NMDA recognizes exemplary employees with 2021 awards


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NMDA Contact: Brandon Larrañaga
Communications Assistant, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
blarranaga@nmda.nmsu.edu
575-339-5011 (Kristie Garcia, Public Affairs Director)

July 2, 2021

NMDA recognizes exemplary employees with 2021 awards

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LAS CRUCES – The past year has brought upon new challenges for everyone in all walks of life, including the workplace. Luckily, there were countless individuals who stepped up to the plate and worked diligently in order to ensure that agriculture-related industries prospered as much as possible. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture acknowledged and awarded some of those individuals in May.

The department issued 2021 Distinguished Service Awards to two employees that demonstrated dedication to duty, innovations, public service, human relations or other achievements. The first of these was awarded to Patricia Depner from the Agricultural Programs and Resources (APR) Division. Serving as the program coordinator for the APR Division, Patricia’s work is of critical importance and allows for the rest of the department to flourish.

New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said Patricia has taken on a great deal of hard work during the legislative sessions in the last several years, in addition to her normal duties as program coordinator.

“Patricia stays on top of what legislation we are tracking, as well as the status of the items we’re analyzing,” said Witte. “She stays up late to provide our team with new information and works with many individuals across NMDA and within the legislative system. She is both a dedicated and unselfish member or our team.”

Smiling woman kneeling down with one hand on rock wall and one hand on back of brown and white dog
Patricia Depner was the recipient of one of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s 2021 Distinguished Service Awards for her dedication and unselfishness. She is a program coordinator for the Agricultural Programs and Resources Division.

Marshal Wilson from the Agricultural Production Services Division also received a 2021 Distinguished Service Award. Having only recently assumed his position of Assistant Division Director when the pandemic hit in spring of 2020, he hit the ground running.

“Marshal worked diligently and unselfishly during the pandemic,” said Witte. “The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management leaned on him heavily for guidance and leadership regarding food supply. His efforts definitely did not go unnoticed.”

Man in black jacket sitting in communications room looking at computer screen with phone held to his hear
Marshal Wilson was the recipient of one of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s 2021 Distinguished Service Awards for his efforts and diligence at the Emergency Operations Center during the pandemic. He serves as the Assistant Division Director in the Agricultural Production Services Division.

The department also issued the Exemplary Colleague Award. In its second year of existence, the award was granted to an individual through nominations from her coworkers that recognized the quality of her work, positivity and professionalism. The 2021 Exemplary Colleague Award went to Kim Reiten, a veterinary laboratory scientist for the Veterinary Diagnostic Services (VDS) Division.

“Several of Kim’s colleagues had exceptional things to say about her,” said Witte. “Kim consistently steps up, encourages others, is supportive and understanding, is always willing to help and really cares about the quality of her work. It’s evident she wants the best for our clients at VDS.”

Smiling woman sitting outdoors on ground in camouflage clothing near camouflage backpack with trees in background
Kim Reiten was the recipient of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s 2021 Exemplary Colleague Award. Coworkers nominated Reiten for the quality of her work, positivity and professionalism. She is a veterinary laboratory scientist for the Veterinary Diagnostic Services Division.

Lastly, NMDA granted the Secretary Honor’s Award to an entire team that made all the difference in this last year – the Information Technology & Communications team.

“For several years, the NMDA leadership team has talked about preparing for the event that our building would not be available,” said Witte. “How would we handle finances, or communications? Would we be prepared? There was one group that ensured we were. Everyone contributed to the successful transformation toward working from home, but the ITC team truly made it happen. This special group made sure our operations could communicate, connect, access and more to what we needed to maintain operations. Led by Tony Marquez, Karen Carter, Joel Johnson, David Parada, Jerry Shakal, Shannon Smith and their students – successful teleworking was ensured for all of us.”

Group of seven people (two women, two men in back row and three men in front row) standing, facing camera and smiling
The Information Technology & Communications Team was the recipient of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s 2021 Secretary Honor’s Award. The team was recognized for ensuring NMDA operations had the ability to communicate, connect and access what was needed to maintain operations during the pandemic. Back row L to R: software developer Karen Carter, system analyst Joel Johnson, system analyst Shannon Smith, systems administrator Jerry Shakal. Front row L to R: software developer David Parada, computer operations manager Tony Marquez, student aide Jeremy Townsend.

Multiple employees were recognized for their various milestone anniversaries working at NMDA – some of whom have worked at the department for 40 years.

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is proud to acknowledge all of these individuals, plus countless others who have ensured another year of success and growth within the agricultural industry for not only the department, but the entire state of New Mexico. For more information on the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and its team, visit www.nmda.nmsu.edu.

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