National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry
1616 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 628-3507
Fax: (202) 347-1091
Toll Free 1-888-4GRANGE (4472643)
Ed Luttrell, a native of Sandy, Oregon, was elected the 22nd President of the National Grange in November 2007. A second generation Granger, he is the immediate past Leadership/Membership Development Director for the National Grange. He is also an immediate-past Trustee on the Oregon State Grange Foundation having been the President of the board for six years. Read more biography
|Executive Assistant/Event Planner
Jessie Cope • ext 113
Jessie Cope is the Executive Assistant and Meeting Planner for the National Grange. She joined the Grange in 2009 after 15 years of event planning in higher education. Cope earned a B.A. in Communications and a Master’s degree in Counseling and Personnel Services from The College of New Jersey. Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Cope lived in Trenton, N.J., and Farmville, Va before setting into her current home in Rockville, Md.
Andrew Sampson • ext 106
Andrew “Andy” Sampson, a native of Neenah, Wisconsin, attended from Wesleyan University and is currently a resident of Tysons Corner, Va. He is a member of Potomac Grange No. 1 and will soon be a member of Fox Valley Good Earth Grange No. 776 in Wisconsin. As the Controller of the National Grange, he looks forward to being able to use his skills in operational management and human resources to help every state and local Grange achieve their goals.
Sandor Szima • ext 118
I was born in Hungary in a farming community. Before I knew it, I was working on my family’s farm with my parents and my six brothers and sisters. There were nine of us total, so we had plenty of hands to get the work done on the farm. We had horses, cows, pigs, and all the farm livestock that you can think of. We grew corn, wheat, tobacco, potatoes, sugar beets, and we also ran a small vineyard. It was very hard work, without any modern equipment. I wish we had John Deere! We made a decent living out of farming to support our large family.Around the age of fourteen, I gave up farming and decided to go to a three-year technical trade school for coal mining. I completed it and worked in a coal mine for a few years. During this time in our area, the occupying Russian government decided to “help us” by taking our land, animals, and equipment. They formed a collective farming system. From this time on, my parents only worked for them. All of my siblings found different career paths to follow. As I was continuing my schooling, the school was paying me for my good class performance. With this money, I was able to buy a television and a radio for my parents. My father was really happy about it because he could listen to Radio Free Europe with his friends – a station that was broadcast in our country. He and his friends truly believed in a free democracy. They even greeted each other secretly using the word “democracy,” which was illegal in Hungary at the time.Believing in his democratic thoughts, I decided to move to the United States for better opportunities and to practice my freedom. I arrived in Chicago in 1970 and started working construction. I completed several technical courses to help me with my career path. After a year in the states, I moved to Northern Virginia, and have lived there ever since. I am proud and grateful to have attained my American citizenship in 1976. I was able to make my father’s dream a reality!You may be wondering how I ended up working at the Grange. In 1993, I was hired to paint the Grange building in Washington, D.C. by Master Robert Barrow. He was so impressed by my skills and background, that he hired me as the full time engineer for the National Grange Headquarters. I’ve been working here ever since.I currently live in Herndon, Virginia with my wife, Stella, and my younger daughter, Anna. My older daughter, Eva, graduated from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I also have two granddaughters that are enrolled in my daughter’s Montessori Country School. During my free time, I enjoy soccer, fishing, golfing, and rooting for the Redskins!I really enjoy maintaining the building’s appearance and function. An aspect of my job that is always a great adventure is driving the convention materials cross-country to the various convention sites such as Columbus and Springfield. My favorite part about working for the Grange is how it reminds me of my life growing up on the farm. I really enjoy talking to the various Grange members when I have the chance. With my farming background, the Grange makes me feel right at home. If you ever travel to the headquarters, please stop by and visit me!
Stephanie Wilkins • ext 101
Stephanie Wilkins is the IT Manager for the National Grange. Her responsibilities include website management, phone and network services, and membership/officer database management. A native of Washington, D.C, Wilkins received her certification in website management from EEI Communications in 2002. In her spare time, Wilkins enjoys spending quality time with her husband, family, and friends. Wilkins is a member of Potomac Grange No. 1.
|Junior Grange Director
6917 Lunar Lane
Paradise, CA 95969
Tel: (530) 872-8719
I was raised on a cattle ranch in a very small town. I went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as an Ag Business Management student. I got my MRS. Degree when I married Bill Booth. We have been married 34 years and this was a Grange marriage. That story is for another day. We have three daughters – Amanda, age 31; LoRee, age 29, and KayLynn, age 26. All of us love music, reading, Broadway shows (not Bill so much), anything Disney, and anything computer/technical (especially Bill).
I joined as a Junior Granger at age 7. Bill was State Grange Master from 1989 to 1993. We have both served in numerous positions in the Grange in local, county and State levels. This break has actually given us a different perspective on things we would like to bring to the Grange. Sometimes we can be too close to something that we can’t see it clearly enough. When it comes to Grange — the statement “been there/done that”…. In our house it is “Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt, hat, plate, belt buckle, bolo tie, scarf, pin, necklace, earrings and jacket”. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t something new around the corner and we keep looking forward to what’s next.
102 Coventry Drive
Carlisle, PA 17015
Tel: (814) 883-3465
Michael J. Martin, Ph.D., is the Membership/Leadership Development Director for the National Grange. Martin, a native of Cummington, Mass., has been an active Grange member for over three decades. Martin said he is looking forward to giving back to the organization that provided leadership experiences for him as the Master of local subordinate and Pomona Granges in Massachusetts. He also served as Membership Director and state officer of the Massachusetts State Grange. As a young adult, Martin served on the National Grange Youth Team as National Grange Youth Ambassador. ”The leadership skills learned in the Grange are exemplified in community leaders across rural America,” Martin said. He is looking forward to working with Grange leaders across the nation. ”The future of our country rests on the strength of our agricultural and rural communities,” Martin said. Prior to joining the National Grange staff, Martin was a Cooperative Extension professional for 25 years and most recently served as executive director of the North Carolina 4-H Development Fund where he spearheaded the initiative to raise funds to support the 4-H youth development program in North Carolina. Martin has experience as a 4-H youth development agent in Massachusetts, Vermont and Pennsylvania. He was an International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) Representative to Costa Rica, and also worked to establish and strengthen the 4-H youth development programs in the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Armenia. Martin holds a B.A. from Oberlin College, and M.Ed. from Cambridge College. He earned a Ph.D. in Workforce Education and Development from the College of Education at Penn State University. Martin and his wife Wendy reside in south central Pennsylvania. Michael is a member of Valley Grange in Pa.
Austin Miller • ext 107
Austin Miller is the Communications Manager for the National Grange. Miller has moved all over the country and is most recently from Memphis, Tenn. Miller moved to Washington, D.C. at the end of 2011 and, although he loves the city, he says there is something great about small town life. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Memphis. He has worked at the Voice of America and has a strong background in media/video editing and communications. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends. Miller is a member of Potomac Grange No. 1 in Washington, D.C.
Burton Eller • ext 114
J. Burton Eller is a strategic counselor to the agricultural community, where he has represented private, corporate and trade association groups in their legislative and regulatory initiatives and advocacy efforts. He has a career-long involvement in the development of grassroots advocacy.
Taking a long view of US agricultural policy, Mr. Eller has a deep passion for protecting the grassroots landowner and producer. From his personal history as an owner of a family farm to his tenure serving as the Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mr. Eller has been a staunch champion of the agricultural community’s right to operate in a free market climate. He believes that when private business entrepreneurs are allowed to thrive in a deregulated environment, they will be outstanding examples in their stewardship of natural resources such as land, water, air and the proper care of animals.
Known among his colleagues as a coalition and consensus builder, Mr. Eller is expert at coalescing disparate factions in the food, agriculture and natural resource sectors around legislative and regulatory issues of mutual benefit. He manages issues and crises by developing options, strategies and solutions for offensive and defensive campaigns. He frames legislative and regulatory positions that maximize opportunities for businesses to operate in a free market economy.
Chief among Burton’s priorities is protecting rural America from government overregulation. Examples of this include safeguarding private property rights, ensuring open channels for entrepreneurship, and relieving the burden of estate taxes which endanger the future of family-owned land, farms and small businesses. His successes include twice raising the estate tax exemption level; securing legislation requiring imported meat inspection equivalency to US standards; establishing the Beef Check-Off for research, marketing and promotion of beef products; and facilitating the acceptance of electronic grading of beef which standardized the industry across all markets.
Mr. Eller has a distinguished career in the trade association, lobbying and government sectors. His most recent positions include: Managing Partner, Burton Eller Associates; Senior Vice President for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (2008 – 2011); Deputy Under Secretary for the US Department of Agriculture (2006 – 2008); Director at the Farm Service Agency (2003 – 2006); President and CEO at the Textile Rental Services Association of America (1999 – 2003); Senior Government Relations Counsel at McLeod, Watkinson & Miller (1996 – 1999); and Executive Vice President at the National Cattlemen’s Association (1991 – 1996.) Mr. Eller holds a Masters in Physiology and a Bachelors in Animal Science from Virginia Tech.
|Sales, Benefits, and Programs Director
Samantha Johnson • ext 109
Samantha Johnson is currently the Sales, Benefits, and Programs Director at the National Grange. She has been with the National Grange for the past seven years. Johnson is originally from Mobile, Ala., but she moved to Washington, D.C. in 2004 for graduate school. Johnson received her B.A. in History from the University of Alabama in 2002 and her Masters in Political Science from American University in 2006. After graduating from American, Johnson began working at the National Grange as the Program Assistant. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her Goddaughter, Sophie Mae. Johnson is Lecturer for Potomac Grange No. 1.
Elijah Hunter • ext 110
Elijah Hunter works for the National Grange Shipping Department part-time. Hunter is a native of the Washington, D.C. area. His primary duties include preparing and then shipping products and material to various Granges and members around the country. Hunter has received hands on experience and training from Pitney Bowes, Inc. In his spare time, he enjoys spending quality time with his family and friends.
|Trademark Protection Manager
Leroy Watson • ext 105
Leroy A. Watson is the Special Director for Trademark Protection and Brand Management for the National Grange, a responsibility he has held since August 2007. As director for trademark protection for the nation’s oldest general farm and rural public interest organization, Watson’s duties includes addressing both incidental and deliberate attempts by corporations and businesses to infringe on the National Grange’s famous 135 year old trademarks for the word GRANGE, the famous GRANGE LOGO and other valuable trademarks owned and operated by the National Grange for its benefit of the historic organization’s nearly 2600 local county and state Grange chapters across the nation. Under Watson’s leadership the National Grange has successfully deployed legal strategies to turn back attempts by major corporations to dilute and eventually seize control of the registration of the name GRANGE as a commercial intellectual property asset. Major corporations such as Tyson Foods (the largest food processing company in the world) Aldi Corp. (the largest food retailer in Europe) Lidl Corp. (the second largest food retailer in Europe) and Zynga, Inc, (the largest provider of various web based computer games for the FACEBOOK website) have all been thwarted in recent years in their attempts to gain control of one or more of the of National Grange’s valuable trademarks. In addition Watson has worked with more than 40 entrepreneurs around the nation to provide licenses for these start up companies to use the GRANGE trademark in their businesses to help generate local economic activity and local jobs in rural communities across the nation. Watson also works with many of the local, county and state chapters of the National Grange located in in rural communities across the United States to advise them on strategies for better using GRANGE trademarks to enhance their fundraising and community service programs. Watson is a native of Vermont, where he still owns and operates his family’s farm. He has a degree in political science from the University of Vermont, and a law degree from George Mason University in Arlington, VA. He also studied administrative law at the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and is admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Watson served as the National Grange’s Legislative Director in Washington, DC from 1999 until 2010. Watson also served as the National Grange’s Assistant Legislative director from 1985 until 1995. He subsequently was Director of Regulatory Management for the National Biodiesel Board, a non-profit trade association dedicated to the commercial promotion of biodiesel fuel in the U.S. Prior to that, he was a Regulatory Analyst for Gordley Associates, a government relations consulting firm in Washington, D.C. He has also served as Legislative Director of the Vermont State Grange, and as legislative assistant for both the Vermont Farm Bureau and Vermont State Employees Association. Watson and his family reside in Appleton, Wisconsin. Watson also volunteers as a member of the National Grange Historical Committee and as a director for the O.M. Kile Rural Leadership Fund, a small grant making foundation working to fund projects that enhance leadership skills among rural young adults. Watson also previously served as chairman of the board for the Vermont State Grange Educational Aid Foundation, a non-profit affiliate of the Vermont State Grange that provides loans and scholarships to rural students from Vermont to continue their education beyond high school. Leroy is a Services Overseer for Potomac Grange No. 1. He is also a member of Wisconsin State Grange. He also serves on the National Grange Historic Committee.
|Youth and Young Adult Director
Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade
213 Black Swamp Road
Bainbridge, PA 17502
Tel: (717) 361-2844
Charlene Shupp Espenshade is the Youth and Young Adult Director at the National Grange. She is a member of the Elizabethtown Area Grange and Oriental Grange in Pennsylvania. A fourth generation dairy farmer, Charlene and her husband Matthew reside on a dairy farm in Elizabethtown, Pa. They raise registered Guernseys and Holsteins. They have two children, Evan and Alan. Espenshade is employed at Lancaster Farming, an agricultural newspaper, as the special sections editor. She joined Grange in 1994 at the encouragement of a cousin, taking the degrees with her parents and brother. She is a fourth generation Grange member. In Grange, she is a past member of the Pennsylvania State Grange Youth Committee, past Pennsylvania Grange Young Couple, and holds office in her local Grange. What Espenshade believes is the benefit of a Grange membership is the organization offers a wide variety of programs allowing youth to pursue their interests and it is an organization that grows with a Granger and they grow in the organization. Other agricultural awards and activities include, final four winner of the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Excellence of Agriculture Award winner; and active with the Wyoming-Lackawanna Counties Dairy Princess Program, Wyoming-Lackawanna County Farm Bureau and chairs the Elizabethtown Fair Dairy Show. She has a bachelor of science in dairy science and minor in communications from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech.)