Milton (Mickey) Taylor attended Virginia Tech and was the first four-year graduate to complete their Biochemistry bachelor’s degree program in 1971 and finished first in the class! While working on his degree, he was accepted into the Navy Officer Candidate School, and, after graduation, Taylor moved to Newport, Rhode Island to complete the school’s 16-week training course. Upon graduation as Commanding Officer of Juliet Company and a Distinguished Naval Graduate, he was assigned to the USS San Diego out of Norfolk, Virginia, where he spent three years at sea, half of that time as the Second Division Deck officer and half as the Auxiliaries Engineering officer.
In late December of 1974, Taylor left active duty to begin a PhD program in Biochemistry at Michigan State University. But, as the path of life has a funny way of twisting and turning, Taylor left the program after a year to start a greenhouse and nursery business in Anderson, South Carolina with his then wife and brother in law, who were both horticulturalists. The business grew to over 55,000 square feet of greenhouse production area, several acres of nursery stock, and a garden center. Floral and tropical green plant production provided the stock to service florists, garden centers and the retail public for over 19 years.
In the fall of 1994, Mickey returned to graduate school at Clemson University, joining the Department of Environmental Toxicology as a PhD graduate student within the Institute of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology. Taylor received a Department of Defense fellowship and worked under Ray Noblet, who later became the Department Head for Entomology at the University of Georgia. After receiving his PhD in Environmental Toxicology, Taylor remained at Clemson as a post-doctoral researcher for eight years, running a USDA Nursery Nutrient and Pesticide Runoff Remediation project.
In 2006, Taylor became the research director for InsectiGen Inc., a startup biotechnology business in the UGA Bio Business Center. He served in this role for four years working closely with Dr. Mike Adang in the Department of Entomology before taking a job with the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service as a Civilian Response Corps member. He served in Afghanistan for nearly a year between 2011 and 2012 before returning to UGA in 2014 as the Associate Coordinator of UGA’s Pesticide Safety Education Program. He became the Coordinator of the PSEP in early 2016.
As the PSEP Coordinator, Taylor develops training materials, both print and digital, for private and commercial pesticide applicators. He helps Extension agents with their pesticide safety, Master Gardener, and Parks and Recreation School training programs and works with agents to deliver face-to-face trainings in their counties for private pesticide applicants when necessary. His primary accomplishment has been to develop and implement a robust and rigorous distance education option for training private applicators and for providing commercial applicators the study materials they need for passing their commercial exams. Taylor also supervises revisions of commercial category manuals as well as the annual Georgia Pest Management Handbook.
Taylor re-established the Georgia Competent Applicators of Pesticides Program, which is available to public service employees, parks and recreation staff, Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, and the general public to teach the safe, effective, and environmentally responsible use of pesticides throughout Georgia.
Taylor serves on the National Stakeholder Team for Pesticide Safety Education, an IPM Workgroup within the National Stakeholder Team, and the Paraquat Training Collaboration Team for the National Pesticide Safety Education Center.