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DAA: Kenda M. Resler Friend

Kenda M. Resler Friend

Indianapolis, IN | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2012

Kenda Resler Friend is a communicator surrounded by scientists, salespeople, and engineers. In this diverse, cross-functional environment she brings the strength of building effective public relations teams and programs to improve communications with many audiences. Across her career, she has focused on efforts to reach out to corporate employees, investors, community stakeholders, and professional organizations — a skill essential now as she leads global communications efforts for Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist™ Weed Control System. “This technology is coming forward to help farmers around the world address the accelerating challenge of weed resistance and hard-to-control weeds,” she says. She grew up in Goshen, Indiana, the granddaughter of farmers and daughter of teachers. When, at 16, she was named the Indiana winner of a 4-H competition sponsored by Bob Evans Restaurants, she and her parents traveled to Evans’ Ohio farm to pick up her prize, a registered Quarter horse weanling. During a weekend of trail rides, clinics, photo sessions, and social events with other state winners, the high school sophomore carefully observed the restaurant chain’s public relations director at work. Back in Elkhart County, where Purdue connections were strong, she asked her Purdue Extension educator if Purdue offered “this thing called public relations.” That simple question, a strong work ethic, and increasingly complex assignments have taken her to the top of her field. She has been with Dow AgroSciences since 2001: “This company has an amazing culture of teamwork, and everyone is so committed to the farmer who is the center of our universe.” She also validates the adage, “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.” Resler Friend is active in AgrIInstitute, an Indiana leadership development organization, and several professional groups. She remains supportive of 4-H and Purdue, and volunteers in her church and community. She and her husband Brian, a Purdue alumnus, have two future Boilermakers: “We have a second grader and a third grader, and the indoctrination process has begun — they can go to school anywhere they want in West Lafayette,” she jokes.