2012 Researcher of the Year: Rob Davidson

CSU professor awarded honor at PAA meeting

Published in the November 2012 Issue Published online: Nov 12, 2012
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Colorado State University professor and San Luis Valley Interim Director for Extension Director Rob Davidson was chosen as the Potato Grower magazine Researcher of the Year, at the 2012 Potato Association of America Annual Meeting, held in August in Denver, Colo.

Robert D. Davidson is a Professor and the Extension Seed Potato Specialist with the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University. He obtained two bachelor's degrees-one in Microbiology and the other in Botany-and a master's degree in Plant Pathology from Montana State University. He began his career in Montana working with the Montana Potato Improvement Association as the Laboratory Supervisor for seed potatoes. His duties included testing all of the seed certification stocks for viruses and bacterial problems, producing antisera for these tests and working on numerous research projects related to seed production.

In 1982, after finishing his Masters, he began work in Colorado as the Assistant Manager of the Potato Certification Service. Duties included setting up a disease testing program and working with all other facets of the certification program. In 1989 he became the manager of the seed certification program in Colorado. He held this role for 15 years, conducting research on many facets of seed potato production, working with various diseases such as bacterial ring rot, blackleg and PVY, and, of course, conducting the seed potato certification program.

He completed a PhD degree in Plant Pathology from Colorado State University in 1994. In 2003, Rob moved out of the active management of the seed certification program and took on a more prominent role as a potato Extension Specialist while focusing more on applied research projects. He assumed the role as manager of the Strawberry Certification program in 2001 and manager of the San Luis Valley Research Center in 2006. Additionally, he has served the past three years as the Interim Director for Extension covering the six San Luis Valley counties.

Rob belongs to the Potato Association of America (1982-), the American Phytopathological Society and Sigma Xi. He has served the PAA in numerous capacities, including all of the officer duties in both the Certification and Pathology Sections, on several committees including the Variety Inventory committee, the Finance committee, the Site selection committee and the Vision committee and is currently a Senior Editor for Plant Protection.

He served as a Local Arrangement Committee member for three PAA meetings held in Colorado. Rob served as a PAA Director in 2001, and moved through the officer ranks to be elected president of the PAA in 2004-05. He is a long-time member and true supporter of the PAA and potatoes in general. He has been active with the National Potato Council, also serving on numerous committees and working with the Council on various activities. He is a recipient of the NPC Meritorious Service Award and strongly supports the NPC activities.