Irrigation association hands out educator and industry achievement awards

August 21, 2023 -  By
Logo: LM Staff

The Irrigation Association (IA) will recognize Aavudai Anandhi, Ph.D., of Florida A&M University and Robert Dobson of Rutgers University as recipients of its 2023 Excellence in Education Award. IA also named Craig Borland of Toro the recipient of the 2023 Industry Achievement Award.

The association will present its awards during the Irrigation Show and Education Week in San Antonio from Nov. 27-Dec. 1.

The Excellence in Education Award recognizes outstanding educators teaching irrigation, water management and/or water conservation and elevates the level of education and promotes the field of irrigation as a viable and sustainable career for students.

The Industry Achievement Award is the IA’s highest honor and recognizes an individual whose career demonstrates outstanding contributions to the advancement of the irrigation industry.

About Aavudai Anandhi, Ph.D.

Anandhi is an associate professor specializing in irrigation and water management and made numerous contributions to developing irrigation-related coursework and certificate programs. When she joined Florida A&M, she developed an irrigation and water management training program from the ground up with limited resources. Among the 101 historically Black colleges and universities in the United States, Florida A&M’s program is one of only two biological and agricultural engineering programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

“Dr. Aavudai Anandhi is truly a pioneer, forging new paths for success and changing the lives of those in underrepresented groups in her area, while also advancing efficient irrigation practices and water management,” said IA CEO Natasha Rankin. “Her dedication and tenacity to provide her students with opportunities to achieve success are evident in how she tackles challenges with creative solutions and works to continually inspire the next generation of irrigation professionals and water managers.”

Anandhi is currently the only certified professional engineer in Florida A&M University’s biological systems engineering program and she has encouraged her students to pursue similar professional paths to create additional career opportunities in water resources and environmental engineering.

About Robert Dobson

Dobson teaches irrigation for the Rutgers professional golf turf management school and the office of continuing professional education for more than 20 years. During this time, he taught approximately 1,600 students in the two-year program. Dobson developed irrigation courses and co-authored books, including the IA’s Irrigation, Sixth Edition. With more than 50 years of personal experience in the industry as the president of Middletown Sprinkler Company, shares his unique wealth of knowledge in best water management practices and real-world challenges and solutions with his students.

“Bob Dobson is truly one of our industry’s most valuable contributors,” said Rankin. “During his accomplished career, he has contributed to the irrigation industry’s success as a business owner, long-time instructor, author, course developer and volunteer association leader. In addition to enriching the IA’s education and certification programs, his contributions have led to many advancements enjoyed by the industry today.”

Dobson is a past member of the Irrigation Association Board of Directors and served as president in 2013. He also served as the chair of the IA certification board.

About Craig Borland

Borland provides irrigation technical support in product engineering, legal, marketing and landscape drip. His experience, knowledge and feedback helped develop or improve products critical to the industry’s growth.

“Craig Borland’s generous dedication and passion for the industry is evident through the numerous hours he spends sharing his experience with those new to the industry, teaching new learners best practices and helping experienced irrigators discover emerging technology,” said Rankin. “Throughout his time in the industry, he has influenced the careers of thousands of professionals and has been an unwavering advocate for the irrigation industry and the IA.”

Borland has been a volunteer instructor for the Irrigation Association for the past 22 years and is a member of the IA Education Committee.

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