Hall Of Fame Inductees
The individuals nominated should have made a significant impact or positive influence that assures the future of our industry in the lives of generations to come.
Once nominated, an individual’s biography and photo are updated on the site, and he or she is placed in the polls for voting. At the end of the year the committee takes into consideration the votes and decides which candidates are inducted.
- Person with integrity and passion
- Minimum 20 years in industry
- Someone who has developed or invented new technology
- Has made contributions that resulted in change
- Contributed to mankind’s needs in his field
- Provided education and encouragement with self-sacrifice
- Changed the industry
James A. Bethke was born on August 21, 1953 in Milwaukee, WI, and he continues as an avid Green Bay Packer fan. He grew up with a passion for the insect world, which is evident in his presentations, trainings and pest management seminars. He is fond of telling how when visiting friends and neighbors, he would be in the backyard turning over the boards and rocks and checking the outdoor lights for new and interesting bugs. As a budding young scientist and much to his mother’s dismay, he would bring the many jars full of creatures into his room and study them.
Mr. Bethke began his career in March of 1981 working for Dr. Michael Parrella in the Ornamentals Project in the Department of Entomology at University of California Riverside (UCR). He attained a BS and MS in Entomology during his tenure at UCR and in 1987 became a Staff Research Associate in the department working on pest management and various invasive pests in the ornamental plant production industry. In 2005 Mr. Bethke became the Nursery and Floriculture Advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) in San Diego and Riverside Counties. In 2010 he became the County Director for UCCE San Diego with supervisory and management responsibilities.
During his 35-year career, he has written over 800 technical reports, newsletters, popular press articles, and scientific publications. As an Advisor, Mr. Bethke has made a notable addition to the scientific body of knowledge with 62 peer-reviewed publications including 39 scholarly journal articles, 16 of which were senior author publications. Further, Mr. Bethke is frequently an invited speaker at many scientific and technical seminars and workshops and has spoken at many public venues about the wonderful world of insects. He has given over 300 scientific and technical presentations and over 300 non-technical presentations to the public.
Mr. Bethke is a member of the Entomological Society of America, Entomological Association of Southern California, Pesticide Applicators Professional Association (PAPA), American Society of Horticultural Science (ASHS), and an affiliate member of the San Diego County Flower and Plant Association and the California Association of Pest Control Advisors (CAPCA). Due to his reputation and experience, he is the Science Advisor to the Center for Applied Horticulture Research and for the California Citrus Nursery Board, and he has been a member of numerous scientific and technical advisory committees including California Department of Agriculture (CDFA) Diaprepes Advisory Committee, Light Brown Apple Moth Task Force, Eye Gnat Research and Education Project, CDFA Nursery Advisory Board, Gold Spotted Oak Borer (GSOB) Technical Steering Committee, UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance Executive and Editorial Committees, Q-biotype Technical Advisory Committee, European Pepper moth Task Force, and the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer Working Group.
Mr. Bethke’s research and education efforts in Cooperative Extension have been recognized by UC and by the nursery and agricultural industries with significant awards that include the UCR Incentive and Professional Development Award 2005-6, Outstanding New Academic 2011, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Distinguished Service Award 2011, San Diego Co. Agricultural Commissioner Certificate of Excellence 2011, San Diego County Flower and Plant Association Outstanding Person of the Year Award 2013, California Association of Pest Control Advisers Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture 2013, and CANER’s Research Award 2014.
Mr. Bethke currently lives in Riverside County with his wife of 29 years and two of his three children. His wife is a teacher and an avid painter. His oldest daughter is married and going to college at the University of Alabama. His other daughter and youngest son are both attending community college. Mr. Bethke likes the outdoors and spends time fishing, camping and hiking, and of course, wherever he goes, he carries a small vial just in case he spots a new and interesting insect to add to his collection.