Name: Douglas L (Doug) Steele
Department: Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources
Title: Vice President
Date you joined APLU: Jan. 1, 2019
What was your first real job?
My first job where I actually received compensation (my dad believed the value of real-world experiences and not necessarily a monetary return for services – if you grew up in a rural area, you know what I mean) was driving a tractor and one-way plow for our neighbor “Preach” Wilson. I think I earned $1.35 per hour, which I quickly invested in my production swine enterprise, but the life lessons were invaluable. I always thought it was interesting that a 13-year-old could drive a $30,000 tractor, but couldn’t drive to school.
Why did you want to work at APLU?
I have worked closely with APLU since 2004 (does anyone remember National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges-NASULGC?) and have been involved in a variety of leadership roles, committee assignments, and initiatives. I have experienced firsthand the value of a membership-based organization that provides leadership, vision, and coordination to national efforts. Representing our member institutions is one of the greatest honors of my career because we truly get to make a difference for others every day.
What education or work experience had the greatest impact on you?
I have had a very diverse work experience through agriculture (raising wheat and pigs), working on the processing floor of a packing plant, managing a commercial swine operation, working in the feedlot of a sale barn, and as a grounds manager of a golf course. During my 38 year Extension career, I have been blessed to work at Texas A&M, Purdue, Colorado State, Montana State and back to Texas A&M. My new career at APLU is a culmination of all those experiences.
What’s most rewarding about working with public research universities?
The power of transformative research that can be translated to practical application (Extension) and student access to higher education. I love the history of land-grant universities and the power of education, research, and teaching to impact students, families, communities, and agricultural enterprises.
What is your favorite thing to do on your day off?
Explore the city and surroundings, spend time outside and almost any type of sporting event.
Where is the best place you’ve traveled and why does it stand out?
I had a five-year project in Croatia (University of Zagreb) and really came to appreciate the people, history and culture. I wish we could focus more on our similarities, hopes, and dreams and not quite so much on our differences.
What is the best movie you’ve seen recently?
I enjoy action movies. The last movie I watched was Aquaman — super heroes are the best. While not really a big fan of musicals, I thought The Greatest Showman was excellent.
What’s the last book you read?
I am re-reading 1776 by David McCullough. It’s amazing how leadership, or lack thereof, can change the course of history.