February 18, 2013
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Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award 2013


“Be decisive and don’t be afraid to take risk – prudent risk.”

Larry Becker

Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell

Since retiring from the U.S. Army, Timothy Adams has been able to sit back and enjoy the view, like this one on his family farm near Martinsville, Ind.

Each year the Purdue University College of Agriculture bestows its top honor, the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award, on mid-career alumni who have a record of outstanding accomplishments, have made significant contributions to their profession or society and have exhibited high potential for professional growth. Starting today, ConnectionsNOW! will profile each of the DAA honorees in a question-and-answer format leading up to March 1, when the nine honorees will receive their awards during a 3:30 pm. EST convocation in the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom. A 2:30 p.m. reception, open to the public, will precede the convocation. The 2013 honorees are Timothy K. Adams of Martinsville, Ind., Rick L. Brandenburg, Raleigh, N.C.; Michael A. Emerson, Chicago; Zarrell T. G. Gray, Carmel, Ind.; Lisa Koester, Wadesville, Ind.; D. Scott Lineback, Omaha, Neb.; Charles E. Owubah, Nairobi; Kenya; Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Bangladesh; and Jeffrey J. Veenhuizen, St. Louis.

Timothy Adams, BS ’82, of Martinsville, Ind., has served as an independent consultant with MBO Partners since retiring from the U.S. Army as a brigadier general in 2012.

During a distinguished 33-year military career, Adams headed the U.S. Army Public Health Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, where he provided global preventive medicine, health promotion and veterinary support to soldiers, family members, civilians and retirees in all theaters of operation around the world. Adams was responsible for more than 3,000 personnel and an annual operating budget of $200 million.

Adams also was commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, the Army’s assistant surgeon general for force projection, and the 24th Veterinary Corps Chief.

“Both as an alumnus of our department and based on his considerable accomplishments in civilian and military arenas, I consider Brig. Gen. Adams to be a truly outstanding candidate for an award of this important honor from the College of Agriculture,” said Clint Chapple, his nominator and the head of the Department of Biochemistry.

∙ Which Purdue faculty member had the most profound impact on your professional career? Karl Brandt and R. A. Battaglia. Dr. Brandt provided sage advice and additional guidance about achieving my degree in biochemistry. Having just separated from the service, I had been away from academics for some time and had aspirations of eventually attaining my DVM. At times I struggled through a heavy load and challenging curriculum. Karl showed compassion and concern but, above all, encouragement. Dr. Battaglia taught equine management. We both had a fondness for horses. In fact, I had my own farrier business that helped supplement my GI Bill. I struggled with finances as I was married and already had two children. Dr. Battaglia became a valued mentor and friend who was always willing to listen and was a sounding board who provided sound advice.

∙ What part of your visit back to campus in March are you most looking forward to? Seeing some familiar faces I’ve not seen in more than 25 years.

∙ Why did you select Purdue as the place to continue your education? I knew it was a fine academic institution and was confident of receiving a top-notch academic experience.

∙Where was your favorite place on campus to study? Stone Hall. It was centrally located and close to good coffee and food.

∙ What do you miss most about your college days at Purdue? The people: The friends, faculty. The West Lafayette community and surrounding area where I worked in my spare time as a farrier.

∙ Were you a good student when you were at Purdue? I was a good undergraduate student and made good grades. In veterinary school I was not as concerned about grades as much as just graduating and getting out there and getting that experience, which is really what makes folks successful in any field.

∙ What was the most difficult course you took at Purdue? I had two that were most challenging and that I believe I received two of only three C’s in while earning my biochemistry/animal science B.S. General Physics 220 was hard because there were a lot of word problems. Having been out of school for a while, it took some getting use to. The second most challenging was Analytical Biochemistry 221. Heck, the name alone was scary. If not for the patience and extra hours put forth by Dr. Brandt, that may have been my one and only D.

∙ What is the best advice you got while you were at Purdue? Don’t give up; you’ll make it.

∙ What is the best advice you have ever given? It would only be as good as the individuals receiving it perceived it to be. Advice is often dependent on the circumstances and individuals. Having spent 33 years in the military, much of my advice has been to soldiers and officers seeking a successful military career. Over the years, I’ve developed several tenets and leadership philosophies: Always be fair and open-minded. Have humility and elevate others. Keep a good sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself. Be magnanimous – share the fame and take the blame. Inspire your subordinates and leaders alike. Be assertive when necessary. Be decisive and don’t be afraid to take risk – prudent risk. Have a vision and effectively communicate that vision. And don’t forget to have fun!

Read about other 2013 Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award winners.


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