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Outstanding Young Professional Award

This citation honors College of Agriculture and Life Sciences early- or mid-career alumni who have distinguished themselves through significant advancement and achievement in their discipline, field or area of expertise. Selection is made by the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

This award was established in 2010 and is presented annually during Iowa State University’s Homecoming Weekend. Click here for the nomination form. Nominations are due the third Tuesday in November.

2020 Outstanding Young Professional Awardees

Colin Hurd (’13 agricultural studies)
Ames, Iowa

Photo of Colin Hurd

Colin Hurd, strategic initiatives manager for Raven Industries, is a rising entrepreneur in the agricultural technology industry.

As an Iowa State University student, Hurd participated in the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative, founded Agricultural Concepts and developed TrackTill, a planter attachment designed to minimize soil compaction.

In 2016, Hurd joined the inaugural cohort of the Iowa State University Start-Up Factory and Ag Start-Up Engine and founded Smart Ag, a company focused on commercializing autonomous farming solutions to help address the labor shortage in production agriculture. Smart Ag’s first product, AutoCart, allows farmers to automate a grain-cart tractor, providing critical labor savings to farmers during harvest.

Hurd’s innovation has landed him recognition on local and national stages. In 2016, Hurd was honored as a STATEment Maker by the Iowa State University Alumni Association. In 2019, he was recognized in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 class for manufacturing and industry and AgGrad’s 30 Under 30 class.

In 2019, SmartAg was acquired by Raven Industries. Hurd’s role in the company allows him to continue innovating as he works to grow and develop products to advance the agriculture industry and serve farmers.

Hurd’s philosophy of service was evident during his time as a student. He was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and participated in Dance Marathon, VEISHEA, and Cardinal Key. His commitment to service continued post-graduation. Following the loss of his infant son, Hurd and his wife, Kimberly, founded the Kolbe Scott Fund in his honor. Proceeds were used to build an orphanage in India.

Past Recipients