ASI Staff

Peter Orwick – Executive Director

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 103

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.

Rita Kourlis Samuelson – ASI Deputy Director and Director of Wool Marketing

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 105

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.

Chase Adams – Senior Policy and Information Director
Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 111

Chase Adams is the Senior Policy and Information Director for the American Sheep Industry Association. He has been involved in the agriculture industry as the radio farm director for KBHB Radio in Sturgis, South Dakota, a private practice attorney and most recently Director of Communications for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Washington, DC.

He leads ASI’s policy and communication efforts around public lands issues, domestic and wild sheep conflicts and predator control. In addition, he assists with the regulatory, legislative, and animal welfare issues facing the sheep industry.

Before leaving South Dakota, he worked closely with the sheep industry in the state both as a farm broadcaster and lobbyist.

Chase attended Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota and the University of South Dakota School of Law in Vermillion. He now resides in Washington, D.C.

Erica Sanko – Director of Analytics & Production Programs
Phone: (303) 909-6245

Erica Sanko is ASI’s Director of Analytics and Production Programs. She will manage issues relating to the lamb and wool markets and support the development of educational materials, research direction, development opportunities and programs that assist sheep producers and others to affect a more profitable sheep industry.

Prior to joining ASI, Sanko was the executive director for the California Wool Growers Association and the California Pork Producers Association, a senior agricultural economist within the California Department of Agriculture, and served as the lead market analyst for sheep at the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver.

Sanko is originally from the Sacramento, California area, raised in an agricultural family operation that included row-crops and registered Hereford cattle.

Kyle Partain; Editor – Sheep Industry News

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 106

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.

Larry Kincaid – Chief Financial Officer

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 109

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 Venture Company.

Christa Rochford – International Wool Marketing Coordinator

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 110

Christa Rochford joined the staff in April 2014. Her primary responsibility is overseeing the association’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) programs. Rochford coordinates various projects across the wool programs, including product development, education, marketing and military. Rochford also manages production of video, photo, and creative content for American Wool and leads communication for the American Wool website and wool social media accounts. She also organizes many wool oriented activities and events, both domestic and international in nature.

Zahrah Khan – Project Manager/Human Resources and Finances

Phone: (303) 771-3500, ext. 108

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

Amy Hendrickson
Phone: 307-265-5250

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

Heather Pearce
Phone: (303) 771-3500 ext. 102

Mitch Driggers
Phone: (334) 897-3002

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

Goetz Giebel
Phone: (49-162-8432567

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