2008 Award Of Excellence Winners Announced

The Award of Excellence is an annual honor bestowed upon three individuals who have brought leadership and innovation to agricultural technology, and who have made a positive impact on the future of crop production.

The three recipients for 2008 are: Ted Macy, president, Map Shots; Allen Myers, owner and president of Ag Leader Technology; and Joe Russo, President and senior research scientist, ZedX Inc.


Ted Macy, President, MapShots Macy and his wife Nancy grew up on farm operations in Indiana. It was as a freshman at Purdue University that Ted’s vision of ag data management was born. His programming experiences at Purdue sparked his interest in computers and their potential and practical applications for agriculture. Ted earned a Masters degree in Ag Mechanization in 1980, and subsequently returned to the Indiana family farm.

On the farm Macy recognized his passion for technology and how it could apply to agronomy, so he started up a company, Applications Mapping, Inc., in partnership with a soil testing company. There, he developed a software program called AgLink, which would eventually become AGRIS following its purchase by John Deere.

He and his wife Nancy left AGRIS to start their current company, MapShots, Inc., in the fall of 1999, a company they continue to run today. Macy is still committed to advancing the state of agricultural information systems through the hiring of talented, dedicated people and the continued development of open architecture usable software tools.

Allen Myers, Owner and President, Ag Leader Technology Raised on an Illinois farm, Myers always had a love for the mechanical aspect of farming. This led him to study agricultural engineering at the University of Illinois, where he earned his undergrad degree.

Myers toiled for two decades at Sundstrand, now known as Sauer-Danfoss, before leaving the company in mid 1980s to test his own ideas. After considering many potential ideas for products to develop, he settled on the yield monitor, which he set to work developing in 1986. With the support of his father, who let him develop the product on his farm over the course of 6 years, Myers rolled out the first yield monitor in 1992 under the company name Ag Leader Technology.

From this initial success, Ag Leader has become the leading manufacturer of yield monitors, as well as many other equipment control hardware and software, and is a true American success story.

Dr. Joseph M. Russo, President and Senior Research Scientist, ZedX, Inc. Dr. Russo is a co-founder and president of ZedX, Inc., an information technology company specializing in decision-support algorithms and data visualization tools for the agricultural and environmental industries.

Since 1999, Dr. Russo has been involved in the design and development of interactive, web-based, decision-support and learning services for the agricultural sector. The most notable service is AgFleet, which was created for the precision agriculture market.

Since 2002, Dr. Russo has also been involved in the design and development of IT platforms for government and university. Some notable platforms include NAPPFAST for USDA APHIS, Soybean Rust (now ipmPIPE) for USDA CSREES, and PA-PIPE for the Pennsylvania State University extension service.

Dr. Russo is also a co-founder and president of SkyBit, Inc. since 1992. SkyBit specializes in the electronic delivery of site-specific weather data to the agricultural communities of government, university and private industry.


Nomination forms were submitted over a four month period, which concluded in May. The winners were selected by a panel of five independent judges. The 2008 judges were:

  • Bruce Erickson, Purdue University
  • Francis Pierce, Washington State University
  • Dave Mulla, University of Minnesota
  • David Clay, South Dakota State University
  • Terry Griffin, University of Arkansas

The awards are sponsored by the PrecisionAg Institute and its founding partners, and PrecisionAg.com.

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