When Robin Klemm arrived in
What she found was an active and robust organization under the leadership of Washington State University Extension economist Gary Smith from the WSU Puyallup Research and
Smith recently completed his term as president of the organization, having served in various offices in the 300-member club for the past four years.
His successor, Alexander Rist, a
“He definitely put his personal trademark on the organization,” Rist said. “
Among the tools Smith employed were Cougar Gold cheeses and
Two innovative programs put together by Smith also are credited with reactivating the club’s membership.
Smith brought officials from the Federal Reserve Bank of
It was also standing room only when Smith brought leaders of the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis from
“The BEA event was incredible,” according to Klemm. “I’m pretty well connected nationally, and when I saw who he brought in I wondered how many chits he had to call in.”
To Smith, this kind of networking and outreach is part and parcel of fulfilling the outreach mission of Extension.
“My goal has always been to help WSU make connections on the west side,” Smith said.
According to fellow WSU economist Ray Huffaker in
According to Huffaker, Smith set up several different speaking opportunities for him in
“I was able to get before high profile groups to talk about my research including state government policymakers and staff in
Klemm said that Smith’s ability to connect practicing economists with members of the business sector, researchers, and community and political leaders benefits the entire community.
“The value is where the rubber hits the road in the real world, not just on the academic side,” Klemm said. “The bottom line is what his efforts do for the community as a whole.”
Smith’s efforts have definitely connected WSU and the broader community, Huffaker said.