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Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Dr. Wendell Porter

Senior Lecturer and AOM Undergraduate Coordinator

Wendell Porter specializes in "green" buildings and heat and mass transfer. Porter now works in sustainable construction practices and structures that conserve energy and resources. He teaches courses in these areas in the Agricultural Operations Management curriculum. His combination of ready wit and engineering precision makes him a popular and effective teacher. Porter's research focuses on understanding construction in specialized applications not covered in standard construction programs. Florida's subtropical climate, with its heat and humidity, poses unique challenges and presents special opportunities. Porter also works on structures used in agricultural settings, which must be adapted to many specific environments and working requirements. Porter points out that the key to many energy efficiencies starts with how contractors are trained to build. Buyers and contractors have to start with an agreement that long-term savings are worth additional up-front costs. The long-term savings can be impressive, and the time it takes to recover and surpass the costs of energy-efficient construction need not be that long.

Resource-efficiency is also important in agriculture, and Porter's research becomes part of his teaching. In his agricultural construction classes, students are exposed to the latest in "green" construction materials and techniques. But Porter also likes to balance the latest information with the tried and true. In Porter's construction classes, students learn about the types and uses of agricultural structures. The course covers building materials, tools, and techniques. They learn about building codes and management skills needed in maintaining a physical plant. Porter complements the intellectual learning experience with hands-on training. 

Porter says that too often the "physical" side of education, which exploits the connection between hand, eye, and brain, is overlooked, and that it has many rewards. Many of Porter's students have never built anything, and as managers, it is important that they have an appreciation for the projects and workers they will oversee. While Porter believes that this kind of technical training is an essential counterpart to what students learn in class, he clarifies that this is not a trade school or a shop class. His emphasis is always on management and decision making. For example, he wants his students to have the hand skills of developing a sketch and filling it out with accurate dimensions, but they will not learn to draw a blueprint. What they need in this regard as managers is the ability to communicate their ideas clearly and correctly through drawings. In all of this, students observe and practice the management of projects -- the central goal of their curriculum.

Contact Information


113 Frazier Rogers Hall

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 110570
Gainesville, FL 32611-0570

  • Teaching
    • AOM 2520: Global Sustainable Energy
    • AOM 3220: Agricultural Construction and Maintenance
    • AOM 44455: Ag Operations/Systems
    • A0M 4932: Agricultural Construction and Maintenance II
  • Research and Extension
    • Co-PI for Research Grant: Investigation of Crawl Space Ventilation Processes in a Hot-Humid Climate
    • Developed 9 of 14 continuing education hours for a 2-day HVAC/IEQ statewide certification program
  • Education
    • Ph.D. Agricultural and Biological Engineering; August 2003, University of Florida
    • M.M.E. Mechanical Engineering; May 1981 North Carolina State University; Major: Thermal and Fluid Sciences
    • B.S. Mechanical Engineering; June 1979, University of Central Florida
  • Professional Experience
    • 2014 - Present
      Senior Lecturer and AOM Undergraduate Coordinator, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, University of Florida
    • 2006 - 2014
      Lecturer, AOM Undergraduate Coordinator, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, University of Florida
    • 1994 - 2006
      Assistant in Extension, Energy Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
    • 1989 - 1994
      Technical Manager, Thermal Analysis Branch, Space Programs Division. Teledyne Brown Engineering, Huntsville, Alabama
    • 1986 - 1989
      Senior Engineer, Engineering Analysis. Litton Laser Systems, Orlando, Florida
    • 1984 - 1986
      Visiting Instructor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Central Florida
    • 1981 - 1984
      Mechanical Engineer, Stottler Stagg & Associates, Inc., Cape Canaveral, Florida
  • Publications
  • Awards and Honors
    • Faculty Advisor of the Year, UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, 2012
    • Teacher of the Year Award - Florida Section, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, 2012
    • Superior Accomplishment Award, UF/IFAS, 2009
    • Outstanding Educator Award, UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, 2006
  • Other Professional Activities
    • American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
    • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers