While many people strive to be respected by their peers, some people come by it naturally. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Engineer Greg Sokora is one of those people who humbly excels in the work he does and is well respected.
Nominated by his colleagues, Sokora, NRCS zone engineer in Lubbock, was recently named as a 2020 inductee in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Academy of Distinguished Graduates of Texas A&M University.
"His ability to connect with people has truly made him a distinguished graduate of the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineers of Texas A&M University,” said Tim Dybala, retired NRCS water resources engineer.
Over the last 41 years, Sokora has made countless contributions to the NRCS engineering discipline. He is admired and trusted by agricultural industry leaders and colleagues for his work in providing superior assistance in resource conservation, says Darren Richardson, NRCS assistant state conservationist for field operations, Lubbock.
“His professionalism and knowledge of conservation engineering practices and principles are exemplary," said Troy Headings, NRCS field engineer in Amarillo. "He has a practical approach in conserving our natural resources, and is an outstanding example of what an agricultural engineer should be.”
Sokora has led a team of NRCS engineers in a 51-county area since 1983. He also works extensively with his engineering counterparts across Texas, neighboring states and at the national level. His assistance in resource conservation, particularly irrigation water management, has saved significant water and energy resources. Sokora is credited for thinking outside of the box to develop solutions that fit the needs of producers, while following standards and specs.
One of these innovative practices is rainwater harvesting. “It’s a very valuable practice, particularly on the High Plains. We have a limited resource in the Ogallala Aquifer. We need to extend the life of it, and rainfall harvesting is one way of doing that,” Headings said.
Throughout his career, Sokoro has invested in employees who want to learn from him and is genuinely concerned about the well-being of each of his coworkers, he adds.
“I know of no engineer with such strong technical and people skills with a servant leader heart,” said Kevin LaStrapes, NRCS zone engineer in Bryan.
Sokora would have been recognized at the BAEN induction ceremony in the spring of 2020 but due to the pandemic, the ceremony was canceled. Sokora will be honored at the 2021 ceremony.
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