Mary E. Emery BA, MS, PhD
Professor, South Dakota State University
Mary E. Emery is a professor of psychology, sociology and rural studies at South Dakota State University. Her education and career have specialized in community development, entrepreneurship, Native economic and community development, leadership, evaluation, distance education, community approaches to food and fitness, and impact analysis. She has received multiple awards in the fields of community service, rural education and innovative programing, among others, and has nearly 100 publications under her belt. Emery’s primary interests include community and economic development, community change and program Planning. Diversity, inclusion and equity in higher education is the focus of her current research.
Mallory L. Rahe BS, MS, PhD
Director, Missouri Small Business Development Center for Agriculture, Food and Forestry
University of Missouri
Mallory L. Rahe is the director of the Missouri Small Business Development Center for Agriculture, Food and Forestry at the University of Missouri. Throughout her career she has been awarded more than $5 million in grants and contracts in areas from farmers market promotion programs to small business development. Her current research focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on rural farmers markets and the increased migration toward rural areas, and she has two forthcoming papers exploring these topics. Rahe specializes in community economic development research that aims to increase rural and regional leaders’ capacities in effective and influential decision making.
Brian K. Via BS, MS, PhD
Regions Bank Professor
Director, Forest Products Development Center
Brian K. Via is a Regions Bank Professor and director of the Forest Products Development Center at Auburn University. There he pioneered the Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging undergraduate program between the colleges of engineering, architecture, business and agriculture. He has been awarded more than $33 million in grants and contracts in areas from waste product conversion to soy-based adhesives. He has more than 100 publications, and has presented at conventions and conferences in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. His current research focuses on chemometric modeling of biomaterials, forest or plant tissue for chemistry and quality, and the development of sustainable adhesives, fillers, and substitutes for wood composites.