Birrell Named to Newly Established Kinze Professorship at Iowa State

May 16th, 2007

AMES, Iowa - Stuart Birrell, associate professor in Iowa State University's agricultural and biosystems engineering department, has been named to fill a new professorship created by the founders and owners of KINZE Manufacturing Inc. in Williamsburg.

Jon and Marcia Kinzenbaw established the Kinze Manufacturing Professorship in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in January. "We are extremely grateful to the Kinzenbaws for their generosity," said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the Iowa State University College of Agriculture. "Their years of leadership in the agricultural equipment arena have had a major impact on the business of farming, and this new professorship is a way to build on that impact and leadership."

Birrell earned a bachelor's in agricultural engineering from the University of Natal in South Africa, and master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Prior to accepting a faculty position at Iowa State, Birrell was employed by the University of Illinois and the University of Missouri.

Birrell teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in agricultural engineering and agricultural systems technology, with a focus on power and machinery engineering courses. His research is concentrated in two areas - development of sensors and controls for advanced agricultural machinery operation and control, and harvest technologies and logistics.

The Kinze Manufacturing Professorship in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering will be funded by annual gifts from the Kinzenbaws over a three-year period.

"This is an excellent way to promote public-private partnership to educate our future agricultural engineering and technology students to face the global marketing challenges of the 21st century," said Ramesh Kanwar, chair of Iowa State's agricultural and biosystems engineering department.

In establishing the professorship, the Kinzenbaws said they believe faculty at Iowa State are some of the finest in the country. "Iowa State University is a leader in agricultural engineering education. Providing a professorship to faculty at Iowa State in agricultural machinery will further enhance the machinery industry. These faculty also will have an impact on the students they teach, helping them deepen their passion for agriculture," they said.

KINZE Manufacturing began in Ladora in 1965 as a welding, repair and custom metal fabrication shop. Over time, the business has evolved into one of the largest, privately held agricultural equipment manufacturers in the United States, designing and building innovative row crop planters and grain wagons. The company employs 540 people and its products are sold in 20 countries.

The gift was made through the ISU Foundation, a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to securing and managing gifts and grants that benefit Iowa State University.

Contacts: 

Stuart Birrell, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, (515) 294-2874, sbirrell@iastate.edu
Ramesh Kanwar, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, (515) 294-1434, rskanwar@iastate.edu

Susan Thompson, Communications Service, (515) 294-0705, sander@iastate.edu
A photo of Stuart Birrell is available on request from Susan Thompson.