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 2023 Distinguished Achievement, Service, and Alumni Award recipients. Read more about each award and honoree.
Distinguished Alumni Award
Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni 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.
Dr. Ken Stone, P.E.
Research Agricultural Engineer & lead scientist, United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service
Dr. Kenneth (Ken) Stone, P.E. is a Research Agricultural Engineer and lead scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in Florence, South Carolina. Dr. Stone’s research focuses on optimizing spatial water applications, using low-quality waters in irrigation, treating animal wastewater, and reducing agriculture’s environmental impacts on nutrient-sensitive ecosystems. He has made numerous national and international invited presentations on water table management, stream and ground water quality, constructed wetlands for animal waste treatment, subsurface drip irrigation, water management for bio-energy crops, and variable rate irrigation. His research has been documented in more than 170 peer-reviewed journal articles, invited book chapters, and technical conference proceeding papers. Dr. Stone was awarded the 2018 ASABE Heermann Sprinkler Irrigation Award, his research and technology transfer was recognized by awards from the 2020 Federal Laboratory Consortium, the 2020 Irrigation Association’s Vanguard Award, and the 2020 USDA-ARS Technology Award. In 2022, he was inducted into the 2022 class of ASABE Fellows for his insightful engineering research that significantly improves irrigation management while conserving and protecting resources.
Dr. Paulo Younse
Robotics Engineer, Robotic Systems Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Paulo Younse is a robotics engineer in the Robotic Systems Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. His experience resides in mechanical design, machine vision, systems engineering, system architecting, and planetary sample collection. Previous projects include development of the Mars 2020 rover sample caching architecture and sample tube hermetic seals, work on unmanned underwater vehicles at the Boeing Company, and visual navigation and control for agricultural robots at the University of Florida. He is currently the Product Delivery Manager of the Robotic Transfer Assembly System for the Mars Sample Return Capture, Containment, and Return System, as well as Co-Investigator for the Mars Returned Sample Handling Technology Development task for extracting Martian samples from sample tubes after return to Earth. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, an M.E. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from Colorado State University.
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.
Dr. Ken Campbell
Ken Campbell completed his BS in Agricultural Engineering at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He then earned his MS and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from Iowa State. Ken’s research and teaching focused on agricultural water quality management, in particular preventing the runoff from surrounding cattle farms from polluting the water in Lake Okeechobee while maintaining the viability of the agriculture, and on hydrologic/water quality modeling. He served the UF Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering as Professor, Associate Chair, and Interim Chair until his retirement in 2007, after which he became Professor Emeritus. In 2000, Ken received the Fulbright Scholar Award from the U.S. Department of State and was a Visiting Professor at the University of Natal in South Africa for a year. Ken received several Research Achievement Awards and a Professorial Excellence Program Award from the University of Florida and was named UF Research Foundation Professor from 2000-2003. He was a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers and received the Hancor Soil and Water Engineering Award in 2006.
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.
Dr. Fedro Zazueta
Dr. Fedro Zazueta joined the Agricultural Engineering Department as a water management visiting assistant professor, where he remained for 36 years. Immediately after his arrival, Zazueta developed research, teaching and extension programs focused on the use of computers and agriculture, and specifically water management. Notable accomplishments include: 1) The creation and management of a self-supported IFAS Software Support Office, 2) organization of a conference that became what is today the World Conference on Computers in Agriculture, 3) design and delivery of graduate courses in agricultural software engineering, 4) over 50 pieces of software widely used by the irrigation industry worldwide (during the 80’s and 90’s), 5) over 500 publications, 6) a research program that involved innovative uses of computers in water management, and 6) Principal investigator on grants totaling over $24 million.
Throughout his career, Zazueta was involved with professional societies, not only the existing well-established societies of his profession of ASABE and CIGR, but was also instrumental in promoting and founding societies such as the International Federation of IT in Agriculture (INFITA) and the Latin American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ALIA). He has received numerous recognitions as a pioneer of IT in agriculture. He is currently in high demand as a keynote speaker at international meetings in topics related to a future vision of IT in agriculture and education. He served as a consultant to World Bank, United Nations, and ministry level organizations in Asia, Oceania, Latina America. During the last 20 years of his tenure at the University of Florida, he served developing and implementing the Institutional IT Strategic Plans. Including, the use of IT infrastructure and services to improve teaching outcomes and reduce the cost of instruction that came to be recognized among the best in the USA.
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.
Product Development Engineer, Printpack
Madison is a Product Development Engineer at Printpack, a leader in flexible and specialty rigid packaging with headquarters in Atlanta, GA. During her time at Printpack, she has supported large CPGs with a focus on salty snack and bar packaging. Madison has worked on developing new to market compostable, paper, and all-polyethylene structures for multiple applications and customers. She also has previous experience working in food processing, manufacturing, and quality with The Kraft Heinz Company and Publix Manufacturing. Madison holds both a B.S. and M.S. in Biological Engineering with a focus in Packaging Engineering and Food Science from the University of Florida.
Dr. Alireza Pourreza
AssistantProfessor & Extension Specialist, University of California, Davis
Dr. Alireza Pourreza is an assistant professor and extension specialist in the biological and agricultural engineering department and the Digital Agriculture Lab director at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Pourreza leads research and extension education in digital agriculture, remote sensing, precision agriculture, and mechanization. Dr. Pourreza’s research program focuses on solving immediate challenges in crop production systems identified by stockholders. His lab develops practical and data-driven decision-support tools that help farmers increase profit while decreasing waste and environmental footprint.