The 2017 “Allen G. Blezak Friend of LEAD” award recipient is Ken Madden.
The Friend of LEAD award is given annually to someone who has provided distinguished service and superior support to the LEAD program. Since the inception of this award, 17 individuals and organizations have been recognized. Ken Madden is the 2017 recipient of this year’s award. Ken is a native of Indianola Iowa, graduated from the University of South Dakota and after college served as an officer in the U.S. Army. Ken is a Vietnam veteran. Today Ken and his wife Mary live in West Des Moines. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.
Ken began his career with Pioneer Hi-Bred International in 1970 moving up from District Sales Manager to Regional Sales Manager and after moving to Lincoln in 1984 as the Marketing Manager of the new Plains Division of Pioneer. In 2001 Ken and his wife Mary moved to Minnesota where he became the Manager for the largest agricultural crop protection distribution for Du Pont Pioneer. In 2003 they moved to Des Moines where he became the Demand Creation Network Manager for Pioneer North America.
During his time in Lincoln, Ken became involved in a number or agricultural organizations and activities, one of which was the NE LEAD program. He served on the board for a maximum term of six years during the time frame of 1988 to 1994 and as Chair of the board for the 91/92 year.
Comments from those who served with Ken during his tenure on the board were: “I remember the time we wanted to send out a program update along with a solicitation for additional support to donors and other interested individuals, but we didn’t have the money to pay for the postage. It was Ken who stepped up and offered to cover the cost of the postage through his office” and “It was Ken who fully understood the finances of the program and although not popular, stepped forward to endorse the concept of having the “fellows” cover a larger portion of the program costs”.
One person commented ” I can think of so many things that Ken did and contributed while on the board, but the big thing was his gift of leadership . . . when the going got tough it was Ken who was able to pull us together, challenge us, and motivate us to move forward for the good of the cause”.
THANK YOU Ken, for your leadership and support!