Interim director named for research center

Published 1:25 pm Monday, April 16, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Dr. Edgar Vinson has been named the interim director for the Chilton Research and Extension Center, following the retirement of Jim Pitts.

Vinson said the interim position is really an expansion of what he was already doing, but with added administrative and human resource responsibilities.

“The (Research Center) is very well run and it is staffed by some really dedicated and talented employees — people who really love what they do,” Vinson said.

He said this will make the transition smoother.

Vinson is the Extension fruit specialist and had previously assisted with research projects on vegetable variety trials and fruit production housed at the facility as a research associate.

He said he was looking forward to “working more closely with the employees here.”

The search has begun for a permanent replacement for Pitts, and Vinson said he is content to go back to fruit specialist when that person is chosen.

“I really like what I am doing as an Extension fruit specialist,” Vinson said.

Vinson first became involved in horticulture when he landed a summer job working at a mushroom farm.

“It was not a field that I had a lot of experience in at the time,” Vinson said.

He had a Bachelor of Science in biology.

Later, he got a job as a research technician with the same professor he had worked with on the mushroom project.

“I’ve always enjoyed research, and this more practical side of research was appealing to me because you can see the effects more immediately, you can see how the work that is being done is benefitting the farmers and the industry as a whole,” Vinson said.

Vinson went on to complete his master’s and doctorate degrees at Auburn University. He said he decided to complete his doctorate “because I wanted to have more of an influence in the industry … and effect some positive changes in the industry.”

The Chilton Research and Extension Center is located at 120 County Road 756 in Clanton. Vinson said tours are offered for those interested in the research.