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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

PLAINS AREA
COUNCIL FOR OFFICE PROFESSIONALS

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About Us

The Plains Area Council for Office Professionals (PACOP) is a group of volunteers selected by the Area Director to serve as advisors on a three-year rotating schedule.

Mission

The mission of the Plains Area Council for Office Professionals (PACOP) is to serve the Area Director in an advisory capacity on initiatives that impact office professionals across the Area.

Vision

Facilitate and enhance the office support profession through cultivation of talents, strengths, and potential to ensure that the Plains Area has highly skilled and informed office professionals working in partnership with management through teamwork, networking, and mentoring to meet the needs of the Area.

History

The Plains Area Council for Officer Professionals was established in April 2015 after the reorganization of the ARS Area Offices. Linda Parnell, NACOP Senior Chair participated in the founding meeting. Following the meeting, Amber Whittaker, Acting Senior Chair, rotated off the Council. The PACOP membership includes six voting members, two NACOP Technical Advisors, and two Ex-Officio members from the Area Director's Office. All individuals were appointed by the Area Director.

For more information click here to access the Council's Charter.

 

 

Current Members

The current members were instated at the PACOP Annual Meeting, held in Fort Collins, CO during April 2015. Individual names will link you to their respective biographies.

A list server was created to facilitate communications with the PA Council members. You may communicate directly to all members by emailing them at PACOP.

NAME

LOCATION

E-MAIL/PHONE

Barbara Hodges
Senior Chair

Cropping Systems Research Lab
Lubbock, TX
barbara.hodges@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 806-723-5214
Fax: 806-723-5272

Sherri Brown
Junior Chair

U.S. Livestock Insects Research Lab
Kerrville, TX
sherri.brown@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 830-792-0382
Fax: 830-792-0302

Diona Austill
Member
Livestock & Range Research Lab
Miles City, MT
diona.austill@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 406-874-8219
Fax: 406-874-8289

Andrea Griffith
Recorder
Grassland, Soil & Water Research Lab
Temple, TX
andrea.griffith@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 254-770-6520
Fax: 254-770-6561

Olga Lee
Ex-Officio Member
Plains Area Office
Fort Collins, CO
olga.lee@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 970-492-7057
Fax: 970-492-7065

Barbra McGraw
Ex-Officio Member
Plains Area Office
Fort Collins, CO
barbra.mcgraw@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 970-492-7058
Fax: 970-492-7065

Janel Nierman
NACOP
Technical Advisor
U.S. Meat Animal Research Center
Clay Center, NE
janel.nierman@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 402-762-4110
Fax: 402-762-4111

Trudy Pinkerton
NACOP
Technical Advisor
Crop Germplasm Research
College Station, TX
trudy.pinkerton@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 979-260-9311
Fax: 979-260-9333

Aaron Wiggett
Webmaster
Plant Germplasm Preservation Research
Fort Collins, CO
aaron.wiggett@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 970-492-7602
Fax: 970-492-7604

     

 

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Biographies

Olga Lee
Management Analyst
Area Director's Office
Fort Collins, CO

Federal Service: 28 yrs             ARS Service: 26 yrs

Olga serves as Management Analyst for the Plains Area Director’s Office. She began her service with the Agricultural Research Service in 1989 as Secretary for the Sugarbeet Research Unit in Fort Collins, Colorado. In 1992, she was promoted to Secretary of the Natural Resources Research Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. In 1997, she was selected as Executive Assistant to the NPA Area Director. In 2008, she accepted her current position as Management Analyst. Olga worked with the Department of Defense from 1986 to 1988. Prior to her federal service, Olga worked as a bookkeeper for a major bank. In 1995, Olga received the USDA Honor Award for her contributions in the ARS National Secretarial Advisory Council.

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Barbra McGraw
Executive Assistant
Area Director's Office
Fort Collins, CO

Federal Service: 10 yrs         ARS Service: 4 yrs

Barbra began her Federal career in 1991 with the United States Army, where she served five years in both Germany and Washington, D.C. She came to work for ARS in 2011 as a part-time Office Automation Clerk for the Agricultural Systems Research Unit (ASRU) in Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2012, she took a full-time position with the Centers for Disease Control. In 2013, she returned to ARS when a Program Support Assistant position became available in the ASRU. She has been an active participant with the Combined Federal Campaign and Feds Feed Families campaigns. For the past year, she has been assisting the Plains Area Director’s Office due to vacancies in the Office.

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Janel Nierman
Secretary to the Center Director
U.S. Meat Animal Research Center
Clay Center, NE

Federal Service:  10 yrs           ARS Service:  8 yrs 

Janel began her Federal career at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) during the summers while attending Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, as a Human Resource Intern for three years. Following the completion of her BS Degree in Business Administration, she obtained positions in Human Resources in private industry for 6 years and Home Daycare Provider for 6 years. In October 2007, Janel returned to Federal Service at the USDA-ARS/ U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) as the Secretary to the Research Leader of the Environmental Management Research Unit. In April 2010, she was selected for her current position as Secretary to the Center Director of USMARC. She was selected for the NPACOP and served for 3 years. She was selected for service on the NACOP for a term of 3 years starting June 2014, and will serve as a Technical Advisor to the local council of the Plains Area Council for Office Professionals.

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Aaron Wiggett
Program Support Assistant
Plant Germplasm Preservation Research Unit
National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation
Fort Collins, CO

Federal Service:  1 yr            ARS Service:  1 yr

Aaron began his career with ARS in June 2014.  Prior to his federal career, Aaron was an Office Manager at a local Herff Jones office for two years. Aaron began his term with PACOP in April 2015.

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Barbara Hodges
Secretary to the Laboratory Director
Cropping Systems Research Laboratory
Lubbock, TX

Federal Service: 18 yrs         ARS Service: 18 yrs

 

Barbara’s career with ARS began in 1996 at the Cropping Systems Research Laboratory in Lubbock, Texas. She was selected as the Laboratory Director’s secretary and currently still holds that position. She attended South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. She has served on the Southern Plains Area ACOP council and also on the NACOP. Currently she serves as chair of the PACOP. She is happy to be serving on the newly established council and looks forward to interacting with other Office Professionals in the Plains Area.

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Diona Austill
Program Support Assistant
Livestock and Range Research Laboratory
Miles City, MT

Federal Service: 26 yrs         ARS Service: 26 yrs

Diona Austill began her career with ARS at the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory in October 1989 when she was transferred over from a Montana Agriculture Experiment Station position she had started in May 1988 at Fort Keogh. Her first position was as a Clerk/Typist but within a year took the Research Leader Secretary position. In 2005, she was promoted to a Program Support Assistant. In 2004, she finished her BS in Information Technology with an emphasis on web programming through the University of Phoenix online. This is Diona’s second term on the council. During her first term, Diona was the webmaster and then the NACOP representative where she became the Senior Co-Chair. Planning and gaining approval for a NACOP Training Workshop was a major accomplishment during her term. She is glad to be back serving the area’s office professionals!

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Sherri Brown
Program Support Assistant
Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory
Kerrville, TX

Federal Service: 11 yrs         ARS Service: 5 yrs

Sherri began her Federal career as a part-time clerk typist with Fort Lyon Veterans Administration Hospital in Colorado from 1977-1978. The next 12 years of her career path was in administrative roles in private industry, including administrative assistant to the Vice-President of Engineering at NEOPLAN (an international transit bus manufacturer), and administrative assistant to the Director of Dealer Services at Harley-Davidson’s corporate offices in Milwaukee, WI. Sherri joined the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in Dallas, Texas, as a legal technician in 1990. An out-of-state move sent her back into private industry in 1995 only to return to Texas in 1998 working for 7 years as a legal secretary at The Edwards Law Firm, L.L.P., in Corpus Christi, and another 5 years as paralegal for Co-Counsel of Barron & Adler, L.L.P., in San Antonio and Austin. On June 21, 2010, Sherri joined USDA-ARS’s Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville as Program Support Assistant to the Laboratory Director of the Tick & Biting Fly Unit located in Kerrville and Edinburg, and the Screwworm Research Unit located in Kerrville with an international laboratory in Panama. Sherri is serving as Junior Chair to the Plains Area Council for Office Professionals.

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Trudy Pinkerton
Program Support Assistant
Crop Germplasm Research Unit
Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center
College Station, TX

Federal Service: 13 yrs         ARS Service: 9 yrs

Trudy Pinkerton started her career as a Secretary (OA) with ARS on February 19, 2006. She currently serves as the Program Support Assistant for the Crop Germplasm Research Unit at the Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center in College Station, TX. The Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center is composed of four research units. The Crop Germplasm Research Unit is comprised of seven CRIS’s; five of which fall under NP301. Before coming to work for ARS, Trudy graduated with a B.S. degree in Rangeland Ecology and Management from Texas A&M University. She worked for a soil testing laboratory after graduation and then started her federal career with USDA’s Farm Service Agency in 1998. She also worked for USDA’s Rural Development. While at ARS, she has worked with two Research Leaders and assisted the Unit to meet routine deadlines while the leadership position was vacant. Her current duties include travel, T&A’s, ARIS, ARMPS, IAS, personnel, and other responsibilities as needed (this has included helping with the cotton harvest ahead of an approaching hurricane). Trudy has completed over 10 years of federal service and presently serves as one of the Plains Area Representatives for the National Advisory Council for Office Professionals.

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Andrea Griffith
Program Support Assistant
Grassland, Soil, and Water Research Unit
Temple, TX

Federal Service: 26 yrs         ARS Service: 22 yrs

Andrea began her government career with the Department of Army at the Headquarters United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany in 1989 as Secretary to the Host Nation Support Division Branch Leader. In 1993, she was selected as Secretary to the Research Leader to the Cotton Pathology Research Unit in College Station, TX. In 1998, she transferred to the Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Temple, TX as Program Support Assistant to the Research Leader. Currently she serves as Recorder of the PACOP.

 


Last Modified: 5/16/2015