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IA recognizes annual award winners

July 27, 2021 -  By

The Irrigation Association (IA) kicked off Smart Irrigation Month by naming the recipients of its annual awards.

These awards honor those who have made significant contributions to the irrigation industry, and each recipient recognized this year is a true change-maker who has made unique and meaningful accomplishments toward furthering the industry and promoting efficient irrigation. The 2021 IA awards program is sponsored by Hunter | Senninger.

The recipients will also be featured guests in a webinar hosted by the IA this fall.

The Industry Achievement Award was established in 1966 and honors an individual whose career demonstrates outstanding contributions to the advancement of the irrigation industry and its products and programs.

Angelo Mazzei is a recipient of the 2021 Industry Achievement Award. Chairman/CEO of Mazzei Injector Co., during his 40-plus-year career, Mazzei has not only built a successful company but also worked to create multiple innovative solutions to solve irrigation issues. Mazzei received 20 patents throughout his career, including the Mazzei Injector in 1978, an innovation he crafted in his garage workshop. He has been deeply involved with projects at Fresno State’s Center for Irrigation Technology and helped establish its International Center for Water Technology.

Jackie Robbins, Ph.D., PE, CID, TSP, is also a recipient of the 2021 Industry Achievement Award. Before retiring in 2020, he was the president and CEO of Irrigation-Mart/Robbins Association. His career has included extensive teaching, research and consulting nationally and internationally, as well as starting a successful full-service microirrigation design and distribution company. He has dedicated significant time and energy to the IA, serving on the certification board, the board of directors and, most recently, the standards and codes committee. He was heavily involved in the development of the certification program, helping create its initial structure and the supporting education programs.

The IA’s Innovator Award honors individuals who have made significant, tangible contributions to the irrigation industry within the past five years.

Reece Andrews is 2021’s Innovator Award recipient. A product manager for Lindsay Corp., he led the development of numerous industry-advancing technologies during his career. His work in developing remote pivot technologies saved water and reduced fuel costs, labor, and wear and tear for growers, while also reducing carbon footprints. Andrews holds numerous patents for irrigation products, and two of the irrigation control systems he was directly responsible for were winners of the 2007 and 2014 IA New Product Contests. Most recently, he led the development of the FieldNET Pivot Watch universal pivot monitoring solution.

The Excellence in Education Award recognizes an outstanding educator who is actively teaching or has formerly taught irrigation, water management and/or water conservation.

The 2021 Excellence in Education Award recipient is Florence Cassel Sharma, Ph.D., associate professor at California State University-Fresno and the assistant director of research at the Center for Irrigation Technology. Over the past 20 years, in addition to being a role model for female students, she has excelled in teaching, research, student advising and leadership skills that allow her to be a beacon for her students interested in pursuing a successful career in irrigation and water conservation. Cassel Sharma has also been highly involved in the IA’s workforce development programs, including presenting at the Faculty Academy events and participation in the E3 program.

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