Issue No. 7, Article 1/May 8, 2009
My Last Article
Over the past 30 years, I have authored or co-authored countless articles for this newsletter, starting way back when it was titled the Insect, Weed & Plant Disease Survey Bulletin (through 1989, with no bylines), through the years of the Pest Management & Crop Development Bulletin (1990 to date for the printed version), and more recently (2004-present) the electronic version of the Bulletin. On many occasions, I struggled with writing articles, whether from temporary writer's block or wrestling with a reasonable approach for addressing a sensitive issue or merely trying to communicate when not much was happening insect-wise. But in many ways, this is the most difficult article I have ever written.
On May 15, I will retire from the University of Illinois, and shortly thereafter I will take a new position with Dow AgroSciences (DAS) in Indianapolis. Although I made this decision rather quickly (I first became aware of the opportunity with DAS in early March), I did not make the decision lightly. I will miss many aspects of my University of Illinois position very much, particularly the continual interactions with people involved in Illinois agriculture and the many collaborations and friendships that have developed over the course of my career. I will miss the camaraderie with my U of I Extension colleagues as well as the team attitude exemplified by our numerous multidisciplinary efforts. I will also miss the applied research that has been the very foundation of our entomology extension program, as well as the people associated with the program. All of these efforts will continue, of course, but without my direct involvement.
Fortunately, my new position with DAS will be as the insect management technology transfer specialist in the R&D organization, which will provide opportunities for continuing interactions with many people involved in agriculture, in Illinois and elsewhere. So don't be surprised if we happen to cross paths in the future. And with the likelihood of emeritus status in the Department of Crop Sciences, I won't completely cut my ties with the university that has fostered and supported my career growth and development and has allowed me the freedom to blaze my own trail.
In January, while talking with a broadcast radio journalist before an interview, I told her that I had worked at the U of I for nearly 30 years. She surprised me with her first question: "What has been your most memorable accomplishment?" The question caught me off guard momentarily, but I responded that my most memorable accomplishments were all associated with my educational efforts (both oral and written) and my belief that I have helped people in some small way. I will leave my position with a great sense of satisfaction.
The Bulletin has been particularly near and dear to me throughout my career. It has been a constant, efficient vehicle for sharing information and educating about insects and their management. Leaving it behind will be tough. But its future will be bright in new hands with new ideas, as long as you continue to value its purpose. Expect some exciting changes in the future.
Thank you all very much for allowing me to be a part of the Illinois agricultural family for so many years and for your support and encouragement along the way. I sincerely hope that we have opportunities to interact in the future.--Kevin Steffey