 2004, he served as Executive Vice-President. Among his duties, Bill had responsibility for Vance’s largest revenue brand group and two of the company’s agricultural Divisions, as well as corporate promotion.
Bill has been chair/board member of the Partnership for Food Industry Development, USAID and Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan and a Trustee at the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism and Communications, Lawrence, Kansas. Bill has been and still is very active in his church and community.
Bill brings broad experience in business-to-business services, media brand and product startups, client relationship management, and organizational leadership and development.
The NAFB executive committee and the entire board engaged in several discussions about this important decision. We wanted to do what was best for NAFB. We understand the importance of positioning our industry for the future and being receptive to new ideas that can bring economic successes and professional recognition to farm broadcasting. We believe Bill O’Neill is the person who is best qualified and experienced to lead NAFB as we continue in our 62nd year. I believe he is the right person at the right time for NAFB. I hope you will welcome him to the ‘NAFB family’.
For Gene Millard, to say thank you seems not to be enough. He has worked long and hard these past several months to set a very stable platform from which we can all work from and benefit from. It’s my hope that we will continue to gain from his wealth of knowledge and experience in this industry.