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Western Illinois University alumnus Kirk Hanlin, assistant chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), has been named the 2014 Executive in Residence for the WIU College of Business and Technology. Hanlin graduated from Western in 1982 with a degree in political science.
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Hanlin (center) with former President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore in the Oval Office at the White House.
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Hanlin and President Barack Obama.
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WIU alumnus Kirk Hanlin (red shirt) briefs former Presidents Gerald R. Ford (left of Hanlin), Jimmy Carter (right of Hanlin) and George H.W. Bush (far right) on Air Force One.
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USDA NRCS' Kirk Hanlin: WIU 2014 College of Business and Technology Executive in Residence

September 25, 2014


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MACOMB, IL — Western Illinois University alumnus Kirk Hanlin, assistant chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), has been named the 2014 Executive in Residence for the WIU College of Business and Technology (CBT). Hanlin graduated from Western in 1982 with a degree in political science.

He will deliver his 2014 Executive in Residence keynote address at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1 in Stipes Hall 121. The address is open free to the public.

The Executive in Residence program was started in 2005 by two former WIU professors, Jim and Carolyn Tripp. Executives visit the WIU campus to speak about their careers and share insight with students.

Hanlin Background

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Hanlin to his current NRCS post in July 2013. As assistant chief, Hanlin, who grew up in western Illinois, is central to the agency's leadership team, providing oversight and guidance for implementation of NRCS programs that help protect the environment, preserve natural resources in the U.S. 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.

For more than 30 years, Hanlin has worked in management for state and federal government, as well as in the private sector. Hanlin served eight years in the Clinton Administration at the White House and was appointed by President Clinton in 1997 as a special assistant to the president. In that role, he worked directly with Clinton, briefing the president daily on issues related to domestic and international events. In his role serving Clinton, 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, U.S. Secret Service, White House military office, all other White House offices, cabinet agencies and members, members of Congress, governors and local civic leaders.
Hanlin was born in Keokuk (IA) and grew up in Hancock County (IL).

While a student at Western, he lived in Tanner and Higgins halls and served as a floor president on the Tanner Hall Government, and well as Tanner Hall's senator to the Student Government Association (SGA). He was elected as both speaker pro tempore of the SGA and speaker of the senate for SGA.

"While serving as speaker of the SGA senate, to engage students in the political process, I arranged for a series of debates on campus among state representative candidates, state senate candidates, U.S. Congressional candidates and for speeches on campus by the gubernatorial candidates," he said. "The experience I gained in arranging those appearances led to a career in politics, including eight years in the White House and my current position at the Natural Resources Conservation Service."

Hanlin and his three siblings, Steve Hanlin, Jane Walters and Mark Hanlin, are all graduates of WIU.

For more information about Hanlin's visit to Western, contact WIU CBT Director of Development, Becky Paulsen at (309) 298-2442 or via email at B-Paulsen@wiu.edu.

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations