Rick Avery, Ph.D., is the director of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. As director of the largest Extension agency in the nation, Avery oversees agency programming in agriculture and natural resources, Family and Community Health, 4-H and Youth Development, and Community Economic Development.
Avery has an extensive background in both government relations and in government. Avery’s Capitol Hill experience includes serving as an assistant for U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen and U.S. Rep. Greg Laughlin. Most recently he served as deputy director of the Brazos Valley Council of Governments. Avery’s career in government also includes serving as county relations officer for the Texas Association of Counties, where he worked with elected and appointed county officials in all 254 Texas counties, providing technical support, continuing education and resource guidance to government operations.
At Texas A&M AgriLife, Avery previously served as AgriLife Extension’s V.G. Young Institute director and Extension specialist, to provide continuing education to approximately 1,500 county officials annually through Institute schools.
While at V.G. Young, Avery spearheaded curriculum development for the popular Commissioners Court Leadership Academy, a two-year program that enhances the leadership skills of participating court members through advanced training and travel to explore innovations in local, state and federal government.
He also led development of the Commissioners Court Advanced Curriculum, a certification between AgriLife Extension, the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, and the Texas Association of Counties.
A native of Needville in Fort Bend County, Avery was active in 4-H, FFA, and athletics. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Austin College and a master’s degree in political science and doctoral degree in higher education administration from Texas A&M University.