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ARS Top Performers Win Presidential Rank Awards

By Marcia Wood
June 28, 2004

WASHINGTON, June 28--Seven Agricultural Research Service scientists and executives have won Presidential Awards of Rank for 2003. The prestigious honors, approved by the president of the United States, acknowledge exceptional senior federal government employees. The winners were cited for demonstrating strength, integrity, business acumen and a commitment to excellence in public service.

Antoinette A. Betschart, director of the ARS Pacific West Area, received a Distinguished Executive Award--the highest category--for establishing innovative, high-impact research programs that address critical, newly emerging issues in the fields of plant genomics, biotechnology risk management, invasive and exotic plant diseases and pests, and bio-based products and energy.

Since 1997, Betschart has directed Pacific West Area research encompassing 25 locations and nearly 1,400 employees working in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

ARS winners of a Meritorious Executive Award for 2003 are:

Jitender P. Dubey, microbiologist, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Md. Dubey's pioneering research into the biology and control of three major diseases of people and livestock--toxoplasmosis, neosporosis and equine protozoal myeloencephalitis--has saved billions of dollars worldwide in healthcare and livestock production costs.

Adrianna D. Hewings, director, Midwest Area. Using results-oriented, teamwork-based strategies, Hewings successfully developed approaches that have strengthened and streamlined agency operations not only in the ARS Midwest Area--which includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin--but also at other ARS locations around the country and abroad.

George E. Inglett, research chemist, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, Ill. Inglett's innovative research has yielded oat-, soybean- and barley-based fat-replacers, such as Oatrim, that reduce calories, provide healthful fiber in foods, lower cholesterol and lessen the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Joseph T. Spence, acting deputy administrator for nutrition, food safety and quality, Beltsville, Md. Among other accomplishments, Spence is being recognized for his leadership in development of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center into a world-class research facility addressing key nutritional issues vital to human health.

James H. Tumlinson, formerly a research chemist at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Fla., now retired from ARS. Tumlinson directed and conducted pioneering research that led to the discovery of natural compounds, such as pheromones, that help combat more than three dozen crop pests, including boll weevils and leaf-cutting ants, and discovered secrets about how plants form chemicals for defense against their insect enemies.