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Key Figures

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.

Kim Morgan

The woman who keeps us rolling.

Dr. Kimberly Morgan joined the Agricultural and Applied Economics Department at Virginia Tech in July 2013 as an Extension Agricultural Economist and Junior Faculty Fellow for the Kohl Centre. She teaches undergraduate courses including Agricultural Financial Management, Economics of the Food and Fiber System, Food & Agribusiness Marketing, Foundations in Agribusiness and the Kohl Centre Experiential Learning Project Team course. Her extension program goal is to pursue multidisciplinary, research-based, grant-funded research that serves to drive extension programs. These projects include Market Ready Training, Annie’s Project, the extension All About Blueberries Community of Practice, and the Market Maker portal. Dr. Morgan is passionate about working collaboratively with stakeholders, students, colleagues, and advisors. Kim’s research program goals are centered on measurable real-world needs and wants communicated by Virginia’s rural, natural resource, and agribusiness owners, managers and consumers. Specific research objectives include: understanding significant factors which influence specialty crop producers to adopt new technologies and/or pursue new marketing channels, determining the physical, behavioral and demographic characteristics of consumers motivated to seek out food and food products sold directly from the farm, and assessing the economic impacts of natural or man-made hazards on the private and public sectors of the state.

Morgan earned a BS in 1993 in Animal Science, a M.S. in Food & Resource Economics in 1997, and a Ph.D. in Food & Resource Economics in 2007, all from the University of Florida. She worked with the University of Florida’s Agricultural Market Research Center as an Economic Analyst from 2000-08. From July 2008-2013, Dr. Morgan was an Extension Agricultural Economist in the Agricultural Economics Department at Mississippi State University. Kim enjoys riding horses and spending time with her three children.

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.

Jillian Broadwell, Agricultural and Applied Economics


Our staff advocate and marketing expert.

Jillian Broadwell joined Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in July 2016 as Communication and Outreach Specialist. Her background is in digital marketing and analytics and she holds a B.B.A. from the College of William and Mary, where she studied Marketing, and is currently pursuing a MBA at Virginia Tech. At AAEC, Jillian works with students and faculty to promote the department’s programs throughout the university and beyond. She uses her writing skills to convey messages through content marketing and journalistic endeavors as well as developing other multimedia campaigns. She serves on the department’s Extension committee and aids students and faculty in communicating with stakeholders and spreading the word about events, research updates, and discoveries.