May 30, 2017
Thank You for Allowing Me to be Your Associate Director
Retiring tomorrow, May 31, 2017. Feeling bittersweet. I began thinking about all the individuals who have made a significant impact in shaping me and my work over the years. As I started listing them, first thing I noted, I didn’t get here on my own. I also discovered that the list would never be complete. But, the care, support, mentoring, and sincere advice has been invaluable.
A sampling of such advice might include such things as: seek first to understand, and then to be understood; Start with Why (Simon Sinek); sometimes a decision, though not perfect, is better than no decision; empowering others is powerful; gather the facts, study them, make your decision, and then do a gut check; you'll never make everyone happy; if you are early, you are on time, if you are on time, you are late, and, if you are late, you missed it; sometimes you just have to find the humor; empathy is a good thing; learn what it is like to walk in their shoes; every person has a gift; wisdom doesn't always come from where you expect it; if you can't find time for it, it must not be a priority; listen for the quiet voices; rules are just that and no more; no one can steal your integrity, you have to give it away; and, "Be the best you can be, and that makes the day for me!" (Jimmy Buffet)
I see great opportunity in the future for K-State Research and Extension. The Land-grant University promise is alive and vibrant at Kansas State University, and Extension plays a key role in delivering on that promise. Opportunities abound in working towards shared solutions to the grand challenges facing Kansas. We have changed in many ways, and yet based upon that 1922 publication, “The Extension Workers Code,” much remains unchanged in the work of the Extension professional.
Working together for success is key to the future. I like a quote to which Gregg Hadley recently pointed me. On a sports locker room wall was the sign, “Losers assemble in small groups and complain about the coaches and other players. Winners assemble as a TEAM and find ways to win.” I’ve experienced and observed great team work and believe the work of teams must remain a priority for improvement to achieve the best future of K-State Research and Extension. I am so proud and so impressed with your work as Extension professionals. Through your work together, you are lifting youth, families, businesses, and communities all across Kansas to enjoy a higher quality of life and economic wellbeing.
The short term news with budgets seems a bit troubling, maybe even a lot troubling. Brace yourself to keep the spirit positive and working towards solutions as we go through further belt tightening. I still believe brighter days lie ahead for K-State and K-State Research and Extension. In this short run, it may be difficult to see. Please, please stay focused and never lose your passion for life long learning!
I am going to miss this place and each of you. I’ve been blessed with such a great office team in and around Umberger, always willing, always able, caring and supporting one another, and always smiling and laughing. What a great environment to work in to serve all of you throughout the system. Joyce and I are not leaving Manhattan, and we will look forward to crossing tracks with you at happenings in and around Manhattan and throughout the state. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making my experience as your Associate Director the best it could possibly be. - Daryl