New Athens Based Forest Service Unit Project Leader Announced
June 22, 2017
Asheville, NC — The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants research unit’s new Project Leader will be James T. Vogt. The unit is headquartered in Athens, Ga., and has research teams in Pineville, Auburn, Ala. and Asheville, N.C.
“I knew at an early age I wanted to be an entomologist,” said Vogt. “As a kid growing up in western Connecticut, I drove my mother quite mad by stuffing my pockets with gypsy moth pupae and knocking down paper wasp nests to bring them inside.” This early passion has turned into a career for Vogt.
Vogt has a doctorate in entomology from Auburn University and is a board certified entomologist. For the past six years, he has served deputy program manager for the Forest Inventory and Analysis unit in Knoxville, Tenn. He began his career with the federal government in 2001, as a research entomologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Starkville, Miss., specializing in imported fire ant research. After a year, he was transferred to the new ARS National Biological Control Laboratory in Stoneville, Miss. From 2004 through 2009, he served as lead scientist and research entomologist. He left research for a short time to be Technical and Quality Control Director for a pest management “I am grateful to be returning to a position where I can spend more time helping stakeholders answer insect-related questions and solve problems,” said Vogt. “More importantly, to be entrusted with leading a group of scientists and staff of this caliber is a humbling experience and I will work very hard to support their excellent work every way that I can.” Vogt is looking forward to relocating to the Athens area with his wife Karen, and their kids Samantha and James.
Scientists in this unit are on the front lines of detecting and fighting native and non-native insect pests, disease pathogens and invasive plants through innovative management strategies. Several of the most serious pest problems addressed by these scientists were either absent from, or only emerging in, the Southern Region a decade ago. They are working with partners to slow or stop the spread of forest threats such as laurel wilt disease, redbay ambrosia beetle, thousand cankers disease, walnut twig beetle, emerald ash borer, and hemlock woolly adelgid – to name only a few. This unit’s scientists are also instrumental in identifying and developing management strategies for the many invasive plants that severely impact the health of the forests.