Perspectives Online

CALS Faculty recognized by professional associations

Pictured above from left are Dr. Robert Evans, Dr. Wayne Skaggs, Dr. Ronald Sneed, Dr. Larry Stikeleather and Dr. Gary Roberson.Photo by Becky Kirkland

Faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering were well-represented among award recipients at annual professional association meetings held over the summer. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) gave three of its top awards to present or former biological and agricultural engineering faculty members, while a fourth faulty member was named an ASABE fellow.

Yet a fifth faculty member was honored by another professional association, the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA). Dr. Gary Roberson, associate professor and North Carolina Cooperative Extension specialist, received the NACTA Teacher Fellow Award given during the organization's annual conference at Oklahoma State University. NACTA is a professional society that focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning agriculture and related disciplines at the postsecondary level. NACTA members teach at public and private two-year and four-year colleges.

The ASABE honored Dr. Robert Evans, department head; Dr. Wayne Skaggs, William Neal Reynolds Professor and Distinguished University Professor; and Dr. Ronald Sneed, professor emeritus; with major awards, while also naming Dr. Larry Stikeleather, professor, to its 2009 class of ASABE Fellows.

Evans was honored with the Hancor Soil and Water Engineering Award, which is given in recognition of noteworthy contributions to the advancement of soil and water engineering. He was recognized for research, teaching and extension programs that focus on water management, wetland restoration and water quality. Evans' water-quality research and extension initiatives have resulted in the implementation of controlled drainage practices across Eastern North Carolina, increasing net farm income and decreasing unwanted agricultural nitrogen in surface waters.

The ASABE gave Skaggs its 2009 Massey-Ferguson Educational Gold Medal Award. The award acknowledges the advancement of agricultural engineering knowledge and practice. Skaggs pioneered the development of the first simulation model, called DRAINMOD, to predict drainage and related water management performance as well as the effect of water management on crop yield. Skaggs has also served as major professor for 24 masters and 40 doctoral students and as a drainage and water management consultant to numerous state and federal agencies and foreign governments.

Sneed was honored with the Heermann Sprinkler Irrigation Award, which recognizes contributions to the improvement of efficient and effective sprinkler irrigation. Sneed has been involved in the irrigation industry for 49 years, 32 of which he spent in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. He is an active member of the Irrigation Association and Irrigation Association Education Foundation and was recently named chair of the North Carolina Irrigation Licensing Board.

Stikeleather was named an ASABE Fellow in recognition of his work on machine design and machine-operator interaction. His work has earned 11 patents on topics such as active vibration control for tractor and construction machinery seat suspensions, rapid extraction methods for bioactive compounds from plant material and biofuels conversion processes. He is now working on developing processes to convert renewable oils and fats to biofuels. -- Dave Caldwell