CAFNR Alumni Association Proudly Presents Its Annual Awards

These awards recognize outstanding contributions or service to the CAFNR Alumni Association

Alumni fall event

The CAFNR Alumni Association is thrilled to present its annual awards, which honor and celebrate exceptional contributions and service to the association. These awards highlight the dedication and commitment of individuals who have gone above and beyond to support and uplift the CAFNR community.

Jeff Dalbey

Dana Brown Haynes Service Award

Jeff Dalbey, who works in sales at Ag-Power, Inc. in Marshall, Mo., has been awarded the Dana Brown Haynes Distinguished Service Award from the CAFNR Alumni Association.  

Dalbey’s passion for farming and livestock began at a young age, growing up on a row crop and cattle farm. His early experiences instilled in him a deep appreciation for the land, animals, and the value of hard work. As a proud member of FFA, he excelled as a showman and area officer, further fueling his love for agriculture. 

Dalbey’s dedication to his craft earned him a college scholarship to join the judging team at Coffeyville Community College. He then transferred to Mizzou to continue his judging career and graduated in 2000 with a degree in agricultural education. After graduation, Jeff went on to coach the judging team, passing on his knowledge and passion to the next generation. 

Apart from his agricultural expertise, Jeff is also renowned for his woodworking skills. His hand-crafted donations to CAFNR Unlimited have included items like wine cabinets and a shuffleboard table.  

“Jeff is a proud agriculture supporter, Mizzou alum and fan, and CAFNR graduate. It is an honor to call Jeff Dalbey a friend and nominate him for his dedication of time, talent and treasure for a CAFNR Award,” said Stacey Follis, past CAFNR Alumni Association president. 

The Dana Brown Haynes Distinguished Service Award recognizes an outstanding CAFNR faculty or staff member, alumni or student who has demonstrated a long-term commitment of service to the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. 

Chad Follis

True Tiger Award

Chad Follis has been honored with the True Tiger Volunteer Award by the CAFNR Alumni Association. Follis is the sales and education director for Hummert International, a commercial horticultural distributor of professional greenhouse, nursery and garden supplies based in Earth City, Missouri.

Follis has been a devoted Mizzou fan his whole life. He is a two-time graduate of CAFNR with a bachelor’s degree in general agriculture and a master’s degree in horticulture. He also earned his EdD in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri.

“Chad has spent countless hours volunteering at CAFNR alumni events to help raise money for student scholarships and grants,” said Emily Kueker, CAFNR Alumni Association Board of Directors member and former president. “He’s eager and willing to do anything to help, whether it’s spray paint the CAFNR Tiger Ag Classic on the grass at the golf course, sell raffle tickets at CAFNR Unlimited, or help set up and take down at the many alumni engagement events he attended.”

“Chad is extremely engaged in agriculture in our state and nationally through the horticulture industry,” said Stacey Follis, former CAFNR Alumni Association Board of Directors member, and Chad’s wife. “He is a master at making network connections for individuals in need, often directly with CAFNR students, faculty and staff.”

The True Tiger Volunteer Award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources through volunteer efforts and a sincere dedication to the university.

Dusty Schnieders

Honorary Member Award

Dusty Schnieders, assistant vice president of government relations, University of Missouri System, has been awarded Honorary Membership in the CAFNR Alumni Association.

Schnieders is a graduate of Lincoln University with a degree in political science. He has served in his current position since 2022, and in the Office of Government Relations since 2017. Other roles have included chief of staff for Missouri State Sen. Ron Richard, who, during Schnieders’ service, served as President Pro Tem and Majority Floor Leader; and field representative, case worker and special assistant to U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

“Dusty makes an impact wherever and with whomever he has worked,” said nominator Robin Wenneker, UM System Curator. “He is a fast tracker who juggles both federal and state political environments and the complexity of a multi-billion university system and its unique institutions such as CAFNR and Extension. He is especially effective in creating educational opportunities for our elected officials to experience and see for themselves our priorities. These are often seen in his hands-on approach to legislative engagement at field days and CAFNR campus events.”

“Upon becoming head of Government Relations for the University of Missouri System, Dusty utilized all he has learned, to the benefit of CAFNR,” said Derek Coats, former colleague. “In just the past few years, Dusty successfully advocated for nearly $40 million in federal funds, while simultaneously racking up numerous legislative victories to the benefit of the University of Missouri System.”

“His ability to work with our government partners moves the needle not just for Mizzou but for the agricultural industry and our state,” Wenneker said. “While not a graduate of the University of Missouri, he has embraced his engagement with the college and the university.”

An honorary member shall be a person who is not a former student, but who, because of an exemplary interest in the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, is designated by action of the board of directors to be so recognized and honored.

Kristen Bealler

Citation of Merit Award

Kristen Bealler has been awarded the Citation of Merit Award by the CAFNR Alumni Association.

Bealler graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 2005 and has gone on to apply those skills in public health and school nutrition. After graduation, Bealler worked in food safety for the St. Louis County Department of Health before moving to North Carolina and moving into school nutrition services. Today, she serves as the director of nutrition services for Hickory Public Schools in Hickory, N.C.

She has also established herself as a leader in her field in serving as the president of the School Nutrition Association of North Carolina in 2020 — the year the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“She has not only led the association through this unprecedented time but has also continued being a front-line worker at her home district, Hickory City Schools,” said Amy Stanley, past president of the School Nutrition Association of North Carolina. “You may find Kristen serving meals to students, packing meal boxes, encouraging her staff or holding a Zoom meeting with colleagues throughout the state. No matter what task Kristen is working on you will find her doing so with a smile on her face.”

“When she appeared at the state level, I recognized a dynamic woman who cares very deeply for the children she serves as well as her peers in the school nutrition profession,” said Dawn Ferguson Roth, executive director of the School Nutrition Association of North Carolina.

The Citation of Merit Award is for professional attainment by a person in a field related to the academic curriculum of a division of the University of Missouri.

Shauna VandeDrink

Citation of Merit Award

Shauna VandeDrink (BS Animal Sciences ‘97) has received the 2022 Citation of Merit award from the CAFNR Alumni Association. VandeDrink currently serves as the chief quality officer of Hussmann Panasonic, a leading industry player in refrigeration, preservation, and food safety for the food retail sector under Panasonic.

VandeDrink is a Life Mizzou Alumni member, a Jefferson Society member, the Hussmann Panasonic Women Connect Chair and an EAB member of Eckelkamp College of Global Business and Professional Studies at Fontbonne University. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from CAFNR, she holds a master of business administration degree from Fontbonne University.

VandeDrink’s remarkable leadership skills have been recognized and commended by her colleagues, including Billie King, Jr., supplier quality engineer at Hussmann.

“One of her most admirable qualities is her ability to effectively lead a team of intelligent, strong personalities,” said King. “I watched her succeed in this every day for five and half years in two different male-dominated industries (automotive and refrigeration).

“Fast-forward a few years, and now I’ve witnessed Shauna rise from quality manager of the facility to the chief quality officer of the entire corporation. Seeing her achieve that makes me very proud. Shauna’s efforts personally raised the ceiling for all women in the company.”

The Citation of Merit Award is for professional attainment by a person in a field related to the academic curriculum of a division of the University of Missouri.

Dan Lang

Alumnus of the Year

Dan Lang, a long-time member and leader of the Advisory Council for the School of Natural Resources, has received the CAFNR Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year honor for 2023.

Lang graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Missouri in 1977. His first job was director of lakes and parks for the Lake St. Louis Community Association and the City of Lake St. Louis.

In the mid-1980s, Lang was appointed to the Advisory Council for the School of Natural Resources. He has served as Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Past Chairman, and for the past decade as the Membership Chairman. Lang has worked in a variety of supporting roles for the school, most notably, with former Director Al Vogt on securing funding for the Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building.

“Dan Lang’s superpower is showing up and just doing what’s needed,” said Market. “He always has a smile and a ‘what’s-next-to-do’ attitude that has helped guide the Advisory Council over the years and he’s been one of the positive constants to help keep the group together and functioning. I am grateful for Dan’s service and for his thoughtful counsel.”

Lang has also been a long-time member of the Mizzou Alumni Association. He has been recognized with the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association, the Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 100 St. Louisans You Should Know Award.

The Alumnus of the Year award recognizes significant contributions and accomplishments by an individual whose efforts and support have added to the excellence of the University of Missouri.