During the award ceremony, Director Tom Boggus, thanked Texas A&M Forest Service’s 400 employees for their continued service and support of the agency’s mission.
“It’s a privilege to be the director and represent you across the state,” said Boggus. “You keep that can-do attitude; you keep showing up and getting the job done against all odds.”
The annual gathering allows employees from across the state to come together and reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments while enjoying comradeship, games and food at the Crockett Civic Center.
This year’s special guest speaker is No.1 best-selling author and former Black Hawk pilot, Elizabeth McCormick. While giving an inspirational account of her time in the U.S. Army, she encouraged TFS employees to continue digging deep and performing their mission to the best of their abilities.
“I am so impressed by the work that you all do,” McCormick said. “You really make a difference for our state, for our trees and for our communities in a way most people don’t appreciate.”
Fifty-seven employees were recognized for five or more years of service. Dr. Ronald Billings, forest health manager in College Station, received an award for 40 years of service with the agency.
Additional awards were issued to the following Texas A&M Forest Service employees:
Director’s Award for Support Staff
Field: Rich Gray, Smithville
Gray was recognized for his work of continually developing numerous partnerships across the state, resulting in increased training opportunities for Texas communities.
Professional: Kathleen Flatt, College Station
Flatt was recognized for her continuous efforts to acquire and efficiently manage federal grants and for her exceptional customer service.
Office: Alice Kocurek, College Station
Kocurek was recognized because of her strong work ethic and commitment to help support new office associates and staff in the field.
Charles Krenek Award for Resource Specialist
Mark Kerr, Nacogdoches
Kerr was recognized for his dedication to and leadership of his new employees. Kerr spends extra time training new firefighters on the fire line while also overseeing fire suppression activities.
Director’s Award for Team Effort
The Timber Inventory Team: Jordan Herrin, Huntsville and Kenny Harrelson, Livingston
This team originated from the need to have a standardized timber inventory specification program. Both Herrin and Harrelson were chosen because of their technical forestry knowledge and readiness to do more than is required of them.
Director’s Award for Technical Forestry
Lee McNeely, Linden
McNeely was recognized for his significant contributions in identifying the significant risks wildfires posed for in Texas; and his continuous efforts help to update mitigation plans for at-risk communities.
D.A. “Andy” Anderson I&E Award
Mike Murphrey, Lufkin
Murphrey was recognized for his devotion to informing and educating the public primarily through the Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program and the Invasive Species Program.