Five senior executives with USDA's Agricultural
Research Service received Presidential Rank awards last week from Vice
President Al Gore at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
ARS Deputy Administrator K. Darwin
Murrell received the Distinguished Executive award for sustained
extraordinary accomplishment in carrying out government wide goals and policies
as director of ARS' Beltsville
(Md.) Area. He received $20,000, a gold pin and a certificate signed by the
President. Murrell oversaw a 5-year savings of $5 million in energy and other
costs that could be diverted to research. He also spearheaded a mentoring
program for area employees that is being adopted by other government agencies.
Four other ARS senior executives honored at a May 5 ceremony received
$10,000 each, a silver pin and a signed certificate for sustained
accomplishment. They are:
Danny B. Laster, director of the U.S.
Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb.. Laster led development of
a world-class food safety and genome research program. His leadership also
saved $2 million in costs over the past 5 years and accelerated the flow of
information and technology by organizing multi-disciplinary teams with the
appropriate mix of talent.
Jane L. Giles, who recently retired as deputy administrator for
administrative and financial management in Greenbelt, Md. Giles led the effort
to consolidate these services--during USDA's 1995 reorganization--for ARS and
other agencies in USDA's Research,
Education and Economics mission area. Giles' streamlining goals led to
service improvements while reducing staff.
Wilda H. Martinez,
now director of ARS' North Atlantic Area
in Wyndmoor, Pa., was cited for leadership as associate deputy administrator for
agriproducts and human nutrition. By initiating video conferencing among ARS
locations around the country, she saved significant travel costs while
maintaining the ability of administrators nationwide to address emerging
Joseph T. Spence, director of ARS'
Beltsville Human Nutrition
Research Center. Spence reorganized the center's research from a program
based on nutrients to one built on effects of nutrition and health on
well-being. He led planning to incorporate the nationwide food consumption
survey and the national nutrient database staffs into the center with necessary
resources for effective research.