The Irrigation Association is excited to announce that Charlie Abee, CAIS, of the College of the Sequoias, is a recipient of the 2022 Excellence in Education Award, sponsored by Hunter Industries. This award recognizes an outstanding educator who teaches irrigation, water management and/or water conservation in affiliation with a two- or four-year institution and has a commitment to not only elevating the level of education but also promoting the field of irrigation as a viable and sustainable career to students.
Charlie Abee is an agriculture technology and irrigation professor, and he developed an irrigation training program at the College of the Sequoias from the ground up. Starting in 2017 with a basic water management course, he worked with local industry and California State University partners to create a program that meets the need for an entry-level technician, while also preparing and encouraging students to continue on to higher levels of education.
“Charlie Abee is a true advocate for the growth of our industry, dedicated to helping secure our future workforce,” said IA CEO Natasha Rankin, MBA, CAE. “His monumental efforts in building an irrigation program that supports students in becoming an entry-level technician and beyond is helping fill the labor gap that continues to grow in our industry.”
Abee embeds career exploration and awareness into his classes on a daily basis. Through field trips, attending the Irrigation Show and similar conferences, and an open-door policy with industry professionals, he works toward his goal of serving as the pipeline for highly trained individuals to the irrigation industry to help meet the ever-growing demand of water use efficiency. Abee serves on the IA Certification Board, and he has had students receive E3 scholarships to attend the Irrigation Show.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized by the Irrigation Association with the Excellence in Education Award,” said Abee. “I am thankful for the opportunity to introduce students into this industry and appreciate the overwhelming support the industry and the Irrigation Association has provided me over the years. I look forward to introducing more students to our industry and encouraging them to be the leaders that promote efficient irrigation.”
In addition to Abee, this year’s Excellence in Education Award was also presented to Bradley Jakubowski. These and the other 2022 IA award recipients will be honored during the 2022 Irrigation Show and Education Week in Las Vegas Dec. 5-9. More information about this and other IA awards and past recipients can be found at www.irrigation.org/awards. Additional information on the College of Sequoias, Tulare Campus and Agriculture Program offerings, visit www.cos.edu/en-us/academics/agriculture.