Shannon_SchlechtThe Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) is pleased to welcome Shannon M. Schlecht as its new Executive Director. Schlecht, who most recently served as vice president of policy for U.S. Wheat Associates in Arlington, VA, officially joined the organization in late September.  He has assumed overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Institute’s staff, programs and execution of its mission.

“We believe Shannon brings the ability, leadership and skills necessary to further AURI’s success. His experience and commitment to build collaborative industry relationships will bring new opportunities for our organization, as well as the state’s economy,” observed Ron Obermoller, chairman of the Institute’s Board of Directors.

Schlecht has extensive background in agriculture, policy influence, market development, international trade, strategic planning, and management. He served as a wheat industry representative to the USDA Secretary of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative for the Grains, Feed, Oilseeds, and Planting Seeds Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee, was a liaison to multiple agricultural coalitions, and staff director for national committees covering trade policy and biotechnology as well as a food aid working group. Internationally, he conducted initiatives to develop U.S. wheat exports in over 40 countries. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree from North Dakota State University.

Schlecht’s early work will focus on connecting with AURI’s stakeholders to discuss current and potential partnership opportunities.

“I am excited to join AURI and put my experiences to work to help build upon the organization’s successful track record. It is a unique organization contributing to Minnesota’s agricultural industry in a variety of ways.

“I look forward to the upcoming discussions with AURI’s partners and stakeholders throughout the next several months to help advance opportunities for Minnesota and its agricultural industry.”