OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU Extension in Lane County Gets New Leader

05/21/2008

EUGENE, Ore. – Steve Dodrill, an award-winning video producer who has created educational media for the Oregon State University Extension Service for the past 17 years, has accepted a position to head its office in Lane County.

Dodrill, who was a television reporter in Eugene in the 1980s and is the multimedia specialist in OSU's Department of Extension and Experiment Station Communications, will become the staff chair on June 1.

Dodrill plans to work with Extension faculty, staff, and clients to refine local goals and priorities in light of an uncertain budget. The Lane County office of the OSU Extension Service relies on funding from county, state and federal partners, but the county's financial support is now up in the air because of anticipated reductions in federal timber payments.

"OSU Extension is at a crossroads in Lane County," Dodrill said. "We cannot lose nearly one-third of our budget and continue to serve people the way we do today."

To stabilize funding and expand the reach of Extension's educational programs, Dodrill said he wants to develop partnerships with businesses and organizations that support Extension's mission of delivering research-based knowledge and education that strengthens the local economy, sustains natural resources and promotes healthy communities, families and individuals. He said he also wants to expand Extension's use of the Web and other communications technologies to deliver educational programming throughout the county.

"We believe Steve's professional skills and leadership will be important in the months ahead," said Keith Diem, western region director of the OSU Extension Service. "He sees the current situation as an opportunity to build on our strengths and reach out to people who may not know us yet."

Since 1990, Dodrill has worked with OSU faculty to produce educational videos, interactive DVDs, and Web content on topics such as farm and woodland production, healthy watersheds, food safety and nutrition education.

One of Dodrill's most recognized accomplishments was producing "Landmarks in Conservation," an interactive DVD and Web site for rural land managers that won eight national and international awards, including prestigious Telly and Omni Intermedia awards.

Outside of his work, Dodrill is active in community service in Eugene, where he has lived since 1986. He founded and leads Lane County's first 4-H digital photography club and has coached several youth soccer teams. For seven years, he was a member of the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency board of directors and served as its chairman in 1994. Dodrill also has volunteered on a Eugene Water & Electric Board citizen advisory committee and as a group leader for Birth To Three, a nonprofit organization in Eugene that provides parenting education and support to families with young children.

In 2009-10, he will become the president of the Association for Communication Excellence, an international group of communicators working in agriculture, natural resources and life and human sciences.

Dodrill holds a master's degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

He will replace Charlotte Riersgard, who became the staff chair in Lane County in 2004, and is resigning to do nutrition work overseas.

Extension has been serving the public in Lane County since 1914. It offers 4-H clubs and educational classes on issues like emergency preparedness, financial management and nutrition. It also runs a food safety hotline and trains people to become expert gardeners and composters. For farmers, ranchers and foresters, it provides OSU research and helps them solve problems.