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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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:

  • Ensure high-quality safe food and other agricultural products 
  • Assess the nutritional needs of Americans 
  • Sustain a competitive agricultural economy 
  • Enhance the natural resource base and the environment
  • Provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole.

PA scientists at our 22 research locations in 10 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:

  • Provide excellent service, support, encouragement and guidance to PA employees and customers/stakeholders.
  • Exceed external customer and internal staff expectations.
  • Serve as facilitators to achieve Department, Agency, and location strategic objectives.
  • Foster positive communication designed to provide accurate information, improve processes and morale, and foster employee and Management Unit success.
  • Actively promote ARS research.
  • Operate as a cohesive team.
  • Embrace diversity and diverse approaches to solving problems.
  • Work smart and efficiently.
  • Serve as a model office for PA and ARS.
  • Achieve fulfillment in our jobs.

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.




Staff - Contact Information

  •  Dr. Laurence (Larry) Chandler - Area Director
       Phone: (970) 492-7057
       Fax: (970) 492-7065
  • Dr. Bryan Kaphammer - Associate Area Director 
       Phone: (970) 492-7054
       Fax: (970) 492-7022
  • Alan Cohen - Equal Employment Specialist
       Phone: (970) 492-7098
       Fax: (970) 492-7065
  • Sara Duke - Statistician
       Phone: (979) 260-9320
  • Carol Durflinger - Management Analyst
       Phone: (970) 492-7050 
       Fax: (970) 492-7065
  • Summer Elam - Secretary
       Phone: (970) 492-7058
       Fax: (970) 492-7065
  • Dr. Sherry Gage - Program Analyst
       Phone: (970) 492-7052
       Fax: (970) 492-7065
  • Jaime Gerdes - Administrative Support Assistant
       Phone: (970) 492-7051 
       Fax: (970) 492-7065
  • Tara Marostica -  Agreements Assistant
       Phone: (970) 492-7059
       Fax: 970-492-7065
  • Barbra McGraw -  Program Analyst
       Phone: (970) 492-7062
       Fax: 970-492-7065
  • Stephen Neck - Safety and Occupational Health Specialist
       Phone: (979) 587-5549
  • Jeff Walenta - Scientific Technology Transfer Coordinator
       Phone: (970) 492-7055
       Fax: (970) 492-7065
  • Kathleen Yeater - Statistician
       Phone: 757-220-9142



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Last Modified: 5/4/2017
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