NORTH CAROLINA – USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station assistant station engineer, Jason Anderson, was recently named Technical Engineer of the Year for 2017. Anderson received the award for his accomplishments in implementing new technologies for Forest Service Engineering and his development of long-term research infrastructure for invasive plants and insects that directly supports the USDA Strategic Goals.
Anderson collaborated with partners to ensure Forest Service research in the management and control of invasive insects and plants will continue for the next 30+ years. He worked with SRS, the University of Georgia and USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service scientists to convert an underutilized FS storage facility into a state-of-the-art insect quarantine laboratory. The new invasive insect quarantine laboratory will support research on the efficacy and safety of potential biological control agents. This will greatly enhance the agency’s capacity to support safer and more cost-effective biological controls for invasive insects in the U.S. and other countries.
“Being nominated for such award is a great honor in and of itself, and actually being selected is beyond words,” Anderson said. “I will be the first to admit that none of the accomplishments cited were mine alone. This award is for a great group of dedicated colleagues, within SRS, the broader Forest Service and beyond that contribute every day in countless ways to make amazing things happen. I am deeply appreciative for the opportunities to pursue such interesting and impactful work with SRS and the Forest Service.”
Anderson was also the national engineering team co-lead on a project to implement new technologies in FS engineering programs. His team’s initiative led to an increase in the field’s utilization of the Natural Resource Manager, a system of database tools for managing Agency data across the Forest Service. He personally developed video tutorials on importing NRM data into Google Earth for basic mapping. He has also assisted with the development of basic asset visualization tools using Google Earth and ArcGIS that have proven useful for overview and orientation to the Forest Service and its varied assets at all levels of the Agency.
Over the past 5 years, it is estimated that he has managed engineering projects that saved more than one million kilowatt hours and $150,000 annually in energy and water costs. He has made significant contributions toward making Forest Service engineering an efficient and high-performing organization by implementing new technologies. In order to ease the data management burden, Anderson developed a more automated process for transferring bulk data from the Ameresco AXIS utility management database to EnergyStar Portfolio Manager, saving around two weeks of data processing time annually.
Anderson is a native of Pikeville, Tennessee, with a Master of Urban and Regional Planning, Environmental Management, from Virginia Polytechnic University and a Bachelor of Science, Civil and Environmental Engineering, from Tennessee Technological University. He began his Forest Service career in 2002 on the Daniel Boone National Forest, and after making a couple of stops on the Apalachicola National Forest and White Mountain National Forest respectively, he joined SRS as the assistant station engineer in 2010.