The Irrigation Association presented its annual awards at the 2011 Irrigation Show’s General Session on Nov. 7 in San Diego, Calif. These awards recognize individuals and organizations for their efforts to advance irrigation practices, technologies and the industry overall.
Industry Achievement Award:
IA named two recipients of it Individual Acheivement Award which honors individuals whose careers demonstrate outstanding contributions to the advancement of the irrigation industry and its products in both landscape and agriculture.
Industry Acheivement Award (Agriculture):
George Sesser, Nelson Irrigation Corp. (Walla Walla, Wash.)
An accomplished engineer, George Sesser has worked at Nelson Irrigation Corp. since 1976 and has been a key contributor to the success of Nelson Irrigation’s product offerings. Sesser has contributed to more than 20 patents at Nelson and is considered one of the fathers of Rotator technology for irrigation sprinklers. His engineering successes, ideas and philosophies have had a major influence on the irrigation industry. Sesser is also the recipient of several AE50 awards from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
Industry Acheivement Award (Turf/Landscape):
Rene Evelyn-Veere, Rain Bird Corporation (Tucson, Ariz.)
Rene Evelyn-Veere joined Rain Bird in 1976, brought on to design the hardware for the company’s first computer as well as the software architecture that became the basis for Rain Bird’s MAXI program. MAXI was designed to give golf course superintendents more control over their irrigation systems. He has since led the charge on successes such as SmartWeather, Stratus II and Freedom Pad. Evelyn-Veere is also recognized for his patents, many of which stem directly from his work with Rain Bird.
National Water and Energy Conservation Award
The National Water and Energy Conservation Award honors significant achievement in the conservation of water and energy relating to irrigation procedures, equipment, methods and techniques.
USDA-ARS Water Management Research Unit (Fort Collins, Colo.)
The ARS Water Management Unit, led by Thomas Trout, PhD, continues to research irrigation methods and has contributed to dam development, flow metering, irrigation control structures, evapotranspiration, crop water use, center pivot energy management and sprinkler irrigation design and evaluation. The unit’s current research is focused on developing management practices that can help sustain irrigated agriculture in the Great Plains and throughout the western U.S. with declining water supplies. The research is helping to develop better understanding of how crops respond to deficit irrigation and how to maximize productivity with limited water.
Person of the Year Award
Person of the Year, IA’s longest-awarded honor, recognizes a person outside of the commercial irrigation industry who has made outstanding contributions toward the acceptance of sound irrigation practices.
Howard Wuertz, Sundance Farms, Inc. (Coolidge, Ariz.)
Howard Wuertz has been called the “father of subsurface drip irrigation” in America, particularly in the West. But he has also developed an entire cropping system to manage soils and nutrients as well as water and energy. He holds five patents on tillage equipment used to assure that buried drip tape stays in place and undamaged. He regularly hosts international visitors to his farm to share his best practices.
Crawford Reid Memorial Award
The Crawford Reid Memorial Award recognizes an individual’s outstanding contributions to advancing both the irrigation industry and proper irrigation techniques and procedures outside of the United States.
Jack Keller, PhD, Keller-Bliesner Engineering (Logan, Utah)
Through his public and private activities, Keller has provided advisory services in irrigated agricultural development and water management in more than 60 countries. Many of his professional activities involved leading multidisciplinary teams to conduct irrigation project design, planning and evaluation and regional irrigation sector analysis. He serves on the U.S. and international boards of International Development Enterprises, a nongovernmental organization that focuses on rural poverty alleviation through a market creation approach to development using irrigation as an entry point.