The UF/IFAS Agricultural and Biological Engineering department honors our alumni and friends who work to further enhance our discipline and industry. Please join us in congratulating our 2022 Distinguished Achievement, Service, and Alumni Award recipients. Read more about each award and honoree.
Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Awards
Recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award are ABE alumnus or alumna (undergraduate or graduate) who have excelled in his or her chosen field or have performed outstanding service for the profession.
Michael A. Register, P.E.
Executive Director, St. Johns River Water Management District (non-academia)
Michael Register is a registered professional engineer in Florida with a Master of Engineering and Bachelor or Science in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Florida. During his time at Florida he lettered in Football, was a member of the Alpha Zeta Honor Fraternity and served as president of the student chapter of ASABE. Upon graduating, he began his professional career as an engineer working for the St. Johns River Water Management District. During his 31-year career at the District he has worked in the District’s regulatory, engineering, ground and surface water modeling, water supply planning, and minimum flow and levels programs. During his time leading the regulatory programs, he instituted reforms to improve the permitting process to increase their efficiency and effectiveness. He developed an agricultural assistance team and agricultural cost share programs to help agricultural operators comply with regulatory requirements and implement conservation practices. He oversaw the development and adoption of minimum flows and levels for 5 Outstanding Florida Springs (including the iconic Silver Springs) ensuring their protection for future generations. In September of 2021, Michael was selected by the District’s 9-member Governing Board to lead the organization as its new Executive Director. His appointment was just recently confirmed by the Florida Senate. Michael lives in his hometown of Seville, Florida with his wife of 35 years on their family farm which she operates with their son, both of whom are also graduates of the University of Florida with degrees in Agricultural Education and Communication.
Dr. Suat Irmak
Professor and Department Head Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department The Pennsylvania State University (Academic)
Professor Irmak received his Ph.D. degree from the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at the University of Florida with the emphasis on Land and Water Resources Engineering. After joining University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2004 as an Assistant professor, he received his Full Professorship in 2012 and Harold W. Eberhard Distinguished Professorship in 2013. He joined Penn State on July 1, 2021, to serve as a Professor and Department Head of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. By his peers, he is considered as a worldwide renowned scientist/researcher and passionate educator and a servant leader in soil and water resources engineering who is nationally and internationally recognized for his dedication of learning through research and science and sharing his knowledge and teaching others. He has made significant contributions and exhibited exemplary accomplishments in soil and water resources and irrigation engineering, soil and water conservation, agricultural water management, evapotranspiration, impact of climate change on water resources and agricultural and natural resources productivity, and environmental biophysics. Professor Irmak has made contributions to science, engineering and education through measurement and modeling of surface energy balance variables, including evapotranspiration, evaporation and transpiration, for various agro-ecosystems; climate science; coupling soil, water and microclimate and plant stomatal response relationships to develop more robust evaporative losses estimates; developing extensive crop response to irrigation and evapotranspiration functions for various cropping systems under different irrigation and soil management practices.
Distinguished Achievement Award
The ABE Distinguished Achievement Award is given to individuals with exceptional achievements in agricultural and biological engineering, for demonstrated leadership, and for other exemplary accomplishments that merit the special recognition of the department.
Retired Manager of Worldwide Safety Critical Processes For The Walt Disney Company
Eldon is a graduate of the University of Idaho holding both a BS (1980) and MS (1982). His graduate work was analyzing physiological losses in Sugar Beet storage from root damage caused by equipment used in their piling. In 1982 he took a position with the Walt Disney Company helping to open The Land at Epcot Center a 40,000 controlled environment agriculture facility. Eldon worked for Disney until November 2021 when he retired as the Manager of Critical Process Analysis for Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide Safety. In his career Eldon held positions in engineering design, research and development, sustainment engineering, project management, program management, risk analysis and management, and operational management. While always working for the Walt Disney Company, he served in several segments of the company including Epcot Science, Ride and Show Engineering, Safety Accessibility and Advanced Technology, and Worldwide Safety Assurance. Eldon has a long history with ASABE and UF including serving as a Florida Section Officer including Chair and several national technical committees. Additionally, he is a current member of the UF ABE Advisory Board. Eldon holds a patent for an irrigation control device for containerized crops, has been awarded a Walt Disney World Achievement Award, the Florida ASABE Section Distinguished Achievement Award and National ASAE Young Education Engineer of the Year Award. Eldon is married to a 2nd generation Florida Graduate with an MS in Agronomy who is also retired after a career with the USDA-ARS in biotech research. They have a son who is an Electrical Engineer working in cyber security for Chick-fil-A and a daughter in-law who is a Construction Manager, both graduates of the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Distinguished Service Award
This award recognizes an ABE alumnus or alumna who has highly distinguished him or herself through exceptional public service to the state of Florida or the nation at large. Such public service is defined as any of the following: service in elected or appointed public office; service in public or private education at any level; service in any judicial system or law enforcement agency; service in any volunteer agency or entity devoted to any aspect of public welfare.
National Environmental Engineer Natural Resources Conservation Service United States Department of Agriculture
Bill Reck, P.E. is the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Environmental Engineer. Bill has over 25 years’ experience in hydrology and hydraulic engineering, wetland restoration and treatment, design and evaluation of conservation practices, and extensive experience in the area of animal waste management structural design as well as evaluation of existing structures. Bill started his career in Florida after having received his Bachelors and Masters of Engineering in Agricultural Engineering at the University of Florida. Bill has worked on projects such as Everglades Restoration, design of livestock and poultry waste management systems including innovative technologies and waste to energy projects, evaluation of new technologies for inclusion in NRCS standards, and development of software design aids. Currently, Bill has national responsibility for NRCS’s 20 environmental engineering conservation practice standards which includes waste management, mortality management, agrichemical handling facilities, and on-farm secondary containment of petroleum products.
Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna Awards
Recipients of the Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna Awards are ABE alumnus/alumna (undergraduate or graduate) who have excelled in his or her chosen field or must have performed outstanding service for the profession.
Bacardi OC Project Manager
Allison Mica is a fifth generation Floridian and loves the beautiful state of Florida. Originally from Tallahassee, FL, she graduated from UF in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Packaging Science and in 2017 with her MBA. Allison is a member of Florida Blue Key, Kappa Delta, and the Florida Cicerones the University of Florida, which holds a very special place in her heart. Her career started as a Packaging Engineer in spirits industry in 2012. Currently she works for Bacardi, recently transitioning into the global supply chain team as the Bacardi Supply Chain Brand Manager. Previously with Bacardi she was leading and supporting innovations through the Packaging and Project Management teams. Allison currently resides in Jacksonville, FL. Outside of work, she has a passion for volunteering, reading, enjoying a delightful cocktail, and cheering on the Gators.
Water Resources Engineer, Geosyntec Consultants, Inc.
Gloria Teague has over 10 years of professional experience managing, designing, implementing and evaluating water resource projects for clients in public and private sectors. She specializes in hydrologic/hydraulic modeling as well as development of software tools to support data analysis, visualization and quality assurance/quality control – she is highly skilled in quantifying spatial/temporal impacts and incorporating forecasts of future conditions to propose strategies for adaptive management. Ms. Teague currently assists with efforts in urban stormwater management such as data analytics, best management practice (BMP) evaluations, stormwater master plans, and geospatial analysis.