ASI Staff

Peter Orwick - Executive Director

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 33

As executive director of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), Peter Orwick has led the transformation of the association to match the rapid changes in the nation’s sheep industry. Orwick was brought on after dramatic downsizing in the 1990’s to rebuild lamb and wool promotional programs, establish national sheep disease eradication and lead livestock protection programs.

ASI, as the national voice of the 80,000 sheep producing farms and ranches in America, leads the legislative, regulatory, animal health and communication efforts of the industry. The association provides millions in dollars per year in wool quality production and international promotion, as well as Department of Defense projects.

LRP-Lamb, a lamb price insurance product, was developed by ASI with sales supported though an association-owned insurance company and agency providing the only risk management available to sheep operations.

Under Orwick’s direction, ASI entered into wool processing through a joint venture that shrink proofs millions of pounds of American wool for socks and knit wear. This successful endeavor has resulted in an increase of consumer-wool products being made right here in the United States.

ASI celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2015 as the oldest national livestock group in America. The National Wool Growers Association (formed in 1865) and the American Sheep Producers Council (formed in 1995), both forerunners to the livestock checkoff programs of today, merged in 1989 to become ASI.

Orwick was reared on a sheep and cattle ranch on the rangelands of western South Dakota. His parents and three siblings continue to make their living in sheep ranching as the family has done for nearly 100 years. He received Bachelor of Science degrees in animal science and business from South Dakota State University.

Paul Rodgers - Deputy Director of Policy

Phone: (304) 647-9981

As ASI's deputy director of policy, Paul Rodgers is responsible for identifying and managing issues of relevance for both ASI and the U.S. sheep industry in several key areas: animal health, food safety and quality assurance, animal welfare, research and educational policy, marketing and trade and other technical matters. More specifically, Rodgers works with national and international regulatory agencies and organizations to implement ASI policies and to manage issues relating to the above-mentioned areas.

He has staff responsibilities to ASI’s Research and Education Council and Animal Health Committee--namely through representation on boards and committees that address animal health and quality assurance issues.

Rodgers is also the lead staff person for the American Lamb Council, for which he oversees competitiveness-improvement initiatives and coordinates activities with the recently established American Lamb Board.

Rodgers began working for the sheep industry in 1984 as a consultant for the American Sheep Producers Council, one of ASI's two predecessor organizations.

Rita Kourlis Samuelson - Director of Wool Marketing

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 29

Rita Kourlis Samuelson is ASI’s director of international wool/pelt marketing. As such, she oversees ASI’s domestic and international wool marketing programs, also quality improvement, product development and government procurement. She also works with international customers of American wool and wool products.

Prior to joining ASI at its start-up in 1989, Kourlis Samuelson worked for the American Sheep Producers Council beginning in 1983, bringing first-hand knowledge of wool and wool production and several years of retail marketing and management experience.

Kourlis Samuelson is past president of Woolknit Associates, a trade association that promotes wool in knitswear.

She has a business degree with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Denver.

The Kourlis family operates a sheep ranch in Craig, CO. Kourlis Samuelson’s father emigrated from Greece more than 60 years ago and started the Kourlis sheep operation years later. She was raised on the ranch with her two brothers and two sisters and has been involved in all aspects of the sheep and wool business.

Judy Malone – Director of Industry Information

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 35

As ASI’s director of industry information, Malone assures a continuous flow of communications on various issues between industry sources, producers and ASI. She is editor of the ASI WEEKLY newsletter and a contributing editor of ASI’s monthly tabloid, the Sheep Industry News . She also serves as the association’s media contact. In addition, Malone coordinates ASI’s annual convention and oversees management of the association’s Web sites.

Prior to joining ASI, Malone was a partnership manager for BCN Services, a Michigan-based Professional Employer Organization, which provides human resource support to a client base of 8,000+ employees. Prior to that she worked in various positions for the University of Phoenix. They included, most recently, director of financial services, director of academic affairs and lead counselor/academic counselor.

Malone holds a master’s in education/diverse learning from the University of Phoenix, a bachelor’s in business education from Northwestern College and Teacher Certification from the State of Iowa.

Kyle Partain; Editor - Sheep Industry News

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 55

Kyle Partain has joined the American Sheep Industry Association as Editor of Sheep Industry News.

Partain has spent the past 18 years working the western horse industry, including stints at Western Horseman magazine, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the National High School Rodeo Association. He also authored Rodeo Legends 2 for Western Horseman’s book division. He graduated from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1996 and started his career as a sports writer for small daily newspapers in Arkansas and Texas.

As editor of Sheep Industry News, Partain looks forward to learning more about the industry in the years to come. Partain lives in Centennial, Colo., with his wife and son.

Larry Kincaid – Chief Financial Officer

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 17

As ASI’s CFO, Larry Kincaid oversees all aspects of the association’s accounting functions. He is responsible for financial planning and record-keeping, as well as communicating financial performance and forecasts. Kincaid also handles all financial matters as they relate to the National Sheep Improvement Program, the Public Lands Council and the Sheep Venuture Company.

Christa Rochford – International Wool Marketing Coordinator

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 18

Christa Rochford joined the staff in April 2014. Her primary responsibility is overseeing the association’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) regulations. This includes management of the FAS files; tracking and updating FAS worksheets with allocations and change notifications; help with preparation of UES reports; reviewing FAS invoices, expense reports and backup; tracking important FAS documents and dates; submitting claims; and preparing for audits. Rochford also coordinates and provides support for many wool oriented activities, both domestic and international in nature.

Mary Jensen – Assistant to the Director

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 46

Mary Jensen first joined the ASI staff in March 1991 and returned in March 2004. She assists the Executive Director, the ASI Executive Board and the ASI Board of Directors in numerous capacities. Prior to her current position, she assisted the ASI Research and Education Department for six years.

Zahrah Khan – Project Manager/Human Resources and Finances

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 32

Zahrah Khan joined the ASI staff in January 2009. She assists the director of finance in the association’s financial duties, including those related to accounts payable and receivable, financial statements and annual audits. She also manages the human resources issues for the association.

ASI Sheep Industry Association -- Consultant Team

Alan Culham
Let's Grow Coordinator
Phone: 517-896-7378

Barry Savage
Phone: (617) 243-0134
Fax: (617) 965-4666

Mitch Driggers
Phone: (334) 897-3002

Ron Cole
Phone: (970) 302-4117

Lori McGehee
Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 14

Kitty Gu (China)
Phone: 011-8621-5510-0565

Sudhaker Hardas (India)
Phone: 91-22-2644-3280

Julie Stepanek Shiflett, Ph.D.
Phone: 970-812-6873