Terry Stokes, CEO of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association
The Department of Agriculture is proud to recognize alumnus Terry Stokes, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He was recognized in 2003 as the Outstanding Alumni for Angelo State University, and we are proud to have him as a family member in the Department of Agriculture.
From a young age, Stokes was destined to be involved in the beef industry. His father founded Handy Packing Co. in 1960, and Stokes worked for the family business for more than 20 years and throughout college at Angelo State University. At ASU, he pursued an animal science degree with a minor in business. During his time as an undergraduate, Stokes was a charter member of the Block and Bridle Club and a member of the Livestock Judging Team. He graduated from ASU in May 1978 and went on to obtain a Master of Business Administration at the University of Texas at Austin. After receiving his master's degree, the Texas Beef Council hired him to serve as the food service program manager, chief financial officer and, eventually, the executive vice president. In 1996, he joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) as the chief financial officer. Since 2002, he has served as the NCBA's chief executive officer.
When selecting a college, Stokes felt that Angelo State had everything he sought in terms of size and quality of education. He said the small classes allow for more practical application of knowledge and that it was at Angelo State that he learned the true value of networking. Stokes values the lifelong relationships he built with fellow students and professors at ASU during his collegiate career. In fact, he was in the first class that current department head Dr. Gil Engdahl taught more than 30 years ago. Terry advises all students to take advantage of the experiences inside and outside the classroom by building a community of friends.
“Really, when I look at what I do today, it’s about relationships," Stokes said. "What I value most are the relationships I’ve built.”
Stokes sees the recent merger with the Texas Tech University System as an overall benefit to the university. “It seems to me to be a great opportunity for Angelo State University to be able to expand and to leverage its resources with Texas Tech — to be able to reach more students, but also gain more resources for research and teaching."
When asked about the future job outlook for students pursing agriculture degrees, he said “There are a lot of opportunities, I think, within the beef industry, and agriculture in general, for students today, whether it be food, animal, veterinary medicine, meat science research or genetic research. I think there’s a whole menu of opportunities for students today.”
With Stokes' position and his networking capabilities, he has met with former President George W. Bush on several occasions. Stokes said he has been humbled by those experiences, but adds that he values the fact that people with that much influence in our world are just like everyone else.
In his free time, Stokes likes spending time with his family and, of course, the occasional golfing and fishing outings. We would like to thank him for his ongoing support of Angelo State and are proud to have him as an alumnus.