Flick Honored by U.S.
Secretary of Agriculture
By Netta Smith-Benton
Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 02 - September 3, 1998
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman has honored Virginia Tech Professor George J. Flick Jr. with a 1998 Secretary of Agriculture's Honor Award for Personal and Professional Excellence. Flick was recognized for outstanding dedicated service to the nation's commercial fish and shellfish industry at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in June.
"It's nice to see that the work we do here at Virginia Tech is appreciated by an agency that is responsible for much of our support and funding," Flick said. "I see this award as a recognition of accomplishments made possible by the administrators, faculty members, and support staff I work with."
Andy Swiger, dean of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said, "George Flick is the consummate faculty member. He is, first of all, an outstanding scientist and Extension teacher. More importantly, he is a leader who coalesces diverse talent to solve intricate problems of great import, thus serving both his profession and his industry in exceptional ways."
Flick, university distinguished professor of food science and technology, was selected for the award based on his contributions to the field of seafood science. His research and demonstrations projects have resulted in the production of profitable and wholesome fish and shellfish products. His expertise is frequently sought by government agencies that are working with issues of seafood safety and quality assurance.
"I have long felt that public service is one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences possible," Glickman said at the ceremony. "Being recognized for that service should be equally gratifying. No one merits recognition more than those we honor today."
Flick joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1969, establishing an Extension program to support the state's seafood industry. In 1971, he established the Sea Grant program, which provided funding to support research, teaching, and public-service programs related to the needs of coastal communities. He also assisted in establishing the Commercial Fish and Shellfish Technologies (CFAST) program, bringing together the expertise of faculty members from four of the university's colleges with activities in the production and use of fish and shellfish bio-resources. Virginia Tech faculty members have applied for and received Sea Grant funds ranging from $300,000 to $400,000 annually.
Last year, Flick was one of six Sea Grant researchers honored by Vice President Al Gore through the Vice President's National Performance Evaluation Project, which promotes efficiency in government services and departments. Flick received the award, given to "partnerships that make a significant contribution to the nation," for his work as a founding member of the National Seafood HACCP Alliance, created in 1994 under the guidance of the National Sea Grant College Program.
The group spent three years developing education and training programs to prepare the seafood industry for mandatory U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations designed to ensure that all seafood is safe for consumption. The regulations went into effect in December, 1997.
In 1997, Flick was named a university distinguished professor, the first Extension specialist to be awarded that honor. He has been named a fellow of both the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the first and only native English speaker to have been invited by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to serve as a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo's Department of Marine Biochemistry. He has served several terms as president of major national seafood science associations, and was awarded the Canadian and American Chapters of the Atlantic Fisheries Technologies Societies' highest award, the Earl P. McFee Award, in 1994.
Flick's initial work on crab-meat pasteurization has become the industry standard, and all federal and state regulatory agencies accept his procedure.