Texas A&M Forest Service convened its annual personnel meeting in San Angelo, Texas, drawing agency employees from various corners of the state. The gathering provided a platform to acknowledge accomplishments from the past year and honor employee achievements.
Director Al Davis expressed his pride in the agency's work and highlighted the meeting as an opportunity to reflect on the year's developments, commend the hard work of the employees, and outline goals for 2024.
Davis shared his enthusiasm for the agency's upcoming recruitment efforts, following the recent authorization of funding by the state legislature for the hiring of 40 new employees this fiscal year.
"As we look to expand Texas A&M Forest Service's workforce, our annual meeting served as an opportunity to reflect on our agency's values of leadership, excellence, accountability, duty, and service," said Davis. "We look forward to expanding our workforce to continue our service to the state of Texas."
The meeting also focused on Director Davis's vision for the agency, emphasizing core values of conservation, protection, and leadership. Since assuming the director position in June 2023, Davis plans to prioritize agency recruiting, retention, and safety.
During the meeting, agency leadership recognized 52 employees with more than five years of service, including five individuals with 25 years or more of dedicated service. Noteworthy among them were Kevin Matthews, Dina Nutall, Tina Yount, Robert Edmonson, and Tammy Russell.
Several outstanding employees received Director's Awards for their exemplary contributions to the agency. Scharise Phariss, Business Assistant in Merkel, received the Director's Award for Support Staff Field. Jason Calvet, Regional Fire Coordinator in Houston, was honored with the Director's Award for Support Staff Professional. Tana Chappell, Administrative Associate in College Station, received the Director's Award for Support Staff Office.
Other notable awardees included Jacey Tosh, who received the D.A. "Andy" Anderson Outreach and Education Award, and Dan Gaskins, who received the Bruce Miles Natural Resource Professional Award. Seth Morris was recognized with the Charles Krenek Award for Resource Specialist.
The Virtually Wild! Texas program received the Director's Award for Team Effort, being hailed as the agency's best interdivisional project. This initiative provides accessible forest conservation and natural resource education for students, including virtual field trips. The team members instrumental to the success of this program were Mike Carter, Matt Ford, Stuart Morris, Connor Murname, Mike Sills, Shruthi Srinivasan, and Donna Work.