Dr. Douglas Kingman’s connection with the Texas A&M University’s Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department is one that has endured through two decades. Though only officially working for BAEN since the spring semester of 2015, he is no stranger to the department. He grew up in Texas and was awarded an Agricultural Systems Management degree from A&M in 1991. He went on to get a Master’s in Agricultural Education at Texas A&M in 1998 as well as a Master’s and PhD in Agricultural Systems Management at Purdue University. He is currently the only PhD of Agricultural Systems Management in the department and focuses on teaching this subject rather than its engineering counterparts. He was hired to teach 90% of the time with service taking up the other 10%. This allows him more time to carry out his passion for teaching. When asked what drew him to Texas A&M he cites his love of the department’s faculty and their high degree of professionalism as well as the difference they make on a daily basis.
In addition to his teachings, Dr. Kingman participates in several service-based activities, including Texas AgrAbility and Texas FFA. Texas AgrAbility is a non-profit, intermediate agency that assists agricultural producers with disabilities and chronic illness. The organization helps with acquiring information and referrals, provides individualized consultation and home environment assessment, as well as on site farm, ranch, and agribusiness assessment. Additionally, technical assistance services and business plan assistance are provided.
Dr. Kingman is an assessment coordinator who visits individuals to determine what line of work, habits, and desires exist. Additionally, he assesses what, how, and if technology for these individuals is appropriate. Since commercial products are already in existence for producers with disabilities, AgrAbility’s goal is to link producers with funds provided by agricultural businesses in order for them to have the ability to purchase these high cost devices. This process is highly valued as many of these disabled individuals are unable to carry on their line of work or inadvertently aggravate their conditions, due to the lack of money or issues with their insurance.
AgrAbility helps these individuals by connecting its disabled clients with groups that install chairlifts, push buttons for tractor starters, providing tractors that use a front end motor to do the physical labor while sparing the individual, as well as numerous other modifications. Recently, Dr. Kingman visited a farm in the Dallas area to do an assessment of the vehicle used to carry out the necessary functions on the property. The individual had endured a back injury that became more aggravated with the bumps in the terrain that his work truck encountered, therefore leading the individual to desire a change in the suspension of the truck. Due to the heavy load faced by the truck, this was not a feasible option. Dr. Kingman was able to suggest an alternative solution of removing the front seat and installing an adjustable, air ride seat used by semi-trucks to create a more comfortable ride while absorbing the shocks of the environment.
In addition to his role in AgrAbility, Dr. Kingman is heavily involved with FFA. He is the State FFA Superintendent of the Tractor Technician contest in the Career Development Events (CDE’s). CDE’s are events that help members prepare for agricultural careers by practicing knowledge learned in the classroom. These challenges improve student’s technical, leadership, communication, and teamwork skills while increasing subject matter knowledge. The Tractor Technician contest takes place at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo team where members appraise tractor components, agricultural implements, and recommend appropriate services. Each team must complete a written exam, locate and correct deliberately placed tractor malfunctions, and safely navigate the repaired tractor through a driving course in an allotted time frame.
Dr. Kingman is also the superintendent of Agricultural Mechanics and Tractor Restoration projects at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, where he judges approximately 800 entries with over 1,500 high school participants. He is also a judge for Agricultural Mechanics at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. Due to these positions, he is able to recruit hundreds of high school students and 4H members from over 200 schools to compete in these shows. With these various roles, he is able to shed light on the impact of the department and recruit future Biological and Agricultural Engineering students.
Article by Whitney Steinmann
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