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Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development Celebrates Its Outstanding Employees for 2022

LANSING –Commitment to service. Adaptability. Collaboration. These are the words describing 2022 as it much as it describes the winners of this year’s Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) award winners.

MDARD is known for its ongoing commitment to its customers and stakeholders for being problem-solvers, for its dedication to growing the state’s food and agriculture sector, and for its tenacity to overcome the most unique challenges. The 2022 MDARD employee award winners, as nominated by their MDARD colleagues, exemplify those values. Additionally, 58 employees celebrating 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35-year anniversaries were also recognized during MDARD’s Employee Awards Ceremony.

“Each day, I am grateful to be able to work with MDARD staff who are on the frontlines to protect public and animal health and who continually invest in the growth of Michigan’s food and agriculture community,” said Gary McDowell, MDARD Director. “This year’s award winners exemplify the culture and dedication within the department to continually provide the highest level of service to Michiganders and our constituents.”

The 2022 award winners are:

Leadership Award: Ken Settimo of Lansing – Ken serves as a food specialist for MDARD’s Food and Dairy Division.

The “Leadership Award” is designed to provide recognition to those staff who are viewed as exceptional leaders by their peers, supervisors, and customers.  The award recognizes an MDARD employee who rises to a challenge to lead, inspires others to act, and seeks opportunities to innovate and improve areas within the department.

Every Day Hero Award: William Wells of Lansing – William serves as a departmental technician within MDARD’s Food and Division.

The “Every Day Hero Award” affirms the value MDARD has in employees who may not be in the spotlight, yet steadily and faithfully get things done every day. It’s given to an employee who consistently demonstrates dependability, diligence, initiative, and teamwork. 

Front Line Ambassador Award: Stephanie Baughan of Williamston – Stephanie serves as a departmental technician within MDARD’s Laboratory Division.

The “Front Line Ambassador Award” is given to an employee who is regularly put in precarious and difficult situations, all the while demonstrating a positive attitude, identifying creative options for resolution, and following through with the constituent.  The award is not given for a singular achievement or activity, but rather reflects a continuing commitment to the mission and values of MDARD.

Rookie of the Year: Nicole Ballreich of Fowlerville – Nicole serves as a licensed veterinary technician for MDARD’s Animal Industry Division.

The “Rookie of the Year Award” recognizes a new employee (on the job less than three years) whose service has set a benchmark for all others to attain. It is designed to provide recognition to those staff who are viewed as up-and-coming leaders within the department.