Rob Hays, originally from Kentland, Ind., and most recently one of the agriculture educators at Warsaw High School, is the new assistant executive director of the Indiana FFA Association. He fills the position left vacant by Tami Neighbors, who became the executive director for the Indiana FFA Association after the retirement of Steve Hickey.
On the job for a few months now, Rob answered a few questions about himself and what he hopes to accomplish.
Q: What things in your past have helped you prepare for this new role?
A: I was a member of the South Newton FFA chapter from 7th grade through high school. I was involved in soils evaluation and crops evaluation along with numerous leadership competitions. I served as chapter officer, district officer and section director throughout my high school career. After high school, I was selected to serve as the 2006-2007 State FFA Reporter. Then I went to Purdue University for Agriculture Education. After Purdue I taught agriculture for four years at Warsaw High School and served as one of the FFA advisors.
Q: Why did you decide to move up to Indiana FFA?
A: I loved teaching about agriculture and the science behind it. I also enjoyed the connections I made with students coaching FFA events and developing their leadership, but I also have always had the idea in the back of my mind to make those connections at the state level. I like the idea of working with students as well as adults and this role helps me do both of those things. Also, as much as I enjoyed being up in front of the classroom, I hit my strengths better behind the scenes and this type of state level role is more backstage than out in front.
Q: What are your goals for the Indiana FFA and this position?
A: I feel ag teachers have a million things on their plate and anything we can do at the state level to make their jobs easier would be the most important goal of mine. Continuing to streamline the processes and requirements we have so that we are providing the best programs we can for the advisors and students. I would also like us to beef up the programs we are doing at the state level so that FFA members from other states look at Indiana and think, "I would like to be a member in Indiana because they are providing them with awesome opportunities!" I would like to see Indiana FFA be more competitive at the national level and shine through career development events, SAE programs and leadership opportunities.
Q: What are some of your responsibilities as assistant executive director?
A: I will be in charge of the membership rosters and dues collection. Also, I will be the main staff member overseeing the website and the IMPACT magazine. I am also taking on the Alumni and Collegiate FFA programs. I would love to help get them more involved as a base of support for high school FFA programs. I will be the lead staff person for the Indiana State Fair FFA Pavilion, assisting with state convention and working on other smaller projects as they arise. I will be working with the Association finances and the bookkeeping system.
We are happy to have Rob Hays on board and know that he will help Indiana FFA continue to develop premier leadership, personal growth and career success in it's over 11,000 members.
Martin works with the Indiana FFA state officers. He writes from Trafalgar