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Dean honors distinguished faculty and staff

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, University of Minnesota Extension, office 612-626-4077,

ST. PAUL, Minn. (10/5/2016)—Extension Dean Bev Durgan this week honored faculty and staff as distinguished service award winners.

The 2016 Extension honorees are:

Campus-based Faculty
Dr. Robert Koch, Extension entomologist

Robert Koch
Robert Koch
With an international reputation in research, Koch has established one of the nation’s strongest Extension programs in integrated pest management, with a special focus on soybean crops. Koch’s research to address invasive insects and insecticide-resistant pests has been essential to the industry’s sustainability. Through his leadership and superior science, Minnesota soybean growers and their communities benefit from more productive relationships among educators, industry, government agencies and others, building a team approach for long-term impacts. 

Field-based Faculty
David Nicolai, Extension educator, AFNR
David Nicolai
David Nicolai

Known for his strong teaching and presentation skills, Nicolai focuses on crop pest management, in addition to general production topics. When severe weather or other disasters affect Minnesota, Nicolai responds quickly with relevant information delivered via emergency clinics and the news media. He co-directs the Institute for Ag Professionals, known for presenting high-quality programming under his leadership. Nicolai is recognized as a model citizen for both Extension and Minnesota agriculture.

Tamie Bremseth
Tamie Bremseth 

Outstanding Leadership
Tamie Bremseth, Director of Youth Development Operations
Bremseth models what are known as the “5 C’s” of youth development: character, competence, connection, confidence and caring. Skilled in financial and risk management, she strengthens connections nationally, develops and improves partnerships, nurtures new employees and ensures volunteers’ success. Bremseth is dedicated to working with others because she believes in people and their ability to accomplish great things.

Diversity and Inclusion
Partnering for School Success Team

This program is implemented by Extension in partnership with Faribault Middle Schools and Triton Public Schools, serving Dodge Center, West Concord and Claremont. The culturally and linguistically relevant model built by this team helps create system changes in schools, families and the Latino Community. The team is dedicated to creating environments that are resilient, healthy and secure for immigrant families as they overcome obstacles and support their children in graduating from high school and seeking higher education.

Partnering for Success Team
Partnering for Success Team
Extension—Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Antonio Alba Meraz, Emily Becher, Patrick Jirik, Jeanne Laqua, Mary Marczak, Kathleen Olson, Patricia Olson, Karen Shirer and Maria Villarraga

Triton Public Schools—Gabriela Burk, Luke Lutterman, Nancy Stucky

Faribault Middle Schools—Kelly McDermott, Michael Meihak, Zulema Nieves, Heidi Oanes, Todd Sesker

Distinguished Team
Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) Program Team

The EIA program team empowers communities to invest time and money wisely by moving beyond “hot” economic development trends and toward a solid grounding in what drives an economy. Since 2007, the team has provided more than 70 reports, including those that respond to economic emergencies. Its members also have produced 12 reports examining Greater Minnesota’s diverse economy. Funding from the University of Minnesota Crookston’s Economic Development Center makes reports free to communities.
EIA Team
EIA Team 

Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) Program Team: Adeel Ahmed, John Bennett, Rani Bhattacharyya, Merritt Bussiere, Dan Erkkila, Bill Lazarus, Neil Linscheid, Ryan Pesch, Xinyi Qian, Bruce Schwartau, Liz Templin, Brigid Tuck, University of Minnesota Crookston EDA Center

In addition, Durgan named Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson as 2016 Distinguished Friend of Extension.


For more news from U of M Extension, visit or contact Extension Communications at University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

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