- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
De los Santos, 45, joined the UC Davis administration in July 2015 following a 22-year military career.
“Faculty, staff and students in the Department of Entomology and Nematology are deeply saddened by the death of Chris John de los Santos,” said Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the department. “Chris had been with us for a short period of time, but he was already making some profound changes in how the department was managed. Chris was a disciplined, critical thinker and his strength was in developing strategic and business plans – areas where there was a real need in the department.”
“Chris was liked and respected by all associated with the Phoenix Cluster,” Parrella said. “Chris put the Department of Entomology and Nematology on a trajectory that will make us better in the research, teaching and outreach that we do. We will continue to follow the path that he has laid out for us. We will never forget his contributions. Our condolences go out to his family as they try and cope with this tragic loss.”
A remembrance will be held at a later date, Parrella said.
Said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, professor of entomology and former interim chair of the department: “Chris had terrific management and leadership skills. He was the kind of person everyone liked to work with, personable yet business-like.”
“Chris made amazing contributions to the department in a very short period of time,” said Executive Committee member Larry Godfrey, Extension entomologist. “He had many strengths but the two I was most impressed with were his ability to analyze situations and make logical, thoughtful recommendations and his propensity to want to contribute to the betterment of humankind. He often stated that he enjoyed working in the department and at UC Davis because he was confident we were making a difference in people's lives. Although not a person to ‘accept credit,' Chris clearly contributed to this mission of the department.”
“During his short time in the department, Chris was already making important contributions and bringing a high level of professionalism and strategic thinking to our efforts,” said entomology professor and Executive Committee member Jay Rosenheim.
“Chris radiated integrity, decency and respect,” said James R. Carey, distinguished professor of entomology. “He was one of the most progressive and responsive staff members whom I had the pleasure to know in my 35 years at UC Davis.”
At UC Davis, de los Santos managed the two departments' budgets, encompassing a total of $30.5 million, including federal and state monies, and 450 personnel. He provided leadership, oversight and management for the Phoenix Cluster. He administered or oversaw the areas of business and finance, extensive contract and grant administration, academic and staff human resources, teaching and instructional support, information technology, space utilization, and research and teaching laboratory support needs.
An accomplished military veteran with more than 22 years of extensive logistics experience in the Department of Defense, de los Santos moved to Davis with his family after serving as executive director/commander of the 673rd Logistics Readiness Group at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, where he led a workforce of 575 with a $12 million budget in support of the Department of Defense's sole joint base logistics group.
He was known as a proven leader, team player, mentor and motivator with the ability to simultaneously manage multiple projects, delivered on time and exceeding expectations. He served in major leadership roles at his tours of duty in Anchorage, Alaska; San Antonio, Texas; Santa Monica, Calif.; the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and also at the Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, U.S. Embassy, Sultanate of Oman; and at the Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, among others.
De los Santos received his bachelor's degree in marine transportation in 1992 from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.; his master of science degree in international relations, Troy State University, Troy, Ala. in 1998; and his master degree in military operational art and science from Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in 2006. His career also included serving as an assistant professor of aerospace studies at the University of Portland, Ore., from 1998 to 2000.
During his military career, de los Santos directed distribution management, matériel management, contingency operations, fuels management, airlift operations, and vehicle management. He planned and programmed logistics support for wartime requirements and led workforce development for the Logistics Readiness Officer (LRO) career field.