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USDA Agency Honors Administrative Staff / February 12, 2003 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Karen M. Yezek


USDA Agency Honors Administrative Staff

By Linda McElreath
February 12, 2003

BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 12—Leadership ability, technical understanding and overall professional excellence have garnered human resources specialist Karen M. Yezek of Beltsville, Md., the “Gold Award for Excellence in Administrative and Financial Management” from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Yezek is the chief of the Southern Services Branch of ARS’ Human Resources Division. The award recognizes the work she did while she was the lead human resources specialist in that branch. The Human Resources Division is part of ARS’ Administrative and Financial Management (AFM), which also serves three other USDA agencies--the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Economic Research Service, and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. These agencies and ARS make up USDA’s Research, Education and Economics mission area.

Yezek and other award-winning ARS employees were recognized at a Feb. 12 ceremony at ARS’ Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center here.

As a human resources team leader, Yezek provided oversight and training to eight to 12 employees, who provided staffing, position classification and other services to ARS labs in the agency’s Mid South, South Atlantic and Southern Plains areas. During her four years as team leader, Yezek mentored other staff members on the technical aspects of their positions and advised them on how to serve more effectively as personnel advisors.

Yezek also helped direct several special project assignments during her time as team leader. For example, she provided human resources support to the joint ARS-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service screwworm eradication project in Mexico and to the USDA/Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities program in the agency’s Southern Plains Area. She also played a significant role in the development of position inventories under the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act, and she was an original member of AFM’s Consolidated Assistance Review and Evaluation team.

Other AFM employees and teams recognized at the Feb. 12 awards ceremony were:

  • Occupational Medical Surveillance Program (OMSP) Reinvention Team, Silver Award for Excellence. This nine-member team is made up of one human resources specialist and eight safety and occupational health managers from ARS labs around the country. The team updated the Occupational Health Maintenance Program to make it more protective of employee health and help it meet the agency’s e-government initiatives. The reinvented OMSP is a voluntary program that evaluates, in consultation with supervisors and at no cost to employees, potential work-related medical changes in employee health status. The new OMSP is more user-friendly and more cost-effective than the earlier version, and it has had a positive effect on employee health and welfare.

Houston Evans (left) and Hilda Roberts

  • Hilda B. Roberts, Area Information Technology Specialist, and Houston H. Evans, III, Information Technology Specialist, Mid South Area, Stoneville, Miss., Bronze Award for Excellence. Through their own initiative, Roberts and Evans centralized web services and unified e-mail services throughout the Mid South Area, saving the government thousands of dollars in the process. They vastly improved network security and reliability of e-mail delivery, and users now enjoy better communications.

Phyllis B. Johnson

  • Phyllis B. Johnson, Area Budget and Fiscal Officer, South Atlantic Area, Athens, Ga., Bronze Award for Excellence. Johnson contributed both time and expertise to ARS’ conversion to the new Financial Foundation Information System in the South Atlantic Area . Although the Budget and Fiscal Office in the area has been understaffed for more than two years, with her help it has met or exceeded all goals.

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Last Modified: 2/11/2003
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