As the CEO of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts (AISWCD), Dr. Michael Woods works at the intersection of policy, education, communication, and advocacy to find creative, practical solutions for better soil and water conservation across Illinois. Exuding a dynamic, engaging, and influential leadership style that motivates, Michael has successfully aided in securing extensive investments into Illinois’ soil and water conservation and capacity-building initiatives. Michael is a strong leader within the Illinois agricultural industry and throughout the conservation sector, making him a dynamic advocate for STAR. He has extensive experience as a connector, fundraiser, educator, and communicator focused on agriculture, conservation, and grassroots community development, serving as a catalyst for the agricultural industry over his 30+ year career.
A native of Illinois, Michael holds a PhD from Iowa State University in Agricultural Education, along with a Masters in Extension Education and a Bachelors in Agricultural Communications from the University of Illinois and an Associates in Agriculture from Black Hawk East. Prior to joining AISWCD, Michael worked for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Cornell University Extension, Illinois College, University of Illinois Extension, Michigan State University, Iowa State, Slovak Agricultural University, Ukrainian Agricultural University, Oscar Mayer Foods, and Bader Rutter Advertising. He is blissfully married, has three daughters, one son, a dog, and over 50 chickens and runs a 5-acre community-based farm.