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Dr. David Kohl

Our inspiration and our namesake.

Professor Emeritus David M. Kohl served the Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics from 1978 until his retirement in 2003. He taught over 10,000 students in his courses in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship, Agricultural Financial Management, Farm Business Management, Agribusiness Management, and Agricultural Management and Problem Solving. Kohl’s Extension work had a national and international focus on agri-lender, agribusiness, and producer education in finance, business management, and strategic management of small and mid-size agricultural and rural enterprises. Kohl’s applied research centered on the areas of marketing and business development of agricultural loans, agricultural credit scoring systems, and inter-generational transfer of small business enterprises. His recent work has focused on analyzing best management practices for optimum agricultural business performance and examining enhanced productivity levels in online and blended training for agricultural lenders. Kohl has published over 1,500 articles in academic journals, in the popular press, and through Extension. His peers and the industry have recognized him with 11 major teaching awards and 18 public service and Extension awards. He is a two-time recipient of the prestigious American Agricultural Economics Association’s Outstanding Teaching Award. Kohl is only one of only five professors to receive the award twice.

J. Pearson at the 2013 CALS awards ceremony.

Our biggest fan and key donor.

J. Pearson was raised on a family farm near Warrenton, VA. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1987 with a B.S. degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics. While at Tech, he was a member of the Corps of Cadets. He earned a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the US. Army National Guard, where he served for nine years. J. held various manager and vice presidential positions in the agriculture, importing, and automotive industries after graduation. In 1996 J. used his savings and family support to found Carry-On Trailer. He grew the business into the largest trailer manufacturer in the world with seven plants in six states and 1,200 employees. J. sold the company in 2010 and pledged to give back to Virginia Tech. J. is an UT Prosim member, Corps of Cadets board member, Corps executive committee member, Va. Tech foundation board member, Kohl center board member and a Professor of Practice for the Agricultural and Applied Economics department. J. was recognized with the 2013-14 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award for his leadership and service to the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, the college, and the university.
He is married to Renae, class of 90, and has two children, Anna Kate and Will. Anna Kate is continuing the Virginia Tech tradition in the Agriculture and Applied Economics department.