Candidates for the Southeastern Branch Election

Elections will be held by electronic ballot and voting will open January 2, 2019 and close February 8, 2019 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time US. For additional information on voting, please refer to the ESA voting instructions

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President-Elect Candidates

John J. Adamczyk, Jr.: Since October 2011, John J. Adamczyk, Jr. is a Supervisory Research Entomologist/Research Leader at the USDA-ARS Southern Horticultural Laboratory, Poplarville, Mississippi. John obtained a B.S. in Molecular Biology from UW-Madison (1992), M.S. in Entomology at Clemson (1994), and Ph.D. in Entomology at LSU (1998).  His experience includes Associate Research Scientist at Zeneca Ag Products, Richmond, CA, a Research Entomologist and Research Leader at USDA-ARS Stoneville, MS and Weslaco, TX, respectively. John has over 25 years of research experience in insect physiology, toxicology, molecular biology, and plant resistance.  He has authored over 170 publications, with over 100 in refereed journals.  His basic discoveries Bt protein expression temporally and spatially in cotton plants have significantly impacted the exploitation of these traits in enhancing cotton productivity and profitability in the U.S. and abroad.  His current research focuses on environmentally-sustainable ways to improve pollinator health. His leadership roles within the ESA includes serving on the SEB Nominations Committee (2000, 2003-04; 2005 & 2018, Chair), Student Awards Committee (2014; 2015, Chair), the SWB Program Planning Committee (2006), ESA Annual Meeting Program Planning Committee (2013-16), ESA-P-IE Nominations Committee (2015, Chair). For a decade John co-organized and co-chaired the biennial Armyworm Symposium at the SEB. He was elected as Vice-President (2013) and President of the PIE Section (2014). Furthermore, he is a Subject Editor for the ESA’s Journal of Integrated Pest Management (2009-present).  For the Mississippi Entomological Association, John has served in various roles including Vice-President (2003) and President (2004) and Director since 2015.

Dr. Rodrigo Diaz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Entomology at Louisiana State University. Rodrigo’s research focuses on Biological Control of non-native weeds and insects. Current projects include biological control of giant salvinia, emerald ash borer, roseau cane scale, and air potato in Louisiana. Due to his experience in classical biological control, Rodrigo has developed a network of international partnerships that have resulted in several research agreements, procurements of import/export permits, student exchanges, and scientific publications. Current projects include cooperation with scientists from universities or government agencies from Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, South Africa, Iran, Australia, and China. Rodrigo obtained his B.S. in Agriculture from Zamorano University in Honduras. During his undergraduate studies, he specialized in crop protection, and worked on biological control of corn earworm using commercially available Trichogramma parasitoids. To pursue his career in Entomology, he moved to the US and conducted an internship in weed biological control at the University of Illinois. Then, Rodrigo obtained his master’s degree at Texas A&M University in 2003 and his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 2008. Rodrigo has been a member of the Entomological Society of America since 2001, and has organized and participated in several ESA branch meetings, NIFA multistate symposiums, and international meetings. His experience of more than 17 years as ESA member would strengthen the Southeastern Branch of ESA. Rodrigo lives in Baton Rouge with his wife Veronica and son Nicolas.

Member-at-Large Candidates

Dr. Eric Blinka received his BS from Texas A&M University (Entomology, 2000), MS from Kansas State University (Agronomy, 2004), and Ph. D. from North Carolina State University (Entomology, 2008).  He held a Post Doctorial appointment at Virginia Tech before joining Monsanto in 2009.  Within Monsanto, he has served on committees, mentoring programs, pilot teams, as team leads, and safety leads.  His entomological research has focused on understanding and developing data to drive regulator acceptance and product development of new biotech traits.

Dr. Blinka remains committed to a strong relationship between industry and academia through research in conjunction with academics.  He was awarded the Western Region of Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents and Specialist “Friend of Extension” (2014).  He served as Adjunct Faculty for Dyersburg State Community College and taught undergraduate biology, as well as Adjunct Faculty for the University of Tennessee where he is serving on a graduate student committee.  

Dr. Blinka’s public service includes involvement in professional meetings and public outreach. He has presented and submitted professional papers and talks, served as a student competition judge at ESA and Beltwide Cotton Conferences, and chaired student oral presentations at Beltwide in 2014.  He assisted Past P-IE President Dr. Melissa Willrich Siebert in securing industry support for the 2017 P-IE Science Policy Field Tour (Balancing Pest Management and Pollinator Health) held August 22-24 in cooperation with Mississippi State University.  He strongly encourages the love for entomology by annually presenting to students and giving numerous extension type presentations within the agricultural community.

Juang Horng “JC” Chong is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist of turf and ornamentals entomology at Clemson University. JC receives his BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona, and MS and PhD in Entomology from the University of Georgia. After his post-doctoral training under a joint project between USDA-APHIS and the University of Florida, JC joined Clemson University in 2007. For the past 11 years, JC has authored and co-authored 36 peer-reviewed papers, 90 extension articles, 8 book chapters and 12 pest management guides and documents. JC has been a member of ESA and SEB since 1999. He served most recently as the Secretary-Treasurer of SEB for two consecutive three-year terms, and a member of ESA’s Finance Committee and 2016 ICE’s Sponsorship Committee. He also served as co-chair of Program Committee for the 2011 SEB annual meeting in Puerto Rico, and as a member on SEB’s Site Selection Committee and Sponsorship Committee. He was elected Vice President (2008-2009) and President (2009-2010) of the South Carolina Entomological Society.

Dr. Janine Spies was raised in Boonton Township, New Jersey where a lifelong enthusiasm for entomology and the outdoors began. She received her B.A. in Environmental Science at the New College of Florida in 2008, M.S. degree in Entomology at the University of Delaware in 2010, and Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Florida in 2014. Dr. Spies did her Postdoctoral Research at the University of Florida in the Entomology and Nematology Department for approximately 4 years. During her graduate and post-doctoral appointments, she was involved in research, teaching, and extension activities in small fruits and vegetable pest management. She became recognized for her research in ecological management of insect pests of cucurbits, strawberries, blueberries and grapes including whiteflies, aphids, thrips, mites, midges, fruit flies, and grape root borer. She has worked extensively in conventional and organic systems to develop sustainable pest management programs that utilize trapping, biological control, intercropping, and reduced-risk insecticides. Dr. Spies has authored or co-authored several papers, organized workshops, and has contributed many presentations at regional and national meetings. She has been a long-standing member of ESA and FES and was active in the Entomology and Nematology Student Organization at the University of Florida for several years. Dr. Spies has collaborated with researchers nation-wide on research programs and interacts daily with growers, industry and commodity groups to facilitate the adoption of effective and sustainable solutions for stakeholders. She continues her service in agriculture as the IR-4 Southern Region Field Coordinator at the University of Florida.

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