Holly Downing Stacy is a 1986 graduate in agricultural communication. She has held a variety of positions in the agricultural and communication industries and currently serves the residents of Seneca County, Ohio as a county commissioner. Holly resides on her family farm in Old Fort, Ohio with her husband Doug (’86). The Buckeye spirit runs in their family, as both of their children, Dean ’13 and Diana ’14, graduated with degrees in agriculture from Ohio State.
[ACEL]: Hi Holly! What attracted you to the agricultural communication major?
[Stacy]: I enjoyed the many aspects of what communications was about and specifically wanted to work in the agricultural industry.
Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
From the first football game I attended in high school, to the friends I knew in the agricultural college, and given my preferred area of study (agriculture), where else would I go?!
How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Thanks to my education, I had internships that solidified my career choice. My formal education and my internships all strongly influenced my first career choice in agricultural communication. From there, the added career experience allowed my career path to broaden.
What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
I really enjoyed the hands on classes, such as the agricultural communication course that had us producing the AgriNaturalist, which was a magazine about the college. I guess, all the classes specific in my major were my favorites!
Did a specific faculty member have an impact on your education?
Dr. Kirby Barrick was my advisor and he was always helpful. If I was struggling with what to take or drop, or questioned an internship opportunity, he always had sound advice.
Outside of the classroom, what activities what were you involved in?
I was a member of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), Agricultural Education Society, Sigma Alpha Sorority and was an Alpha Gamma Sigma Little Sister. I also worked in the Norton-Scott Office and the CFAES Dean’s office.
What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
The life long friends I made, and all the things we did together, from studying to campus activities.
After you graduated from Ohio State, what was your first job?
I was an agricultural broadcaster for the Indiana Agri-Business Network in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Over your career, what positions have you held?
- Indiana Agri-Business Network (now the Agri-America Network)
WFIN/WHMQ Radio, Findlay, Ohio
- Ohio State University Extension, 4-H Educator, Sandusky County
- Ohio State University Extension, Director of Communications, Agricultural Business Enhancement Center, NW Ohio
- Ohio Department of Transportation, Public Information Officer, District 2, Bowling Green, Ohio
- Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Director of Communications, Toledo, Ohio
- HNTB, Architects/Engineering Firm, Senior Public Involvement leader, Toledo Office, Maumee River Crossing Project
- Sandusky County Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO
- Seneca County Commissioner (2013 – present)
In what ways have you stayed active in your community and have you recieved any awards for your work?
I have been very active in the community over the years and belong to Tiffin Rotary, Ohio Farm Bureau, Grace Community Church, Old Fort Lions Club, Ohio State University Alumni Association, Ohio FFA Alumni Association, Sigma Alpha National Alumni Association, Tiffin Area Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee (Chairman). I am a former 4-H Advisor and Seneca Co Jr Fair Swine Committee member. I did receive a Volunteer of the Year Award from the Seneca County Jr. Fair for the committee work, as well as Honorary State FFA Degree and am an Old Fort FFA Honorary Member.
As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I would have to say my career highlight is the continuation of networking that occurs. As I built my career experience, new opportunities came my way. I have found that with each career change I made I still am drawing on the experiences from the previous positions and utilizing the networks that I have that extend back to my college days. So, it’s not a specific project or outcome that I worked on as much as it is simply the satisfaction that I am still growing, learning and contributing to what ever the current situation or task is at hand.
What advice would you give to a current student?
Build your network and stay connected with those individuals. Gain valuable career experience through internships and part-time jobs . . . as you never know when that experience really will come in handy.
What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy. You have to have a passion for what you do, then it never feels like work! The classes, activities, career advise, exposure to many aspects of the agricultural industry; this all helped me to gain the knowledge and experience I needed in the area of communications. Then, through various positions, I was able to find my passion in what I was doing.