Board & Staff

Board of Directors

Board Member Affiliation Term
Ken White Utah State University Continuous
Dina Chacon-Reitzel New Mexico Beef Council 2016
John Cromartie Economic Research Service 2016, non-voting
Charlotte Eberlein University of Idaho 2016
Brent Elrod National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Continuous, non-voting
Jose Garcia-Pabon Washington State University 2016
Mike Harrington Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Stations 2014
Sheldon Jones Farm Foundation Continuous
Mike Kahn Washington Agricultural Experiment Station 2014
Benita Litson Dine College 2016
Steve Loring New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station 2014
Sharon Megdal University of Arizona 2016
Edgar Ruiz Council of State Governments-WEST 2014
Lou Swanson Colorado State University 2014
Glen Whipple University of Wyoming 2014


Don E. Albrecht, Director

Dr. Albrecht began his role as the Director of the Western Rural Development Center in July 2008. He received a B.S in Forestry, an M.S. in Sociology from Utah State University and a Ph.D. in Rural Sociology from Iowa State University. He then served as a member of the faculty at Texas A&M University for 27 years where he worked in the Departments of Rural Sociology and Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences. He has researched and written extensively on the issues confronting the communities and residents of rural America. Among the issues explored are natural resource concerns, economic restructuring, demographic trends, poverty, inequality, and education.

Betsy H. Newman, Assistant Director

Betsy H. Newman joined the WRDC staff in August 2005 after working for eight years as an event manager for Conference Services, a division of University Extension, at Utah State University. As assistant director, she is responsible for the Center's communications and public relations activities, and collaborates with regional and national teams to develop training opportunities primarily for western extension educators and specialists. Ms. Newman serves on the national curriculum team for ReadyCommunity, and the eXtension Community of Practice, 'Enhancing Rural Capacity.' She served for three years as Chair of Scholarships & Endowments for the university’s Professional Employees Association and a two-year term as President of the Association. A native Ohioan, she has traveled and lived throughout the region for the past 20 years including stints in Washington, Alaska, and Montana.