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Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development Honors Outstanding Employees

LANSING — Resilient. Dedicated. Customer focused. Problem solvers. These are just of the few words which describe the winners of the 2023 Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) honor awards.

MDARD is well-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 not only face the unique challenges facing our industry but also develop real solutions to those challenges. The 2023 MDARD employee award winners, as nominated by their colleagues, exemplify those values. Additionally, 41 employees celebrating 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year anniversaries were also recognized during the awards ceremony.

"From conserving rural lands to protecting our food supply, there's no part of daily life that MDARD doesn't touch," said Governor Whitmer. "I was proud to pay special recognition to MDARD's dedicated employees who help to build more vibrant, thriving communities where people want to live, work, and invest."

"The work MDARD does each day helps create jobs, preserve our natural resources, protect public and animal health while simultaneously leading the national conversation in new areas like regenerative agriculture and climate resiliency for our crops,"  said Tim Boring, MDARD Director. "These individuals exemplify the department s commitment to helping residents and businesses 'Make it in Michigan'. I appreciate their dedication to making our communities a better place to live, and helping our state become a place where anyone can thrive and I'm proud to be part of this team. "

The 2023 award winners are:

Leadership Award: Nevada Steele of Livonia—Nevada serves as a Senior Food Safety Inspector for the department 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.

Everyday Hero Award: Marisa Costa of Midland— Marisa serves as a Food Safety Inspector within MDARD s Food and Dairy Division.

The "Everyday 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: Rachael Guth of Marquette—Rachael serves Michigan's Upper Peninsula as MDARD's Environmental Stewardship Division Conservation Program Regional Coordinator.

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: Brian Rett of Mason—Brian serves as a Milk Safety Inspector within the department's Food and Dairy 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.    


Pictured: Nevada Steele, Director Tim Boring, Marisa Costa, Brian Rett, Rachel Guth