Rob Curtiss

Rob Curtiss

Rob Curtiss has been hired by the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission as special projects coordinator.

Curtiss received a master’s degree in entomology from Washington State University in 2008. He spent the last five years as an entomologist with the state of Hawaii focused on helping the state and its citizens address invasive species and other pest issues.

In that role, he worked with the general public, growers, research organizations, regulatory agencies and the U.S. military to address emerging pest issues such as coffee berry borer, coconut rhinoceros beetle and little fire ant.

As part of his job responsibilities, he managed sizable grant-funded projects, supervised large numbers of employees and served as a media contact for these efforts.

“We are very pleased to have Rob working for us to initially take on a number of projects aimed at enhancing communication between the WTFRC and our industry, as well as helping the commission communicate the industry’s priorities to the tree fruit research community,” said Mike Willett, WTFRC manager.

Willett said Curtiss “will also work to help the commission implement a longer-term management plan for industry-owned orchard property around the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) laboratory at Parker Heights in the lower Yakima Valley.”

The property was originally acquired by Washington growers to allow the ARS to replace an existing insect research facility in Yakima by deeding a portion of the property purchase to USDA as a site for a new laboratory.

Curtiss will work from the WTFRC’s Wenatchee office located at 1719 Springwater Ave. and can be reached at 509-665-8271, ext. 3.