COLLEGE STATION – Mark Patranella, John Zacek and Ted Abele have been inducted into the Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry in the department of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University
The three former students were honored at a reception and dinner at the Best Western Atrea recently featuring keynote speaker John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System.
The Registry recognizes outstanding former students for meritorious accomplishments in their field. It is the highest department-level honor and is named after Tyrus R. Timm, who led the university’s agricultural economics department from 1953 until 1973 during its rise to national prominence in teaching, research and Extension. Timm was known for his knowledge of finance and agricultural banking.
Sharp touted the efforts of both the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas AgriLife Research for innovative discoveries in helping feed the world. In Texas, he said, work continues to develop drought-resistant varieties of staple crops such as corn and sugarcane.
“There is drought-resistant corn and sugarcane research being done by a bunch of unsung heroes who are helping feed the world,” he said. “The technology transfer from both Extension and AgriLife Research are some absolutely amazing things, but the public doesn’t see it. But we are going to make Texans see it — and the whole world see it.”
Patranella, a 1982 graduate of the department of agricultural economics, is manager of purchasing and receiving for Blue Bell Creameries. He began his career in 1982 as a purchasing agent for Blue Bell. In his current role, he manages 44 employees and is responsible for procuring all the inputs and associated materials for the manufacturing and distribution of Blue Bell products. He supervises a purchasing group responsible for helping keep the Blue Bell fleet of 1,000 refrigerated bobtail delivery trucks, 100 tractors, and 200 refrigerated trailers operational. He also supervises the plant-purchasing group, which is responsible for obtaining all the equipment and parts required for manufacturing at all four Blue Bell plants.
Patranella’s business-community leadership roles include serving as current secretary and chairman-elect of the Dairy Products Institute of Texas. He is a board member of the Dixie Dairy Products Association. Patranella has also served as secretary of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce Blue Blazers and as a board member of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.
His civic leadership activities have included serving as president of the Washington County Little League; coach of local youth baseball, basketball and soccer teams; president of the Brenham Gun and Rod Club; and several terms as as president of the Brenham Noon Lions Club.
Zacek, a 1982 graduate in agricultural economics from Texas A&M, is executive vice president of regional lending and sales manager of the Victoria region for First Victoria National Bank. He also manages the bank-wide treasury management department and mortgage lending operations.
Zacek began his career with the bank in agricultural lending, and shortly was promoted to assistant vice president and agricultural lending department manager. Four years later, he was promoted again to vice president of agricultural lending and earned a seat on the officers’ loan committee. He received a Southwest graduate degree in banking from Southern Methodist University in 1994. He was promoted to senior vice president and appointed to the executive committee in 2002.
In 2007, he was promoted to senior vice president of regional lending and sales manager of the Victoria region, and to oversee treasury management and mortgage lending.
During his career at First Victoria National Bank, Zacek has earned numerous awards for his contributions to the continued growth of the bank, including Ag Lender of the Year from Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
Zacek has been active in public service, including two terms as chairman of the promotion committee of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, which resulted in a reversal of the association’s declining membership rates. He has been a long-time board member for the Victoria County A&M Foundation, Victoria County United Way and the Victoria College Foundation Board of Directors.
Abele is chairman and CEO of Continental Capital Corporation, a private holding he founded in 1989. He also serves as a managing member of an acquisition and investment firm, as well as a managing director for a consulting firm. Abele is also an active managing director in Sigma Development Company, a company he founded to develop student housing at the University of Missouri.
Abele received a bachelor of science with honors in agricultural economics in 1973 from the University of Missouri. Following graduation, he continued his studies at Texas A&M, receiving a master’s degree in agricultural economics in 1976.
After receiving his master’s, Abele served in both lending operations and management positions with the Federal Intermediate Credit Bank of St. Louis and the Farm Credit Administration. In 1979, he founded the American Agronomics Management Company Inc., an agricultural consulting firm which provided nationwide financial, management and marketing services. Through his dedication and commitment, Abele successfully built his agronomics management company into the largest farm-management company in the U.S. by 1986.
The three inductees were also recognized for giving back their time and expertise to students in the department through guest lectures and other contributions, faculty officials noted.