William K. Deal Endowed Leadership Lecture

William K. Deal, an Iowa State University alumnus with a degree in agricultural education established an annual lecture series to help prepare future leaders and innovators in agriculture. The lecture is organized by the Department of Agricultural Education and Studies in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and co-sponsored by the Committee on Lectures funded by the Government of the Student Body. William Deal Biography


  • Sept. 27, 2023 – Al Tank, ag and food entrepreneur, investor and consultant based in Bethesda, Maryland, “Innovating Ag Innovation.” Tank earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Iowa State in 1981. He has held several positions within the agricultural field over the years, serving in Iowa and Washington, D.C. Tank also founded and was chief executive officer of two companies – AgCert International Plc and Revolution Energy Solutions LLC. Previously, he was the CEO of the National Pork Producers Council. He also co-owns and manages his family’s farm in eastern Iowa, Tank Brothers Farm / Tank Customs, LLC.
  • Ernie SheaSept. 28, 2022 – Ernie Shea, president of Solutions from the Land, “21st Agricultural Renaissance: Solutions from the Land.” Shea has more than 40 years of experience at the global, national, state and local levels working to improve the ability of agricultural landscapes to sequester carbon, protect water quality, improve public health and ensure a growing and resilient food system. Currently, he facilitates the 25x’25 and North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliances, which seek to combat climate change
  • Photo of Chris CorneliusSept. 28, 2021 – Chris Cornelius, co-owner of Cornelius Seed located near Bellevue, Iowa, “Be the Glue: The Business of Being a Family in a Family Business.” A native Iowan, Cornelius grew up on a diversified farm in Guttenberg, Iowa. She earned a bachelor’s degree in ag journalism from Iowa State University in 1983. Alongside her husband, Chuck, and their two sons, Will and James, she co-owns and manages her family’s independent, fifth generation seed business. The business celebrated 85 years of success in 2020. She serves as first vice-president of the Independent Professional Seed Association. Chris is also an active partner in their farming entity, Cornelius Land & Cattle. Video
  • Fall 2020 – Postponed due to COVID-19.
  • Photo of Jim KnuthOct. 2, 2019 – Jim Knuth, senior vice president for Farm Credit Services of America, “Lessons in Leadership and Life.” An experienced leader in commercial and agricultural lending, Knuth heads the Farm Credit Services of America’s Iowa Retail Financial Services Division.  Farm Credit Services of America is the largest agricultural lender in the Upper Midwest. The Iowa Division serves over 21,000 producers. Knuth earned a degree in English from Iowa State in 1984, and played football for the Cyclones during his time on campus. He grew up on a cattle farm in central Iowa. Video
  • head shot of Joe KernsOct. 5, 2017 – Joe Kerns, risk management consultant and president of Kerns and Associates, “Suddenly, suddenly, then all of a sudden: A tale of resiliency, entrepreneurship and the value of mentors” Kerns has 25 years experience working with producers, suppliers and mills to support agricultural operations. He and his team assist clients in more than a dozen states with procurement and risk management activities related to: hedging, ingredient purchase, optimizing relationships with mills, feed quality control, cost-effective diet formulation, operational benchmarking, livestock marketing, generational transition and business development. Video
  • Oct. 5, 2016 – Jim Collins, Executive Vice President of DuPont, “Growth Comes When You Least Expect It” Collins began working at DuPont Manufacturing in 1984 as an engineer and worked in a variety of roles until he became a sales representative and project manager in agriculture sales and marketing in 1993. He held global roles for the next several years advancing from vice president and general manager to president of DuPont Crop Protection. Most recently, he was named executive vice president for the DuPont agriculture segment: DuPont Pioneer and Crop Protection.  Video
  • Head shot of Danny O'Neal drinking coffeeOct. 7, 2015 – Danny O’Neill, founder of The Roasterie, Inc., “How Baling Hay Prepared Me to Become the Coffee ‘Bean Baron.'” An Iowa State alumnus from Denison, Iowa, O’Neill graduated from Iowa State with a double major in international studies and political science and worked in sales and marketing before starting to roast coffee in the basement of his home in 1995. His specialty coffee roasting company now services espresso bars and coffee houses, fine restaurants, high-end grocers, offices and retail accounts and includes three Roasterie Cafes.  Video
  • Head shot of Bill Northey in front of US Flag and Iowa FlagSept. 30, 2014 – Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, “Telling Our Story: The Future of Iowa’s Farm Families” Northey is a fourth generation farmer and raises corn and soybeans on his family farm near Spirit Lake. He has served Iowa agriculture as a former president of the National Corn Growers Association, an active member of the Iowa Farm Bureau, a Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner and as cofounder and president of Innovative Growers. An Iowa State alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business, Northey is serving his second term as Iowa secretary of agriculture.  Video
  • Oct. 9, 2013 – Howard Hill, president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council, “Entrepreneurs and Leadership in the Swine Industry” Dr. Hill earned a master’s degree and doctorate in veterinary microbiology from Iowa State and joined the faculty at Iowa State’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Throughout his career, Dr. Hill has been involved in the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the Story County Pork Producers, is on the board of directors of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and is past president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.  Podcast (MP3)
  • Oct. 20, 2012 – Jim Farrell, president and CEO of Farmers National company, “The Changing Role of Leaders in a Bullish Farmland Market” Farrell, who grew up on an Iowa farm, is a graduate of Iowa State (’76 speech communications) and began his career with Farmers National Company in 1986. Farrell has served in numerous professional and civic leadership roles. In 2009 he was appointed to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Omaha Branch where he serves as chair.  Podcast (MP3)
  • Oct. 25, 2011 – Scott Irwin, Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing at the University of Illinois, “How Agricultural Economics Saved Futures Markets: An Untold Story of Leadership” Irwin is an Iowa State alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in agricultural economics at Purdue University. Irwin’s extension programs, including AgMAS and farmdoc, help farmers and agribusinesses evaluate agricultural market advisory services and apply risk management information.  Podcast (MP3)
  • Oct. 27, 2010 – Neil E. Harl, a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences and emeritus professor of economics, “Building an Enduring Leadership Platform” Harl is an Iowa State University alum with a bachelor degree in agricultural education and a Ph.D. in economics. He earned his law degree from the University of Iowa and is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association. For his distinguished service and achievement, Harl has been honored by state, national and international organizations.  Podcast (MP3)
  • Oct. 27, 2009 – Charles Manatt, former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, “Preparing Leaders to Meet Future Global Challenges” Ambassador Manatt was an attorney who earned his bachelor’s degree in rural sociology from Iowa State University in 1958 and his J.D. from George Washington University in 1962. Ambassador Manatt founded First Los Angeles Bank and served as its chairman from 1973 to 1989. He was chair of the California Democratic Party before he was elected chair of the Democratic National Committee in 1981. In 1992, he was co-chair of the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign, and in 1999 President Clinton appointed Ambassador Manatt as the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.  Podcast (MP3)
  • Nov. 14, 2008 – Richard Carter, Emeritus Professor of Agriculture Education at Iowa State University: “Charting the Course: Leadership in the 21st Century”
  • Oct. 24, 2007 – Duane Acker, President Emeritus, Kansas State University and Collaborative Professor of Animal Science at Iowa State University: “Will You Be a Leader” Acker earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science in 1952 and 1953 from Iowa State University.