Luke Hydock, manager of the Macfarlane Research Greenhouses at the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, has been honored with a 2021 Dean's Award for Distinction. Hydock was presented with the award at a recent online gathering of members of the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture to celebrate the year’s accomplishments and retiring faculty and staff.
“I am honored to have been awarded the 2021 Dean’s Award for Distinction. It is really inspiring to come to work every day and support all of the important research that UNH’s plant science community is engaged in. I have an amazing staff and constant support from our administration in pursuing our shared goal of making the Macfarlane Research Greenhouses a modern research platform that can host plant research that is important to New Hampshire and beyond. I feel very fortunate to be part of the experiment station management team and look forward to continuing to help our researchers build a facility that best supports their work,” Hydock said.
Hydock was nominated by Anton Bekkerman, director of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, who said Hydock’s professionalism, dedication to ensuring the success of the experiment station, and willingness to consistently go beyond his assigned responsibilities to ensure excellence in a diverse and growing greenhouse research program exemplify his dedication to elevating the college’s research and service missions.
“In my interactions with Luke, there are clearly two characteristics that stand out: he is passionate about ensuring the highest level of ongoing research, and he is forward-looking when considering how the facility staff, infrastructure, and operations could be more effective. He is able to navigate not only the most active and diverse set of research within any NHAES facility—at least ten NHAES projects that range across researchers within three COLSA departments and Extension—but is able to effectively communicate with the multitude of personalities,” Bekkerman said.
Amber Kittle, Macfarlane Research Greenhouses technician, said Hydock delights in the day-to-day challenges involved in managing research developments and the many personalities they are overseen by.
“When others around him become overwhelmed by conditions of the facility or their research, he is able to sustain a bird’s-eye view and provide support which benefits all parties involved. Luke shines a light on the positive aspects of those he interacts with and in doing so, is able to guide them toward their own empowerment. He is truly an inspiration to work alongside,” Kittle said.
Hydock's leadership of the research greenhouse facility and his service to the experiment station and college has shined in his interactions with early-in-career scientists. The professionalism, level of interaction, and dedication to overseeing every research project as though it was his own makes him an incredible asset to the university’s developing scientists.
“Luke is an exceptional colleague because he has passion and takes pride in his work. He strives to understand the needs of his stakeholders--in this case the greenhouse users--and figure out how to best meet the needs for the collective good. Luke is a listener. His manner is such that you feel heard. He listens to your concerns and actively tries to address them. Luke is a team player and one of the most reliable people with whom I have worked. He has the ability to connect what we do at UNH to what happens in the real world and truly understands our role in supporting growers,” said Anissa Poleatewich, assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems.
Hydock facilitated the construction and October 2020 opening of the new greenhouse addition. While the design of the expansion was led by the previous greenhouse manager, nearly the entirety of the $2.58 million, 6,800 square foot addition occurred with Hydock as the facility leader. According to Bekkerman, he was “absolutely instrumental” in ensuring that the experiment station and college were able to effectively navigate the construction process, ensure appropriate paperwork and inspections, and safeguard ongoing research in the existing greenhouse chambers.
“Over the past 18 months during which the greenhouse addition was constructed, it is difficult to quantify and describe the amount of Luke's efforts that went into simultaneously overseeing the construction of a brand-new research facility and assuring the success of ongoing scientific efforts. What is clear, however, is that these efforts have led to a successful infrastructural investment that will enable leading research from COLSA scientists and modern technical training for graduate and undergraduate students for many years. It is difficult to imagine the same level of steadiness, certainty, and leadership during the process without Luke at the helm” Bekkerman said.
“In the nine months of my tenure at UNH, I have been extraordinarily fortunate to join and work with a team of farm managers who are committed to the missions of the experiment station and the college. However, Luke has stood out as someone who truly raises the bar of what it means to be excellent. I am proud to nominate him for the Dean's Award of Distinction in service and believe he is highly worthy of being one of the inaugural award recipients,” he said.
Founded in 1887, the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture is UNH’s first research center and an elemental component of New Hampshire's land-grant university heritage and mission. We steward federal and state funding, including support from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to provide unbiased and objective research concerning diverse aspects of sustainable agriculture and foods, aquaculture, forest management, and related wildlife, natural resources, and rural community topics. We maintain the Woodman and Kingman agronomy and horticultural research farms, the Macfarlane Research Greenhouses, the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center, and the Organic Dairy Research Farm. Additional properties also provide forage, forests, and woodlands in direct support to research, teaching, and outreach.
The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation, and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts, and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF, NIH, and USDA, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea, and space.