Hensley Named Northeast Distinguished Alumnus

by jamesc  11/8/2013 9:48:37 AM --  Karl Hensley was honored for outstanding career achievement Monday evening with the NCCA’s Northeast Community College Area Distinguished Alumni Award during the organization’s annual meeting, held at Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte. The award is presented annually to one alumnus from five of the state’s community college areas.


Hensley is a dedicated individual who has given of his time and talents to his state, community and his alma mater, Northeast Community College.

“Mr. Hensley has been an instrumental part of the agriculture department at Northeast Community College as a business and industry partner as well as an alumnus,” said Hilary Maricle, associate dean of agriculture, math and science at Northeast. “Central Valley Ag continues to be one of the leading employers of agriculture students.  In 2010, Karl Hensley increased his role at Northeast by agreeing to serve on our Ag Advisory Committee.” 

“As we look into the future of agriculture, things are changing and evolving quickly and Mr. Hensley has pushed Northeast Community College ag faculty to evaluate and improve the curriculum to meet the needs of students as well as business and industry,” Maricle said.  “Not only does he share great ideas, he also helps to connect ag faculty to specialists in areas such as precision agriculture as the program grows.”

Hensley said he was surprised to learn he was named a distinguished alumnus. “When I was notified that I had been nominated and then chosen for this award, I was very shocked, humbled and honored.  My thoughts immediately ran to why me?  I’m sure many others are more deserving. I am, however, very proud to have been chosen and to be recognized for being involved with the College.”

Hensley graduated from Ewing High School in Ewing, NE in 1979. Two years later, he graduated from Northeast Technical Community College in Norfolk, NE with an associate of applied science degree in Agri-Business.   

Following graduation, Hensley was a manager trainee at Missouri Farmers Association in Carthage, MO, and a manager trainee for Coash, Inc. in Madison NE. In 1985, he became the agronomy location manager for Central Valley Coop in Elgin, NE. He advanced to agronomy division manager in 1997, and then was named vice president of agronomy for Central Valley Ag (CVA) Cooperative six years later. In 2010, Hensley became senior vice president for Central Valley Ag’s main office in O’Neill, NE.

Hensley recalls his time while he was a student at Northeast Community College. “I graduated in 1981 out of the Ag Program when Chuck Pohlman was an instructor. Being able to see Chuck become the Dean of Agriculture was very rewarding.” 

Hensley continued his relationship with Northeast a decade later. “Back in the early 90’s, I started working with the college by offering internships for ag students at CVA. I had several conversations with Chuck about how to set it up correctly and work with the schedules of the students. We have worked to fine tune the program and continue to make it better every year.”

Hensley said CVA hires approximately 15 students a year through its intern program or through part- time positions. “At CVA, I would estimate we employ approximately 125 Northeast graduates or 30% of our work force. As you can see, Northeast Community College is very important to me and CVA. The Northeast administration and leadership folks are the best. We find the College very easy to work with and our relationship is better than ever!”

Hensley is also active in his community and the state. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of the Nebraska Agri-Business Association in Lincoln; is a board member of the Nebraska FFA Foundation in Lincoln; and serves as chairman of the board for Consolidated Sourcing Solutions in Sioux City, IA. In addition to serving on the Northeast Ag Advisory Committee, he is a member of the Elgin Chamber of Commerce; was a past officer of the Elgin Young Men’s Club; was a member of the Elgin Public Schools Board of Education; and has served on the board of the Elgin Economic Development Group. He also has served in many capacities of the Elkhorn River Parish and is a member of the Elgin United Methodist Church.

He and his wife, Margaret, have two children, Kara and Clayton. Both children graduated from Northeast Community College's transfer program. Kara graduated in 2005 and Clayton in 2008. Both went on to get their bachelor degrees. 


PHOTO ID: Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president (left), and Karl Hensley.

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