Brian Estevez is a 4-H Extension Agent in Escambia County, Florida. He grew up in Archer, Florida and went to school in Williston. While Brian was not a 4-H member as a youth, he did participate in Williston FFA and won the state meat judging contest in 2000. His involvement with the meat judging program propelled him to study meat science at the University of Florida. As a college student, Brian worked at the UF meat lab. After graduation, Brian met Dr. Nick Place who introduced him to the UF master’s program in Agricultural Leadership.
Brian didn’t realize that a career with Extension was possible, even though he had graduated from UF’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. After graduating with his Master’s degree, he volunteered with his youth group at church and found that he really enjoyed working with young people. Brian wanted to purse a job with college student development, but had not been successful in securing a position. He decided to apply for the Alachua agriculture extension position. While he did not get that position, he was encouraged to apply for some open 4-H extension agent positions. He applied for and was offered the 4-H agent position in Suwannee county. Initially, Brian viewed his 4-H position as a “stepping stone” to help him get the student development job he really wanted. However, after more than 12 years with 4-H, it is a career that he loves!
While a 4-H agent in Suwannee County, Brian used his expertise in meat science to work with UF/IFAS Extension Animal Science specialist Chad Carr to create, develop, and deliver the Florida 4-H Tailgating Contest. This contest teaches youth to safely grill in an outdoor setting, while incorporating food and fire safety with public speaking opportunities. In all, 348 youth from 39 different Florida counties have participated in this annual program which includes four district competitions culminating in a state contest in Gainesville. Scholarships from corporate sponsors are awarded to district and state winners, with over $86,000 being awarded to youth winners since 2016. Estevez has also coached 4-H meat judging teams, where youth learn meat retail identification, quality factors, and cooking methods. He has coached 14 state winning 4-H meat judging teams and has led five teams to national 4-H contests. His 2020 team placed second in the nation, with one team member being recognized as the national high individual. His team members learn communication, decision making, and critical thinking skills and have gone on to participate in collegiate judging teams.
Brian transitioned to Escambia county three years ago and is Brian is passionate about making 4-H available to all youth. In three short years, the program has grown to engaged more than 25% of the school age population in Escambia. The quality of his programs have been recognized and awarded at the National level, including the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) Excellence in Animal Science 4-H Programming Award and the NAE4-HA Communicator Promotional Piece Award, both in 2011, the Achievement in Service Award in 2014, and most recently, the NAE4-HA Military Partnership Award in 2019. He was also elected by his peers to serve Florida Association of Extension 4-H Agents in 2014, serving in statewide leadership positions including president. Another aspect of his scholarship is his commitment to mentoring early career colleagues by sharing his work through district, state and national conferences.
Brian lives in Cantonment with his bride Mindy and sweet baby boy Eli Thomas. They teach the 1 and 2 year old class at their church, have season tickets to Gator football games, and like spending time at Pensacola Beach.