The time is right. After more than eight years as AURI executive director, it’s time for me to turn over the reins of this fine organization, move to the next chapter of my life and enjoy retirement.

I leave AURI in a position of strength. By focusing on our core strengths of technical and feasibility assistance, product development and applied research, AURI fills a vital role for developing value-added opportunities in Minnesota.

The road hasn’t always been smooth, but it seldom is. The path we’ve taken has helped us learn and made us who we are.

We’ve learned how to be better partners with others who have the same goals. We regularly connect with our stakeholders and partnering organizations to match our activities with their priorities. This way we are able to positively impact as many producers as possible.

We’ve learned to better focus our strengths and provide services not offered elsewhere. AURI often collaborates with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota. While MDA is a regulatory and marketing organization, the University provides education and bench-top research information. AURI provides technical assistance and applied research for existing or emerging businesses. Working with others who bring expertise and resources to the table can return exponential results.

While we’ve learned many things, what’s exciting about an innovative organization is learning doesn’t stop. New technology develops. Discoveries are made. Intriguing questions are asked. It all spawns further innovation that leads to new opportunities.

AURI will be there to support and develop those ag-based innovations. But someone else will be at the helm because, for me, the time is right.

Godspeed.