Four promotions announced at the department

by | Jul 4, 2023

Summary: New faces moving into leadership roles in the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Three department employees are promoted and one is joining the department from N.C. State.

  • I’m happy to report that we have four people stepping into new leadership roles in the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  • I wanted to mention them because they are important divisions within the department that have a lot of interaction with our agricultural community.

Dr. Joe French 

  • Dr. Joe French of Reidsville is serving as assistant commissioner of agricultural services. He replaces Dr. Sandy Stewart who has left to serve as president of Sandhills Community College in Moore County.
  • I have gotten to know Joe/Dr. French in his role as research operations manager at the Upper Piedmont Research Station in Reidsville.
  • This is a position that he has held with N.C. State University since January 1993 where he has worked in collaboration with NCDA&CS Research Stations Division staff.
  • He is a graduate of N.C. State with an animal science degree and he earned his master’s degree and doctorate in reproductive physiology from Texas A&M University.
  • I’ve seen firsthand the strong leadership Joe has provided to the Upper Piedmont Research Station.
  • His knowledge, gained both in the classroom and the field, has served him well in more than 30 years of experience at the station.
  • I have no doubt he’ll bring those assets to serve the department and greater agricultural community in North Carolina.
  • In his new role as assistant commissioner over agricultural services, Joe/Dr. French will oversee seven divisions in the department, including Agronomic Services, Food Distribution, Marketing, Plant Industry, Research Stations, Small Farms and Soil & Water Conservation.
  • In addition to Joe, I am pleased that I have been able to promote three other employees from within the department. In each case, we are replacing experience with experience.
  • NCDA&CS employees Pam Hess of Raleigh, Patrick Jones of Reidsville and David Williams of Boone were all promoted. Pam is now serving as director of the Human Resources Division. Pat is serving as director of the Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division. And David is our new director of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation.
  • They have been career employees of the department and also have extensive experience that will serve the department and the agriculture community well.

Pam Hess 

  • Pam has nearly 19 years of state government experience, including 18 with NCDA&CS. In her time in the department, Hess has moved up from a processing assistant to personnel tech and HR consultant.
  • She had served as interim director of Human Resources when our former director moved to another state agency. The Human Resources Division is an important division because it is involved with all of the department’s nearly 2,000 employees.
  • She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola University-Chicago.

Patrick “Pat” Jones 

  • In our Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division, Pat has 40 years of experience with the department, starting his career as a pesticide inspector in 1983. He has held both field management and enforcement management positions.
  • He most recently served as pesticides deputy director. And he replaces Jim Burnette who retired after 45 years with the department.
  • Pat is known as a national leader in the field of pesticide regulations.
  • Specifically, he has been integral in the state’s adoption of Driftwatch and Bee Check – two successful voluntary programs that aim to protect crops and pollinators.

David Williams 

  • Most recently, as in last week, David Williams was promoted from deputy director of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation to director, replacing Vernon Cox who retired after a 30-plus year career in state government.
  • David also has 35 years of state government experience, beginning his career in the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources before joining NCDA&CS in 2010 when the Division of Soil and Water Conservation came to this department through a legislative move.
  • David is a technical expert in a range of environmental programs and his impressive career has included serving as chief of the Nonpoint Source Program Section, chief of the Industrial Pollution Prevention Section and as an environmental engineer.
  • He also has worked with local soil and water conservation districts, the Soil and Water Conservation Commission, USDA and other conservation partners on legislative and policy development.
  • David earned bachelor and master’s degrees in biological and agricultural engineering.
  • Our agriculture department is well respected around the country and looked to for its leadership and innovation in agriculture and that’s a credit to the highly professional employees that we have.
  • I know all four of these individuals will do a great job because of their commitment to serving our state along with their extensive experience.