New CRDF Manager Will Push HLB Solutions

Ernie NeffCitrus Greening, HLB Management

HLB
HLB

Rick Kress, left, with CRDF president Tom Jerkins at a May 23 meeting

The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) will soon hire another top administrator to ensure potential HLB solutions make it to the grove. The application period for a senior project manager ends May 24. Rick Kress, CRDF vice president and Governance Committee chairman, discusses the need for the position and the manager’s duties.

“Right now, the entire citrus industry, specifically Florida, is in uncharted territory with HLB, as it’s threatening the basic survival of the industry,” Kress says. “With survival now of key importance, we need to focus less on research and put more efforts in place to deliver potential solutions to growers in order to sustain production.”

Kress says multiple HLB field trials are in place. “The senior project manager will be responsible for the design, implementation and the collection of the data, both commercially and regulatory wise, to ensure that these specific projects and field trials move forward as they should toward a viable solution,” he says. “This position will be responsible for the current project managers that are in place within CRDF.”

The senior project manager will oversee other project managers and report to CRDF Chief Operations Officer Harold Browning. “The Governance Committee as well as the board feels it’s now time to bring an individual in that has the expertise in specific project management, whether it be regulatory or commercialization, so that we can keep these things moving forward as quickly as possible,” Kress says.

The position has an advertised salary of up to $195,000. There were 24 applicants as of Monday. Kress said he hoped the manager could be hired “within the next 30 to 60 days.”

Kress adds that the addition of this position “is very critical. As we look at potential solutions, there are various factors relating to commercialization that have to be addressed. There are certainly a wide range of regulatory activities that have to be addressed. This position is going to ensure that we have the data, the results and everything we need so that when the solution is identified, there are no stumbling blocks.”

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large