Position Summary

Salary and Other Benefits

$70,000 - $80,000

Position Description

The Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State University is seeking applicants for a full-time, Extension specialist position in integrated pest management of mountain conifers with emphasis on insects and diseases associated with the intensive culture of Fraser fir Christmas trees.

The successful applicant will be a part of the department’s 10-person Extension Forestry team of 4 faculty and 6 staff, which includes a Christmas tree production and marketing specialist and a Christmas tree geneticist. They will work with research scientists, Extension specialists, county agents, program directors, and county technicians.

This position is based in Western North Carolina, with Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Jackson counties as the primary area of responsibility, but the successful applicant will have to travel periodically throughout North Carolina. Office space will be provided in either Extension or NC Department of Agriculture facilities within the primary area of responsibility.

The successful applicant will provide leadership in determining, implementing and evaluating educational programs consistent with the philosophy, policy, and overall educational objectives of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. They will be responsible for developing and delivering educational programming to county Extension personnel, Christmas tree producers and workers, and other stakeholders in mountain conifers.

Required Qualifications

Ph.D. in Entomology, Plant Pathology or similar area

Other Required Qualifications

Strong oral and written communication skills

Excellent time and resource management skills

Self-directed and self-motivated with the ability to multi-task and set priorities

A general knowledge of pesticides including pesticide modes of action

Ability to secure external funding in support of Extension programs

Ability to plan, organize, work, teach, and interact with diverse audiences, including stakeholders from different socio-demographic groups and with different levels of background knowledge

Preferred Qualifications

Curiosity about and passion for the field of IPM

Working knowledge of different insect feeding guilds and modes of pathogen infection

Demonstrated ability to lead groups, plan, implement, facilitate, teach, and evaluate educational informational programs

Demonstrated success engaging with diverse audiences (e.g. with varied educational backgrounds and levels of knowledge about Christmas tree production, and from different demographic groups)

Knowledge and experience planning, implementing, and evaluating participatory Extension or non-formal education programs

Basic knowledge of educational technologies and their appropriate use in the development and delivery of educational programs

Knowledge of Southern Appalachian forests, including native conifers and the insects and pathogens that impact them

Experience with Christmas tree production and associated integrated pest management activities

Demonstrated ability to conduct applied research and collaborate with interdisciplinary teams

Ability and interest in supervising student participation in applied research and Extension

Verbal and written communications skills in both English and Spanish

Other Requirements

Other responsibilities of the Extension Specialist include, but are not limited to the following:

Developing an innovative extension program in integrated pest management of mountain conifers with emphasis on Christmas trees that is consistent with the philosophy, policy, and overall educational objectives of North Carolina Cooperative Extension and NC State University

Performing, designing, and supporting applied research relevant to Extension needs related to Fraser fir Christmas trees and other mountain conifers

Seeking external funding that expands the impact of their extension program

Publishing written extension articles/videos, and maintaining the Extension Forestry Christmas Tree website (https://christmastrees.ces.ncsu.edu)

Providing professional development opportunities for county Extension personnel working within the Christmas tree industry

Providing current research-based information about mountain conifers through traditional media (e.g., interviews with reporters and television) and social media to diverse audiences

Providing timely field observations on current pest issues to the Christmas tree industry by employing various teaching methods, traditional formats, and social media communication tools

Cultivating and developing inclusive and equitable working relationships with county Extension personnel, Christmas tree producers, farm workers, faculty, staff, students and others including from relevant state and federal agencies to meet subject matter needs

Working closely with county Extension personnel, producers, farm workers, grower commodity organizations, agri-business, community leaders, other state and federal agencies and others to identify and prioritize issues, problems and opportunities

Determining educational needs and impacts by assessing and evaluating educational programs and services on a regular basis

Extensive work with microscope and other appropriate lab equipment is required

Conducting pesticide trials and other field-based demonstrations of IPM practices and provide IPM pest management recommendations

Obtaining/maintaining a current North Carolina pesticide license

Obtaining/maintaining a valid NC driver’s license. Travel connected with official duties is required

Working necessary hours to fulfill job responsibilities, including some evenings and weekends

Working outdoors in all seasons under all types of weather conditions, and frequently in very steep mountain terrains

Collaborating with other faculty as appropriate to conduct applied research and to mentor students around IPM, Christmas trees and other mountain conifers

Actively taking part in service to the department, college, Cooperative Extension, university, and profession

Performing other duties as assigned

Required License(s) or Certification(s)

A valid North Carolina driver’s license is required by the start date.

NC pesticide applicators license or the ability to obtain one within 60 days of employment.

Travel Requirements

Travel throughout western NC

Driver’s license or alternate transportation required?


Contact Name

Dr. Justin Whitehill

Contact Email


Contact Phone


Application Instructions

In addition to your application please submit the following:

Curriculum Vitae

Cover letter

Contact information for at least three professional references

A one page statement of extension experience and philosophy – upload as “other document (1)”

A one-page statement that describes their contributions to advancing equity, inclusion, and diversity. The equity, inclusion, and diversity statement should include an explanation of what advancing each of these areas means to you, how you encouraged or promoted these areas in your professional career, and/or your future goals for advancing each of these areas if hired for this position. Upload as “other document

( 2) Applicants may also submit an optional copy of their unofficial transcripts (please upload as “transcripts”).

Equal Employer Statement(s)

NC State University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran. If you have general questions about the application process, you may contact Human Resources at (919) 515-2135 or workatncstate@ncsu.edu. Individuals with disabilities requiring disability-related accommodations in the application and interview process, please call 919-515-3148. Final candidates are subject to criminal & sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require credit or motor vehicle checks. If highest degree is from an institution outside of the U.S., final candidates are required to have their degree equivalency verified at www.wes.org or equivalent service. Degree(s) must be obtained prior to start date in order to meet qualifications and receive credit. NC State University participates in E-Verify. Federal law requires all employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all persons hired to work in the United States.