NMDA staffers recognized for exemplary service to department, community

2015 Distinguished Service Awards,
Community Action Award presented

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) has recognized two employees for going above and beyond in contributing to the department’s service to New Mexico and its residents.

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte and NMDA Deputy Director Anthony Parra presented the department’s Distinguished Service Awards for 2015 to Felicia Frost and Corina Acosta at the department’s recently held annual conference.

“Felicia and Corina exemplify what makes NMDA a great agency and a great place to work,” Witte said.  “Both are team players, and their goal is the success of the programs they work on, which serve New Mexicans and the state.”

As a marketing specialist in NMDA’s Marketing and Development Division, Felicia Frost works on multiple programs to promote New Mexico food and agriculture.  She oversees the state’s share of funding through USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which funds marketing and development projects benefitting New Mexico chile, onions, pecans, and more.  She also oversees the NEW MEXICO—Grown with Tradition® and NEW MEXICO—Taste the Tradition® program, whose logos help people identify food and agricultural products grown or made in New Mexico.

As an administrative assistant in NMDA’s Standards and Consumer Services Division, Corina Acosta provides support to the division’s inspectors who work across the state enforcing regulations that help maintain fairness in the marketplace.  Among other things, inspectors in that division certify the accuracy of scales that measure everything from produce at the grocery store to livestock sold from the ranch; check to see that chile products are sold in accordance with the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act; and check pumps at gas stations across the state to make sure they dispense the right amount and quality of fuel.  When people call with questions or tips related to those items and more, Corina is quick to provide good information in a pleasant, efficient way.

Witte and Parra also presented a new award this year: the Community Action Award.

“This award recognizes the contributions our staff make to their communities outside of work,” Witte said.

The first recipient of the award is Joel Johnson, a system analyst in NMDA’s Information Technology and Communications section, which keeps the department’s computers and servers humming so the agency can provide good service to New Mexicans.  For the past 10 years, Joel has volunteered at University Church of Christ in Las Cruces.  There he fixes the usual PC problems and handles audio and visual work for special events.  He has even built two servers at the church and rewired the church building for computer purposes.

Acosta, Frost, and Johnson were nominated by their co-workers.

Witte said that all three are good examples of what NMDA’s 140-person staff does throughout the state to support New Mexico agriculture and to protect consumers.