WASHINGTON, Mar. 6A special team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) employees today received the agency's "Gold Award for Excellence in Administrative and Financial Management" for providing administrative support to ARS employees who fled Hurricane Katrina. ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The Human Capital Project Teamwith members based in New Orleans, La., Stoneville, Miss., and Beltsville, Md.supported ARS employees affected by Hurricane Katrina in countless ways, professionally and personally. The team is part of 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.
Employees at one of ARS' major research sites, the Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC) in New Orleans, were severely impacted by the hurricane that struck on August 29, 2005. In response, the Human Capital Project Team developed a plan for relocating 172 employees and their dependents to temporary work sites in 12 states. These relocations had to be carefully executed, with both agency research goals and employee personal needs in mind.
Members of the award-winning team are Karen Brownell, Lyn Buchanan, Larry Cullumber, Diane Eggert, Steven Helmrich, Erica Jones, Rita Keeling, Dave Love, Debra Magee, Carolyn Norquist, Sue Rable, Dawn Reed, Hilda Roberts, Archie Tucker, Sonja Tucker, Robin Ward, Patricia Winston and Karen Yezek. They and other ARS awardees were recognized during a ceremony today at USDA headquarters here.
The team was congratulated for facilitating the smooth return to New Orleans of SRRC personnel and their families a full year ahead of schedule. This has reduced employee emotional trauma, preserved the continuity of the center's research programs and saved the agency millions of dollars in temporary duty station costs.
Other AFM employees and teams recognized at today's awards ceremony were: