Outgoing Washington Grain Commission (WGC) CEO Glen Squires was the guest of honor at a retirement party hosted by the WGC at the Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane on Friday, October 7.
Leadership from U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), and Washington State University (WSU) attended the event and presented Squires with a multitude of honors and recognition for his 30-year career serving the wheat and barley industries in Washington state, and his contributions to expanding export markets around the world for Washington’s world class soft white wheat.
The surprise honors of the night began with a video of congratulatory messages from the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association and USW offices from across the globe from those who were not able to attend the event.
Next, Rich Koenig, chair of the Crop and Soil Sciences Department and former interim dean for the Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), announced Squires’ induction into the CAHNRS Hall of Honored Alumni and Friends.
“Under your leadership, the positive impact the grain commission has had on the scientific capacity of WSU and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is enormous and has made Washington state the envy of the wheat world, all with a focus on improving conditions for wheat and barley growers,” Koenig said. He noted that during Squire’s time as CEO, the WGC has made significant contributions in support of research, including three new endowed chairs, the construction of the Washington Grains Plant Growth Facility, key agreements with major export customers, educational efforts to increase core support for USDA programs and initiatives, and the new USDA Agricultural Research Service building in Pullman.
The Hall of Honored Alumni and Friends is a distinction bestowed upon those who have made great contributions to agriculture, human sciences, and natural resource sciences, and have positively affected the state of Washington, the nation, and the world. Squires is the 80th inductee to the esteemed group and his picture will hang in the hallway outside the dean’s office in Hulbert Hall in Pullman. Squires joins other leaders in the wheat and barley industries, including Otto Amen, Don Steiger, Warren Kronstad, Jim Cook, Asa Clark, Hal Johnson, and Mike Miller.
Then, Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Director Derek Sandison presented Squires with the WSDA Director’s Citation Award for his tireless dedication and service as the CEO of the WGC.
The WSDA presents the Director’s Citation to recognize exceptional supporters of our state’s farming, ranching and food producing community.
Finally, the WGC Chairman Mike Carstensen presented Squires with a length of service award on behalf of the commission in recognition of his distinguished service and contributions to the Washington small grains industry and its farmers. Carstensen also presented some additional personal gifts of gratitude from the board.
“Glen has been such a positive force for our industry! He lived and breathed the Washington Grain Commission for 30 years. There are countless examples of why the Washington grain farmer is in a better place with Glenn at the helm,” Carstensen said. He noted that locally, Squires was instrumental in bridging the gap between the different Washington grower groups and the commission. Regionally, Squires’ work on transportation issues has, without exception, supported the grain industry. Nationally, Squires has supported and defended the Washington grain farmer at all levels. Internationally, Squires has established good relationships with all markets for Washington wheat in the Asia-Pacific Rim.
“In fact, most recently, he is the first one to ever be invited and honored by JFMA (Japan Flour Millers Association) for club wheat technical exchange program consultation. I’m honored to call him a friend and will keep his number on speed dial,” Carstensen said.
Heartfelt messages of recognition and thanks were the theme of the evening, along with stories from Squires’ accomplished career with the commission.
“There are so many wonderful people around the world I have been able to associate with and also see many of their careers develop,” Squires said. “It has been an honor to represent the small grain farmers and WGC constituents, throughout the state, nation and world…I will always cherish the friendships of the many people in this remarkable industry – the wheat family – as they collectively provide food for the world. With the time I’ve had, I hope I’ve been able to contribute value to the industry.”
Squires announced his decision to retire earlier this year. During the commission’s fall board meeting on Thursday, October 6, Squires officially passed the baton to incoming CEO Casey Chumrau. His last day with the commission is October 31.