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Swiger Award honors excellence in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


   

Top image: Loke Kok, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (left), presents Douglas Redd with the 2009 Swiger Award. Bottom image: Dean Emeritus Andy Swiger (left) presents Michael Weaver with the 2009 Swiger Award. Also pictured: Rick Fell, interim head of the Department of Entomology, and Loke Kok, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Top image: Loke Kok, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (left), presents Douglas Redd with the 2009 Swiger Award. Bottom image: Dean Emeritus Andy Swiger (left) presents Michael Weaver with the 2009 Swiger Award. Also pictured: Rick Fell, interim head of the Department of Entomology, and Loke Kok, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 17, 2009 – Michael J. Weaver of Blacksburg and Douglas A. Redd of Suffolk, Va., received Andy Swiger Land-Grant Awards for their contributions to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.

Established to reward creative achievement and commitment to the college, the award recognizes a faculty member and a staff member whose accomplishments in teaching, research, or Extension greatly benefit the agriculture industry and improve the quality of life for Virginians.

As the coordinator for Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs and a professor in the Department of Entomology, Michael Weaver is responsible for the administration of pesticide education efforts and the associated Extension, research, and teaching programs. In addition, he is the state contact for both the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Center and the national IR-4 Project, which supports specialty crop pest control clearance. These programs work in tandem to maintain viable pest management solutions for growers and pest managers in Virginia.

Weaver's pesticide safety education program directly impacts thousands of certified applicators and farm workers and has resulted in significant improvements in the safe use of pesticides across the commonwealth. "His efforts have led to practical solutions with regard to pesticide training, reduced the incidence and expense of unsafe pesticide use practices, and increased applicator and grower profits through better, safer pesticide use," said Richard Fell, professor of entomology and interim department head.

Doug Redd is a maintenance technician for the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AREC) in Suffolk. During his first year on the job, he tackled a backlog of deferred maintenance and decreased it to a sustainable level by servicing more than 150 work requests. He has served on a number of occasions as a "floating technician," assisting when another technician is out due to illness or is under a heavy workload. Redd has worked on every research project at the AREC to resolve problems, meet deadlines, and maintain heavy harvest schedules.

"Doug has proven to be a man of many talents and has taken care of numerous tasks at the center – both large and small. Because of his knowledge and willingness to learn new skills, he has decreased significantly the number of times we have to call outside vendors," said Allen Harper, director of the Tidewater AREC. "He is a real asset to the center."

Generous contributions to the Andy Swiger Land-Grant Award Endowment make the annual recognition possible. "With others in the industry and university, we created these awards to keep the land-grant spirit alive by honoring the college's outstanding faculty and staff member each year who most personify this spirit by serving the industry through making a real difference in the areas of food, agriculture, and biological sciences," said Dean Emeritus Andy Swiger.

In addition to recognizing two college employees each year, the endowment honors Swiger's leadership and service in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Swiger began his Virginia Tech career in 1980 as head of the Department of Animal Science, then served as associate dean from 1986 to 1992, and dean from 1992 to 2003.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 2,400 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world's leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.

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Written by Ashley Estes of Chesterfield, Va., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.