The Irrigation Association has hired irrigation and education industry veteran Bob von Bernuth to serve as education director.


In this position, von Bernuth will drive the development and execution of a new association educational plan with the objective of delivering high quality content and materials to Irrigation Association members, nonmembers, college and university instructors and students. He will focus on content consistency, oversight of existing programs (classes, online classes, licensing), long-term planning, content development and seeking grant and outreach opportunities.


“Bob brings an ideal mix of experience in the irrigation industry and education, having worked with IA members, irrigation industry professionals, several universities and thousands of students,” explained IA Executive Director Deborah Hamlin. “He has served on the Irrigation Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2006, so he is intimately familiar with the educational offerings and opportunities IA offers.”


Von Bernuth holds a doctorate in engineering as well as a Master of Business Administration. He began his industry career at Rain Bird Corporation, serving in both sales and marketing positions. In 1980, he established his consultancy, von Bernuth Consulting, to connect to irrigation industry partners via marketing and product development. He has also authored more than 40 peer-reviewed articles, more than 60 papers and publications and contributed to the development of industry software. He has served as administrator for more than $2.7 million dollars in grants for various organizations and projects.


For the last 20 years, he has served Michigan State University in a variety of roles, including professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering; director of the construction management program; founding director of the School of Planning, Design and Construction; and most recently as the assistant dean for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources where he led the implementation of college programs in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. During his career, von Bernuth has also served as endowed chair in agricultural systems for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota, professor at the University of Tennessee and instructor at the University of Nebraska. He is the recipient of several teaching awards from various institutions.


Von Bernuth holds a patent for a wear-proof spray nozzle device and is a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. A lifetime technical member of IA, he was named IA’s Person of the Year in 1994 and has served on the Irrigation Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2006.