After nearly 35 years of serving as an Extension aquaculture specialist for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s (UAPB) Department of Aquaculture/Fisheries, Larry Dorman has hung up his lab coat. His official retirement began March 1.
Dorman was first hired by UAPB in 1984. He was stationed in Lonoke, Arkansas where he was responsible for developing an education program for bait and ornamental fish producers and starting up a disease and water quality laboratory.
“I originally got into Extension work because UAPB was advertising for a person with knowledge of baitfish production,” Dorman said. “I was one of the few people in the country with an advanced degree that had any experience working with baitfish production.”
After accomplishing his assignments, he left his job with UAPB to become a catfish production consultant with Southern Farmers Services in Wisner, Louisiana.
“At that time, I felt I had accomplished about as much as I could in Lonoke,” Dorman said.
But in 2000, Dorman returned to UAPB. His new job was to manage the UAPB Lake Village Fish Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.
“An aquaculture specialist had left UAPB and a person with experience was needed to manage the laboratory,” Dorman said. “Fortunately, I fit the bill.”
In the Lake Village laboratory, he was responsible for managing the facilities, maintaining supplies of chemicals, culture media and other biological products for diagnosing fish diseases.
“I did microscopic examinations of fish for parasitic infections and culturing for bacterial diseases using various types of culture media to differentiate types of bacteria,” Dorman said. “I isolated the first cases of the virulent strain of ‘aeromonas hydrophylla’ from catfish found on farms in Arkansas.”
He also did water quality monitoring for farmers, catfish verification and irrigation water testing for producers and well drillers.
Dorman said his favorite part of the job was working one-on-one with fish producers.
“I especially enjoyed problem solving type situations,” Dorman said. “I also enjoyed learning Extension policies and procedures from my late, great mentors, D. Leroy Gray and Van Pennington.”
Dorman received his bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries management from the University of Arkansas at Monticello and his master’s degree in biological sciences from Arkansas State University.
Although retired, Dorman plans to do consulting work for fish producers, lenders and processing plants. He will also continue algal screening work and offer fish inventory assessments. He became executive director of the Catfish Farmers of Arkansas on March 1.
Originally from Tillar, Arkansas, he and his wife of 35 years, Sandra, now live in Montrose, Arkansas. They have one son, Jacob. He and his wife, Olivia, have three children—Jude, Rhett Paul and Levi. Their late son, Ryan, leaves behind two children—Cassidy Alexander and Hayden Alexander.
Although he hung his lab coat, Dorman will still be wearing a coat–a chef’s coat. The Dormans own Specialities by Sandra Dee catering service. They already have several events scheduled.
“We can’t do a banquet for a thousand,” Dorman said, “but we have done and will continue to do catering for 200 to 300 people.”
Dorman said he recommends Extension work to others. He said they just need to be able to work hard, listen to others and to not be afraid to tell a producer, “I don’t know, but I will find out for you.”
“My career was fun,” Dorman said. “It seems like I was only getting started, but it was time to go.”
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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