Greg Pompelli, Ph.D., joins Texas A&M AgriLife Research as the director of the Center of Excellence for Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense, or CBTS, a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence beginning Jan. 13.
In 2018, the center became responsible for protecting people, plants, animals and infrastructure in the U.S. from evolving biological threats outside its borders. As lead institution, Texas A&M University spearheads the cooperative efforts by academic, industry, government and laboratory partners throughout the U.S. to provide research and educational resources that improve the nation’s biological security.
Patrick Stover, Ph.D., vice-chancellor and dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of AgriLife Research, said Texas A&M AgriLife is positioned to lead the efforts to deliver solutions to secure the nation without disrupting the nation’s supply chain and commercial logistics.
“Food security and public health are fundamental to our national security,” he said. “We must strengthen our guard against biological threats to our food supply and agricultural production capacities to maintain the public’s continued trust in all aspects of agriculture.”
Also working with Texas A&M AgriLife are the following Texas A&M University System members: Texas A&M AgriLife Research-Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, The Texas A&M School of Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, Texas A&M Galveston and Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
Pompelli was previously the associate administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service, where he directed operations of the research agency.
At USDA, Pompelli directed 318 staff members and an $86 million budget. He worked to ensure research and support missions were monitored and that data, budget and technical investments improved the timeliness and quality of the agency’s analysis and research products.
At the center, Pompelli will direct development of an overall strategic vision and direction through engagement with Department of Homeland Security stakeholders and be responsible for identifying potential partnerships, strategic sourcing as well as project management, execution and solution delivery. Collaborators include a full range of regional and national industry professionals, including producers, researchers from government agencies and universities around the country.
“Success at the center starts with solid relationships both internally and externally,” Pompelli said. “All partners have something to bring to the table, and I look forward to listening, learning and setting a course. It’s my job to ensure the relevance and impact of the program, but I understand this level of national coordination and responsibility takes a team working toward shared goals.”
Pompelli said he looks forward to the challenge of leading the center into the future and promoting its role in protecting the nation.
“I don’t think there is any question about the value of protecting our nation from threats and disruptions to people and global supply chains,” he said, “but we must showcase our value through innovation and execution of a solid, science-based research and development plan.”
“We face ever-evolving threats,” he said. “So, it’s paramount that we continue to evolve as a center to maintain and improve our supply chain biosecurity research, education and solutions capabilities.”