The fall quarter meeting of the National Association of Wheat Growers Board of Directors in Portland this weekend will have its share of big issues. What direction will N.A.W.G. take as the big three wheat commodity groups consider a consolidation plan that all can agree upon? How will exports be affected by factors ranging from current global trade negotiations and natural disasters affecting key export ports? But for the new guy on the block at N.A.W.G., it may seem, well, peaceful. Lance Lamberton has the newly created title of Director of Communications and Industry Relations for N.A.W.G. And he will be the first to admit he is still getting some of the wheat industry lingo down after just a couple of months on the job. He will also tell you he does not necessarily have an agribusiness background. But that is not why he was selected for his current role.
LAMBERTON: I think I've shown over the years my adaptability to be able to quickly grasp the issues that pertain to whatever industry I'm working for, and applying my abilities and talents towards that end.
As someone with a background in corporate communications, Lamberton has what is known as "transferable job skills". And it shows on his resume.
LAMBERTON: I've worked in the Reagan White House. I use to work for the National Taxpayers Union. I also worked for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. So I've got that Washington background. Also I've got corporate background. I've worked for Exxon Corporation, and for Lockheed Martin, and also for Delta Airlines.
To put that experience in context, Lamberton was a voice handling crisis communications in situations such as 9-11, Three Mile Island, and the Exxon Valdez accident. But Lamberton says he likes his current role because it is not reactive. Instead, the new position provides a proactive outlet to promote N.A.W.G. positions and programs.
LAMBERTON: Developing relations with agribusiness providers, working on issues like biotech, and also we have a number of educational programs that we've developed, leadership programs that we utilize to let people and wheat growers train them to become involved as effective communicators and lobbyists.
But while Lamberton has a professional background outside of ag, he is not lacking in farm creditability.
LAMBERTON: My mother was raised on a wheat farm in Montana. All my uncles have been involved directly in agriculture either as wheat growers, barley, hops, and also cattle. So I would go out in the summer when I was in my youth to the farms, and work on the farms during harvest.
And Lamberton says he is eager to learn more about the world of agriculture and how it relates to the issues of the world.