Welcome to the first CAST “Inside Edition” where you will get a behind-the-scenes look at the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. Located on a busy street corner just west of the Iowa State University campus, sits a small 2,700-square-foot office building that we call home. While most days the plants in the office outnumber the staff, we have some great individuals working to keep our vision alive.
On the exterior our primary function is to “assemble, interpret, and communicate credible science-based information,” which literally translates to: we coordinate and publish unbiased scientific papers about current issues in the agriculture industry. However, these things don’t just come together overnight; in fact the staff and task force members dedicate months to the development of any one publication. From the initial proposal submission, to finding volunteer authors and reviewers and then editing the final draft, these projects require a lot of time and attention to detail.
Our Executive VP-CEO, Dr. John Bonner, sometimes referred to as the captain of our ship, takes many voyages and over the past year has visited more than sixty different Washington D.C. congressional offices, sharing the message and materials from CAST. Linda Chimenti, our COO, ensures our metaphorical ship has enough fuel to run the day-to-day operations and a map to keep us all on track. One of the newest members of our crew is Carol, who is not only the keeper of the office candy jar but also the lead editor for our publications. In the next cubicle over you will find Dan, who thrives on the adrenaline from Friday morning deadlines for our weekly e-newsletter, Friday Notes, which is distributed to a listserv of more than 1,200 contacts. Melissa is like our own designer/decorator who coordinates the external image and look of CAST through her efforts with membership and marketing. As the office manager, Gale is our go-to gal for all our troubleshooting needs.
Over the years, our office has been fortunate to have some great young talent from Iowa State University help out with office operations. We currently have three student interns. At the front desk you will find Shannon, who is a graduate student in accounting and assists with the finances. Allyson, a junior in the College of Ag, helps coordinate the membership and marketing materials. As one of our student interns, I manage our social media through twitter (@CASTagScience) and our blog.
Needless to say, we keep quite busy here at the office and beyond. Stay tuned for next month’s “Inside Edition” to keep up on all the “not so top-secret” happenings of CAST.
Elizabeth Burns-Thompson (Editorial Administrative Assistant)