Davidson Prize Presenters
Keith G. Tinsey, P.E. Director of Operations – Midwest Black Gold Farms / ASABE President-Elect (term begins July 2022)
Keith Tinsey’s career began in 1985, while he was an agricultural engineering student at Michigan State University (MSU), when he joined a team working on a USDA potato storage project. He credits his later success to friends, faculty and staff in MSU’s Department of Agricultural Engineering, who transformed an eager farm kid into a professional engineer.
Tinsey later received an MS in biological and agricultural engineering, with a minor in electrical and computer engineering, from North Carolina State University. He has served as director of the Michigan Agricultural Electric Council and as an engineering capstone design instructor at MSU. He holds one patent and an ASABE AE50 award. In January 2020,
Tinsey joined Black Gold Farms as Director of Operations. Black Gold Farms is a national potato and sweet potato supplier for the consumer market and for the chip and french fry processing industry. Tinsey joined ASABE in 1987 while he was a student at MSU. After interviewing at an ASABE career fair, he started working at J-Star, a farmstead equipment manufacturer, in 1991.
His manager at the time, ASABE member Larry Johnson, encouraged Tinsey to continue his Society membership for personal growth and for business purposes through standards committee work. Since then, Tinsey has served on multiple committees and in leadership roles, including the Board of Trustees, the ASABE Foundation, the Professional Engineers Institute (chair), and as Director of Standards. He is also active with the Michigan Section and assists with the popular Fountain Wars competition at the Annual International Meeting.
Megan Tanel, President of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers
Megan Tanel joined AEM in 1995 as an intern, becoming a full-time employee later that year. She quickly grew in leadership to her most recent position of Senior Vice President, Construction & Utility Sector. For many years Tanel led AEM’s exhibitions and events initiatives and helped launch World of Asphalt in 2001, served as Show Director for The Utility Expo (formerly ICUEE) and CONEXPO-CON/AGG, North America’s largest construction trade show. Through her leadership, she and the team she developed, grew AEM trade show revenue by 80 percent over 12 years, worked internationally to establish strategic relationships with our global partners in support of AEM services, and led the effort to extend key contracts for AEM shows, most notably CONEXPO-CON/AGG.
Tanel assumed the role of President of AEM on January 1, 2022. As president, Tanel sets the strategic direction and operation of all AEM programs, focusing on core service areas of market information, public policy advocacy, and exhibitions.
Tanel currently serves as a member of the Milwaukee Women’s Leadership Group. She previously served as Chair and Education Committee Chair, of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) in 2015, and served on customer advisory boards for the cities of Las Vegas, Louisville, Ky., and Orlando, Fl.
The IAEE recognized Tanel with both their Woman of Achievement Awards and Distinguished Service Award in 2017.
Tanel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, PR, Speech, and German from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and a Certificate in Exhibition Management from IAEE. Tanel enjoys spending time with her husband, four daughters, and two dogs, a St. Bernard and an English Bulldog.
Curt Blades, Senior Vice President, Industry Sectors & Product Leadership
AEM Senior Vice President of Agriculture Services & Forestry Curt Blades joined the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) in 2017, having worked in agriculture industry in marketing, business development, and leadership roles for the previous twenty years.
As Senior Vice President of Agriculture Services & Forestry, Blades is responsible for the strategic direction of agriculture programs and services for AEM members. In addition, he oversees the organization’s Safety & Product Leadership group—including leading AEM’s sustainability efforts. In these roles, he serves as primary liaison with ag-specific industry organizations, customer groups, and government agencies worldwide.
Blades actively serves on boards of directors for the National FFA Organization, National Agri-Marketing Association Foundation, and Agriculture Council of America.
Blades grew up on his family’s multi-generational farm in Shelbina, Missouri where he developed a passion for serving the agriculture industry. He brings both high-level and on-the-ground perspective to agricultural issues and is a proud alumnus of the University of Missouri.