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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

NORTHERN PLAINS AREA
COUNCIL OF OFFICE PROFESSIONALS

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Current Members

The current members were instated at the Northern Plains Area office on October 17, 2012. Individual names will link you to their respective biographies.

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

Name

Location

E-mail/Phone

Carol Durflinger Member

Northern Plains Area Office, Fort Collins, CO            

carol.durflinger@ars.usda.gov 
Phone: 970-492-7058
Fax:  970-492-7065

Olga Lee 
Ex-Officio Member

Northern Plains Area Office
Fort Collins, CO

olga.lee@ars.usda.gov  Phone: 970-492-7057
Fax: 970-492-7065

Jaime Mitchell
Webmaster  

Hard Winter Wheat Genetics Research Unit,
Manhattan,
KS

jaime.mitchell@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 785-532-6168
Fax: 785-532-6167

Janel Nierman
Media/PR

U.S. Meat Animal Research Ctr
Clay Center, NE

janel.nierman@ars.usda.gov 
Ph: 402-762-4110
Fax: 402-762-4111

Linda Parnell
Technical Advisor
NACOP Representative

U.S. Meat Animal Research Ctr Reproduction Research Unit
Clay Center,
NE

linda.parnell@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 402-762-4191
Fax: 402-762-4382

Tawanna Ross
New Secretary Coordinator 

 

Grain Quality and Structure Research Unit

tawanna.ross@ars.usda.gov
Phone: (785) 776-2757
Fax: (785) 537-5534

Amber Whittaker
Chair

Poisnous Plant Research Lab1150
Logan, UT

amber.whittaker@ars.usda.gov
Phone: 435-752-2941 ext1109
Fax: 435-753-5681

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Biographies


Carol Durflinger
Secretary to the Associate Area Director
Northern Plains Area
Fort Collins, Colorado

Federal Service:  15 yrs             ARS Service:  1 yr

Carol started her government career with USDA Forest Service in 1981 as a Student Clerk in Fort Collins, CO.  After graduation, she held several positions with the Forest Service.  In January 1987, Carol accepted a Secretary position with the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).  She worked there until February 1995 when she resigned to be a stay-at-home mom.  In August 2002, Carol accepted a position as a Teacher’s Aide at her daughter’s school.  She was promoted to Registrar for the school in August 2005.  Carol returned to Federal service in January 2008 as a Staff Assistant with APHIS, Plant Protection and Quarantine.  She started with ARS in December 2010 as Secretary to the Associate Area Director.



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Olga Lee
Secretary to the Area Director
Northern Plains Area
Fort Collins, Colorado

Federal Service: 23 yrs             ARS Service: 23 yrs

Olga’s career with ARS began in 1989 as Secretary to the Sugarbeet Research Unit. In 1991, she was selected as Secretary to the Center Director of the Natural Resources Research Center. When the Center was dissolved in 1995, Olga joined the Area Office staff as Secretary to the Assistant Area Director. In 1997, Olga was appointed to her current position as Secretary to the Area Director of the NPA. She served as the Technical Advisor for the NPA Secretarial Advisory Council from July 1997 through September 2000. Currently she serves as Ex-Officio Member of the NPACOP in her capacity as Secretary to the Area Director.  She also serves as the Chair to the Colorado-Wyoming Secretarial Group.

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Jaime Mitchell
Secretary to the Research Leader
Hard Winter Wheat Genetics Research Unit
Kansas State University
Manhattan, Kansas

Federal Service:  3 yrs           ARS Service:  3 yrs


Jaime began her USDA-ARS career in June 2009 as a Secretary (OA) in the Hard Winter Wheat Genetics Research Unit. Prior to working with USDA-ARS, she was an Administrative Specialist for Kansas State University, Department of Agronomy. Jaime began her term with NPACOP in October 2010

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Janel Nierman
Secretary to the Center Director
U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, SPUR 18D
Clay Center, Nebraska

Federal Service:  5 yrs           ARS Service:  5 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 Summer Intern. 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 Environmental Management Research Unit. In April 2010, she was selected to her current position as Secretary to the Center Director of USMARC. She began her term with NPACOP in October 2010.

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Linda Parnell
Secretary to the Research Leader
Reproduction Research Unit
U. S. Meat Animal Research Center
Clay Center, Nebraska

Federal Service:   30 yrs        ARS Service: 30 yrs

Linda Parnell began her career at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in June of 1980 as a Staff Secretary II employed by the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. In September 1982, she was selected to her current ARS position as Secretary to the Research Leader, Reproduction Research Unit, at USMARC. Linda accepted the invitation to complete a term on the NPA Secretarial Advisory Council in January 2007. She became the NPA Representative on the National Advisory Council for Office Professionals (NACOP) in June 2011 and now serves as the NACOP Technical Advisor for NPACOP.
 

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Tawanna Ross
Secreatary to the Research Leader
Grain Quality & Structure Research Unit
CGAHR
Manhattan KS

Federal Service:  14 years            ARS Service:  14 years

  Tawanna Ross Johnson began her career with ARS in February 1998.  She was hired under the STEP program as an Office Automation Clerk in the Administrative Office of the Grain Marketing and Production Research Center, under the supervision of Ms. Jimmie Nell Oliver.  After 15 months, Tawanna was recruited to work as a Biological Science Aid in the Plant Science & Entomology Research Unit, which is located on the Kansas State University campus.  After three years of working under the supervision of Dr. John Fellers, the Unit found themselves comprised of new SY’s and a new RL and in need of a secretary.  Tawanna fulfilled a detail to aid the Unit during their time of need, then followed the detail with another detail of Receptionist at the main Center.  In 2003, Tawanna was hired to the permanent position of Secretary for the Grain Quality & Structure Research Unit in Manhattan, KS.

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Amber Whittaker
Secretary to the Research Leader
Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory
1150 E 1400 N
Logan, UT

Federal Service: 10.5 yrs         ARS Service: 5.5 yrs

 

Amber began her federal career with the United States Air Force in July 2001 as an active duty Aerospace Medical Service Craftsman. Following a deployment to Kirkuk, Iraq in 2005 she was diagnosed with a Middle Eastern disease and was medically retired from the Air Force as a Staff Sergeant in January of 2007. Amber began working for ARS as a Secretary to the Research Leader at the Pollinating Insects Research Unit in Logan, UT in May of the same year. Sixteen months later, she requested a transfer to a part-time position as an Office Automation Clerk at the PPRL to focus on her medical treatments and education.

Amber completed the requirements for her Bachelor’s Degree from Utah State University in December 2010 focusing on Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Agriculture. In February 2011 she was promoted to Secretary to the Research Leader at PPRL. She is currently pursuing her Master’s of Business Administration online through the Veteran’s Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation program. Amber began her term with NPACOP in October 2011.

 

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Last Modified: 2/27/2013