Director of the Gulf Coast Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit and grants manager for NRI, Debbie Danford, was recognized as part of this year’s CESU Network National Awards for her outstanding leadership and individual contributions to the advancement of the Gulf Coast network. The (CESU) system is a national network of units of various federal agencies, academic institutions, nongovernmental conservation organizations, and other partners that supports scientific, technical, and research efforts across the country. NRI, as part of both Texas A&M University and AgriLife Research, acts as the host for the Gulf Coast CESU (GC-CESU) by facilitating communication with partners about funding opportunities and providing administrative structure to the unit.
The award was announced by the CESU National Coordinator Tom Fish at the 2023 CESU Network National Meeting. “Debbie’s long-term and consistent involvement with the CESU program, considerable knowledge and experience, and collaborative spirit have made her an invaluable resource within the Gulf Coast CESU and across the national network,” said GC-CESU’s National Park Service (NPS) partner, Giselle Mora-Bourgeois. “Her work to develop, nurture, and maintain collaborative and cooperative partnerships and relationships, helped to realize ‘the CESU concept’ from the ground up.”
NRI is proud to have Debbie as the director of our unit and her contributions cannot be overstated. She actively supports over 80 federal and nonfederal partners across seven states with technical guidance and helpful resources. She often meets with partners one-on-one and provides them with impactful connections that aid informed decision making. She led a team of developers to create a new GC-CESU website which features research projects, network contact information, and new funding opportunities. Debbie also initiated a partnership with the National Park Service to better assess the needs of project managers and principal investigators to improve the quality and relevance of our research projects. The Gulf Coast network has gained 14 new partners in the last five years thanks to Debbie’s dedication to supporting the unit and its partners.
Congratulations to Debbie Danford on the recognition of her dedicated service to supporting scientific research and innovation and her investment in her peers.
Debbie Danford, NRI Grant Administrator and GC-CESU Director