Ed was born in Des Moines, IA and graduated from Grinnell College in 1939. He joined his father's feed company and was the president of Foxbilt Feeds for 21 years.
In 1962 he was appointed by President John Kennedy to be the director of the USAID Mission in Jakarta, Indonesia. He also worked for USAID in the Philippines. Later he served as an agricultural consultant in various parts of the world and worked to help countries develop small farmer cooperatives.
Ed was a trustee of Grinnell College and an active board member and fundraiser for several organizations. He served on his local school board and spearheaded a challenging school district reorganization plan. The result, the Southeast Polk school district, is now a premier school district in Iowa.