A top researcher and a “founding father” of SAF’s annual Pest & Production Management Conference has been named dean of the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Michael Parrella, Ph.D, will take over as dean on Feb. 1.
Parrella comes to UI from the University of California-Davis, where he served as the chair of the Department of Entomology and Nemtatology and as associate dean of that university’s agricultural sciences department.
“I am excited about joining the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho,” he stated in a UI press release. “The president and provost have a wonderful vision to move the university forward and CALS has a critical role to play.”
Parrella has a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Rutgers University and a master’s and doctorate degrees in entomology from Virginia Tech.
Parella has been on the forefront of critical research that affects the daily work life of many members of the floral industry, said Drew Gruenburg, SAF’s chief operating officer.
“Mike is first and foremost a researcher and scientist, but his research was always conducted with an eye toward practical applications for growers,” Gruneburg said. “He did not conduct research just for the sake of conducting research but rather was always considering what was important to the grower— and ultimately to the industry.
Gruenburg cites Parella’s participation in the creation of a conference some 30 years ago on the leafminer, a pest that was seriously affecting chrysanthemums, as just one example of his dedication to the floral industry.
“Mike was instrumental in bringing together the brightest minds in pest and disease control to see what could be done,” Gruenburg said.
Ultimately, the leafminer was controlled and crisis was averted, Gruenburg added. “The initial leafminer conference soon morphed into SAF’s Pest & Production Management Conference. The conference that Mike helped put together served as a model for a larger, annual event with staying power.”