AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—After a lifetime of counting on Extension for help in the yard, garden and around the home, Mike Clardy is taking a front-seat approach as the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s new director of communications, strategic marketing and client relations (CSMCR).
Clardy began his role as head of the CSMCR department July 18.
Mike Phillips, Alabama Extension director, said Clardy is a veteran in the communications field and is well-known throughout the industry.
“Mike possesses a tremendous amount of talent, expertise and leadership. He understands what we do in Extension: extending knowledge and improving lives,” Phillips said. “His leadership, coupled with a team of highly-talented individuals, will allow us to extend our credible, science-based information in many avenues—including print and virtual delivery, as well as utilizing our partners in the communications industry.”
Familiar with Extension’s Mission
Clardy has spent the last 24 years of his career in the Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing. There, he worked as a video producer, webmaster, media relations director and, eventually, department head.
Prior to his time at Auburn, he was a news anchor in south Texas. Clardy said his days as a reporter in the early ’90s were his introduction to the value of Extension’s information.
“County agents in Texas were excellent subject-matter experts for my stories,” Clardy said. “They were also a great resource when my father-in-law and I introduced gamefish into the ponds on the family ranch near Laredo.”
Clardy’s move to Alabama in 1998 led him to continue conversations with Extension agents, but this time in Alabama.
“I had countless conversations with the Alabama Extension team,” Clardy said. “Topics ranged from helping turfgrass survive the summer, to growing a better garden. As someone who has counted on Extension in the ways I have in the past, I’m excited to get a front-row seat to how it serves the state and region.”
Vision for the Future
Clardy is filling a role that is new to Extension. While he will oversee continued operations of the communications and marketing team, he will also work to add the new client relations element.
“I am excited about the opportunity to help advance Alabama Extension’s mission and elevate the brand by sharing stories about people and programs that truly make an impact on the lives of those in our state and beyond,” he said.
He also plans to spend much of his time listening to stakeholders—both internal and external—to see where Extension can add the most value. In addition to the broader outlook, Clardy said the CSMCR will be a trusted, strategic partner for colleagues.
“I am looking forward to getting to know the organization better and telling Extension’s story,” Clardy said.
Alabama Extension is the primary outreach organization for the land grant mission of Alabama A&M and Auburn universities. Its educational programs grow from these two land-grant university campuses to serve the people of Alabama. Extension delivers science-based educational programs that enable people to improve their quality of life and economic well-being. Learn more at www.aces.edu.