HARRISBURG – For their dedication and fast turnaround of a complex project, a group of employees at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s veterinary laboratory has received one of the first Governor’s Awards for Excellence.
“We commend the staff of the Pennsylvania Vet Lab for their commitment to accurate testing and research,” Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said. “Their efforts bolster confidence in Pennsylvania agriculture by ensuring our livestock are of the highest quality.
“Pennsylvania’s leading industry is agriculture, due in large part to the dedicated people who work in the industry – from farmers to industry representatives to health professionals.”
A team of seven microbiologists, laboratory technologists, information specialists and staff assistants – named Eileen Connors, Jay Gass, Patty Hursh, Brian Fleeger, Kris Speers, Matt Sweger and Ruth Whalen – earned the group achievement award in the customer service category for conducting health testing on more than 50,000 Holstein dairy cattle that were exported to Saudi Arabia.
Through a complex process of testing, selecting and shipping, the team proved 11,000 head of the cattle met the rigid export requirements, which generated nearly $50 million in revenue for dairy producers and commonwealth suppliers.
The Governor’s Awards for Excellence were designed to recognize state employees for their dedication to public service. Nearly 700 employees were nominated this year, the inaugural year of the program, and only 19 were selected as award winners. Awardees received a plaque and certificate of appreciation during a ceremony at the Governor’s Residence.
“The Department of Agriculture is proud of the hard work all of our employees do each day to protect our citizens and Pennsylvania agriculture,” Wolff said.