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Original article appeared in Fall 2013 issue of Aquatics Magazine, a publication of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society:

President Tim Harris presents the award to Mr. Tracy Wood

Mr. Tracy Wood received the distinction and honor of being named the FAPMS Aquatic Plant Manager of the Year. Tracy has worked for Applied Aquatic for more than 25 years and has been a member of FAPMS for 24. His nomination letter stated the following:

During his 25 plus years at Applied Aquatic, Tracy has performed every type of treatment on every species we’ve managed during the history of the company. His foliar applications covering virtually every emergent and floating species with a need for control number in not just thousands but tens of thousands of acres in the entire state of Florida as well as Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. In addition, he has participated in many of the largest submersed plant treatments on record.

Tracy has participated in overseeing the stocking of countless thousands of grass carp, monitoring their success and evaluating the need for supplemental efforts. He has been responsible for assuring the maintenance of required fish barriers for man grass carp stockings. He has provided valuable feedback concerning many biological control insects to the managers of public waters while dispatched to every remote corner of the state.

Through the use of chainsaws, machetes, shovels, waders, and virtually every type of manually operated tool, he has performed the physical work that is sometimes necessary when no machine other than a man and his two hands can get the job done. And it should be noted that even today in his somewhat “seasoned” years, he never flinches when it comes to getting down and dirty with the weeds.

At Applied Aquatic we pride ourselves with having always been on the cutting edge of developing new techniques. Tracy has forever been involved in all of it. His hands have touched the ground-floor efforts that paved the way to how melaleuca is now controlled.  Our primary style of spray boat, once called Tracy’s “Dream Boat” and built with his input, still carries the same reminder by using the letter “D” for dream in all of their numbered identifiers. You can see his touch in all of our spray systems.

In our constantly changing industry, Tracy has always been one of the first to look at new products. If there is a new material, product or technique, Tracy will put them together and see what comes out. In all of his years of service, he has not lost that drive to improve and is continuously performing “that little test” and subsequent evaluation to see what happens. Without that drive, we would miss out.

Not being much for the classroom, Tracy’s education has been built the old-fashioned wayin the field. He is an applicator’s applicator, the go-to guy to get things done, the cliché without being… well…  cliché. Despite his drive for field work, however, he has always maintained his applicator’s license in not just Aquatics but Natural Areas and Right-of-Way as well. He never misses an annual meeting of FAPMS and is quick to assist new applicators with any questions they have.

Because we work all over the Southeast, in nearly every public waterbody and private arenas beyond count, Tracy has a long history of interacting with the public. There is always a meeting, always a discussion, always an opinion, always a question. And Tracy has always had an answer. Even if it was “I don’t know,” Tracy has always made time for the public.

As mentioned earlier, Tracy has never missed an annual meeting of the FAPMS. He can be counted on to be in the room, paying attention, taking notes, interacting with the speakers and vendors and actually learning what is being presented… often while many of us are shamefully having one at Hooters.

You want plant ID? Tracy is always looking, always making sure he has it correct. He has always understood that what we do, what he does, is sometimes permanent. For some species, it is literally life and death and you had better take it seriously because you can’t just take it back. The body of work represented by Tracy Wood and his more than quarter century in the industry is without compare and should absolutely be recognized.

Tracy won a plaque and $500 in addition to the honor of this award.  Congratulations, Tracy!

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