School IPM, Staff Member Receive Excellence Awards for 2015

IPM School for wordpress-cover

Members of the School IPM Team receiving their plaques during the 2015 Texas A&M AgriLife Conference on January 6. From left to right are: Wizzie Brown, Molly Keck, Janet Hurley, Paul Duerre, IPM Coordinator, Killeen ISD; Dr. Blake Bennett, Associate Professor & Extension Economist/Management; AJ Clinton, IPM Coordinator, Springtown ISD, Dr. Mike Merchant, Paul Nester, Dr. Don Renchie, and Dr. Douglas Steele – Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Photo by Rob Williams

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate several members of the faculty and staff for receiving awards for excellence.

The Texas School Integrated Pest Management Program received the AgriLife Extension Service’s Superior Service Award in the Team category during the Texas A&M AgriLife Conference on January 6.

The team consists of Dr. Blake Bennett, AgriLife Extension economist-management, Dallas; Wizzie Brown, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Travis County; Janet Hurley, AgriLife Extension program specialist, entomology, Dallas; Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension program specialist, entomology, San Antonio; Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist, Dallas; Dr. Paul Nester, AgriLife Extension program specialist, entomology, Houston; and Dr. Don Renchie, AgriLife Extension program leader, agricultural and environmental safety, College Station.

Other members joining the main team are Alva “AJ” Clinton, Springtown Independent School District maintenance director and school IPM coordinator; Paul Duerre, Killeen ISD environmental specialist and school IPM coordinator; and Tom Ohm, Frisco ISD IPM coordinator.

These team members are responsible for conducting training for all IPM coordinators for each school district, which is required by the State of Texas.

Since 2001, according to the nomination, the team has provided training or direct assistance to more than 600 school districts and nearly 1,000 school employees. The team also hosts a website, publishes a monthly newsletter and creates other materials to educate schools about pest management.

“The IPM trainings are very informative. I attend almost every year because every time I come I learn something new,” said Harry Magness, a retired IPM Coordinator from Tyler ISD. “The school IPM team has always been there to help me with pest ID, control solutions and as a sounding board on how to maintain my IPM program. Without them we [the school districts] would be lost.”

According to the nomination, the team also created a database of more than 1,500 school IPM coordinators, pest management professionals, and key stakeholders to facilitate communications and created the IPM Calculator tool for pest management in school facilities.

“She has gone over and above the call of duty to help us in every way. She has come down to Houston on many occasions to meet with our leadership team to discuss the best plans moving forward, to show our team what IPM truly is, and has helped us implement our program in every way,” one nominator said in the nomination “Janet is the true picture of ‘Customer First Service’.”

According to the nomination packet, the website ( receives more than 13,000 unique visitors annually and the newsletter has more than 1,560 email subscribers monthly. The team also has received more than $1.3 million in competitive grants to fund its programs.

“The award signifies the commitment our group has to school IPM,” Hurley said. “Just like IPM is about teamwork, the school IPM team works together to assist schools with their IPM programs.”

Entomology Department Staff Awards

The department also recently announced its annual Staff Meritorious Service Award for 2015 to Website Administrator Rob Williams.

Since 2006, Williams has been responsible for maintaining more than 30 websites that the Department handles during its everyday operations, as well as assisting with information technology operations.

After the department’s main information technology person Mark Wright fell ill and passed away in November, Williams took the lead to manage the numerous workstations and information technology assets in the Department.

“We could have not made it through this time successfully without him,” said Carla Smith, the Department’s Administrative Services Officer. “Rob strives to get things done quickly and accurately. When he doesn’t have the answer, he knows who to call to get things done.”

Smith was very proud of Williams and said the award was very deserving.

“Rob’s helpful nature and his ability to anticipate needs of the Department are a true asset and I can’t think of a more deserving person to be recognized for the Entomology Staff Meritorious Service Award,” she said.


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