MORRIS – After serving as the director of operations at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), Morris, for the last 12 and a half years, Professor Lee Johnston returned fully to his research work in the U of MN’s Department of Animal Science, where he has been a faculty member since 1988. Lee will continue to base his research out of the WCROC.
Lee has garnered much appreciation throughout the U of MN system for his outstanding work in delivering educational programs to pork producers and other industry professionals, conducting swine nutrition and management research, and supervising the WCROC’s swine research unit while serving as director. His primary research interests are sow nutrition and management, feed ingredient evaluation, renewable energy use in pork production, and management of pork production systems.
Mike Reese, who has served as the center’s renewable energy program director since 2001, assumed WCROC’s leadership role as the new director of operations effective August 8, 2022.
As the WCROC’s renewable energy director for more than 20 years, Mike has overseen the development of the renewable energy program at Morris and participated as principal investigator or project manager on more than $30 million of research and demonstration projects. These projects include wind energy, renewable hydrogen and ammonia, and biomass and solar energy systems. Mike also leads the renewable energy program’s strategy to reduce fossil energy consumption in agricultural production systems through incorporating renewable and efficient energy technologies. He has spoken at many regional and national conferences about renewable energy, and is considered a national leader in renewable technologies. In addition to his new role, Mike will continue to lead the renewable hydrogen and ammonia research.
Reese states, “I wish to extend my appreciation to Dr. Johnston for the high quality and steady leadership he has provided WCROC through the past decade. Moving forward, WCROC is well-positioned to continue its leadership role in agricultural innovation on a regional, national, and international level.”
From all the faculty and staff of the WCROC, we sincerely thank Lee for his years of outstanding service, and congratulate Mike in his new role of leading our research, education, and outreach mission.