Montana State University

MSU Extension agents, staff, supporters receive awards

November 5, 2014

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BOZEMAN – Montana State University Extension agents, staff and supporters from across Montana recently received awards during Extension’s annual conference at MSU in Bozeman.

Bruce Smith, MSU Extension agent in Dawson County, received the 2014 Silver Buffalo Award in recognition of 20 years of exceptional service. The award, given by Montana's Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP), is the organization’s highest honor.

Smith, who started his career in 1994 with a year as the MSU Extension agent for Madison/Jefferson counties, spent the last 19 years in Glendive where he is well known for his work with local sustainable food programs. As an active leader with the Community GATE program, a nonprofit organization started in 1996 to address welfare reform in Dawson County, Smith has advanced the local farm-to-table program, the Food Development Center and a shared-use commercial kitchen that will help local entrepreneurs develop and expand specialty food and catering businesses.

Rachel Endecott, beef cattle specialist and leader of MSU Extension’s agriculture and natural resources programs, received the Anne Wiprud Memorial Award, which recognizes an MSU Extension professional with fewer than 10 years of experience. She has developed programming and curriculum for producers and youth and trains Extension agents to better reach local people with the latest scientific-based information and best practices related to the beef industry. Endecott organizes the Montana Nutrition Conference, the youth Steer of Merit program and mentors a Academic Quadrathlon team that has placed nationally the last two years.

The JCEP Arrowhead Award recognizing a community partner for their support was presented to Joyce Eckhoff, superintendent at the Eastern Ag Research Center in Sidney. Eckhoff’s dedication to producers, particularly related to durum wheat research, is noted worldwide.

The Montana chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), a national fraternity of Extension educators, presented the Distinguished Service Award to Todd Kesner, interim director of the Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development. This award recognizes excellence in program planning and delivery.

The Montana ESP Early-Career Award (less than 10 years) went to Ravalli County Extension agent, Katelyn Andersen. The Mid-Career Service award (10-20 years) went to Fergus County agent, Denise Seilstad. Dave Phillips, a retired agent and central region department head from Fergus County, received the Retiree Service Award. These awards recognize growing levels of outstanding contributions to Extension.

The Montana ESP Visionary Leadership Award went to the MSU Extension Climate Science Initiative Working Group in recognition of accomplishments leading Extension in a new direction. The group includes Jane Mangold, Kent McVay, Fabian Menalled, Dan Lucas, Cody Stone, Rachel Endecott, Virginia Knerr, Paul Lachapelle, Bobbie Roos, Rose Malisani and Larry Brence.

The Montana ESP Friend of Extension award for outstanding public service and support to state Extension programs went to Mark Peterson, research leader at Fort Keogh in Miles City.

The Montana ESP Team Award went to the Rural Community Development Initiative team, which includes RaeLynn Hays, Lea Ann Larson, Jesse Fulbright, Tara Mastel, Ardis Oelkers, Paul Lachapelle, Sharla Sackman, Dave Bertlesen and Jennifer Anderson. This award recognizes teams who have contributed significantly to the state’s response to national Extension initiatives.

The Montana Association of Extension 4-H agents awarded the following: Achievement in Service, to Jesse Fulbright, Liberty County; Meritorious Service, to Laurie Lautt, Big Horn County; Distinguished Service, to Bobbie Roos, Daniels County.

Meghan Phillippi of Sanders County received a national, regional and state Communicator Award for a published photo. Jane Wolery of Teton County, received regional and state Communicator Awards for a personal column, feature story and news story. Roubie Younkin of Valley County received the State Denise Miller Innovator Award.

The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences recognized Lisa Terry with the first place western region Community Partnership Award. In the group’s communicator photography award category, Wolery received the second place nationally and first place in the western region for her photograph titled, “Yoga Circle – Women Powering Rural Communities.” Wolery also earned second place in the western region Family Health and Wellness Award.

The Montana Association of County Agricultural Agents awarded the Distinguished Service Award to Marko Manoukian of Phillips County, and the Achievement Award to Jodi Pauley of Powell County. 

Members of the Montana Association of Community Development Extension Professionals were recognized for the following awards: Western Region Individual Award for Excellence in Community Development work, REAL Montana Program, Janelle Booth; Western Region Team Award for Excellence in Community Development work, Rural Community Development Initiative, Rae Lynn Hays, Jennifer Anderson, Dave Bertelsen, Dan Clark, Jesse Fulbright, Paul Lachapelle and Tara Mastel; the national NACDEP Educational Piece Team Award, Paul Lachapelle and Dan Clark for the Local Government Center’s Montana Public Lands Guide.

Extension Photography Contest winners included: action, Kari Lewis, Glacier County; agriculture, Rose Malisani, Cascade County; centennial, Pat Brown, 4-H Center for Youth Development; community involvement, Brenda Serrano, Musselshell-Golden Valley; intergenerational, Jerrica Lind, Cascade County; multicultural, Wendy Becker, Fort Peck Reservation; scenic, Mary Rumph, Powder River County; best in show – west, Tracy Mosley, Park County; best in show – central, Joe Parks, Toole County; best in show – east, Josie Evenson, Richland County; and best in show – overall, Ryhal Rowland, Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

Finally, years of service awards were presented to the following: 10 years, Mandie Reed and JP Tanner; 20 years, Peter Kolb, Verna Billedeaux, Larry Brence, Bruce Smith, Roni Baker and Bobbie Roos; 25 years, Ardis Oelkers and Kevin Chamberlain; 30 years, Mary Rumph; and 42 years with MSU (25 with Extension), Peggy Kelley.

Contact: Jodie DeLay (406) 994-2502 or jdelay@montana.edu