2010 State Employee Awards

Agency / Employee(s) Awards and Honors
Bureau of Information and Technology Erik Nelson selected as vice President of the Black Hills Digital Mapping Association. SDPB received NETA Award for Deadwood Songbook in the Promotion/ Campaign Category.
Department of Corrections Larry Heinemann, Excel Wellness Instructor, and Jim Lindsay, Building Maintenance Lead Worker, were named Employee’s of the Year for 2009 at the State Treatment and Rehabilitation (STAR) Academy.
Department of Health Carrie Churchill has been selected as an honoree for her “dedication to youth, families and the community” by Wellspring, an organization that works with teenagers who have chemical dependency and behavioral issues. Carrie is the Bright Start Nurse Coordinator in our Rapid City office. She will receive her award at the group’s 16th annual "We Believe in Kids" awards dinner February 25.
Department of Game, Fish, and Parks Officer Jeremy Roe was formally recognized by the National Wild Turkey Foundation in Mitchell on January 9, 2010, as the South Dakota Officer of the Year.
Department of Transportation

Huft Honored by Transportation Research Board: Dave Huft, SDDOT’s Research Program Manager, was honored in January for his outstanding service to transportation research and the Transportation Research Board (TRB), one of six divisions of the National Research Council. He received the W.N. Carey Jr. award, named for a former TRB executive director.

“Huft has served the Board tirelessly for more than 20 years in a variety of roles,” the TRB said in its announcement. “The consummate TRB state representative, he has long been the South Dakota Department of Transportation’s voice in TRB and a key contributor to the Board’s continuing strong partnership with the states, both through his work in that post and through his leadership roles on the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Research Advisory Committee and Standing Committee on Research.”

Joint Appropriations Committee member praises SDDOT maintenance employees: “As we travel across the roads of South Dakota, especially in the last month and a half, I just personally want to thank your staff for keeping those roads cleared,” said Rep. Larry Tidemann of Brookings at the Jan. 27 meeting. “As I drove back on Monday, I thought, ‘Why are those people even willing to work for us in those conditions?’ But I do want to express my appreciation. I know we can’t give you extra dollars to pay them, but I do want to thank you for the service that they do [for] the people of South Dakota, because we depend upon those roads for not only getting to place to place but also for the goods and services that come in to the state.”

Rep. Dean Wink of Howes thanks SDDOT for work on Sly Hill project: “We had a situation down in Meade County outside the city of Sturgis road where we literally had a road collapsing and falling into a creekside bed. All of us thought that it was going to be this summer before it could even be approached. But the Department of Transportation got involved, had some engineers come down and other personnel, put together a team and took quick and decisive action and got it fixed this fall. On behalf of the city of Sturgis, Meade County and the residents that were being diverted to other roads to get to work, I say thank you.” Wink made the remarks during the Jan. 27 Joint Appropriations Committee meeting.

House Transportation Committee members commend DOT for responsiveness, courtesy to citizens: Representatives from both sides of the aisle took time during the Jan. 21 House Transportation Committee meeting to praise the South Dakota Department of Transportation for its responsiveness to citizen concerns.

“Over the course of the past year, I couldn’t believe how many constituent questions that I had that related to the Department of Transportation,” Rep. Lance Russell of Hot Springs told Secretary Bergquist. “I contacted you and the commission and members of your staff, and I always was very pleased with how my constituents were treated and how the agency dealt with every concern that anyone had, and made amicable and very reasonable decisions as it related to everything. I want to thank you for that publicly and your staff, because they have been very good to me and my constituents throughout the entire year. I haven’t had the kind of contacts with any other agency of state government—the number of contacts—that I’ve had with your agency. I just wanted to make sure that I thanked you for that.”

Said Rep. Shantel Krebs of Renner, chair of the House Transportation Committee: “There are sometimes little questions and concerns that a constituent may have, that they’re upset with the way this was done or they’re not hearing back on right-of-way issues. Every time, as Rep. Russell, said, our regional operators or engineers or staff went and specifically answered each question. We as legislators—it made us look good, even though we weren’t doing the work. You guys were in the trenches doing that, so you need to tell your staff and the officers in each regional office how great they’ve handled that. I think we can all commend them.”

Rep. Kent Juhnke of Vivian added: “I didn’t travel much, and I did have a constituent concern when I left Wagner. I had two calls back from the Department and had been referred to the district office by the time I got to [the] Interstate, which is 45 miles. By the time I got halfway home, we had pretty much addressed this constituent concern. I even got to talk to Mr. Secretary himself as I was traveling in a snowstorm!”

Rep. Gerald Lange of Madison said he shared the other legislators’ sentiments.

Associated General Contractors and American Concrete Pavement Association thank SDDOT Secretary for communicating road needs, departmental efficiencies to lawmakers: Larry Engbrecht, executive vice president of the American Concrete Pavement Association’s South Dakota Chapter, thanked Secretary Bergquist for “speaking the language” to legislators during the past two summer studies of transportation funding and informing them of highway needs. Toby Crow, executive vice president of the Associated General Contractors of South Dakota, Highway-Heavy Utilities Chapter, added that Berquist had done a “great job” describing highway needs and the steps the SDDOT has taken to operate efficiently with the funding it has. “There’s no room to attack the department on efficiencies anymore,” Crow said. Crow and Engbrecht made the remarks at the Jan. 28 Transportation Commission meeting.

Department of Public Safety The American Legion honored Trooper Levi Jensen with their Law Officer of the Year award.
Department of Corrections West River Juvenile Corrections Agent Supervisor Tammi Archbold was presented with an award from Wellsprings during a banquet in Rapid City on February 25th. Tammi was honored for her dedication to youth. She has worked with Juvenile Community Corrections since 1996.
Department of Social Services Policy Studies, Inc. compiled the FFY-2009 federal performance measure data used to calculate incentive payments for all 50 States and 4 Territories. While no official award has been presented as of yet, the data reflects that the South Dakota Division of Child Support again achieved the #1 national ranking in performance – this is the 10th consecutive year the SD Division of Child Support has ranked #1 in performance.
Bureau of Information and Technology SDPB Radio won 8 of the 12 2010 Edward R. Murrow Awards given by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). SDPB competes in Region 4 (MN, SD, ND, WI). Included in these 8 was the award for Overall Excellence.
Department of Health We were very pleased to learn that the department has been named this year’s winner of the National Influenza Vaccine Summit Award for Immunization Coalitions/Public Health/Community Campaign. The award letter indicated South Dakota is being recognized for its outstanding efforts and partnerships during the 2009-2010 H1N1 campaign. It will be publicly announced and presented at the May 18 National Influenza Vaccine Summit in Arizona. As part of the award presentation, our Immunization Program has been asked to give a presentation about the activities that led to our selection as a national winner.
Department of Game, Fish, and Parks

Mickelson Trail Inducted Into Rails-to-Trails Hall of Fame

The George S. Mickelson Trail has been inducted into the Rails-to-Trails Hall of Fame. The trail is one of just 25 selected for the honor from a field of more than 1,600 trails nationwide. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a non-profit organization promoting former rail lines that have been turned into nature trails, selects Hall of Fame inductees on a variety of merits, including scenic value, high use, amenities, historical significance, management excellence, good maintenance, and community connections.

Completed nearly 13 years ago, the GSM Trail is one of the premiere bicycle trails in the nation. The trail attracts thousands of users to the Black Hills and its communities each year. The trail stretches 109 miles from Deadwood to Edgemont and showcases the most spectacular scenery the Black Hills has to offer.

Special signage will be erected along the trail this month, marking it as a Rails-to-Trails Hall of Fame inductee. The Mickelson Trail is featured as the “trail of the month” on the Conservancy website and in the organization’s national magazine, Rails to Trails. The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks will hold an official Hall of Fame announcement ceremony on Thursday, May 13, at 10:30 a.m. (MDT). The public and press are encouraged to attend the ceremony, which will be held along the trail across from the Homestake Mansion in Lead. The announcement coincides with the Lead/Deadwood fifth-grade triathlon, held every year on the Mickelson Trail.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Stacy A. Froelich, P.E. - Masters of Science in Technology Management, with an emphasis on Engineering Management, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Kris Dozark - Masters of Science in Biology, South Dakota State University

Department of Corrections Brad Woodward of the South Dakota State Penitentiary was named Officer of the Year by the Sioux Falls Optimist Club at a ceremony May 14th.
Department of Public Safety State Trooper Kristoff deKramer was awarded the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Sioux Falls Optimist Club.
Department of Health Linda Marchand received the 2010 G.J. Van Heuvelen Award from the South Dakota Public Health Association. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to public health over many years. Linda is Rapid City area Regional Manager for the Department of Health, Office of Family and Community Health Services.
Department of Agriculture Tim Eggers was as South Dakota’s Veteran’s of Foreign Wars “Firefighter of the Year” for his work as the Lead Volunteer Fire Department Chief and as our Division Chief in the Lead Field Office.
Department of Revenue Darrin Gerry: Darrin received recognition for his volunteer time and dedication to the Boy Scouts of America. Darrin's commitment makes it possible for several boys from around the area to learn and grow through life long experiences by dedicating his time to weekly meetings, weekend outings and week long Summer camps.
Bureau of Information and Technology SDPB Radio dominated the Midwest Region Edward R. Murrow Awards given each year by the Radio and Television News Directors Association by winning 9 of 12 first place awards and 17 of 24 total awards, including a sweep of all the writing awards. All of these winners (which include an AP win by one of our student interns, Jenifer Jones, Milbank native and USD graduate), now go on to national competition. South Dakota Public Broadcasting radio staff won 9 of 12 categories in the Great Plains AP Broadcast Contest for non-commercial stations, including best newscast. NET Radio of Lincoln, Neb., won best spot news story and best Agricultural story. Prairie Public Broadcasting of Bismarck, N.D., had the best continuing story. The contest was entered by four public radio stations in the Dakotas and Nebraska and covered work produced during 2009. Prizes were awarded for first, second and honorable mention in each category. South Dakota Public Broadcasting won first place for general reporting, feature, series/documentary, sports, website, writing and best use of sound, as well as for newscast. All told, SDPB took home 17 prizes at various levels, including all three places in the writing category. SDPB won 8 of 12 first place awards in the Radio and Television Digital News Association Murrow Awards, Region 4. SDPB competed against commercial and non-commercial stations in SD, ND, MN, and WI. The 8 wins were the most by any single radio or television station or network in the entire United States.
Department of Corrections Melinda Johnson, Records Administrator, was recently named as the President of the National Association of Correctional Record Administrators and Supervisors (NACRAS). The national organization promotes the education, training and development of records staff for all correctional agencies.
Department of Social Services

DCS Receives U.S DHHS Award for Excellence - Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services honored the Division of Child Support with an Inspector General's Award for Excellence in Integrity for their outstanding contributions and extraordinary efforts while working on child support enforcement investigations with the U.S. Office of Inspector General. These joint investigations led to the conviction of 42 individuals during 2009 and the recovery in excess of $1 million related to child support enforcement convictions occurring within the Federal Judicial District of South Dakota.

South Dakota leads the nation in federal prosecutions and was also recognized as a best practice with a feature article in the January Child Support Report published by the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2010/csr/csr1001.pdf, see page 7).

Department of Public Safety Sergeant Robert Schmidt received the US Army Combat Action Badge for having received direct enemy fire while on a mission in Kabul earlier this month (see above Military Service/Activations). Governor Rounds presented the award to Sergeant Schmidt in Afghanistan.
Department of Health Our South Dakota Cancer Registry recently received the Gold Certification from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). NAACCR has established measures for excellence in such areas as quality of data, completeness of case ascertainment, and timeliness for central cancer registries. This is the fifth consecutive year that the registry has earned the certification and an indication of the high quality work being doing by our registry staff and their partner hospitals, providers, pathology laboratories and certified tumor registrars.
Department of Game, Fish, and Parks Wildlife Conservation Officer Brian Humphrey (Hutchinson and Turner County) was awarded the Boating Officer of the Year award. Bob Schuurman was provided an award for his years of service on the TIPS (Turn In Poachers) board. Bob had been the board since 1984 and was one of the original members when the board was established.
Bureau of Information and Technology South Dakota State Government got a B+ assessment from the Digital States Survey on its use of digital technologies to improve service delivery, increase capacity, charge cost structures, and reach policy goals—makes us tied for 5th best in nation.
Department of Corrections Sioux Falls Parole Agent John Schultz was named Employee of the Year by the Parole Services division during the annual Parole staff training September 30th.
Department of Tourism and State Development

The State Historic Preservation Office has received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History for their Central South Dakota Heritage Tourism Education Program. This program completed several heritage tourism projects in the Pierre and Fort Pierre area, including installing numerous historic interpretive signs and developing an online travel itinerary with the National Park Service.

A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles: Black Hills Tourism, 1880-1941, by Suzanne Barta Julin, has earned a 2010 Award of Merit from the Association for State and Local History. A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles is the third South Dakota State Historical Society Press book to win the award within the past four years.

Department of Game, Fish, and Parks

Laurie Root, a naturalist educator for the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department, has been honored as the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation’s Educator of the Year Award.

Root has been a part of outdoor education in western South Dakota for over 20 years, working with youth and adults and introducing them to the wonders of nature. Besides introducing many to their first fly fishing adventure, she has been a part of hunter safety classes, Becoming an Outdoor Woman training, and mountain lion education.

She has taken her passion for wildlife and fish into classrooms throughout western South Dakota to introduce students to basics of wildlife biology. In honoring Root, the National Wild Turkey Federation praised her for her creative teaching methods that include sharing real gizzards with students to teach them about bird biology, using songs and rhymes to learn about wild turkeys, and leading service learning projects through which older students teach younger students about conservation.

Root will receive a $1,000 grant from the National Wild Turkey Federation to fund a conservation education project as part of the Educator of the Year Award. She will be recognized at the Federation’s 35th Annual National Convention and Sport Show next February in Nashville, Tenn.

Root was nominated for the award by Randy Gaskins, regional director for the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Bureau of Administration OSE has been informed that the newly constructed Paleontology Building at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has received the State's first LEED Gold designation and has also received a Gold Hard Hat Award from McGraw Hill Construction Publications, a regional award for Green Buildings in Higher Education.
Department of Public Safety Angela Fredrickson (Rapid City State Radio employee) was recognized by the Highway Patrol District 3 command staff for “outstanding service.” Captain Kevin Karley presented her with the award on October 21, 2010.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Terry Florentz and Kim McIntosh, Certificates of Appreciation, Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe/Assistance with the Brownfields Project—Tekawitha Boarding School Complex Demolition Project
Department of Corrections Scott Prenger was named Juvenile Corrections Agent (JCA) of the Year during the Juvenile Community Corrections training session in Oacoma October 27th.
Department of Game, Fish, and Parks

Parks and Recreation Honors Employees:

At its annual meeting, the South Dakota Division of Parks and Recreation recognized several individuals for their dedication and hard work in the state parks system. “This year’s honorees were all very deserving,” said Doug Hofer, Director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. "The dedication of those individuals can be seen in parks across the state and is enjoyed by the many visitors to South Dakota state parks and recreation areas each year."

Craig Pugsley of Custer received the 2010 South Dakota State Parks Distinguished Service Award. Pugsley has been employed at Custer State Park for 33 years. Over the years, Pugsley has served on many boards, bureaus, and chambers. “Craig is well-respected by park staff, throughout the Black Hills and the rest of South Dakota for his collaborative style of leadership and his willingness to jump in and get the job done,” stated Hofer.

Ryan Raynor of Pierre received the Award of Appreciation. Raynor, Snowmobile Trails Coordinator, went above and beyond this summer when he filled in as park manager at West Pollock Recreation Area. “West Pollock has been extremely busy with fisherman since Lake Oahe filled up,” said Doug Hofer. “We needed a permanent presence in the park, and Ryan was able to juggle two jobs at once.”

Three team awards were given out. All three teams were affected by extreme weather conditions this year. The Lewis and Clark Recreation Area Storm Recovery Team was honored for their quick work in cleaning up the campgrounds in the Yankton area following an August 8 storm. “The storm occurred on a Sunday afternoon with many weekend campers still in the park,” said Assistant Parks Division Director Bob Schneider. “Quick action by park employees immediately after the storm and long hours put in cleaning up in the storm’s aftermath were much appreciated by park users.” Contributing to the effort were Jeff VanMeeteren, Shane Bertsch, Dan Sternhagen, Jeanne Schroeder, Scott Pospishil, James Gunderson, Jimmy Sejnoha, Dale Dawson, Dennis Duffek, and Brad Pederson.

The North Point Flood Recovery Team was recognized for its reaction to the month-long flood conditions at North Point Recreation Area during the summer camping season. “It was extremely upsetting for these men to see their park remain underwater for weeks on end,” said Schneider. “When the water finally receded, they put in long hours and had the park up and running for late summer and fall campers.” Members of the team include Jon Corey, Eric Schoenfelder, Jeffrey Bartling, and Kevin Wells.

The third teamwork award went to the Fisher Grove Flood Recovery Team. Fisher Grove State Park was flooded by the James River this spring. “The flooding occurred in late spring, offering little time to get the damage repaired before the summer camping season,” said Bob Schneider. “These individuals worked hard under tough conditions and had the park open by Memorial Day weekend.” Members helping clean up after the flooding were John Bame, Dale Simpson, Mike Ullrich, John Pallansch, Randy Pitts, Elizabeth Kintz, Stan Scubelek, Brett Blank, Ryan Dexter, and George Flanery.

The 2010 Seasonal Employee of the Year Award was given to Chuck Ellis. Ellis has been a seasonal employee at Oahe Downstream Recreation Area for 10 summers. “Chuck’s contribution to the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area has created a family friendly environment,” said District Park Supervisor Pat Buscher. “He is an invaluable asset and one of the best employees I’ve had the pleasure to work with.”

Steve and Mary Holland were named the South Dakota State Park Volunteers of the Year. The couple has been campground hosts at Shadehill Recreation Area for the last five years. “Steve and Mary go above and beyond their expected duties in everything they do,” said Shadehill Park Manager Dallas Ingles. “Not only are they terrific hosts for our campers, they also help with maintenance and cleaning at the park. We get countless comments from campers about what a fantastic job they do.”

Lance Catron, park manager at Custer State Park, was honored with the South Dakota Parks and Recreation Association’s (SDPRA) Young Professional Award at the Association’s annual conference in Watertown. AN SDSU graduate, Catron worked for two years as the assistant park manager at Lewis and Clark Recreation Area near Yankton before becoming campground manager at Custer State Park a year ago. In presenting the award, Custer State Park’s Visitor Service Coordinator Craig Pugsley applauded Catron’s customer service and problem solving skills. “Lance is a team player who leads by example and is well respected by his staff, co-workers, and the public,” said Pugsley. “He always goes the extra mile when it comes to helping visitors.” Catron was instrumental in development and implementation of a new Point-of-Sale system for the South Dakota Division of Parks and Recreation. The system improved the state parks' campsite reservation capabilities and allows guests to use credit cards in the parks.

Department of Health The Tobacco Control Program has received a national award for one of its ads. The “Ca-coughony” television spot was recently awarded a silver medal in Outsource TV Production from the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC). NPHIC, the member agency of state public health communicators, presents the Awards for Excellence each year to recognize outstanding public health communications efforts. Earlier this year the same ad received a gold ADDY® award in public service from the South Dakota Advertising Foundation during its annual competition.
Department of Revenue Division of Banking Financial Institution Examiner Brock Jensen has been officially reclassified in the National Guard to a 1st Lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. Department staff thank Brock for his service and congratulate him on this achievement.