BOARD OF DIRECTORS
RON REVORD, MS
University of Illinois | Urbana, IL
In 2012, Ron received a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Here, he currently continues his education as a M.S. student in Plant Breeding and Genetics. Ron’s research focuses on the development of early genetic selection methodologies for perennial crops, which otherwise require long time lapses till phenotyping and subsequent selection. Ron aims to focus his academic career on the betterment of breeding and genetic methods designed for woody perennial crop improvement.
Greater Peoria Economic Development Council | Peoria, IL
Tory is currently the Director of Communications & Outreach and the Rural Development Coordinator at the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council. He has worked in multimedia production and marketing in various forms since 2007 and in community and economic development since 2014. Tory has a BS in Journalism from Bradley University and is currently pursuing his MA in Rural Community and Economic Development through Western Illinois University. In his spare time he hangs out with his wife and two boys, serves on the associate board for Peoria Public Radio, and tries to make time for music, hikes and gardening.
CDK Global | Chicago, IL
Michael Murray is an owner and operator of Lifestock Nursery, an agroforestry propagation and consulting business that he co-founded in late 2013. His passion for health, economics, and ecology are what drew him to agroforestry and restorative agriculture systems. Previously, Mike worked as a valuation specialist for PricewaterhouseCoopers and as an owner of a small content marketing agency. He hopes to leverage his background in finance, accounting, and marketing to support the advancement of continued agricultural innovation.
MCKENZIE BEVERAGE, MPA
Butler University | Indianapolis, IN
McKenzie Beverage is the Sustainability Coordinator for Butler University in Indianapolis. In this role she facilitates sustainability programming, coordinates climate action planning, and teaches a sustainability practicum course. As a board member of the Savanna Institute, she assists in collaboration and communication with farmers across the Midwest.
McKenzie grew up in Indiana. Most of her time was spent riding bikes and building forts outdoors. Her family took many trips to Brown County Indiana which sparked her love of nature. As a college student, she spent her free time volunteering at farms of all shapes and sizes, including a farm in central Costa Rica and an Amish family farm in rural Indiana. These experiences helped shape her understanding of the delicate nature of current food systems and instilled a desire to radically change them.
McKenzie received her Master's in Public Affairs from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, both from Indiana University (IU). While at IU, she worked as an intern with the IU Office of Sustainability and became enthralled with sustainability education at institutions of higher learning. After graduating, McKenzie worked in sustainability at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she met and began working with members of the Savanna Institute. Her dedication to sustainability education and desire to change the food system drove her to take a Permaculture Design Course and become involved in the Savanna Institute.
In her free time, McKenzie enjoys rock climbing, gardening, fermenting things, and exploring natural areas with her dog.
Autumn Berry Inspired | Urbana, IL
Dustin Kelly is a Master's student in crop sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. He came to many of the principles of permaculture and sustainable agri-forestry through his experience at a small organic farm in Urbana, Illinois. There he discovered on the land a large population of autumn olive trees that provide a tasty and nutritious edible fruit. After learning the tree grew widely and was considered to be an invasive pest, Dustin began to develop a plan to help mitigate the damage the autumn olive causes to the environment and the economy. His pioneering solution is to harness the biological force of the species by "re-domesticating" it and transitioning it into a commercial crop. Dustin feels that the tree should not be introduced to new areas, but the tree can work well in a managed food forest system in places that are already heavily invaded.
Atten Babler Risk Management LLC | Galena, IL
Will Babler is a partner at Atten Babler Risk Management LLC, a commodity trading firm where he works with clients to manage their risks in agricultural and energy markets. Previously, Will was an engineer at John Deere and worked for Avista Inc. as a developer of avionics software.
Will is also engaged in renewable energy, regenerative agriculture and conservation activities. He is a developer of solar energy projects, a partner in a Midwest perennial crop farm, and he serves on the finance committee of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation. Will is a board member of Mercaris, an organic and specialty crop trading and market data company.
Will grew up in Southwest Wisconsin on a large diversified farming operation working on row crops, dairy and beef, cut flowers and other various entrepreneurial activities. As a National Merit Scholar, Will attended Iowa State University on a full academic scholarship. After completing his bachelors of science in mechanical engineering he attended the Stuart Graduate School of Business where he completed a graduate program in financial markets.
Synergy Circle | Harvard, IL