State Employee Awards

2011 Awards

2011 Awards

Agency/Employee(s)

Awards and Honors

Department of Game, Fish, and Parks Game, Fish, and Parks Division of Wildlife Aquatics Staff Recognized at Dakota Chapter AFS Annual Meeting
Four members of the Division’s Aquatic Section were recognized on February 22 for their outstanding contributions to the fisheries profession and three others were elected as officers at the annual meeting of the Dakota Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) in Bismarck North Dakota.
Mike Barnes, Hatchery Manager at McNenny State Fish Hatchery near Spearfish, was presented with the Chapters Past-Presidents award in appreciation and recognition of personal contributions to the advancement and improvement of fisheries science in the professional and public interest by serving as President of the Dakota Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. 
Jerry Wilhite, Fisheries Biologist in Rapid City and Matt Ward, Fisheries Biologist at Blue Dog Fish Hatchery were presented with the Chapter’s Outstanding Young Professional Award.  This honor is reserved for professional level staff in the first five years of their careers who have made significant contributions to fisheries science, conservation and who have been a positive influence on the fisheries profession, the Dakota Chapter and their co-workers.
Dr. Brian Blackwell, Fisheries Biologist stationed in Webster, was presented the Chapter’s most prestigious award, The Robert L. Hanten Distinguished Professional Service Award, which is presented annually to a fisheries professional from North or South Dakota who over their career has furthered the mission of the American Fisheries Society.  The Award is named for the long time South Dakota Fisheries Chief whose vision largely shaped the fisheries of the Missouri River system in South Dakota and  the careers of many present and past fisheries professionals in our state.
Three Aquatics Section staff members from Chamberlain were elected to the lead the Dakota Chapter for the term of September 2011 until August 2012.  Chris Longhenry will serve as Chapter President, Jason Sorenson will be the Vice-President and Gary Knecht will perform the duties of Secretary-Treasurer.  The 2012 annual meeting of the Dakota Chapter is tentatively schedule to be held in Chamberlain next February.
Department of Revenue and Regulation On March 24, Commission on Gaming Executive Secretary Larry Eliason was presented an award for "exemplary service to the cause of racing integrity" by the President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Larry received this award for his efforts on behalf of the development of model rules for horse racing.
Department of Revenue and Regulation Colleen Skinner, Property Tax Specialist, with the Department of Revenue was awarded the 2011 Excellent Service to South Dakota County Officials. 
Department of Game, Fish, and Parks The website for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department has received national recognition among similar game and fish agencies around the United States.
The Association for Conservation Information, with membership including over 40 state game and fish agencies, awarded the GFP website – www.gfp.sd.gov – third place honors as part of the group’s annual awards competition.
“This is high praise for our agency and the work we have done to update our website over the past year,” Scott Simpson, Chief of Administrative Services for the Division of Wildlife, said. “The award is significant because it compares our website to agencies with similar goals and responsibilities. To be mentioned at the same level with states like Missouri, Alabama and Texas is a great honor.”
From July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 the GFP website had 2.2 million visitors and 12.8 million page views.
The GFP website contains information on hunting, fishing and state parks. One of the primary uses of the website is for individuals wishing to use the state park reservation system, purchase general hunting and fishing licenses, and apply for limited lottery big game licenses.
Department of Game, Fish, and Parks

Custer State Park Employee Honored by National Guard
Jayme Severyn recently received a certificate of appreciation for patriotic civilian service from the South Dakota National Guard.  Lt. Col Dennis Iverson presented Severyn with the award Wednesday, Aug. 24, on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Army and the South Dakota National Guard.
Severyn is the building engineer for Custer State Park and the liaison between the park and the National Guard during the Guard’s annual Golden Coyote training exercise, which has been conducted in the park for 27 years. The training is held in the park for one week each June.
"I have always viewed Jayme as a quiet and capable professional within Custer State Park," said Iverson. "His efforts have created numerous training opportunities for thousands of Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who have participated in the Golden Coyote Exercise. Jayme has facilitated a successful outcome of our training through his patriotic support of our military."

Department of Corrections

Kristi Bunkers, Director of Classification and Community Services for Juvenile Community Corrections, received the Satnan-Canary Award from the South Dakota Corrections Association. The award is named for Clarence Satnan and Art Canary, leaders in the probation and parole systems in South Dakota and is given in recognition for those who have made a significant lifetime contribution to the corrections field in South Dakota.

Department of Corrections

Ken Cummings, Spearfish Parole Agent, was named the 2011 Parole Services Employee of the Year.

Department of Corrections

South Dakota State Penitentiary staff members Al Cramer, Matthew Freeburg and Jodi Hall were named Officers of the Year by the Sioux Falls Optimist Club.

Department of Corrections

Tonya Wright-Cook, STAR Academy Quality Assurance Director, was given a State Coordinator Achievement Award from the Performance-based Standards (PbS) project.

Department of Corrections

STAR Academy was presented with a Decade of Excellence plaque from the Performance-based Standards (PbS) project.

Department of Game, Fish, and Parks

The Ernest Thompson Seton Award is given to the state, provincial, or federal agency which has best promoted a public awareness of the need to support the science and practice of wildlife management.  A companion award is also presented to the individual deemed by the agency as the one most responsible for its successful and award-winning program.

South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks and Wildlife Program Manager, John Kanta, received the Ernest Thompson Seton Award for leadership in scientific wildlife management in recognition of the public engagement strategy for GFP’s Mountain Lion Management Plan.  Since 2003, Kanta has steered more than 30 public meetings to present biological information about mountain lions and seek input on the state’s management plan, which includes a hunting season.

By embodying the GFP’s willingness and desire to engage the state’s citizens, Kanta turned contentious discussions into productive ones and demonstrated that public involvement is an important component of scientific wildlife management.

Department of Labor and Regulation

South Dakota was named the top small state performer for the Unemployment Insurance Benefit Payment Excellence award. The award is presented for excellence in timeliness of payments, timeliness of eligibility and quality of determination of eligibility. In recognition of their outstanding performance, the UI Management Team provided staff with an appreciation breakfast.

Carmen Trottier, UI Claims Examiner, received the 2011 Workforce Investment Act Outstanding Adult Participant award. Carmen was nominated and selected because of her enthusiasm, reliability and excellent customer service.