IPM Leader Wins State Entomology Award

Rosemary Hallberg

NOVEMBER 02, 2017

Karl Suiter and Heather Moylett, NC Entomology Society Chair

NSF Center for Integrated Pest Management Associate Director Karl Suiter received the 2017 Outstanding

Management Associate Director Karl Suiter received the 2017 Outstanding Contributions to Entomology Award from the North Carolina Entomology Society last week during their annual meeting. Dr. Suiter leads several teams of scientists and programmers who develop products for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service plant protection and quarantine (APHIS-PPQ) program. An entomologist by trade, Dr. Suiter is highly skilled in implementing custom IT solutions that support regulatory decision making, data warehousing and information sharing. His entomology expertise helps him link biology to information technology to design practical tools for pest prevention and pest management. He has been with the Center since 2003.

In his role as a Cochran and Borlaug Fellows and postdoctoral mentor, he has trained more than 70 employees and currently supervises more than 30 staff in several projects. He often has had to travel extensively to other countries to present new databases or share research findings gleaned by his staff. In addition to overseeing and managing several of the Center’s Biosecurity and Information Systems Applications, he has developed information technology projects in East Africa for the COMESA trade group. He has also assisted the Caribbean Invasive Species Working Group to develop an IT infrastructure to support international trade. His curriculum vita lists his presentations and symposia talks on invasive species and information technology.

He is currently collaborating with the North American Plant Protection Organization to pioneer a program for training and equipping entomologists in the US, Canada and Mexico with the skills to conduct risk analyses on exotic insect pests. Dr. Suiter will be sharing his experience on the collection and analysis of exotic pest information to support the prevention and control of alien invasive species at the 2017 Third International Congress on Biological Invasions in Hangzhou, China.

Karl Suiter (second from the left) with Heather Moylett, Godshen Pallipparambil and Frank Louws at the N.C. Entomology Society’s annual meeting.

Staff who have worked with Dr. Suiter have benefited from his feedback and encouragement to take increased responsibility for projects. In the instance of a possible loss of funding, Dr. Suiter intervenes with agency staff to keep the project running. Dr. Godshen Pallipparambil, who nominated Dr. Suiter, remembered one instance when one of the projects underwent a shift in management and priorities, and several stakeholder groups could not come to a consensus. “With minimal, but critical interventions, Dr. Suiter enabled us to navigate and overcome these obstacles by identifying and connecting us with key decision-makers,” Pallipparambil says. “Today, this project continues to run seamlessly, significantly contributing to the national plant health emergency response framework.”