Our Staff

All staff can be reached by phone at 314.878.2304.

Vernon Schmidt, Executive Vice President
Cell: 314.775.8899 

Vernon started with the Association as Director of Membership Services in 1995.  He has also served as Convention Manager and Director of State Legislative Affairs and continues to work with lobbyists to ensure our members’ voice is heard in state capitals.

In early 2009, the Board of Directors announced that Vernon would become Executive Vice President upon Bob Schnell’s retirement in late 2009. On November 9, 2009, the office opened with its first new leader in over a quarter of a century and only the third Executive Vice President in the Association’s history.

In addition to managing the Association, Vernon has served as President of the Association’s  Services Corporation since his election by the Board of Directors on November 6, 2009.


Kristi Ruggles, Director of Communications
Direct Phone: 314.414.1007

Kristi joined the Association in March 2015. Her second day on the job, she flew to Charlotte, N.C., for Spring Conference. It was an intense orientation.

Back in St. Louis, Kristi settled into her role as editor of Ag Innovator and Shortliner. She also helps develop messages for members and contributes to the creation of the Association’s Membership Directory & Product Index.

She began her career as a newspaper reporter, then expanded her work to include communications strategy, publications management, media relations, digital communications and fundraising writing.


Tricia Kidd,  Accounting and Meeting Services

When members contact the Association office by phone, chances are Tricia’s pleasant greeting will be the voice you hear. Some of her daily duties include all of our accounting functions, maintaining membership records and being ready to direct members to any and all of the many services the Association offers.

If you have attended one of our conventions since 1999 the smiling face behind the registration desk was likely Tricia. From entering your meeting registration to dealing directly with hotels on our rooming lists, she does a great job of making sure our meetings run well and that have the sleeping room for the nights you request.


Sarah Stevener, Meetings and Membership

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Rachel Boehm, Office Assistant