Tom Smith, Associate Director/Institute of Agricultural Technology - Michigan State University, Michigan

Tom Smith is the Associate Director of the Institute of Agricultural Technology at Michigan State University (MSU) and is the Executive Director of the National Pesticide Safety Education Center. His responsibilities and expertise at MSU focus on skills and workforce development in food and agriculture, especially related to food safety, standards and entrepreneurship. He also is a co-principal investigator for VESTA, a National Center of Excellence for online wine and grape education funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Tom coordinates the Vets to Ag training program at Michigan State University and is also a board member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Michigan. Vets to Ag is committed to serving veterans who have barriers to employment, and engages with numerous public, private and non-profit entities in a variety of ways that include funding, support services, recruitment and placement of veterans, and by providing program content and expertise. Vets to Ag training is either a residential or non-residential program that includes both comprehensive classroom and hands-on training, and may include an extended on-the-job training component. In all programs, industry-recognized credentials and certifications are embedded in the training, and employer partners have actively identified a need for trained employees and a willingness to support the program.

Prior to his position at MSU, Tom formed and operated a number of private-sector businesses and also directed a non-profit foundation and an industry association. This experience led him to be selected in February, 2017 as the Executive Director of the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC), a new center whose mission is to support and serve the extension pesticide safety education programs in each state, territory and tribe. In this role, he is responsible for establishing the legal, organizational and operational structure of NPSEC.

Tom received his BS and MS at Michigan State University. He resides in Mason, MI with his wife Beth. They have a daughter and son, who also reside in Michigan with their spouses, and a 1-year old grandson who they try to see and spoil as much as possible!