Perkins receives Omtvedt Servant Leader Award

Perkins receives Omtvedt Servant Leader Award Friday, December 8, 2017

Jeffery Perkins, the ENREC Swine Unit Manager, was recently honored with the 2017 Omtvedt Servant Leader Award. This award recognizes staff members within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources for their excellence, leadership and dedication.

The Omtvedt Servant Leader Award was presented at the IANR Awards Luncheon held December 1 at the Nebraska East Union.

Jeff Perkins has worked for the University of Nebraska--Lincoln’s Swine Research Unit since 1982. He earned an Associate Degree from Iowa Western Community College in Farm Management and Ag Sales.  While working for UNL, Jeff continued his education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha part-time at night, and earned a Bachelor of General Studies in Business Management.

Jeff has worked in all phases of operation at the Swine Unit and currently manages the Swine Research facility located at Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC) near Mead, Nebraska.  He began his tenure in 1982 as an Agricultural Research Technician I, working in Phase III of the Swine Research facility.  Phase III was the Grow/Finishing phase of the production.  Jeff spent several years in this phase learning a great deal about research and animal husbandry skills.  He was then promoted to Agricultural Research Technician II, supervising the grow/finishing area.  Many years were spent conducting and supervising the day-to-day management duties in this area.  Supervising and training new personnel and working directly with researchers and graduate students from UNL, involving nutritional and genetic research trials, was a constant activity over the years. Animal husbandry, maintenance of facilities, and research data collection was a steady focus and responsibility.

Jeff made a lateral transfer into the Breeding and Gestation phase of the Swine Research facility.  He spent several years managing the breeding and reproductive physiology area.  Again, animal husbandry, maintenance of the facility, and research data collection were a steady focus and responsibility.   A special and unique opportunity was available to work with many graduate students and professors involving genetic research in this phase.

As personnel changes continued, it provided an opportunity to transfer laterally into the Farrowing Department where Jeff’s job duties focused entirely on the farrowing and care of the animals in this phase of production.  He was also directly involved with the Nursery phase as these areas of production were closely related.  At this point of Jeff’s career at the Swine facility, he was cross trained and knew many aspects of the entire production phase and infrastructure of the unit. Working in a team environment was always a positive driving force for him personally and provided a sense of satisfaction and commitment.

When the opportunity for promotion to Manager arose, Jeff quickly expressed interest and was selected for the position that he currently holds.

35 years of service and dedication to the Swine Research facility has given Jeff a great opportunity to work with many different people.   Most importantly were the professors that were directly involved with leadership and research projects, graduate students who were working on Masters and PhD degrees, co-workers, part time employees and students seeking hands-on experience for job related opportunities. 

Over the years, Jeff has had a tremendous opportunity to experience many changes of the swine industry as well as the research facility at Mead.   He has had a great pleasure in seeing the growth and development of the many people who have been directly involved in working in some aspect involving the University of Nebraska Swine Research facility at ENREC.

Jeff and his wife, Robin, live in Papillion, Nebraska, and are celebrating 31 years of marriage. They have a son named Justin who is 24 years old and is a recent graduate from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.

The Omtvedt Servant Leader Award is made possible by Leone and the late Neal Harlan, great friends of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, in honor of Dr. Irv Omtvedt and his distinguished career at the University of Nebraska.  The Harlans had the vision and foresight to realize the importance of recognizing and supporting outstanding and innovative work in the Institute. 

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