“I feel immensely honored by this recognition,” Dr. Merchant said in a news release from Texas A&M AgriLife. “It’s a testament to some of the great work we’ve accomplished through the ESA and a satisfying honor at the end of my career.”
In August, Dr. Merchant retired from a 31-year career with the AgriLife Extension, where he was based at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center in Dallas. During his career, he trained AgriLife Extension county agents, the public and pest management professionals on structural pest control, turfgrass and ornamental plant insects. He also provided comprehensive lessons on entomology for public health.
His research has spanned a wide variety of pest problems including fire ants, scale insects, spider and scorpion management, and the economics and implementation of IPM programs for schools. He is a regular trainer of pest management professionals and established the IPM Experience House training facility in Dallas.
Dr. Merchant served five years on the ESA Certification Board, including two years as director. As director, he helped establish the Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) professional certification program and co-authored the ESA publication IPM for the Urban Professional: A Study Guide for the Associate Certified Entomologist. The ESA credits this initiative for helping to build current ACE membership to more than 1,000 from zero in 2004.
The honorary membership recognizes significant contributions by ESA members who have served for a minimum of 20 years. The recognition comes with complimentary lifetime membership to the ESA and lifetime registration to the society’s annual meeting, Entomology. Dr. Merchant has attended the conference more than 30 times since joining the ESA in 1982. Entomology 2020 will be held virtually and will feature multiple live-streams running simultaneously Nov. 16-19. On-demand content will be available from Nov. 11-25.
Including Dr. Merchant, five entomologists earned honorary membership from the ESA this year and all recipients will be recognized during the virtual annual meeting.