Monday, May 2, 2016

Letter to Western IPM Center Stakeholders

Friends of the Western IPM Center,

Today is my second day on the job, and I’m excited to join the Western Integrated Pest Management Center and work with our team, partners and stakeholders. I look forward to meeting the rest of the group and re-engaging with those who research, apply and extend integrated pest management in the Western United States and Pacific Island Territories.

I am fortunate to join a group that has accomplished impressive and important things. Under the leadership of Jim Farrar, the Western IPM Center has done much to highlight the role that integrated pest management plays in protecting crops, ecosystems and human health. I’m appreciative of Jim and the team for building momentum and confident that we can continue this work. And I would especially like to recognize the hard work that Matt Baur has put in over the last seven months. He has been doing the jobs of director and associate director and we are definitely indebted to him. Thanks Matt! 

I’m coming to the Center from the Horticulture Innovation Lab, where success is built on strong partnerships and thoughtful planning. Some of my first tasks at the Western IPM Center will be to get to know Western IPM needs and work with our team and stakeholders to develop a theory of change for our program that makes us accountable and purposeful in our activities. While logic models can be effective in monitoring progress, I find that a theory of change is a better way to plan and evaluate programs, like ours, that intend to make widespread and long-lasting changes. We will start with our goals of reducing the risks pests and pest-management practices pose to human health, the environment and the economy, and then work backward to outline measurable actions we can take to achieve those ends. A theory of change ensures that everything we do leads to achieving shared and well-defined goals. It’s an exciting challenge.

Like the Pest Management Strategic Plans we help create, a theory of change is meant to be a living document and stakeholder driven. So over the next few months, I would like to talk with you, our stakeholders. Let’s talk about pest needs that have not been adequately addressed and about successful IPM programs that can be highlighted and even adapted to other locations. Let’s talk about what the Western IPM Center does well, and what it can do better. Let’s talk about ways to make managing pests safer and cheaper, and how the Western IPM Center can help.

Write to me at and we’ll get the conversation started. Thank you.

Keep smilin’,