The Irrigation Foundation has named Michael Dukes, PhD, PE, CID, of the University of Florida, the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Education Award. Dukes will receive his award at the 2014 Irrigation Show & Education Conference in Phoenix.

The Excellence in Education Award recognizes a person who is actively teaching irrigation, water management and/or water conservation in affiliation with a two- or four-year institution. The award honors academics who are playing a critical role in developing educated professionals with the knowledge and skills to create efficient irrigation solutions that will protect water and the environment.

Dukes recognizes the need for irrigation specialists and encourages students interested in water and resource management to start with irrigation. At the University of Florida, he began a research program on landscape irrigation efficiency and recruited students to participate. Students evaluated smart irrigation controllers and worked with Florida agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Irrigation Association to define testing procedures and standards for these products and other types of irrigation equipment.

Dukes’ contributions to the irrigation industry were highlighted in an award nomination submitted by Norman Davis, technical director of the water conservation program at Hillsborough County Public Utilities. Davis’ nomination credits Dukes with “[educating] Hillsborough County about the efficiency of smart irrigation controllers.”

According to Dukes, one of his greatest achievements is mentoring and training students to make a difference by making landscapes more water efficient. In addition to his research and outreach efforts, Dukes has been very involved with IA. He has served on the association’s Technical Conference Committee and on the Executive Task Team and Technical Working Group for Smart Water Application Technologies, IA’s national partnership with water providers.

“I am grateful to have been selected for the 2014 Excellence in Education Award,” said Dukes. “I enjoy working with students on applied irrigation topics. Interaction with the students is always energizing and fulfilling.”

Dukes will be honored during the Irrigation Show general session on Thursday, Nov. 20.

Nominations for the 2015 Excellence in Education Award will open in January. To learn more about the award or to nominate an educator, visit