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T. Michael Likins

T. Michael Likins was born in Opelousas, LA, in November, 1952, and lived in Memphis, TN, much of his life. He attended the University of Memphis, graduating with distinction with a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany with a concentration in mycology. During his undergraduate career, he served in the position of senior physicians’ assistant with a cardiovascular surgery group. After the U of M, he enrolled in the graduate program in Plant Pathology at West Virginia University and successfully defended his forest pathology thesis entitled "Occurrence of DsRNA in Isolates of Endothia parasitica from Sites in Michigan and West Virginia." This work was part of a cooperative research program called "Biological Control of Chestnut Blight."

Immediately following graduate work, he was employed as an Assistant Extension Specialist with the West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service. Mike's duties were divided among three program areas; pesticide applicator training, plant diagnostics, and integrated pest management. His major responsibility was operating the Pest Identification Laboratory. Before leaving, he completed an E.P.A. funded special project entitled "Recognition of Major Diseases of Fruits and Vegetables."

In 1990, Mike was selected to fill the role of the State Plant Pathologist for the Commonwealth of Virginia, serving in the Office of Plant & Pest Services (now the Office of Product & Industry Standards) for the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. One of the major areas of responsibility was to support agriculture inspectors with laboratory diagnoses and on-site assessments of plant diseases. As State Plant Pathologist, he was responsible for other areas relating to plant health; horticulture, entomology, weed science, and exotic disease surveys.

During the 12 years with the Department of Agriculture, Mike served concurrently as the State Endangered Species Coordinator (for plants & insects) for 1½ years, and as supervisor of the Beneficial Insect Rearing Laboratory for 3 years.

In 2002, he was recruited to fill the position of Extension Agent for Chesterfield County and served simultaneous roles as the county’s Agriculture & Natural Resource agent, the Unit Coordinator, and as the Appointed Director for the James River Soil & Water Conservation District. In 2008, Chesterfield County hired Mike to fill the newly established position of Director of Extension and County Agent, which he currently holds.

Mike’s passions include the outdoors and nature such as cycling, fishing and birding. He is married to his best friend, Elizabeth M. Likins, and will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary in July.