Curtis “Curt” Grissom started his 30 years of service with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in 1976. He served in Limestone County, as well as a short time with the Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension Division when he first left college, after completing his bachelor’s and master's degrees in Agricultural Business and Economics at Auburn University.
Before joining Extension, Grissom served as an Ag Econ research associate working with rural development through Extension offices in Randolph, Clay, and Cleburne counties. This is when he discovered his calling to work for Extension. He eventually moved to the Tidewater area in Virginia where he was a district farm management agent.
He says that during his career, he always tried to lead by example, “exposing myself to different situations, people and settings to get out of my comfort zone and to learn new things.” It’s worth the trouble, he says, to try doing things a different way.
He chose Extension as a career choice because he admired how agents served as a bridge between university research and people in the community. Throughout his career, Grissom surrounded himself with people who were in their jobs to help others and not just themselves
Grissom served as a Director and Officer of the Alabama Association of County of Agricultural Agents and Specialists. He went on to serve the national association as Southern Region Director and NACAA President in 2000.
Although things have changed since he retired, Grissom says maintaining close working relationships with people in the communities continues to be a priority. “Extension needs to consistently work on public relations to let people know that you are there, and that you are relevant.”
The greatest advancements during Grissom’s career included new technology and ways of communicating. “When I first started with Extension, we were at the forefront in utilizing computerization” he says. Also, “plant and animal genetic improvements, made possible though private and university research, have dramatically changed the landscape of agriculture.”
Following retirement, Grissom went back to school to become a certified residential real estate appraiser. Curt and his wife Sharon have three daughters and eight grandchildren. He continues to be active in Athens and Limestone County, helping with community development, working through his Rotary Club and civic advisory groups to plan and promote the wise use of public spaces for beautification and recreation.