Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) have announced David Kissler as the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Alumnus from the School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences. Kissler will be formally honored during the Alumni Awards luncheon on Saturday, Sept. 24, at noon in the Calcagno Family Ballroom. All alumni and friends of the college are invited to attend. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under, and may be purchased by contacting the NEO Development Foundation office at 918-540-6115. NEO’s “Greatest Homecoming on Earth” festivities will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016.
Kissler graduated from Bennett High School in Bennett, Colo., and attended NEO on a livestock judging scholarship. Following NEO, he returned to Colorado and attended the University of Colorado in Denver, later transferring to Colorado State University. Upon his return to Colorado, Kissler and his father began Watkins Grain Elevator Inc. During the 1980s, Watkins Grain produced, processed, and sold high-quality wheat seed, much of which was produced on their own farm. This led to an international trade with Turkey in 1983. Kissler put together plans and built a processing facility at Watkins, which they completed one day before harvesting that year’s crop. International shipments to Turkey continued until the Gulf War, when the plant was repurposed for Black Oil Sunflower seeds.
In 1999, Kissler was awarded the Colorado Outstanding Young Farmer award and in 2015, he earned the Governor’s Award for Agricultural Exporting – New to Export. He has also served on various agricultural committees, such as the Colorado Seed Grower Association (CSGA), Colorado Sunflower Administrative Committee, and many agriculture round table and community development committees. During his time with the CSGA, Kissler served on the board of directors for twelve years, guiding seed research efforts.
Kissler and his wife Christine have one daughter, Michelle. He is a strong supporter of his community 4-H programs and a buyer at several fairs and auctions. He has also served as Church Council President for his local church. “It is a privilege to honor David Kissler as one of NEO’s outstanding graduates,” says Jennifer Hessee, executive director of the NEO Development Foundation. “As a successful business owner, his work and achievements within the grain industry have contributed greatly to the betterment of the agriculture community within the State of Colorado.”