National Cave and Karst Research Institute Director Named, Nov. 1, 2006

George Veni

CARLSBAD, N.M., Nov. 1, 2006 – George Veni recently was named the new executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) in Carlsbad, New Mexico, a research institute which was established by Congress in 1998 to promote research, education and stewardship of cave and karst resources nationally and internationally.

NCKRI is jointly managed by the National Park Service, the City of Carlsbad and New Mexico Tech.

"Dr. Veni brings extensive research, teaching, leadership and advisory experience to the National Cave and Karst Research Institute and will be instrumental in advancing the Institute’s visions and goals,” said Van Romero, vice president for research and economic development at New Mexico Tech.

"We here at New Mexico Tech greatly appreciate the unprecedented opportunity to work with Dr. Veni and his staff at NCKRI in expanding our own mission and research goals by furthering the science of speleology, encouraging and providing public education in cave and karst topics, and promoting environmentally sound management of our public lands and natural resources,” Romero added.

Veni earned his Ph.D. in geology from Pennsylvania State University. He also earned an M.S. in geography from Western Kentucky University and a B.Sc. in geology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Veni is the owner of George Veni and Associates, a consulting firm in San Antonio, Texas, which specializes in geology, hydrology, biology and environmental management. He is also an adjunct geoscience professor at Western Kentucky University.

Throughout his professional career, Veni has been the recipient of many national and international awards and grants, including the Outstanding Book in Speleology Award from the International Union of Speleology and the Ralph Stone Research Award from the National Speleological Society.

In recognition of his seminal contributions to the specialized science of biospeleology, there are three species of cave-adapted arthropods bearing Veni’s name: Mexobisium venii (pseudoscorpion in Belize); Cicurina venii (spider); and Batrisodes (Excavodes) venyivi (beetle).

Veni is a member of over 25 professional societies, including the American Geophysical Union, the American Water Resources Association and Bat Conservation International. He is a life member of Sigma Xi.

Veni is also chairman of the 15th International Congress of Speleology, which will be held in Kerrville, Texas in 2009.

In addition, he is a well-published author and has been featured in numerous television and radio interviews focusing on Texas karst systems.

In a letter to the NCKRI Board, Veni thanked the Board for its support and said he looks forward to working with the NCKRI partners in the months and years ahead. His official start date as executive director of the research institute is February 5, 2007.