Tag: Dean's Medalist

Olin will honor Joe Blomker, founder and CEO of Maryville Consulting Group, on Friday, April 21, as the 2023 Dean’s Medalist.

The Dean’s Medal is a WashU Olin Business School tradition that honors friends of Olin who have contributed valuable time, service and dedication to the school. Blomker, EMBA 1990, will be recognized for his dedication to advancing not only Washington University and Olin, but also for advancing the St. Louis community.

He has served as the CEO and president since founding Maryville Consulting Group in 1994.  Maryville Consulting Group is a Fortune 2000 consulting firm that helps companies transform into technology-enabled businesses.  Blomker’s career also includes leadership roles at Digital Equipment Corp., AT&T, Southwestern Bell, Stout Industries and McDonald’s.

“At Olin, we know our purpose,” said Olin Interim Dean Anjan Thakor. “We exist to discover knowledge, enrich people and advance business to change the world, for good. And as I review Joe’s accomplishments, as I reflect on the many ways he has touched our community, served in leadership and engaged with our students—well, I know he is helping us fully live in our purpose.”

Blomker has served on WashU’s Technology Advisory Committee and on the National Council of the Olin Business School.  He led the search committees for Olin’s corporate relations leader, marketing leader and technology leader. He has been an orientation and commencement speaker for Olin’s EMBA program. Blomker enjoys frequent interaction with Olin students, faculty and staff and has engaged students in practicum courses, internships and as a mentor. Olin recognized him as a Distinguished Alumni in 2002.

‘Remaining involved is very important to Joe’

Blomker has been a member of the Regional Business Council of St. Louis since its inception in 2000. He serves as chair of the Higher Education Collaboration Committee, chair of the K-12 Education Committee and as a member of the Workforce Development and Public Policy committees. He was founding chair of St. Louis Social Venture Partners. Blomker also served on the Board of Trustees at MICDS, where he chaired the Education Policy Committee.

Blomker initially engaged with St. Louis’ Premier Charter School in 2006 as a community adviser when he learned the school was struggling financially. The school’s emphasis on character as the foundation for effective academic learning and the school’s diversity intrigued him. He was elected to the board in 2007 and has served as board chair since 2008. This fact exemplifies the school’s academic success: In a typical school year, selective high schools in the metro area accept more than 80% of the school’s eighth-grade graduates. Since 2008, the school has consistently operated with an annual surplus while relying strictly on its public funding. It has grown to a 23-acre campus.

“It has become clear to me that remaining involved is very important to Joe,” Thakor said. “He is energized and passionate about supporting students in their academic journey and beyond.”

Blomker earned his BSBA at the University of Missouri in St. Louis and EMBA at WashU Olin. He and his wife, Kim, have two sons, Joey and Jeff. Joey is also a WashU alum; he obtained his BSBA from Olin in 2009.

Carl Casale, EMBA ’92, will be honored on April 30 as the 2021 Dean’s Medalist.

A purpose-driven executive and respected leader in the agriculture and food industries, Casale leads the venture capital practice at Ospraie Ag Science.

His three decades of experience leading globally influential companies across the ag and food sectors provide insight into converging forces that will fundamentally transform global agricultural systems.

“The projections are by 2030 about half the world is going to be middle class or wealthy and the other half is still going to be poor,” he said in an interview.

“What we believe is going to happen is a bifurcation in the food supply. There’ll be those that just want more calories. But increasingly in what we’re seeing in this country is it’s not about how many calories can you produce. It’s how can you produce my calories?”

Consumers are interested in sustainability, transparency and local sources, he said.

“It’s not a fad. It is a shift, we believe. And so we said, ‘OK, if we believe that to be true, what do we want to do?’ And we said, ‘Well, let’s invest in technologies that fulfill those needs that can make farmers more productive but satisfy the desires of consumers in a way that they want met.’”

A farmer himself

A fourth-generation farmer, Casale identifies ag tech investment opportunities that support sustainable food production. In 2018, he helped launch Ospraie Ag Science, which is the venture arm of Ospraie Management. In this role, he leads successful venture campaigns for select companies that help farmers do more with less environmental impact.

In another role, in Casale’s seven years as the CEO and president of CHS Inc., the company returned $3 billion to its owners, invested $9 billion in new capital expenditures and nearly doubled the size of its balance sheet from $8.7 billion in 2010 to $17.3 billion at the end of fiscal 2016. CHS Inc. is a global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States.

Casale said he focused on prudent fiscal management and enhancing management systems at the company. During his tenure, CHS was the only major firm in the industry to manage through the recent economic decline without a planned reduction in workforce, instead relying on strategic cost reductions. Casale reduced working capital by $400 million to help fund a $2.8 billion transformational investment in CF Nitrogen—without taking on an undesirable debt level. The result was an 80-year agreement and a significant new profit source for the co-op’s farmer-owners.

His Monsanto days

At Monsanto Co., Casale rose through the ranks from sales representative to running the company’s largest division at age 36. As executive vice president of strategy and operations, he conceptualized the industry’s first eight-gene agricultural biotech product, “SmartStax,” which became the nation’s No. 1 insect protection trait in corn. As CFO, he reduced several hundred million dollars in operating costs by shifting the reliance on revenue to the strategic use of cash to generate earnings.

From Congress to key industry events, Casale is a sought-after commentator on the future of farming and global ag infrastructure. He remains deeply committed to “creating business models that ensure relevance over time” and continues to shape the ag, food and energy industries in both private and public roles.

Casale and his wife, Kim, operate a 150-acre specialty crop farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and his family resides in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.