About AURI

Executive Director

Shannon M. Schlecht, Executive Director of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) is responsible for the overall strategic and operational oversight for the organization’s staff, programs and execution of its mission.  AURI provides technical services to businesses, conducts applied research initiatives and convenes networking events to create value-added economic opportunities for the food and agriculture sector.  AURI operates two laboratories and its dedicated staff assist industry participants on over 150 food and agricultural innovation projects each year to further the Institute’s mission of fostering long-term economic benefit for Minnesota through value-added agricultural products.

Schlecht most recently served as Vice President of Policy for U.S. Wheat Associates in Arlington, Virginia and held numerous roles within the trade association during his 14 years with the organization. Internationally, he conducted initiatives to develop U.S. wheat exports in over 40 countries. Shannon has extensive background in agriculture, policy, market development, international trade, strategic planning and management.

He is currently a director for the Ag Innovation Campus, an advisor to the University of Minnesota Food Science and Nutrition Department, represents AURI on the MBOLD Executive Council where he co-leads the Innovation and Entrepreneurship collaborative projects, is a mentor for the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator, and is a trustee for the North Dakota State University Foundation.

He holds Bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.