Dr. Wendell Porter

Agricultural Operations Management

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.

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

Wendell Porter - Senior Lecturer, AOM Undergraduate Coordinator