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Texas A&M Forest Service celebrates successful year

forest service logoOver 500 Texas A&M Forest Service employees came together at the agency’s annual personnel meeting Wednesday, Nov. 2.

Texas A&M Forest Service employees gathered to celebrate their dedication to the citizens and natural resources of Texas. The meeting, held at the I.O.O.F. Event Center in Corsicana, Texas, serves as an opportunity to refocus the agency’s goals, as well as recognize long standing employees and acknowledge recipients of this year’s director’s awards.

Last year, Texas A&M Forest Service celebrated their centennial year with a reaffirmed passion to becoming significant. The agency focused on efforts to implement a strategic roadmap leading the agency from one of success to one that is significant. This charge was led by Texas A&M Forest Service Director Tom Boggus.

“A year ago we were at our centennial celebration and we celebrated our success of the past 100 years and I encouraged us and challenged us to do more,” Boggus said. “I am proud to announce that we are on our way.”

Continuing with the theme of significance, Frank Keck of Excellerant, Inc. spoke to the group about discovering the driving force within. The Excellerant model is designed to be a catalyst in the discovery of who we are and why we exist.

“It’s one thing to be successful but it’s another thing to be significant,” said Keck. “Significance is a longer term and you have a longer term impact on people. You change their lives.”

Fifty-six employees were recognized for five or more years of service, including Donna Work who celebrates 25 years at Texas A&M Forest Service this year.

Donna Work, a biologist stationed in Lufkin, collaborates with loggers and landowners to protect the soil and natural resources. When Work was originally hired she did not have a vast knowledge of Texas A&M Forest Service, but was interested in the position because she was able to utilize her wildlife degree.

“There is a lot of variety in my work and I love that,” said Work. “There is a lot of comradery here. We are like a family.”

Additional awards were issued to the following Texas A&M Forest Service employees who have made significant contributions to the agency’s efforts over the year:

Director’s Award for Support Staff

Field: Regina Rodrigues, business associate, Nacogdoches

Rodrigues is recognized for going above and beyond to ensure that the Nacogdoches and Crockett offices receive the support needed to be successful. In the office, Rodrigues is diligent in assisting others with a positive and infectious attitude.

Professional: Rich Gray, assistant chief regional fire coordinator, Wolfforth

Gray is recognized for his undeniable leadership skills through many recent notable incidents, restoration efforts, mitigation and prevention practices, partnerships, capacity building efforts and politically-charged situations. Gray has recently transitioned to a bigger role in West Texas, while continuing with remarkable leadership and professionalism.

Office: Sherri Noack, employee services representative, College Station

Seen as the hub for welcoming new employees into the agency, Noack is recognized for her dedication to Texas A&M Forest Service employees. Noack is the go-to person for events and fund raising, welcoming new employees to the agency and employee assistance.

Charles Krenek Award for Resource Specialist

Jason Calvet, resource specialist, Livingston

Calvet has been involved in many program areas, from wildland firefighting, to natural resource technical assistance and education activities and is recognized for taking pride in his service to the agency. Calvet embodies the spirit of Charles Kreneck in his passion for his job and reflection of the wildland values of duty, respect and integrity.

Director’s Award for Team Effort

Texas A&M Forest Service Centennial Exhibit Committee

Linda Moon, Leslie Kessner, Don Hannemann and John Warner

As we celebrated our agency’s centennial last year, this committee worked to create a Centennial Exhibit for the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The committee invested countless hours in planning and execution to ensure that the Texas A&M Forest Service story and history was displayed. Because of their efforts, we have enjoyed the results and recognized this group as a model of what a successful team can accomplish.

Director’s Award for Technical Forestry

Mark Duff, staff forester, San Antonio

Duff is recognized for his technical knowledge and expertise as a forester, as well as his desire to find answers to the difficult challenges facing forestry. Known for his expertise in forest health and tree pests, Duff has embraced the difficulties of fighting oak wilt and assisted land owners with individual forest management concerns.

D.A. “Andy” Anderson I&E Award

Kari Hines, wildland urban interface specialist, La Grange

Hines is recognized for her dedication to helping Texans become more aware of conservation efforts through her direct involvement in messaging, development of products and commitment to proactive programs. Hines assisted with the development of videos designed as teaching aids for educators, programs for educating arborists and has taken a lead in improving agency public awareness products.

Director’s Award for Good Samaritan

Task Force Alpha

Steve Smith, resource specialist; Mike Kuhnert, resource specialist; Jonathon Keller, resource specialist; Logan Davis, resource specialist; Kevin Knight, resource specialist; Kyle Downs, resource specialist

While on assignment to the Pandhandle Branch in July, Task Force Alpha arrived at the scene of a major car wreck. The task force members responded immediately, offering physical assistance to a women still inside her vehicle. By directing traffic away from the site and working to stabilize the woman, Task Force Alpha was able to ensure the safety of responders and accident victims.

[Via The Gilmer Mirror]

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