Service with Style

Earlier this summer, a great member of the American Simmental Association retired after years of service to our breed and association. As a young junior member and then an AJSA Trustee Paulette Cochenour took the reins of organizing the junior program, our activities, and meetings of the Junior Board always dressed impeccable and classy. 

Paulette and I had a great relationship and friendship during my time on the junior board. We shared a love of good eyeliner and lots of laughs. Aleesa Hege Dickerson, Michelle Colgan Hall, and I shared a lot of laughs during our time on the junior board. I am very grateful for her service to our association and the past junior boards. Though I was sad to see her retirement from the ASA come, I know she is ready to be able to spend lots of time with those precious grandkids and all the activities she is involved in. As Paulette’s time at the ASA came to a close, Paulette took to social media to announce her retirement, and it was great to see all the ASA members, past AJSA members, and others congratulate her and share memories. P, you are definitely one of a kind!

When did you start with the ASA and in what capacity?

I was officially hired in May 1991. Brian Kitchen hired me for the specific purpose to organize and raise funds to host the World Simmental Federation Congress in October 1992. Brian told me that I would have a job for at least 18 months, but after that, there were no guarantees. That worked just right for me; and then, of course, you see that I was still hanging around in 2017.

Over the years what roles with the ASA have you fulfilled?

After the World Congress was all buttoned up, I was assigned to work with the youth program, international marketing through US Livestock Genetics, ASA Board, and ASA Publication, Inc. I have been lucky in my professional life to always be engaged in interesting work situations.

What’s the biggest change(s) you have seen in the breed and/or Association you have seen?

Breed acceptance and financial security are the most prominent. Having neither a livestock nor agriculture background, I quickly learned that not everyone was as excited as I was to be involved in this national association. ASA was besieged by lawsuits from members and our reputation in the commercial beef industry was at its lowest; however, for me, I thought I had the best job in Bozeman. Because of the variety of job responsibilities, each day was different ~ I had freedom to work and be creative in each of my areas.

What is your most memorable moment, event, from your time with the ASA?

I think it’s safe to say, that the 1992 World Congress during The State Fair of Texas in Dallas, is the largest, most comprehensive and challenging project I have every been involved with during my work lifetime. You have to remember, this was before cell phones, and easy communication, plus there was no online registration (everything came directly to the ASA office) ~ eight ASA staff members spent 10 days in Dallas managing 10 buses; nearly 900 attendees representing 28 countries. All the meetings were simultaneously interpreted so that attendees could listen in their own language. The registrants visited area ranches, attended cattle shows, social events ~ it was huge.

What do you believe is the biggest strength of the breed and/or association?

The members, the programs, the staff ~ all work together to make ASA the progressive leader in this industry. My experience with members has always been productive. I find ASA members to progressive, forward thinking and willing to embrace new ideas to make their cattle better.  Although, ASA isn’t the biggest in cattle registrations, I’m confident that we have the most progressive and innovate programs and have a more educated view of the bigger picture. ASA has a dedicated staff ~ I feel like the programs and the status in the industry will continue to be strong.

What are your plans now that you’re retired?

This summer has been crazy busy with my family ~ keeping up with them requires a shuttle service ~ from horse riding camps, golf, tennis, children’s theatre, basketball and swimming, there’s hardly any time to work; however, lunch with the nice glass of wine with my friends is always in order. I do a good bit of hiking and golf, though and after school starts, I will get in more of that, too.

What have you enjoyed most about your time with the ASA?

Without question, the best part of working at ASA has been the people.  To qualify that a bit, I’m talking the people who I met as little kids. I love seeing how happy they are as adults, their success in their careers, their darling children, and knowing that we will always be friends. I love Facebook, just for that!! My parents instilled in me that if you were respectful and nice to little kids and old people, you would always have friends. Now that I’m that old person, I find it to be true.




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