Day 1: The Intersection between Governance, Finance, and Strategy
R. Brent Morrison founded Morrison & Company in 2002. He has served processing, agribusiness, distribution, manufacturing, and other companies as an executive and advisor since 1981. Brent oversees Morrison & Company strategy and implementation, practice development, infrastructure development, and serves as an “internal consultant” to our team and clients.
Brent was formerly Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Sunsweet Growers Inc., one of the nation's premier producers of juices and dried fruit products. Before joining Sunsweet, he was President of Butte County Rice Growers Association (BUCRA), an agribusiness service and supply company.
While Senior Manager with the “Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte, Brent led the Sacramento office's Food & Consumer Products Industry Group and helped found and direct the Sacramento office forensic accounting practice, assisting clients with business-related legal issues. He was previously controller for a manufacturer of heavy equipment and structural steel components. He began his career with a predecessor firm of KPMG.
Brent holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive). He is a graduate fellow of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, a two-year educational fellowship hosted by four participating universities. He is a certified Six Sigma “Champion,” the continuous process improvement methodology favored by General Electric and other major manufacturers.
Brent is a member and past President of the Far Western Chapter of the National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives, a member of the Chico Rotary Club, and a past director of the California Agricultural Leadership Alumni. He has served with many professional and civic organizations, including an appointment to a state advisory board by then California Secretary of Food & Agriculture (and later USDA Secretary) Ann Veneman. A published writer, Brent wrote "The Brent Morrison Column," which appeared in several western newspapers for over eight years.
Consultant Carissa Ryström joined Morrison & Company after several years with the Strategy and Performance Group of SRA International, Inc., a consulting firm with over 5,500 professionals in the United States and Europe. Carissa was based in the Washington D.C. office.
At Morrison, Carissa helps clients develop higher-functioning businesses and organizations, as well as build stronger leaders and leadership capabilities. A talented writer who has written everything from corporate and governmental strategy reports to collaborating on a screenplay, Carissa is also an important part of our grants team.
While at SRA International, Carissa worked with clients in a wide array of industries including agribusiness, environmental councils, and governmental agencies. Her service areas included organizational change management, strategic communications, and program implementation for clients including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Prior to SRA International, Carissa was Communications & Research Associate with Vertical55, an executive consulting firm, focused on coaching and leadership development. She is Spanish-English bilingual and has experience in publishing work while previously living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Carissa holds Bachelor's degrees in International Relations and Affairs and in Spanish Language and Literature from University of Colorado at Boulder. She is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt.
Shawn Miller has extensive experience in human resources, recruiting, organizational development, and HR related services in addition to over 10 years’ experience in operations management. This distinctive combination of people and operational experience uniquely qualifies Shawn to serve Morrison clients’ “people” needs with both a professional HR background and real-world operational management experience. He manages Morrison's People Solutions services, including recruiting.
Shawn became SPHR certified (Society for Human Resources Management) in 2003 and focuses on improving clients’ overall performance and culture with recruitment and behavioral based interviewing, operational management and leadership development, and leadership training. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Cedarville University, Ohio.
Shawn previously served in Human Resources Manager and Quality & Compliance positions for NIBCO, Inc., advancing to the Administrative Manager position overseeing both human resource and quality and compliance functions. While at NIBCO (a manufacturer of valves, fittings, and flow control products that operates manufacturing facilities throughout the United States, Mexico, and Poland), Shawn oversaw all non-production related functions at assigned factory locations. His responsibilities included targeted recruitment, compliance with personnel law and regulations, EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) systems, TQM (Total Quality Management), administration of the Steelworkers Union labor contract, and oversight of a facility closure and the associated union relations. Shawn implemented STAR (Situation, Task, Actions, and Results) based selection processes, developed and implemented the company’s workplace violence prevention program, and developed and administered bonus structures for personnel at all organizational levels.
In addition, Shawn has held operations or production manager positions at Dometic, an equipment supplier to RV manufacturers, boat builders, vehicle manufacturers, hotels, and retailers; Global Building Products, a US based manufacturer of steel doors and windows for commercial construction; and Dutch Mills, Inc., a manufacturer of high end furniture and cabinetry. He also founded and operated a manufacturer of high quality furniture, cabinetry, and millwork products.
Phil Kenkel is a Regents Professor in the Agricultural Economics Department at Oklahoma State University and holds the Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair. He is the editor of the Journal of Cooperatives. In 2011 he managed a national project identifying critical issues facing agricultural cooperatives which resulted in seminars for the House and Senate staff in Washington D.C.
Dr. Kenkel is the current chair of the Cooperative Community of Practice on eXtension which has conducted national webinars on non-qualified stock and other issues. He is also active in national research committee on cooperatives and has prepared white papers for the CHS Center for Cooperative Growth and the Farm Credit Council. Dr. Kenkel has authored more than 200 research and extension publications, presented over 100 papers at professional meetings and conducted training sessions on producer owned businesses in 6 countries.
Day 2: Case Studies in Success, Failure and Transformation
Michael Boland (Mike) is the Koller Professor at the University of Minnesota where he has teaching, research, and outreach responsibilities in agribusiness management and in particular, agricultural cooperatives. In addition, he is director of the University of Minnesota Food Industry Center.Prior to this new position, Mike worked at Kansas State University in the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center.
Mike teaches educational modules on finance, governance, and strategic thinking in boards of director leadership programs for local cooperatives. These programs are taught in 14 states to more than 1,000 cooperative senior employees and directors annually.
The majority of his work involves food and agribusiness firms where he has co-authored over 85 case studies on agribusinesses. Mike is serving as chair of the USDA International Agribusiness Task Force whose charge is to look at ways to incorporate competitiveness and trade topics into agribusiness management curriculum at land grant universities. In 2005 to 2008, he served as co-chair of the Teaching, Learning, and Communications section of the American Agricultural Economics Association. Mike serves on the planning committee for the annual Farmer Cooperatives programs in Minneapolis.
He has led international study tours of agriculture for students in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, New Zealand, Nicaragua, South Africa and Uruguay and Ukraine. Kansas State University awarded him their International Educator award in 2009.
He took his PhD in agricultural economics from Purdue University specializing in marketing, production, and strategic management. Mike also has a Master’s in agricultural economics from Purdue and a Master's in agricultural education from the University of Minnesota where he specialized in extension and continuing education.
Mike was the recipient of a USDA National Needs PhD Fellowship in Agribusiness where he helped work with continuing education programs in the Purdue University Center for Food and Agricultural Business. Mike’s previous work experience includes Country Club Markets, River Country Cooperative, Cenex, and a trade association. He is the oldest of 12 children and was reared in Minnesota.