For almost 40 years, Bill Stagg has shared the story of agricultural education and FFA throughout the country. Today, the director of strategic communications for the National FFA Organization has announced he will retire at the end of January.
A graduate of Virginia Tech, Stagg began his career with the National FFA Organization in Alexandria, Va., in November 1978. For 38 years, he has been dedicated to living the FFA motto, “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.”
“Working for FFA has been such a joy,” said Stagg. “From the moment I set foot in a local high school agricultural education program, I saw caring teachers working with students in extraordinary ways. I understood the power of that close teacher-student relationship to transform the lives of young people and accelerate their personal, academic and career development. I’ve loved working on behalf of FFA members, their teachers/advisors and the dedicated professionals who support them. The story of FFA is a uniquely American one, and it’s been immensely satisfying to share it with others and see it evolve.”
Stagg started with FFA as an audiovisual specialist and later assumed duties as associate editor of the organization’s magazine, The National Future Farmer (now known as FFA New Horizons). From 1987 to 1991, Stagg served as director of information working under National FFA Executive Secretary C. Coleman Harris. From 1991 to 1995, he served as team leader for the Communications Resources Team under Chief Operating Officer Bernie Staller, while also managing the National FFA Officer team. In 1998, he moved to Indianapolis when the organization relocated from Alexandria, Va. In Indianapolis, Stagg helped conduct the organization’s “Seeds of Hope” campaign, which raised more than $835,000 to assist FFA members, chapters and agricultural education facilities affected by Hurricane Katrina. He also worked closely with the FFA: Feeding the World—Starting at Home hunger initiative.
In 2008, Stagg was named director of strategic communications and worked directly with Chief Operating Officer Doug Loudenslager until 2009 and then with Dr. Dwight Armstrong, who served as CEO until his retirement in June 2016. Currently, Stagg supports the organization’s CEO, Mark Poeschl, and serves as a liaison to the National FFA Organization Board of Directors and the National FFA Foundation Trustees.
“Bill’s strategic communication skills have been invaluable to FFA,” Poeschl said. “Even though I’ve only worked with him a few months, I’ve come to depend on him for his historical perspective and wise counsel and guidance to me. He has a gift for crafting meaningful communications and will be missed a great deal. We wish him all the best in retirement.”
Stagg’s leadership and historical knowledge have played a key role for the organization as it continues to grow leaders, build communities and strengthen agriculture. He has been instrumental in the organization’s interactions with the board of directors and helped move the board to a governance model. He also has played a pivotal role with sponsor relationship management.
“Bill has firsthand experience in the changes that have occurred in the communications field over the past 30 years,” said National FFA Advisor Dr. Steve Brown. “From beginning his career at FFA in the audiovisual field to his current role in organizational communications, he leaves a legacy of dedication, inspiration, communication and engagement that will be etched in the stones of FFA history.”
Stagg holds both an honorary state FFA degree from California as well as the Honorary American FFA Degree from the National FFA Organization. In 2015, Stagg received the VIP Citation, which recognizes dedicated individuals who contribute to the FFA mission of student success and agricultural education.