Dr. Edward “Gilly” Evans has been named interim director of the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and education Center (SWFREC) in Immokalee.
Dr. Evans has served as director of the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) in Homestead for the past five years, two as interim. He holds a Ph.D. in Food and Resource Economics from UF with specialization in farm management, agribusiness, economics of managing invasive species, international trade, and development.
“Dr. Evans has led a staff of 100 at the TREC for five years,” says Dr. J. Scott Angle, UF/IFAS vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “His faculty already work with SWFREC colleagues regularly. It’s my hope that commuting across Alligator Alley will give Dr. Evans an opportunity to foster even greater collaboration.”
Dr. Evans is a professor in the Food and Resource Economics Department. While he currently does not have an active research portfolio, his past research has emphasized applied agricultural trade policy analysis and environmental sustainability of agriculture. Aspects of his work include generating knowledge to conserve and improve water quality at the watershed level and developing economically viable preventative integrated pest management vegetable production systems. He also investigated the economics of managing invasive species in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the United States and the potential economic and trade impacts of selected invasive pests and diseases. Dr. Evans has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications, including 42 refereed journal articles and nine book chapters, and has served as editor or co-editor of several proceedings. To date, his research grants (as PI or co-PI) have totaled more than $8.5 million.
Previously, Dr. Evans served as associate director of IFAS Global (2013 -2016), associate director of the UF Center for Tropical Agriculture (2004–2007), and assistant executive director of the UF International Agricultural Trade and Development Center (2002–2004).
“I am extremely happy to be given the opportunity to be the Interim director of SWFREC,” Dr. Evans says. “As I mentioned during my address to faculty, staff, and students, while I am aware of my title, my aim is to be director of SWFREC during the interim—however long it lasts—and to do all that I can to build on the many successes of the center.”
“I am familiar with the center and its programs and have always been impressed with the many successes SWFREC has had and initiatives taken over the years. SWFREC was the first off-campus center to establish a GSO (graduate student organization) and convene a successful South Florida Graduate Student Symposium. Faculty, students, and staff at SWFREC have racked up their fair share of awards and recognitions and are doing an outstanding job in addressing the needs of the community. My goal, therefore, is to focus on what is working ‘good’ at SWFREC and see how best I can make it ‘better.’”
Among his immediate goals for the center, Dr. Evans will focus on filling various staff and faculty positions. He also plans to ask Gene McAvoy, SWFREC associate director for stakeholder relations, to take a more active role in the day-to-day operations of the center.
Dr. Angle plans to assemble a search committee for a new SWFREC director immediately. He praised Dr. Morgan’s work while directing the center: “My thanks to Dr. Morgan for his time and effort in supporting a center that is so closely tied to our stakeholder community. He has overseen the emergence of SWFREC as one of the leading units in our expansion of artificial intelligence. Our thanks go to Dr. Morgan for his leadership and service.”
Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC)
2685 SR 29 North Immokalee, FL 34142
(239) 658 - 3413
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