by IANR and the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
Faculty and staff from the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln were honored at an awards luncheon on Dec. 1 at the Nebraska East Union. NU Vice President and Harlan Vice Chancellor for IANR Mike Boehm gave the welcome followed by lunch and the awards ceremony.
Four Department of Agronomy and Horticulture faculty and staff were among the winners in their category with a total of 10 department employees nominated.
Kay McClure-Kelly, an administrative associate, won the Outstanding Employee Award. This award recognizes employees who go above and beyond their job responsibilities. Each of the recipients received $750.
McClure-Kelly has been with the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture for seven years providing administrative support for the department head and associate department head as well as overseeing operations for the department administrative office for the last five. McClure-Kelly said she enjoys being in an academic environment and feels fortunate to have worked in several units within the university in Lincoln, as well as outstate since her first position in 1998. From learning about faculty research, interacting with students, and being near the greenhouses and gardens, she said she experiences and appreciates the agricultural research and services extension provides to Nebraska and the world. When not working, McClure-Kelly enjoys spending time with family, gardening, preserving the harvest in summer, and reading, quilting and baking during the winter months.
Mike Livingston, laboratory operations manager, won the Exemplary Service Award. This award recognizes employees who have made significant and sustained contributions to the university during their career and who maintain a high level of exemplary service to the university. The recipient received $1,000.
Livingston began his career at the university in 1993 as a research technologist for James Specht. In this role, he honed his skills as a geneticist and a plant physiologist. Livingston said Jim Specht was a great role model and outstanding scientist allowing him, as a research manager, to form alliances with other research leaders from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, other universities and industry. When Spect retired, Livingston was given the opportunity by Roch Gaussoin, to become the department’s laboratory operations manager. Livingston’s familiarity with the extensive instrumentation housed within the department was a value add as he consistently promoted safety as a high priority in both laboratory and field operations. Although his current position has presented challenges, he is thankful for the novel research and technologies that constantly emerge in his field of study and in the department.
Thomas McAndrew, a research facility coordinator, won the Omtvedt Servant Leader Award. This award recognizes outstanding employees who demonstrate servant leadership in a way that inspires collaboration and excellence, and elevates the performance of others. This award is made possible through the generosity of Lee Harlan and her late husband, Neal, in honor of Irv Omtvedt and his distinguished career at the university. The recipient received $1,000.
Originally from Alliance, Nebraska, McAndrew received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He started with the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture in 1998 as the research farm manager at Mead and Havelock where he learned the other side of farming. He said being able to give hands-on assistance with the research projects was extremely rewarding. In 2009, his supervisor retired and he was brought to campus to take over as the facilities and research coordinator. McAndrew said he has a great team to work with, making this job rewarding and enjoyable.
Patricio Grassini, an associate professor of cropping systems, won the Omtvedt Innovation Award in the area of research. This award recognizes innovative faculty members or a team led by faculty, who have demonstrated exceptional abilities and innovation in the areas of teaching, research, or extension education. The recipient received $2,500.
Grassini earned a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a doctorate in agronomy from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He has authored 93 articles published in peer-review journals, and his research interests center on crop yield potential, yield-gap analysis, resource-use efficiency and plant physiology. Grassini’s applied research covers a diverse range of cropping systems, including rainfed crops in South America, irrigated crops in the U.S. Corn Belt and Asia and oil palm in Indonesia. A major ongoing project is the Global Yield Gap Atlas which provides estimates of gaps between actual and potential yield for major cropping systems. He was a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, three other fellowships and six awards, including the Agronomy Society of America Early Career Award and W.L. Nelson Award for Diagnosing Yield-Limiting Factors.