Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Celebrates 2022 Outstanding Employees

LANSING – Service Commitment. Adaptability. Collaboration. These are the words that describe 2022 as much as they describe this year’s Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) award winners.

MDARD is known for its ongoing commitment to problem solving with its customers and stakeholders, for its dedication to growing the state’s food and agriculture sector, and for its tenacity in overcoming the most unique challenges. The 2022 MDARD Employee Award winners, nominated by their MDARD colleagues, exemplify these values. Additionally, 58 employees celebrating 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 year anniversaries were also recognized at the MDARD Employee Awards Ceremony.

“Every day, I am grateful to be able to work with the staff at MDARD who are on the front lines of protecting public and animal health and who continually invest in the growth of Michigan’s food and agriculture community,” said Gary McDowell, MDARD Director. “This year’s recipients exemplify the culture and dedication within the department to consistently provide the highest level of service to Michiganders and our constituents.”

The 2022 winners are:

Leadership Award: Lansing’s Ken Settimo – Ken is a Food Specialist for MDARD’s Food and Dairy Division.

The “Leadership Award” is designed to recognize staff members who are considered outstanding leaders by their peers, supervisors and clients. The award recognizes an MDARD employee who takes on the challenge of leadership, inspires others to action, and seeks opportunities to innovate and improve areas within the department.

Everyday Hero Award: William Wells of Lansing – William is a Departmental Technician with MDARD’s Food and Division.

The “Every Day Hero Award” affirms the value MDARD has in employees who may not be in the spotlight, but who consistently and faithfully get things done every day. It is awarded to an employee who consistently demonstrates reliability, diligence, initiative and teamwork.

Frontline Ambassador Award: Stephanie Baughan of Williamston – Stephanie is a Departmental Technician in the Laboratory Division of MDARD.

The “Frontline Ambassador Award” is given to an employee who is regularly put in precarious and difficult situations, while demonstrating a positive attitude, identifying creative options for resolution and following up with the voter. The award is not given for a singular achievement or activity, but rather reflects an ongoing commitment to MDARD’s mission and values.

Rookie of the Year: Nicole Ballreich of Fowlerville – Nicole is a Certified Veterinary Technician for the Animal Industry Division of MDARD.

The Rookie of the Year Award recognizes a new employee (less than three years in the job) whose department has set a benchmark for all others to achieve. It is designed to provide recognition to staff members who are seen as promising leaders within the department.


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