The Extension Foundation is pleased to announce that @Jason Weigle has joined the Extension Foundation team as its new Impact Collaborative Program Coordinator. In this role, Jason will be leading all functions of the Impact Collaborative program to help implement and assess successful offerings to Extension Foundation members and foster the ongoing development of the national Impact Collaborative Facilitator network.
The Impact Collaborative is a bundle of services and events that are funded by and for Extension Foundation members only. It is a place where Extension programs from across the country come to take a deep dive into their project and program planning using our innovation skill-building tools we’ve developed over the past five years. We connect those teams with subject matter experts in a variety of fields to help fill gaps in their project and program planning, and we train people in our innovation skill-building methodology so they can use the methodology and those skills to catalyze innovation with Extension programs locally.
Born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, Jason’s work, teaching, and research over the last 24 years has focused on community and environment in rural places. After completing his bachelors in Soil Science with a minor in Extension Education at Penn State, Jason served as Watershed Specialist with the Tioga County Conservation District in north central Pennsylvania, where he provided educational programming, research, and monitoring around water quality and quantity, stream stability, nutrient management, and dairy herd management.
He worked for the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, where he permitted and inspected landfills before becoming the state’s Superfund Project Manager for the Navy's remediation of the former Adak Naval Air Station in the Aleutian Islands, as well as statewide Military Munitions Response Program coordinator. His experience in Alaska led him back to graduate school at Penn State, where both his master’s thesis in Community and Economic Development and doctoral dissertation in Rural Sociology and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment focused on community responses to competing interests in natural resource development.
Following graduate school, Jason did community consulting work in the Marcellus Shale play before being recruited by Shell to work in their Pennsylvania unconventional shale gas asset. As Community Liaison Officer for the former Shell Appalachia, he helped create and support the asset's community feedback program as well as coached and supported other CLOs in the US and Canada.
Jason left Shell in 2015 to follow his passions and started his own business, a custom woodworking shop. He served a short stint as an Agricultural Entrepreneurship educator with Penn State Extension before joining the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While with UNL Extension, Jason served as a Community Vitality Educator in the southeastern and panhandle regions of the state, as well as Unit Leader for a two-county unit.
It was also during his time at UNL that Jason became one of the first facilitators trained in what would become the Innovation Skill Building Experience process and tools. He served as team facilitator for multiple Impact Collaborative summits and was on the facilitation and planning team for events in Indiana and North Dakota. Jason was also a member of the team that helped to train new Impact Collaborative Facilitators and an active member of the curriculum development update team.
Jason left UNL in 2020 to join the Wheat Belt Public Power District in Sidney, NE, where he performed data analytics and process stewardship, served as board administrator, and led pilot projects on EV utilization and grid-based broadband expansion.
Wishing to return to the northeast, Jason and his family relocated to Maine, where prior to joining the Extension Foundation he worked for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. As Response Support Specialist, Jason applied his Impact Collaborative experiences in managing the tools and processes related to the state’s coastal oil spill response plan and in supporting other Division of Spill Response initiatives. He served as a steering committee member of the Maine & New Hampshire Area Committee and led several multi-agency collaborative efforts to rebuild and update programmatic databases, websites, and GIS products.
“As a community developer, I believe in the power of people to solve their problems if given the right tools and the space to do so” says Jason. “The Impact Collaborative Innovation Skill-Building process provides both a flexible process and set of tools which can be employed to create safe spaces where meaningful change and growth can occur. I’m excited for the opportunity to re-engage with friends and colleagues across the United States to support their work and to build the future of the Impact Collaborative together.”
Jason, his wife Chandra, and their son Silas live in Maine.
Learn more about the Impact Collaborative at extension.org/ic