College of Business & Technology

Kirk Hanlin

Kirk Hanlin

WIU alumna Kirk Hanlin, Assistant Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), has been named the 2014 Executive in Residence for the Western Illinois University College of Business and Technology (CBT).

His public keynote address is Wednesday, October 1, 2014 in Stipes Hall 121 at 1:00 pm.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Kirk Hanlin Assistant Chief of NRCS in July 2013. As Assistant Chief, he is central to the agency’s leadership team providing oversight and guidance for implementation of NRCS programs which help protect the environment, preserve our natural resources and improve agricultural sustainability through voluntary, private-lands conservation. NRCS has a staff of 11,500 employees across the country and an annual budget of approximately $4.3 billion.

Born in Keokuk, Iowa and raised in Hancock County, Illinois, Kirk Hanlin grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in a family with generations of both farmers and towboat captains giving him a deep appreciation for protecting the land and the river for future generations. To pay for college he spent summer and winter breaks working on barges and towboats traveling from Minneapolis to New Orleans. He earned an AA from South East Iowa Community College, and a BA in Political Science with a Minor in Communications at Western Illinois University.

For more than 30 years Hanlin has worked in management for State and Federal Government, and the private sector. Hanlin served eight years in the Clinton Administration at the White House, and was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997 as a Special Assistant to the President working directly with President Clinton briefing him on a daily basis on issues related to events both domestically and internationally. Hanlin was responsible for coordination and ongoing communication with all levels of individuals and groups related to the President’s daily activities including career, elected, and appointed individuals and the highest ranking individuals from the National Security Council, State Department, United States Secret Service, White House Military office, all other White House Offices, Cabinet agencies and Members, Members of Congress, Governors and local civic leaders

Following his White House service Hanlin served in the private sector first as Vice President and Senior Advisor to the CEO of UAI Inc. a leading software company. He then served as Executive Vice President and Senior Advisor to the CEO of EnerGenetics Energy LLC (EGE) an advanced renewable energy and biofuel solutions company. While at UAI, he developed and directed business and communications strategies and oversaw day-to-day business operations. Hanlin has built strategic business alliances and partnerships throughout the U.S. and abroad working with more than 150 clients in 30 states, with local, state and federal governments and partner organizations developing, managing and advocating for emergency management solutions, electrical power grid and gas distribution applications and water and waste water applications. As corporate vice president, he worked directly with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Homeland Security, and the Center for Disease Control.

Hanlin maintains homes in Arlington Virginia, and on the Mississippi River Flyway in Nauvoo Illinois.