AgriLife center technician receives Vice Chancellor’s Award

COLLEGE STATION – Alfred Sanchez of Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has received a 2012 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for technical and programmatic staff.

He was presented the award Jan. 8 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Conference held on the Texas A&M campus in College Station.

The Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence were established in 1980 to recognize the commitment and outstanding contributions of faculty and staff across Texas A&M AgriLife and celebrate the achievements of those honored.

Sanchez, a technician at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde, has been employed with the Texas A&M University System for 11 years and is part of the college’s plant pathology and microbiology department.

In his letter of nomination, professor and department head Dr. Sandy Pierson, College Station, stated, “Sanchez is versatile and proficient in three different and complex groups — viruses, bacteria and fungi – as well as their insect vectors.“ He also cited Sanchez’s successes and current research related to spotted wilt disease on peanuts, Pierce’s disease of wine grapes and the soil-borne fungus that causes cotton root rot in many Texas crops.

Pierson noted Sanchez frequently interacts with producers, crop consultants and visiting graduate students at the Uvalde center and is “recognized by grape, peanut and pecan growers and their employees as providing consistently outstanding service.”

Dr. Mark Black, Sanchez’s supervisor and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist at the center, noted in his nomination support letter that Sanchez “excels where precise experimental procedures are required.”

Black also stated Sanchez is “quick to learn new techniques, anticipates work to come, and organizes the many tasks required to complete trials in the laboratory, greenhouse, screenhouse or field.”

In addition, he noted that Sanchez had mentored of several undergraduate student workers and four fellow technicians in recent years.

Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Uvalde, wrote in his letter of support that Sanchez is “second to none in dependability, job performance and quality of work,” and that he is “technically sound in numerous lab techniques, most specifically the ELISA test for Pierce’s disease of grapes.”

Stein added he was greatly impressed with Sanchez’s work during an initial screening of pecan seed stocks to determine resistance to cotton root rot. He also noted that Sanchez had recently streamlined the planting of grape rootstock to increase efficiency and reduce loss.

Sanchez was named Employee of the Year at the center in 2005.

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