In September 2018, following the August 3 death of Dr. Joseph Burke who had served as chair of Miner Institute’s Board of Trustees for 30 years, Rod Giltz was appointed chair; and Dr. Fred Woodward vice-chair. The vice chair position was one that hadn’t been filled in decades.
“I grew up not far from the Institute and marveled at its agricultural presence. At one time, Miner Institute housed a host of animals that made for special trips,” Woodward said. He later became President of Morrisville College, one of the SUNY agriculture and technology schools, with a focus on dairy and equine. Woodward recalled that each year the horses from Morrisville that would compete at the county fair would stay at Miner Institute, which helped to establish and build a relationship between the two institutions. Woodward was appointed a member of the board in 1990 and became a trustee in 2010.
Giltz joined the board as a member in 1984, and became a trustee in 1990. Giltz is past president and current chairman and chief financial officer of Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. As chair of Miner Institute’s board of trustees, Giltz said he is looking forward to bringing the board into the 21st Century and working to get the board more engaged. “We want to be involved and not just hear reports,” he said. There is such a wealth of knowledge and talent on the board that could be supportive and helpful to Miner Institute management if it is tapped, Giltz said.
“Miner Institute plays a significant role in local agriculture sharing research and demonstrating agricultural initiatives local farmers can utilize to enhance their operations,” Woodward said. Ten years ago Miner Institute had no presence in the public, Giltz said. “Our outreach has come a long way. Miner Institute has become a citizen of the community. I think that’s particularly healthy, especially given the presence of agriculture in the North Country.” Giltz said.
In December, the board appointed Chazy dairy farmer Tony Lapierre as a trustee. LaPierre has been associated with Miner Institute as an advocate since 2017. He is active in 4H and Cornell Cooperative Extension and currently serves as the District 7 representative on the NY Farm Bureau Board. Additionally, four new advocates were appointed by the board. Kristy Kennedy, Vice President of Marketing and The Director of Tourism for the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau; John Fairchild, Math teacher at Westport Central Rural School and former Superintendent of Chazy Central Rural School with 34 years of experience in education; Matthew Bull, Nutrition Consultant with Holtz Nelson Dairy Consultants; and Mark McCullough, Environmental, Health and Safety Engineer currently overseeing the decontamination and redevelopment of the former Pfizer site in Rouses Point, NY. The board and the Institute will undoubtedly be served well by their varied expertise.