Fall Focus

Fall Focus 2018

Fall Focus 2018

 Co-sponsors by the Montana Simmental and American Simmental Association. Fall Focus 2018.  ASA Celebrates 50 years in Bozeman, MT.


Wade Shafer, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, American Simmental Association

Wade Shafer grew up in Detroit Lakes, MN, on Shoestring Ranch, a small seedstock operation. Shafer completed his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at North Dakota State University, followed by a Master’s and Doctorate in Animal Breeding and Genetics from Colorado State University.

While at Colorado State, Shafer did extensive work in the area of bio-economic simulation modeling. Following his formal education, he expanded Shoestring Ranch to more than 500 cows, with cooperator herds representing another 500 cows. The ranch sold up to 200 bulls annually.







Tim Smith, Chairman ASA Board of Trustees, Owner/operator Smith Genetics

Tim Smith is currently serving as ASA Board of Trustees Chairman. He is owner/operator of Smith Genetics, Giddings, Texas. Smith has been affiliated with Simmental and Simbrah cattle for more than 35 years. His operation includes 300 Simmental, Simbrah, and SimAngus females. In addition, Smith operates a custom artificial insemination and embryo transfer center. He has built his program on strong cow family lines and utilizes performance testing in his herd. The cattle operation participates in the ASA’s Total Herd Enrollment (THE) program, as well as utilizing EPD data as part of their management plan. Smith Genetics shows cattle on a state and national level and he is an advocate of the junior programs.

His involvement with SimGenetics started in 1980 after completing a Master of Science in Ruminant Nutrition from the University of Kentucky and he has spent his lifetime building his program and promoting SimGenetics.

Smith co-founded the Simbrah-Simmental Superbowl, an event that has awarded more than $800,00 in prizes, monies, and scholarships to junior SimGenetic exhibitors over the past 25 years. He also hosts and coordinates the Synergy, which features a sale with genetics from some of the most progressive SimGenetics, as well as a junior show that awards $15,000 in prizes and monies, plus the event includes leadership contests for juniors. In May, Smith Genetics hosts a weekend junior leadership and cattle exhibiting camp to assist juniors in showing and building their breeding programs.



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Past Executive Vice President ASA, 1969-1978

Don Vaniman was born in southern California, working in orange and lemon groves.  He came to the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana when he was 14 and ran a hay crew and fought forest fires for the US Forest Service out of Darby and Sula.  Vaniman graduated from Montana State College (MSC) with a degree in Agricultural Production in 1963. This is where Vaniman became enamored with beef cattle genetics sitting in Dr. Fred Wilson’s classes and dreaming of creating a national sire and cow summary.  Dr. Ray Woodward, up to this time was Director of Beef Genetics at the Miles City Research Center and the researcher who determined the heritability of all the economic beef cattle traits. Vaniman was drafted the day he took his final test at MSC and went into the Army. He graduated from Officer Candidate School, Ft Benning, Georgia, and became a Lieutenant, serving three and a half years active duty and 12 years in the Reserves, as Commander of the Military Police Unit in Bozeman.  He then worked for a purebred Hereford and Charolais operation in Florence, Montana, for a year, until Don Burnham told him of an opening for Executive Secretary of Montana Beef Performance Association. He got the job and traveled around 40,000 miles a year promoting performance testing and cross-breeding of beef cattle. Vaniman significantly grew the association which won several Beef Improvement Federation awards. Vaniman had Travers Smith talk at Beef Improvement Conventions and sat in on some of the early Simmental Founder’s meetings.  One day Dr. Ray Woodward, who was the Head Geneticist for American Breeder Service, came three times and suggested Vaniman apply for the position as ASA’s Executive Secretary. The Simmental Board said they believed every Simmental registered must have a performance record and that Vaniman could promote genetic selection, possibly even publish the cattle industry’s first National Sire Summary. Having other job offers, he considered all the pros and cons and thought he could beneficially influence more cattlemen as a breed secretary of a promising new breed, just being introduced into the US,  that was the most popular and populous cattle breed in all of Europe. Vaniman accepted the ASA’s offer. Looking back, 50 years later, he knows he made the right decision. Vaniman worked with wonderful employees and many outstanding cattlemen and cattlewomen.


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John Pollak, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Cornell University

Dr. John Pollak received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in animal breeding from Iowa State University. He joined the faculty at the University of California at Davis working as a beef cattle geneticist before moving to Cornell University. At Cornell, he and his colleague, Dr. Richard Quaas, worked on the methodology for beef cattle genetic evaluation working with the American Simmental Association to produce EPD’s for Simmental Cattle. Dr. Pollak was director of the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium (NBCEC) from 2003 to 2010. In 2010, he retired from Cornell and assumed the role of Director of the US Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. He held this position until retiring in May of 2017.

Among the awards received for his contributions to the field of Animal Breeding and to the industry are the Pioneer and Continuing Service Award from the Beef Improvement Federation, the Rockefeller Prentice Memorial Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics from the American Society of Animal Science, Educator of the Year Award and Presidents Award from the New York Beef Producers Association and the Industry Service Award from the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association. In 2013, Drs. Pollak and Quaas were selected by BEEF magazine to be among the 50 most influential people in the beef industry during the last 50 years based on their research into the development and implementation of expected progeny differences (EPDs).

Presentation PDF



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Bruce Golden, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President, Theta Solutions, LLC

Bruce Golden is a co-founder of Theta Solutions, LLC, who specializes in the development of analytical methods and software for genetic/genomic data. He was a Professor and Head of the department for Dairy Science at California Polytechnic State University. Prior to CalPoly, Dr. Golden was a full-time professor in animal breeding and genetics at Colorado State University for 19 years. Golden was the founder and CEO of a biomedical instrument technology company. He has served on the boards of directors for both private and not for profit organizations.

Through the years, Golden's research and service to the industry have resulted in numerous awards and publications including a series of patents related to animal identification and diagnostic instruments. His current and most-recent research emphasizes the use of high-performance computing methods to improve tractability of genomic evaluation methods.

Golden attended Washington State University in Pullman, WA, where he received both Bachelor of Science and Master degrees in Animal Science. Golden received his Doctorate degree in Animal Breeding and Genetics from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.




Steve McGuire, Chief of Operations and Database Manager, American Simmental Association

Steve McGuireMcGuire was born in South Haven, Michigan, in 1947. He received a B.A degree with a math major from Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI, in 1970 and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Montana State University, Bozeman, MT in 1975.

In 1973, he was hired by the American Simmental Association in a temporary position. Upon graduation from Montana State University in 1975, he was hired full time, and he continues to work for the Association today. Over the years McGuire has had a number of titles including Processing Assistant, Computer Specialist, Records Manager, Database Administrator, and Director – Operations Division. His current title is Chief Operating Officer. His primary duties are in the area of database management and software development.

As a technically oriented employee in a small and growing organization, McGuire has been able to assist the Association as it adopted and continues to adopt new technologies. He coordinated the purchase and implementation of the Association’s first fully computerized accounting and payroll system in the late 1970s. From 1982-1984, he oversaw the development of and conversion to ASA’s first in-house database registry system. In 1993-1994 he led the Association’s push into on-farm herd management and data collection software – Herdhandler Performance Software. From 2003 to 2007, he directed the move to ASA’s current web-based, online data collection and registry system. For over 30 years, he has been in charge of submitting data to and retrieving results from the Association’s genetic evaluation system. Currently, McGuire works with the scientific committee implementing the new multi-breed genetic evaluation using BOLT technology.

Over the years, McGuire has been involved in many aspects of Association life including Junior Regionals and Classics, advertising, budgeting, personnel, governance: Rules and Bylaws, and policies. For 2 brief periods, he was acting CEO while the Association conducted searches for new CEOs. He also was involved when the Association built new headquarters on 2 separate occasions, once in 1974 and again in 2016.

McGuire has four grown children, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren. He lives in Bozeman near the University with, Jacki, his wife of 49 years.


Mahdi Saatchi, Ph.D., Lead Genomicist, International Genetic Solutions

Dr. Mahdi SaachiMahdi Saatchi, who holds a B.S. degree in Animal Science, an M.S. degree in Animal Breeding and Genetics, and a Ph.D. in Animal Breeding and Genetics, joined the American Simmental Association (ASA) staff as Lead Genomicist for the International Genetics Solutions (IGS) program. IGS is a collaborative effort focusing on multi-breed genetic evaluation involving 12 different beef breed associations.

During a three-and-a-half-year period spanning 2010 to 2014, he studied and worked as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Iowa State University (ISU). While at ISU, he developed and implemented genomic selection technology into genetic evaluations for several US beef cattle breed associations, including Simmental, Hereford, Red Angus, Gelbvieh, and Limousin in collaboration with the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium.

Dr. Saatchi joined the ASA team and began his duties on January 1, 2016. The previous 18 months, he had been employed as a genomic research scientist for the Pork Improvement Company (PIC), located at Hendersonville, Tennessee.

 Presentation PDF



Charlie Will


Charlie Will, Former Manager of Holstein Sire Program, Select Sires ® Inc.

Charlie Will graduated from the University of Illinois in Dairy Science. Will worked for Select Sires ® Inc. for 43 and a half years in the genetics department. Will started as a salesman, then SMS evaluator, then Holstein Sire Analyst, then Manager of the Holstein Sire Program. Charlie has been involved with the selection and sampling of some of the greatest bulls in the history of the Holstein breed. Charlie traveled and gave presentations in 18 countries and judged shows in ten countries.






Matt Spangler, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Animal Science/Extension Beef Genetics Specialist, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Dr. Matt Spangler

Matt Spangler grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in Kansas. He received degrees from Kansas State University (BS; 2001), Iowa State University (MS; 2003), and the University of Georgia (Ph.D.; 2006) and is currently an Associate Professor and Extension Beef Genetics Specialist at the University of Nebraska. He works as part of a team with colleagues at UNL and US MARC to improve genetic/genomic selection tools and methods.








Bob Hough, Ph.D., Former CEO RAAA and EVP for NALF, Currently freelance writer and author of Simmental’s American Journey

Dr. Bob HoughDr. Bob Hough served as Red Angus Association of America’s (RAAA) Executive Secretary/Treasurer (CEO) for 10 years and Marketing Coordinator for three years. He also served as Executive Vice President of the North American Limousin Foundation from 2009 to early 2011 and is now retired and a freelance writer.  His previous experience also includes serving as an Extension Specialist in both Arizona and Maine.

His writing credits include the books, Breeds of Cattle (coauthor) and The History of Red Angus, as well as chapter author of the BIF Guidelines. He is also a regular contributor to the Western Livestock Journal and posts weekly cattle history lessons on social media.

Raised in Pennsylvania, Hough served as President of his FFA Chapter and State Farmer. He holds degrees in Animal Science from Pennsylvania State University, University of Connecticut and Virginia Tech. While in grad school, he coached Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Teams and has been recognized as a Distinguished Animal Science Alumni at Penn State and is in the Maine beef producers’ Hall of Fame.




Presentation PDF