Enterprising Rural Families: Making it WorkTM


Gail Gordon
ggordon at

Gail Gordon is a Business Development & Family Economics Specialist and faculty member at the University of Wyoming (UW) Cooperative Extension Service in Laramie, Wyoming, USA. She serves in two departments at the College of Agriculture -- the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics and the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences. She grew up in the Republic of Panama, where she attended junior college before transferring to Wyoming. Upon earning a Spanish Literature degree at UW, she decided that computers were more her style. She was a UW computer programmer for several years before returning to academia to earn a Masters of Business Administration. As an Extension specialist, she develops programs and teaches classes in personal financial management, family resource management, consumer issues, micro enterprise development, and managing rural family businesses. Prior to her work at the College of Agriculture, she was director of the UW Business Assistance Center and a Department of Management & Marketing faculty member in the College of Business for many years. She also directed the UW Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and is a certified business counselor. Gail completed the Western Integrated Ranch/Farm Education (WIRE) Course in 1999. She has received awards from the Governor of Wyoming and the U.S. Small Business Administration for her role in providing educational and consulting assistance to Wyoming’s business community.
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John P. Hewlett
hewlett at

John Hewlett is a Farm/ranch Management Specialist at the University of Wyoming and Coordinator of the Wyoming WIRE program, as well as Regional WIRE efforts. He grew up in Washington State, USA, where he worked eight years (four as foreman) on a large stocker-cattle/crop operation. John holds a BS degree in Agricultural Business from Montana State University and a M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from Oregon State University. He came to the University of Wyoming, Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics in 1987. Since then he has been involved in a number of state and regional extension programs, receiving three Western Agricultural Economics Association awards for outstanding extension programs, two UW Cooperative Extension awards for creative excellence, and one American Agricultural Economics Association award for professional excellence. John's current extension interests include integrated management, enterprise budgeting, financial analysis, agricultural recordkeeping, and applications of technology in agricultural.
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Lorne Owen
owenl at

Lorne Owen has over 25 years experience working with family farm businesses as a business management specialist in Alberta and BC. He grew up on the present family farm in Southern Alberta and still has an active interest in this farm. He holds a Ph.D. in Rural Studies at the University of Guelph.  He enjoys facilitating, consulting, and speaking. He currently is employed with the BC Ministry of Agriculture Food and Fisheries where he works with agriculture boards and commissions on improving governance and decision making. His consulting business specializes in organizational development and human resource management; Lorne assists agriculture businesses to increase their productivity and competitive edge through people.  Lorne is the author of numerous business and management publications including "The Canadian Farm Employers' Handbooks", "Managing the Multi-Generation Family Farm", and most recently "Farming with Neighbours", a handbook on preventing and resolving farm/community conflicts over farming practices and agriculture resource use. As operator of a private consulting firm, he provides facilitation as well as management training and organizational development workshops to farm, government and agribusiness clients in New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.  He currently assists a family business with the management of 12,000 acres of farmland in AB and SK as part of their advisory board.


John Reeve
jreeve at

Meet John Reeve from Queensland, Australia. John has been involved in Agriculture for 25 years, primarily in the livestock industry.  He presently serves as a trainer for a community education program, called Futureprofit, that focuses on planning for the long-term financial viability for family farms. John has also served as a financial counsellor, assisting farm family businesses through difficulties of uncertain weather and industry changes. Through his work, John began to recognise that even though credit was a basic requirement of a business, such acquisition by a farm family could be a threat to the stability of the farm family.  This led John, through a series of focus groups, to gather opinion on attitudes towards debt.  John is also a member of the Board of Directors of Lifeline, a telephone crisis counselling and outreach service.  Lifeline was active in supporting farm families during the major drought that pervaded Queensland in 1998.


Bill Taylor
Weston at

William (Bill) Taylor grew up on a small grain and cattle farm in northwestern Montana, USA. Bill received his B.S. Degree in Agricultural & Industrial Arts Education from Montana State University (MSU) in 1970 and his M.S. Degree in Agricultural Education from MSU in 1985. He spent sixteen years teaching high school vocational agriculture in North Dakota and Montana and has served as Weston County University Extension Educator in Newcastle, Wyoming for the past ten years. He completed the Western Integrated Ranch/Farm Education (WIRE) Course in 1993 and the WIRE Financial Management Course in 1995. He was certified by the Wyoming Small Business Development Center as a Business Counselor in 1999. Bill is presently Weston County Chair for the University of Wyoming Extension Service and Northeast Area Farm/Ranch/Business Management Educator. His local and area responsibilities include agricultural and natural resource education, including horticulture. He also has responsibilities for youth and 4-H programming and community development. Bill serves as team chair for the Wyoming Extension Profitable and Sustainable Agricultural Systems Initiative Team, and serves on the Wyoming State Extension Coordinating Committee. He has received the Wyoming Extension Creative Excellence Recognition award for developing and co-chairing the Wyoming Extension Showcase on Technology in 1998 and 2000, and the Diversity Enhancement Recognition Award for his work in civil rights. Bill also received the National Association of County Agricultural Agents Achievement Award in 1997.


Randy R. Weigel

weig at

Dr. Randy Weigel is an associate professor and extension specialist in the Family & Consumer Sciences department at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming, USA. He has been at UW since 1987 as faculty and administrator in the Cooperative Extension Service. He has a BS degree in psychology from Colorado State University, a M.S. degree in human development and family life from Kansas State University, and Ph.D. in professional studies from Iowa State University. Randy has taught the human resource section of the WIRE course since its inception. Prior to coming to UW, he worked for Iowa State Extension and taught techniques for addressing farm stress to Iowa farmers during the farm crisis of the mid 80s. His current extension and research interests include personal life planning using the WIRE model, wellness, leadership development, and human relations in agricultural families.
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