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Agrimarketing : February 2009
BEST OF CAMA • 2008 CAMA’SAGRI-MARKETEROFTHEYEAR T he 2008 Canadian Agri- Marketing Association’s (CAMA) Agri-Marketer of the year, Dr. Tom Funk, Professor- Emeritus of AgriculturalMarketing, University of Guelph, has left an indelible impression in the Canadian, as well as the entire North American ag industry. Apioneer in agri-marketing edu- cation, market research, and strategic consulting, his work has touched and influenced the careers of tens of thousands of the industry’s employ- ees and leaders. Born and raised in Kentland, IN, Funk earned his B.S.,M.S., and Ph.D. in agricultural economics at Purdue University. In 1971, he accepted a teaching position at the University of Guelph’s ag economics department and served on its staff until his retirement in 2005. AGRIBUSINESSMARKETING MANAGEMENT PROGRAM In 1974, Funk developed and intro- duced the AgribusinessMarketing Management program at the University of Guelph. Since then, the program has attracted over 2,000 agri-marketers from all parts of Canada and all sectors of agriculture. In addition to being taught at Guelph, the program has also been available at Purdue, the Co-op College in Saskatoon andMoncton, and in-house for numerous agribusi- ness companies. The program has expanded over the years and now consists of three courses that lead to the CAMA Certificate in Agri- Marketing. As of this fall, there will be over 50 agri-marketing profes- sionals in Canada and the U.S. who have earned this designation since its inception in 2006. COMMERCIAL PRODUCER STUDY In 1993, Funk launched the Commercial Producer study at Purdue with Dr.Dave Downey. This large-scale study of the buying behavior of North American large farmers has been replicated four times in the U.S. and once in Canada. It is considered the benchmark for understanding buyer behavior in 52 AgriMarketing s January/February 2009 In recognition of this achieve- ment, Funk received the John Bell Award, the highest academic award granted by the university.This award is presented every five years to a person who has made the great- est contribution to the educational mission of the institution. Dr.TomFunk agriculture and is widely used as a basis for formulating marketing strategies. CAMA ADVISOR For ten years Funk was faculty advi- sor to the CAMAstudent chapter at Guelph. During that period, the stu- dent chapter always had a strong showing in the international market- ing competition, making it into the finals a majority of the time, includ- ing a first and second place finishes in 2003 and 2004. In recognition of the team’s organization, dedication and achieve- ments, he received “Advisor of the Year” Award fromthe National Agri- Marketing Association (NAMA) in 2003. MBA IN AGRICULTURE In 1997, Funk was the founding Director of Guelph’sM.B.Ain Agriculture. Under his leadership, the program grew to be the largest graduate program at the institution. In 1999, he received the Best of CAMAAward for “Outstanding DirectMarketing Campaign,” which launched theMBAin Agriculture program. The centerpiece of the program is the on-going development of agri- marketing case studies to teach both university students and industry professionals. Over his career, Funk has developed more than 60 cases which fully describe a situation in a manner that allows students to role play as managers and arrive at “good” decisions. OTHER ACTIVIES During his “spare” time in 1980, Funk founded Agri-Studies, Inc., which he and his son Justin currently manage. It was the first ag-focused marketing research com- pany in Canada and pioneered the development of sophisticated ag marketing research. He is also an adjunct professor at Purdue and the Ivey School of Business at the University ofWestern Ontario. COMMENTS “I have followed Dr. Funk’s work and worked closely with him as a colleague for over 20 years,” says Purdue’s Downey. “Literally dozens of agribusinesses both in Canada and the U.S. attest to the impact he has had in helping them shape their internal marketing strategy. “His work is heavily based on his ongoing research and his own field experiences, which is one of the rea- sons he is so relevant and respected.” In submitting Funk’s nomination for the award, Denise Hockaday, DEKALBMarketingManager, Monsanto Canada writes, “For over 37 years, Dr. Funk has been an inspi- ration to those of us who practice agri-marketing in Canada.” AM FAMILYROOTED IN AG The name Funk is synonymous with successful agri-marketing. Dr. Tom Funk’s grandfather founded Edward J. Funk & Sons (seed corn brand: Supercrost), Kentland, IN. His grandfather, Carl, was one of seven of Funk’s sons involved in the business and served as the company’s GeneralManager for 30 years before the company was sold to British Petroleum. AM
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