Plenary Speakers

Opening Session | Monday, February 28, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Dr. Norm Leppla headshotDr. Norman Leppla

Professor, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Dr. Norman Leppla is the founding and current director of the University of Florida IPM Program. He spent more than 50 years of his professional life working in the field of integrated pest management, emphasizing biological control and associated insect rearing technology. Dr. Leppla works with faculty members, students and cooperators to strengthen IPM research, Extension, and education programs. A notable example is involvement in the University of Florida Plant Medicine Program that provides broad training for students to become plant health professionals, “Plant Doctors.” He has chaired or served on more than 50 M.S., Ph.D. and DPM graduate committees and mentored about 15 early career faculty members. Dr. Leppla currently serves as chairman of the Florida A&M University Center for Biological Control Advisory Council and a member of the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences Advisory Council and International IPM Symposium Steering, Program, International, and Students and Early Career Scientists Committees.

View the slides from Dr. Leppla's welcome


Dr. Carrie Castille headshotDr. Carrie Castille

Director, USDA-NIFA

Dr. Carrie Castille was appointed to a six-year term as director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which began on January 4, 2021.

A Louisiana native, Dr. Castille has championed agriculture and rural issues for more than 20 years. She has spent her career working in the agriculture industry, education and policy, including serving as Natural Resource Leader and Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University (LSU) and Associate Commissioner and Science Advisor to the Commissioner for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

In 2017, Dr. Castille joined USDA as state director for Louisiana Rural Development. In 2019, she was named the mid-south coordinator for USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) mission area serving Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri.

Prior to joining USDA, she was appointed by USDA Secretary Vilsack to the National Agriculture Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) advisory board from 2010 – 2017. During her term, she served as Chair of the NAREEE board, and contributed to many organizations, including the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Council on Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET). In 2014, Dr. Castille was appointed to the National Council for Environmental Policy and Technology by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

From 2010-2015, Dr. Castille was a member of the National Food Animal Veterinary Institute Board of Directors. She is also a past chair of the Southern U.S. Trade Association Operations Committee and a Fellow of the Food Systems Leadership Institute.

During her career, Dr. Castille received the Secretary’s Award of Excellence in 2003 from Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman for development of the Louisiana Master Farmer Program and the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Rural Development in 2018 from Secretary Sonny Perdue. In 2017, she was the first female inducted into the University of Louisiana Lafayette College of Engineering Hall of Distinction. She also will be the first female to serve as NIFA director in a non-acting capacity.

Dr. Castille holds a Ph.D. in Renewable Natural Resources (with emphasis on environmental and public policy) from Louisiana State University, an M.S. degree in Environmental Studies from Louisiana State University, and a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

View the video of Dr. Castille's presentation


Mr. Jake Li headshotMr. Ya-Wei (Jake) Li

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pesticide Programs, EPA

Ya-Wei (Jake) Li joined EPA after working on various conservation issues in the nonprofit and private sectors, with a focus on innovation, collaboration, and evidence-based approaches. Most recently, Jake was the Director for Biodiversity at the Environmental Policy Innovation Center, where he worked with federal agencies, businesses, and others to improve the effectiveness of federal wildlife laws. This work included enhancing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) pesticide consultation process. From 2010-2018, he served multiple roles at Defenders of Wildlife, including as Director of the Center for Conservation Innovation, where he oversaw the organization’s integration of science, technology, law, and policy to improve natural resource conservation. Before joining Defenders, Jake practiced environmental law at Latham & Watkins, LLP. Jake holds a B.S. from Drexel University and a J.D. from Cornell University.

View the video of Mr. Li's presentation


Dr. Steven Kappes headshotDr. Steven Kappes

Associate Administrator for the Office of National Programs, USDA-ARS

Dr. Kappes is the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Associate Administrator for the Office of National Programs. The Office of National Programs sets the research direction and develops budgets for the ARS research portfolio which includes plants, animals, natural resources, human nutrition, insects, and microbial pathogens. The Office of National Programs also includes the international research program. 

Currently, Dr. Kappes is leading the ARS Big Data Initiative and is the ARS lead on standing up the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas. He has served as a senior advisor for Animal Protection and Production in the USDA, Office of the Chief Scientist. He has worked with USDA agencies on issues related to animal health and production, herbicide resistance, and biosafety and biocontainment in high and maximum biocontainment laboratories. He currently co-leads the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Health Security Threats and previously co-chaired a U.S. Government Interagency Biosafety Taskforce, the NSTC Subcommittee on Foreign Animal Disease Threats and jointly initiated with Canada an international agriculture Biosafety Level 4 zoonotic disease network.

Dr. Kappes received his B.S. and M.S. from South Dakota State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

View the video of Dr. Kappes' presentation


Dr. Heikki Hokkanen headshotDr. Heikki Hokkanen

Visiting Research Professor, Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio campus

Dr. Heikki Hokkanen is currently a visiting research professor at the Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio campus. He is professor Emeritus of agricultural zoology at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki. He holds a Lic. Phil. degree in ecology and natural resource management ( Univ. Jyväskylä, Finland), and a PhD in applied entomology (Cornell University, NY, USA). After his PhD Heikki Hokkanen stayed for extensive periods as a visiting scholar at the Institute of Biological Control (Darmstadt, Germany), CABI Institute of Biological Control (Silwood Park, UK), University of Kiel, Germany, and at the OECD Directorate for Agriculture (Paris, France). In Finland his main work has been carried out first at the University of Kuopio,  at the Agricultural Research Center of Finland, and since 1990 until 2018 as a professor at the University of Helsinki.

His main interest and focus of work has been on all aspects of biological control, with emphasis on insect control. In recent years his interests have covered pollinators, and plant-derived bioactive compounds with an aim at plant protection applications. He has a long track record of coordinating international collaborative research. He coordinated the EU-project ERBIC (FAIR5), coordinated the FP7 project ‘ForestSpeCs’, and has participated in five other EU-RTD projects. Prof Hokkanen is an active player in scientific publishing: Editor-in-Chief of BioControl; Founding EiC of Arthropod-Plant Interactions, editor of book series ‘Progress in Biological Control’. Currently he is the President of the Local Organizing Committee for the 26th International Congress of Entomology, to be held in Helsinki in July 2022. In 2012 the International Organization for Biological Control selected Hokkanen as its Honorary Member.

View the slides from Dr. Hokkanen's presentation: “Revitalizing IPM New Ideas for the Future”


Dr. Thomas A. Green headshot2022 Lifetime IPM Achievement Awardee:
Dr. Thomas A. Green

Founder and Board President, IPM Institute of North America

Dr. Tom Green has been a national leader in market-based sustainability and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) initiatives for over thirty years. He formed The IPM Institute of North America as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit in 1998 to improve sustainability in agriculture and communities through market-based mechanisms based in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and other sustainable practices. Under his leadership, the Institute earned the International IPM Excellence Award from the 6th International IPM Symposium in 2009, and was recognized as a national award winner in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012 by the US EPA Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program. Throughout his career in IPM, Dr. Green has built an ever-expanding network of IPM and sustainability professionals. His ability to quickly draw connections across projects and disciplines, and to see how divergent pieces fit together in the big picture brings people and projects together in a shared mission of advancing sustainability in agriculture and communities. One of the biggest successes of his program is the IPM STAR certification for schools and childcare facilities that Dr. Green helped to create. The program impacts more than 2 million children and adopted by the US Army, and offers Green Shield Certification to structural pest management professionals.

View the slides from Dr. Green's presentation: “Recent Successes, Current Initiatives, and Future Possibilities in IPM”


Closing Session | Thursday, March 3, 10:15 AM to 12:00 PM

Dr. Rubella Goswami headshotDr. Rubella Goswami

Director, Division of Plant Protection, USDA-NIFA

Rubella Goswami currently serves as the Director for the Plant Protection Division at USDA’s-National Institute of Food and Agriculture where she had previously been a National Program Leader. In this role, she provides leadership and oversight for the division’s research, education and outreach activities across the nation through grant programs. She supervises a team of National Program Leaders, Program Specialists and support staff associated with NIFA’s efforts in the area of pest management. Prior to this, Rubella had been an Assistant Director for the National Identification Services with USDA-APHIS- Plant Protection and Quarantine and the Chief for the Plant Pest and Protectants Branch with Biotechnology Regulatory Services. Before joining the federal government, she served as a faculty and in the crop protection industry for nearly a decade. Rubella’s educational background includes a Doctoral degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Minnesota, US; Master’s degree in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Nottingham, UK; and Undergraduate degree in Agriculture from India.

View the video of Dr. Goswami's presentation


Dr. Vijay Nandula headshotDr. Vijay Nandula

National Program Leader for the Plant Systems-Protection Division, USDA-NIFA

Vijay Nandula received his BS degree in Agriculture from India, MS degree in Agronomy from Penn State, and Ph.D. in Weed Science and Plant Physiology from Virginia Tech. After a couple of postdoctoral assignments at North Dakota State University, Fargo and Mississippi State University, Stoneville, MS Vijay joined as an Assistant Research Professor at Mississippi State University in Stoneville, MS. Here, Vijay initiated an aggressive and comprehensive research program to address weed management issues in the Mississippi Delta region of Mississippi. Vijay edited the world’s first book on Glyphosate Resistance. Vijay then was employed as a Research Plant Physiologist in the Crop Production Systems Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Stoneville, MS from 2011 to 2020. At this position, he established a nationally and internationally recognized research program on biology and management of herbicide resistant weeds. Currently, Vijay Nandula provides national leadership in Weed Science and Integrated Pest Management in his role as a National Program Leader in the Division of Plant Systems-Protection in the Institute of Food Production and Sustainability at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of USDA in Kansas City, Missouri.

Vijay has published 71 peer-reviewed journal articles, 4 book chapters, and 4 conference proceedings papers, made 140 presentations at regional, national, international professional society meetings and 25 invited presentations, published 1 book (2nd book in preparation on Herbicide Metabolic Resistance), served as an Associate Editor of Weed Science journal for 12 years, and secured $2 million in grant funding.

View the video of Dr. Nandula's presentation


Dr. Anthony Shelton headshot2022 Lifetime IPM Achievement Awardee:
Dr. Anthony M. Shelton

International Professor of Entomology, Cornell University

Dr. Tony Shelton, International Professor of Entomology with a distinguished career of over 40 years at Cornell University, personifies lifetime commitment and passion for the principles and practices of IPM. His impact on IPM can best be illustrated by the variety of crops, pests and IPM tactics he has investigated. Dr. Shelton firmly believes he is obligated to work for the public good, both domestically and internationally, and he has achieved these goals by developing strong research and extension programs that use sound insect management strategies for vegetables, with spin-offs for many others crops. Throughout his career he has developed and deployed several key IPM tactics including the use of genetically engineered crops and insects. He was involved in the first field release of a genetically engineered virus for insect control in 1999 and, in 2017, conducted the first release of a GE agricultural insect pest with a self-limiting gene. One of his most remarkable successes has been with the USAID-funded Bt eggplant project in Bangladesh. From an initial 20 farmers in 2014, now more than 30,000 farmers are growing Bt eggplant in 2020. A recent study confirmed that Bt eggplant is accepted in the market, provides complete control of the eggplant fruit and shoot borer, the main pest of eggplant, and that grower receive an average of 19.6% higher yield and 21.7% higher revenue compared to non-Bt varieties.

View the slides from Dr. Shelton's presentation: "One Entomologist’s Experience with the Evolution and Practices of IPM Nationally and Internationally"


Dr. Charles Vincent headshot2022 Lifetime IPM Achievement Awardee:
Dr. Charles Vincent

Research Scientist (Entomology), Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Dr. Charles Vincent is an international leader in agricultural entomology and has led innovation in research and development of alternative insect management methods to conventional insecticides. He has an illustrious career spanning over 30 years to his credit and the goal of his program is to address threats posed by arthropods to some horticultural crops by developing non-insecticidal methods with the aim to improve the sustainability of plant protection programs.  Dr. Vincent’s research has been instrumental in the development and commercialization of biopesticide products. Beyond biopesticide research, Dr. Vincent has achieved international reputation for important contributions to physical control and classical biological control methods for management of insect pests. Perhaps some of his most significant contributions are in the field of developing biopesticides for use in the apple, grape and blueberry industries, which have very high quality and innocuity standards. In collaboration with Biotepp Inc., he developed Virosoft CP4, the first insecticidal virus registered for agricultural use in Canada (also registered in USA).

View the slides from Dr. Vincent's presentation: "Four Decades of IPM Research Onstage, Backstage and Offstage"


View the slides from Dr. Tom Green's closing: "Many Little Hammers: What I’ve learned from hitting my IPM thumbs for 45 years"


Learn more about the IPM Achievement Award recipients