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Area Director's Office
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Area Director's Welcome


Welcome to the Plains Area Director's Office. The Plains Area (PA) is one of 5 administrative areas of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the in-house research arm for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ARS researchers, including those in the PA, are charged with conducting research on agricultural problems of high national priority to:

PA scientists at our 21 research locations in 9 states are addressing all of these goals through the 85 to 100 agricultural and nutritional research programs typically underway in the PA at any one time. The Area Director's Office supports these many vital research efforts by providing administrative, technical and budgetary assistance to our locations. Our goal is to provide superior service to all our customers and employees to further the ARS research mission and the multi-disciplinary research efforts underway in the PA. We sum it up this way:

Research Excellence: Meeting Customer Expectations!

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Plains Area Office Vision 



To lead the PA in achieving research excellence and exceeding customer expectations through continuous improvement driven by integrity and teamwork.

 

We will:


Meet the Directors


 

 Dr. Laurence (Larry) Chandler - Area Director

Dr. Larry ChandlerDr. Chandler received his Ph.D. in entomology from Texas A&M University. He joined the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in 1982 and has served in several positions including Research Entomologist in Weslaco, TX (1982-1989), Research Entomologist in Tifton, GA (1989-1994), Research Leader of the Northern Grain Insects Research Laboratory in Brookings, SD (1994-1999), Director of the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center in Fargo, ND (1999-2004), Associate Director of the Northern Plains Area in Fort Collins, CO (2004-2008), and Director of the Midwest Area in Peoria, IL (2008-2012). He transferred back to Fort Collins, CO in 2012 to serve as Director of the Northern Plains Area and currently serves as the Director for the newly formed Plains Area. During his active research career he conducted research on IPM of horticultural and field crop insect pests. He has previously served as the ARS Technical Coordinator for the Corn Rootworm Areawide Pest Management Program, the ARS Coordinator for the National Sclerotinia Initiative, and the chair/co-chair of the ARS Information Technology Steering Committee. He received an ARS Technology Transfer Award in 1999 and the USDA Secretary's Award for Individual/Team Superior Service in 2002, 2012 and 2014.

 

 

 

 Dr. Bryan Kaphammer - Associate Area Director 

Bryan KaphammerDr. Bryan Kaphammer received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Notre Dame in 1988 and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan from 1987 to 1990 studying the regulation of genes in Pseudomands involved in toxic waste degradation.  In 1990, he joined Union Camp Corporation in Princeton, NJ as a Research Scientist where he developed butter flavor components for microwave popcorn and tissue culture methods for genetically engineering forest trees.   Dr. Kaphammer became the Intellectual Property Manager at Arborgen for a short time before joining ARS in 2001 where he currently serves as Associate Area Director for the Plains Area of ARS.
 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Joseph Rich - Associate Area Director                                                                                           /ARSUserFiles/30000000/AD/Untitled.png

Dr. Rich received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from the University of Iowa. In 1996, he joined several colleagues in developing Combinatorial Biocatalysis as a drug discovery platform at EnzyMed. He remained with Albany Molecular Research after their acquisition of EnzyMed to continue leading the Synthetic Biocatalysis group until December 2004. In 2005-2006, he served as both the founding Director of the Northwestern University High Throughput Analysis Facility and as Senior Research Scientist with Baxter Healthcare. His research has focused on the development of enzymes as practical catalysts for synthetic chemistry and novel biobased products, including alternatives to antibiotics. Dr. Rich served as the Research Leader for the Renewable Products Technology Research Unit (RPT) at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, IL, from 2007 to 2018.  In August 2018 he was appointed to Associate Area Director for the Plains Area of ARS.


 

 

 

 


Staff - Contact Information


 Dr. Laurence (Larry) Chandler - Area Director
   Phone: (970) 492-7057
   Fax: (970) 492-7065
   E-mail: larry.chandler@ars.usda.gov

Dr. Bryan Kaphammer - Associate Area Director 
   Phone: (970) 492-7054
   Fax: (970) 492-7022
   E-mail: bryan.kaphammer@ars.usda.gov

Dr. Joseph Rich - Associate Area Director 
   Phone: (970) 492-7058
   Fax: (970) 492-7065
   E-mail: Joseph.Rich@ars.usda.gov

Alan Cohen - Equal Employment Specialist
   Phone: (970) 492-7098
   Fax: (970) 492-7065
   E-Mail: alan.cohen@ars.usda.gov

Sara Duke - Statistician
   Phone: (979) 260-9320
   E-mail: sara.duke@ars.usda.gov 

Carol Durflinger - Management Analyst
   Phone: (970) 492-7050 
   Fax: (970) 492-7065
   E-Mail: Carol.Durflinger@ars.usda.gov

Summer Elam - Secretary
   Phone: (970) 492-7058
   Fax: (970) 492-7065
   E-Mail: Summer.Elam@ars.usda.gov

Dr. Sherry Gage - Program Analyst
   Phone: (970) 492-7052
   Fax: (970) 492-7065
   E-Mail: sherry.gage@ars.usda.gov

Jaime Gerdes - Administrative Support Assistant
   Phone: (970) 492-7051 
   Fax: (970) 492-7065
   E-Mail:  jaime.gerdes@ars.usda.gov  

Tara Marostica -  Agreements Assistant
   Phone: (970) 492-7059
   Fax: 970-492-7065
   E-Mail: tara.marostica@ars.usda.gov 

Barbra McGraw -  Program Analyst
   Phone: (970) 492-7062
   Fax: 970-492-7065
   E-Mail: barbra.mcgraw@ars.usda.gov

Stephen Neck - Safety and Occupational Health Specialist
   Phone: (979) 587-5549
   E-mail: stephen.neck@ars.usda.gov

Jeff Walenta - Scientific Technology Transfer Coordinator
   Phone: (970) 492-7055
   Fax: (970) 492-7065
   E-mail: Jeffrey.Walenta@ars.usda.gov  

Kathleen Yeater - Statistician
   Phone: 757-220-9142
   E-mail: kathleen.yeater@ars.usda.gov

 

 

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