Michael Parrella Inducted into California Floriculture Hall of Fame
Feb. 28, 2011
Michael Parrella (right), professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, was inducted into the California Floriculture Hall of Fame on Feb. 25 in San Diego. With him is presenter Mike Mellano Sr., of Mellano & Company, Oceanside. Mellano was inducted into the Floriculture Hall of Fame in 1990. (Photo Courtesy of Debi Aker)
DAVIS--Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, was inducted into the California Floriculture Hall of Fame on Feb. 25 in San Diego.
Mike Mellano Sr., of Mellano & Company, Oceanside, presented Parrella with the plaque. Mellano, inducted into the California Floriculture Hall of Fame in 1990, is now retired from the company. It is one of the largest growers of field-cut flowers in the United States.
"I've known Mike since he came to California in the early '80s," Mellano said. "He first began working with us on the leafminer and chrysanthemum project, and has been doing a lot of work for the growers."
"He is a world-class scientist and has done a lot for the industry," Mellano said, adding "My only regret is that we weren't able to get more funding for him."
About the Kee Kitayama
The Kee Kitayama Research Foundation (KKRF), founded in 1992 to honor longtime industry leader Kee Kitayama, is the source for information related to floriculture research.
Since 1997, KKRF has worked with the California Cut Flower Commission to fund needed research in cut flower areas and the foundation is looking forward to funding research for potted plants and other ornamentals, a spokesperson said.
The award, sponsored by the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation, was presented at the Society of American Florists’ Pests and Production Management Conference. The plaque reads: "In recognition of innovative and selfless contribution of enduring value to the Floriculture and Ornamental Industry, the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation hereby inducts Dr. Michael P. Parrella into the California Floriculture Hall of Fame, February 25, 2011.”
Parrella, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Plant Sciences, develops integrated pest management (IPM) strategies for ornamental crops, with an emphasis on biological control. He is widely known for his applied research that that includes floriculture crops, nursery and bedding plants and landscape plants in the urban environment. In 1985, he initiated what has become an annual conference on insect and disease management on ornamentals. The event is sponsored by the Society of American Florists.
The names of hall of fame inductees are engraved on permanent plaques at the San Francisco Flower Market, the Los Angeles Flower Market and the San Diego International Floral Trade Center. (Michael Reid, an emeritus professor of plant sciences, UC Davis, will be inducted later this year.) See list of inductees.
To be considered for the California Floriculture Hall of Fame, individuals nominated must have "contributed for a minimum of 15 years their leadership and organizational skills to the development and permanent betterment of the California floral industry in the areas of production, marketing, transportation, research and legislative activity," according to the award stipulations. The Hall of Fame awards were launched in 1986.
Parrella, chair of the department since July 2009, joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty in 1989. He chaired the department from 1991-1999 before becoming associate dean, Division of Agricultural Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
A native of Elizabeth, N.J., Parrella received his bachelor of science degree in animal science in 1974 from Rutgers-State University of Cook College, New Brunswick, N.J., and his master’s and doctorate degrees in entomology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., in 1977 and 1980, respectively. He began his academic career as an assistant professor at UC Riverside in 1980 and was promoted to professor in 1988. Parrella relocated to the UC Davis campus in 1989.
In demand as a speaker at national and international conferences, Parrella delivered the keynote address, ‘Worldwide Development of Sustainable Production Systems in Greenhouses” at the Greensys 2009 Conference, sponsored by the International Society for Horticulture Science last month in Quebec City, Canada.
Parrella has trained more than 30 students and postdoctoral students, many of whom work in floricultural entomology. He is the author of more than 375 publications that are equally split between scientific and trade journals. For 10 years he wrote a monthly column for the trade magazines Greenhouse Grower and GrowerTalks.
The recipient of numerous awards, Parrella was selected a fellow of the 5700-member Entomological Society of America (ESA) in 2008. ESA honors up to 10 fellows annually for their outstanding contributions in entomological research, teaching, extension or administration.
Parrella received the Emma Lausten Horticulture Award from Rutgers University in 2007; the Virginia Tech Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998; the Alex Laurie Research Award from the Society of American Florists in 1997; the Futura Research and Education Award from the Professional Plant Growers Association in 1991; Recognition Award from the Entomological Society of America in 1987; and the California Association Research Award in 1986. He is the Yolo County representative to the Sacramento/Yolo County Mosquito Abatement District Board of Trustees.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology