Capital Press recently checked in with former international business consultant Shawn Dooley, a native Oregonian and former FFA state officer, who started March 18 as the first CEO of Oregon FFA.

The move came after the Oregon FFA Association, Foundation and Alumni voted in 2018 to unite under a single management structure.

Q: You’ve been with Oregon FFA for several months now. How is it going?

A: The past eight months have gone quickly. During that time, we have added staff positions, tested a new educational platform for non-livestock FFA members at the Oregon State Fair, and made some incremental changes that provide more support to younger ag teachers.

The most significant change is the passage of House Bill 2444, which provides state financing to remove some of the financial barriers to high school students benefiting from the career development and leadership training events that help FFA members graduate at higher rates than the statewide average and be better prepared for a career in agriculture.

Q: Is the position everything you expected?

A: I’m surrounded by staff, board members and supporters who have helped me understand the history that brought us here, and have been open to suggestions about how we can be more efficient and better meet the needs of FFA members. I truly enjoy going to work each day.

Q: Are there things you didn’t expect?

A: We are a growing organization that has been under-resourced. Oregon FFA looks like the growing startup companies I worked with before coming to this position. We don’t have all the systems and planning processes in place that we need yet, but that’s coming, especially as we add staff.

Q: Have you identified areas where Oregon FFA can improve?

A: We are working on a better planning process, so that we can use the ideas, manpower and resources of all of the FFA partners to execute better with less effort. We will be expanding the use of our alumni volunteers to take on some of the jobs that ag teachers and state staff have done in the past at our state FFA convention. We are dividing some duties to streamline processes so people work on projects that they are best suited to.

Q: Do you plan on attending the Northwest Ag Show?

A: Yes.

Q: What are some of the major benefits Oregon FFA gets from participating in the show?

A: We plan to use the Ag Show to introduce companies and individuals to ways in which they can help support our members and better prepare them to be productive employees, knowledgeable consumers and engaged citizens in their communities.

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