- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Coats joined ANR in 1983 as an editor. At the time he began working for ANR, the Agricultural Publications unit was located at the former Ford plant in Point Richmond.
“The only computer in the department was a refrigerator-sized minicomputer that ran only one program, a mailing list manager for newsletters, with a daily backup onto VHS videotape,” Coats said. “It rebooted every time a crane moved at the shipping container port across the street.”
In 1984, the publications unit moved to the Marchand Building, which straddles the borders of Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville, and then in 1990 its production team moved to Davis.
In 1990 and again in 1992, Coats served as acting managing editor of UC's peer-reviewed journal California Agriculture. In 1992, he became acting manager of Ag Pubs until it merged with ANR Visual Media to become Communication Services. In 1995, he returned to working as a principal editor, a position he has held for the past 20 years, fine-tuning the language and organization of written communication ranging from major books (such as The Home Orchard, Diseases of Temperate Zone Tree Fruit and Nut Crops, and many more) to research impact articles and employee news.
Over the years, he has received several honors for his work from UC ANR and from the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), including its 2006 Award of Excellence in Publishing, and has served the professional organization in various leadership capacities.
Coats, a musician, plays Celtic music with Riggity Jig, bluegrass with the Narrow Gauge String Band and the New Lost City Studebakers, and rock 'n' roll with the ACE X-Tension Chords. He also teaches free ukulele lessons every Saturday at Nicholson's MusiCafé in Folsom. In retirement, Coats, who has published poems in the Yolo Crow and has two photographs in the forthcoming 2016 Sutter Buttes Calendar, intends to pursue poetry, writing and photography as well as his music. He looks forward to spending a lot more time with friends and in the outdoors, and has plans for extensive travel and adventure, both near and far.