Giovanni Piccinni, Ph.d., new director of TWRI, in a suit and tie with a blue short, yellow tie and dark blue jacket.
Giovanni Piccinni, Ph.D., has been named director of the Texas Water Resources Institute. The appointment is effective Aug. 1. (Texas A&M AgriLife)

Giovanni Piccinni, Ph.D., will return to Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Bryan-College Station, with a wealth of expertise to bolster his new role as director of the Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, effective Aug. 1.

In addition to 14 years and several roles within Texas A&M AgriLife, Piccinni has served as an industry executive focused on water management and conservation, especially in sustainable field production and regenerative agriculture. His most recent role was as global field and plant production optimization and sustainability lead at Bayer Crop Science, St. Louis. 

Goals of new Texas Water Resources Institute director

“Collaborative relationships drive my leadership style,” Piccinni said. “My emphasis is on strategically aligning teams to address unique challenges.”

TWRI is the state’s official water resources institute and is a unit of AgriLife Research. The institute provides science-based, community-supported solutions for the state’s pressing water quantity and quality challenges through internal expertise and external collaborations.

As TWRI’s director, Piccinni will develop a vision for the institute’s role in the state, national and global water dynamics, science and policy. He will develop strategy teams that respond to water-related issues and opportunities, and he will strive to secure new support for the institute’s work.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Piccinni back to AgriLife Research to take on this pivotal directorship at TWRI,” said G. Cliff Lamb, director of AgriLife Research. “His expertise will be integral to leading-edge discoveries and innovation in this space that is so critical to healthy people and environments and to thriving economies in Texas and beyond.”   

A career in leadership

From 1995 to 2008, Piccinni served AgriLife Research as a postdoctoral assistant research scientist, assistant professor and associate professor at laboratory and field research locations in Amarillo and Uvalde.

During this time, he led research programs in plant stress and disease stress physiology that advanced irrigation and yield optimization technologies in drought environments. His advances included remote-sensing technologies and plant-growth computer models — digital tools to help production systems respond to changing environments.  

Since 2008, Piccinni has led global seed and plant production optimization and sustainability initiatives at Monsanto and Bayer Crop Sciences. These roles included developing strategies to improve production with input efficiency, especially in water resources, serving as a constant benchmark.   

Piccinni served on the American Society of Agronomy board of directors from 2020 to 2023. He is also a member of the Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America and the European Society of Doctors in Agronomy.

He holds an agronomy and crop physiology doctorate from the University of Bari, Italy, and he completed executive training at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management.

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