Rick Grant is the President of the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute. He has been a part of The Development Corporation’s Board of Directors for over 15 years. His background in agriculture and higher education make him a valuable asset to the organization.
For much of his tenure with the TDC board, Rick has been heavily involved with the Education and Workforce Development committee. This committee is spearheading a program in 2020 to better engage and support TDC tenants and their gaps in workforce development. Rick is an integral part of this new program.
Get to know Rick a little better through this TDC board member spotlight.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Growing up on a dairy farm near Potsdam, NY, it was only natural to head to college as an Animal Science major at Cornell University. There I found my passion for research and education aimed at improving dairy farm management. This led me to pursue and receive a PhD at Purdue University. I went on to become a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin, then a professor at the University of Nebraska, before heading back to the North Country in 2003.
What do you do in the North Country?
I work at the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, NY. I am president of the Institute and also a Trustee of the William Miner Foundation.
Tell us about the work that the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute does.
The institute carries on William Miner’s vision of science in the service of agriculture.
To do this, the institute conducts research and provides educational programs focused on agricultural management, including:
- dairy cattle and crop management
- equine reproduction and management
- environmental stewardship
The onsite farm and field operations are used to demonstrate best practices for agricultural management.
How long have you been on the TDC board?
What has been your favorite project that TDC has been a part of?
Having been chair of the Education and Workforce Development Committee since shortly after joining the board, I feel that the current focus on innovative ways to enhance the local workforce is the most notable. Based on conversations with TDC tenants and community stakeholders, we are working on a roadmap for various programs to help mitigate current and future workforce needs. I am particularly excited about the potential to be involved in programs that allow for providing industry experience to local college students as well as High School teachers focused on STEM – the later of whom have a direct impact on the next generation of the workforce.
What is most rewarding about being a part of TDC?
Being a part of an organization that continually strives for the growth of the region. It is so desirable to live in a community that is continually growing, evolving, becoming more vibrant. TDC is an important asset to this activity in our region, and that is so exciting as a board member. My background is agricultural research, and in my daily life I advocate for farmers and agribusiness. Being on the TDC board allows me to connect with other business minded individuals, gaining a perspective on the business community as a whole in Plattsburgh.
What sets TDC’s board apart from other organizations you are a part of?
This is easy – of all the boards and organizations I take part in, the TDC board is by far the most engaged and active. At the committee level, where so much of the actual discussions and work get done, and at full board meetings, everyone actively engages for the betterment of the organization. I have never had a similar board experience.
What is a little-known fact about the Plattsburgh region?
This is not really a little-known fact, but I feel duty-bound as president of Miner Institute, to mention the influence of William and Alice Miner on the region, including Plattsburgh.
A more well known fact about the Miner family is that Physicians Hospital, which evolved into the modern day Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH), was built by Miner. However, the impact of the family can also be seen through the Alice museum, and Chazy Central Rural School. He and Alice also ensured that the Kent DeLord House would survive as a museum in the early 1900s.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I really consider my job to be entwined with my daily life, and so I rarely leave work behind. But, that is fine because I really enjoy what I do at the Institute. For relaxation, for me, nothing beats reading, taking a hike at Point au Roche, or just enjoying a day spent on Lake Champlain.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It’s hard to imagine a better place to live. With the lake, the Adirondacks, the community, and the farms of the Champlain Valley, I feel very fortunate to call this region home.