2017 Director's Awards Recipients Announced

Each year, UT AgResearch honors employees who exhibit outstanding support service at our AgResearch and Education Centers. The recipients are nominated by Center directors, and a panel of three directors selects award honorees for their work performance, communication skills, and abilities in implementing and reporting research projects.

Through the quality of their contributions, these are individuals deemed central to the research mission at their Centers. This year five staff members received this distinction.

Greg Blaylock, Farm Crew Leader, Plateau AgResearch and Education Center
“Greg is one of the most knowledgeable and dependable people I have ever known. Coworkers rely on him for direction and advice. In addition to his farm responsibilities, he is an accomplished electrician, mechanic, and builder. With his expertise and leadership, we have completed many projects without hiring outside labor. Greg is truly an asset to UT.” —Walt Hitch, Center director, PREC

Chris Bridges, Research Associate I, AgResearch and Education Center at Milan
“Chris is an exemplary employee who always displays a positive attitude. His knowledge and experience working with GIS systems is a great asset to the faculty and staff who work here. Chris also provides primary leadership to our soybean research program. We are better for having Chris here.” —Blake Brown, Center director, REC-Milan

Jon McGowan, Research Specialist III, West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center
“Jon is a hard worker who does whatever needs to be done. He supports research faculty, maintains the Center grounds and equipment, and coordinates parking for field days and events. He manages wildlife at WTREC by trapping and relocating everything from skunks, opossums, and armadillo. Thanks for your dedication, Jon, and congratulations on a job well done.” —Bob Hayes, Center director, WTREC

Nancy VanTol, Research Associate I, West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center
“Nancy is well organized, paying attention to each detail. In her administrative support role, she not only managed the office, but was the go-to person for many Center matters. Nancy retired in 2015, but continues to work part time. Her organizational skills are still instrumental to the Center’s smooth operation. Thank you, Nancy, for your outstanding service!” —Bob Hayes, Center director, WTREC

Allie Wagster, Administrative Specialist I, AgResearch and Education Center at Milan
“Allie brought great versatility to her role. On a given day, you might find her in the office in the morning, handling payroll, and in the field that afternoon, helping the farm crew plant research plots. It never seemed to bother her to do whatever work was needed. Allie now maintains a postretirement appointment and continues to be an asset to REC-Milan.” —Blake Brown, Center director, REC-Milan