Dr. Stephen W. Searcy has been named interim department head of the department of biological and agricultural engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. The announcement was made by Dr. Mark A. Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences for Texas A&M AgriLife.

Searcy, who was also associate department head, will serve as an interim until a permanent replacement for former head Dr. Gary Riskowski is found. Riskowski is returning to a full-time faculty position after nine years directing the department.

“Dr. Searcy is an excellent choice to continue the management of the department in this interim period,” Hussey said. “He worked closely with Dr. Riskowski to lead the department to its ranking as one of the largest and best biological and agricultural engineering programs in the nation. As associate head of the department, Dr. Searcy has provided leadership on a wide range of projects, including strategic planning and curriculum and facilities development. He is also coordinator of the agricultural systems management program.”

Recognized by his peers for his research on precision agriculture, Searcy has received several American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Paper and Blue Ribbon Extension Aids awards. A 28-year member of the society, Searcy was named a Fellow in 2008. In 2009, he was elected treasurer.

Searcy earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in agricultural mechanization and another in agricultural engineering, and a master’s degree in agricultural mechanization from the University of Missouri. He earned a doctorate in agricultural engineering from Oklahoma State University.

He has been on the Texas A&M faculty since 1980. In addition to his current administrative responsibilities, he has conducted research on intelligent machine systems for agriculture, with an emphasis on bioenergy logistics, cotton engineering, and precision agriculture. He has conducted Texas AgriLife Extension Service programs focused on precision agriculture technology adoption and has taught courses on electronic and machine systems, information systems, design and research.

Searcy is a registered professional engineer in Texas and a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology.