ARS Honors Administrative Support PersonnelBy Erin Peabody
January 22, 2004
NEW ORLEANS, La., Jan. 22--Bonnie Beavers, a human resources specialist with the Agricultural Research Service, is being honored today for her leadership and key involvement in implementing legislation that affects more than 5,000 federal employees. She is the 2003 recipient of the federal agency's "Gold Award for Excellence."
Beavers and other award winners from the Administrative and Financial Management (AFM) divisions were presented with plaques and cash awards during a ceremony here today. ARS, celebrating its 50th year, is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's principal in-house scientific research agency.
AFM provides services for ARS and other agencies within USDA's Research, Education and Economics (REE) mission area. The "AFM Support Awards for Excellence" recognize the outstanding achievements of employees who have increased efficiency in the administrative and financial management support activities of agencies in REE.
Chief of the Human Resources Division's Metropolitan Services Branch, Beavers has been involved in the establishment, restructuring and termination of various human resources programs.
Specifically, she worked for several years resolving the problematic status of joint federal-state employees--those who hold government appointments while carrying out agricultural extension work within the Cooperative Extension Service organizations of land-grant universities.
Her actions included closely interacting with the Office of General Counsel to sort out legal issues and to draft legislation. She developed an 8-month plan of action to help universities and USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) implement legislation.
Agency leaders recognize that Beaver's work has resulted in legislation that streamlines administrative processes and is considered a win-win for the USDA and the land-grant university system. Beavers is a native of Washington, D.C. and resides in Clifton, Va.
One other employee and two teams were also honored with "AFM Support Awards for Excellence" during the ARS awards ceremony:
"Silver Award for Excellence"
Donald B. Jones, Chief, Ames Modernization Branch, Beltsville, Md.
Since becoming branch chief in 2002, Jones has overseen implementation of the design and construction efforts of a modernization project for the USDA animal health facility in Ames, Iowa. The modernization program will help ensure that the facility--which houses both ARS and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service--is the nation's flagship facility for animal diagnostics, biologics and research.
Among his other achievements, Jones worked with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enroll the Ames project as a LABS 21 demonstration site for sustainability. In doing so, Jones established a significant goal for the facility: to reduce energy consumption by 30 to 50 percent, relative to other similar facilities.
"Bronze Award for Excellence"
South Atlantic Area (SAA) Module I Research Leader Training Group, Athens, Ga.
The team developed, designed and presented a comprehensive human resources training program for research leaders and supervisors within the ARS SAA. The training serves as a strategy for addressing employee concerns, pertaining to human resources issues, across the SAA. In addition, the group developed what is being referenced as the "SAA Redbook"--a user-friendly guide to common human resources management issues with helpful hints for remedying them.
"Bronze Award for Excellence"
Pay and Leave Team, Human Resources Division, Beltsville, Md.
The team, including four human resources specialists and two human resources assistants, was responsible for implementing--as well as for providing extensive training for--the Systems for Time and Attendance Reporting (STAR) program. Significantly, the Pay and Leave Team successfully converted approximately 10,000 employees to the new timekeeping system.