Engineers Nominated by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Candice Johnson, E.I.T.
Candice Johnson, E.I.T., a systems engineer with John Deere, currently writes system requirement specifications for precision farming applications. This includes expanding the current Greenstar product capabilities and entering new areas with a focus on providing customers a means to improve the overall efficiency of their operations. Prior to her current role, Johnson worked as a manufacturing engineer at John Deere where she created value stream maps, optimized assembly line layout and improved ergonomics of assembling grain drills, and also as a quality engineer where she was the lead for two new product programs ensuring all quality planning was complete.
Johnson is active in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, serving as a past president of the International Preprofessional Community and being recognized with the ASABE President’s Distinguished Service Award. In her community, she the club director for a youth volleyball program that provides an opportunity for local players to compete on a traveling team. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biosystems engineering from Oklahoma State University.
Thomas Hefferan, a process engineer with Eli Lilly, has focused on leading projects to reduce process cycle time and waste from a large scale Fermentation and Purification Biotech process. As a Six Sigma Green Belt, he has supported or led six projects which resulted in throughout rate increases and a reduction of over 1.2 million gallons of water per year from the plant’s automated cleaning process. As an equipment owner whose systems are used weekly by over 100 operators, Hefferan is continuously looking for opportunities to reduce human errors and improve process understanding through the development of training programs and equipment monitoring tools.
Hefferan holds a bachelor’s degree in biosystems engineering from Michigan State University.
Kevin Wright, a water resources engineer with the Suwannee River Water Management District, is currently concentrating on water supply planning in the form of a District Water Supply Plan with an adjacent water management district to address future water needs over the next 20 years, and the formation of the Nature Coast Regional Water Authority which will connect four municipalities and two counties with drinking water and wastewater. Prior to this, Wright served as the project coordinator for the District’s efforts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency Map Modernization Program, where he helped develop several website applications, enabling residents to view and print flood zone maps, determine flood elevations and answer common questions about the National Flood Insurance Program.
Wright is a member of many professional organizations, including the Florida Floodplain Managers Association where he currently serves as regional directors, the Florida Engineering Society, and is a founding member of the Suwannee River Toastmasters. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and biological engineering, specializing in land and water resources, from the University of Florida and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in water resources planning and management at the University of Florida.
Nate Green, E.I.T.
Nate Green, a maintenance team leader with E & J Gallo Winery, oversees a staff of 27 individuals and is responsible for managing the construction of wine process equipment and piping for a new bottling line, three additional filters, and utility upgrades. He is responsible for the economic, safety, and productivity metrics for his team and managed to maintain and improve equipment related to plant utilities and wine processing ranging from million gallon tanks to simple pumps and complex filtering systems. Prior to his current position, Green worked with Diamond Foods, Inc. as a design engineer where he worked on major projects such as a McDonald’s salad nut processing and packaging system, a snack processing room renovation, and a packaging line installation.
In addition to his nominating organization, Green is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the San Joaquin Valley Project Managers Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree in bioresource and agricultural engineering and a master’s degree in engineering, water science, both from California Polytechnic State University.