2015 NASDA Enumerators of the Year & NASS Awards for Excellence

News Article -

As 2015 comes to a close, we pause to acknowledge and celebrate the agency’s accomplishments as well as the outstanding work of NASS staff and NASDA enumerators. We have much to celebrate this year. As you know, a NASS core value is to provide data relevant to agriculture-related trends and issues. Consistent with our commitment to this value, NASS undertook and released the results of several new survey programs this year.

Taking on these new programs required significant effort – by the teams directly involved and by the entire agency as workloads and timelines shifted. All of us working together personified the themes we celebrate today – excellence and teamwork. Recognizing that agriculture counts on the data we provide, everyone in the agency has worked hard this year settling into new roles, developing new working relationships, and strengthening our products and our processes.

Our current successes build on a long tradition of commitment to quality data, and today’s program also honors former NASS Administrator Charles E. Caudill, a leader in developing modern statistical methods. We are pleased to recognize his leadership and lasting contributions to NASS data quality and processes by inducting him into the NASS Hall of Fame.

Our thanks to each of you for your efforts and your accomplishments. Please join us in congratulating the award winners and in celebrating the many successes we have had this year.

Joe Reilly

Renee Picanso
Associate Administrator

View the awards program, with images, by clicking here.

Renee Picanso, Associate Administrator
Opening Remarks
Catherine Woteki, USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics
USDA Abraham Lincoln Honor Awards
Catherine Woteki
Adminstrator’s Awards for Excellence
Joe Reilly, Administrator
Supervisor of the Year Award
Joe Reilly
Circle Awards for Excellence
Renee Picanso
Unit Awards
Hubert Hamer, Director, Statistics Division
Kevin Barnes, Director, Western Field Operations
Cooperator of the Year Award
Linda Young, Director, Research and Development Division
National Operations Division Enumerator Award
Renee Picanso
NASDA Enumerator Awards
Barb Glenn, CEO, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
Training Awards
Joe Parsons, Director, Information Technology Division
Hall of Fame Induction
Joe Reilly
Closing Remarks
Renee Picanso

Abraham Lincoln Honor Awards
Abraham Lincoln Award for Protecting Natural Resources
National Agricultural Statistics Service: Brenda Anderson, Shiela Corley, Julia Klapproth,
Torey Lawrence, Megan Lipke, Jean Porter, Jennifer Rhorer
Agricultural Research Service: Jeff Arnold, Mike White
Natural Resources Conservation Service: Jay D. Atwood, Tim Dybala, Mari Hrebik,
Mari-Vaughn V. Johnson, Ann Kinney, Chris Lester, Loretta Metz, Lee Norfleet, Evelyn Steglich
Texas A&M University: Theresa Pitts
For excellence in data collection and analysis to quantify conservation practice impacts, to plan further conservation funding for the Chesapeake Bay region.

Abraham Lincoln Award for Enhancing the Economic Vitality and Quality of Life in Rural America
Donald Buysse, Dave Colwell, Perry Game, Hubert Hamer, LaKeya Jones, Troy Joshua, Max Lord, Linda McMillan, Chris Messer, Miste Salmon, Jasmine Shanti, Scott Shimmin

For successfully answering stakeholder calls to reestablish agriculture-related Current Industrial Reports by developing entirely new data collection and reports with limited industry knowledge, time, and budget.

Abraham Lincoln Honor Awards Administrator’s Awards for Excellence
DENISE ABREU, Research and Development Division

For exceptional commitment and dedication in leading the Area Frame Modernization Research team to develop and evaluate the
use of a prototype mobile mapping instrument that could replace the aerial photo and paper questionnaire. She led this effort while
also maintaining her regular workload.

SUZANNE AVILLA, Census and Survey Division

For maintaining an exceptional level of performance while administering the June Area Survey and the December chicken
survey on top of her existing duties. In taking on these roles, she implemented new communications standards that improved
efficiency and survey processing results.

BRENT CHITTENDEN, Methodology Division

For making significant enhancements to NASS’ Review, Comment, Approve, and Publish (RECAP) tool, and for constructing
numerous modern, statistically defensible estimation systems, while also modifying and repairing several other systems. The changes
have modernized a significant portion of the estimates program.

DAVE COLWELL, Statistics Division
For developing entirely new lists, organizing the process, and analyzing data for two new Current Agricultural Industrial Reports.
His efforts and technical skills were essential to the CAIR program’s success, improving list quality, reducing cost and respondent
burden, and increasing relevance and data quality.

Administrator’s Awards for Excellence
MARK GORSAK, Research and Development Division For exceptional leadership in advancing NASS’ research and
operational programs while performing the duties of special assistant to the RDD Director and serving as acting head of the Sampling and
Estimation Research Section. His efforts have been instrumental in increasing division productivity.

CHRIS GOTTSCHALL, National Operations Division
For coordinating four major workshops in a cost-effective manner, conducting a comprehensive analysis of agency training needs,
managing over 70 survey-specific training programs, and delivering an intensive training for 80 new enumerators. The training programs
ensure quality and consistency in data collection.

TINA HALL, Statistics Division
For exceptional commitment and dedication in taking on additional responsibilities as the only remaining secretary in the division. She
provided outstanding administrative support with professionalism and enthusiasm to every staff member in the division despite the
large volume of work.

WIL HUNDL, Oklahoma State Statistician
For unwavering service and dedication to the Oklahoma Field Office, the Call Center, and the Southern Plains Region. His statelevel
initiatives increased Oklahoma survey response rates and office efficiency while he also took on a variety of regional and national
roles and responsibilities.

Administrator’s Awards for Excellence
KELLY HUSTON, Northwest Regional Field Office
For dedication and perseverance in the face of personal and professional challenges. She not only performed her usual duties without missing a beat, but took the lead on several new survey projects, provided technical skill and leadership on various IT transitions, and inspired her colleagues.

CHERYL ITO, National Operations Division
For innovative and dedicated contributions to develop quality control processes, excellence in project work, and her invaluable role in training and mentoring Frames Maintenance Group staff. Her knowledge, innovation, and productivity have helped improve the overall quality of the NASS list frame.

JIM JOHNSON, Southern Regional Field Office
For his leadership, initiative, and innovation in developing staff, raising their experience level and helping them understand each survey and how its results will be used. His efforts ensure highquality, on-time work on current surveys and give statisticians a solid foundation to excel in their NASS careers.

LAKEYA JONES, Census and Survey Division
For her critical role in the launch of the new NASS Current Agricultural Industrial Reports program. She planned, coordinated, and executed data collection for nine surveys that feed five separate monthly and quarterly releases, collaborating across the agency and with external stakeholders.

Administrator’s Awards for Excellence
PETER KILPATRICK, National Operations Division
For exceptional effort in the development of Blaise tools and instruments that provide cost savings, reduce respondent burden, and streamline user processes. The tools have reduced respondent burden, reduced manual data entry, increased telephone enumeration, and created standardized training.

MARIO LEVARDI, Information Technology Division
For his leadership and dedication in identifying, designing, configuring, and procuring critical networking equipment. His efforts led to improved data transmission in the Headquarters lockup area, optimized network performance at enterprise locations, and created a more stable network environment for the agency.

LINDA MCMILLAN, Methodology Division
For her leadership, technical skills, work ethic, and commitment to protecting the integrity and improving the quality of NASS’ list sampling frames. Her effort increased efficiency in several areas, including development of the Current Agricultural Industrial Reports sampling frame and standardization of metadata for several surveys.

DARCY MILLER, Research and Development Division
For her commitment, objectivity, teamwork, and superb outreach to the statistical community in working with her team to develop and test a new operational imputation program for ARMS III. The Iterative Sequential Regression program has improved ARMS data, used by governments, industry, and others.

TANYA RAY, Statistics Division
For accepting additional responsibilities and providing excellent service as agency UPS administrator and press room coordinator. She managed the press room while continuing her primary job of maintaining the NASS current reports collection and distributing the reports to internal data users.

MISTE SALMON, Statistics Division
For her organization, project management, and dedication to the
Current Agricultural Industrial Reports program. Her technical skills
improved the quality of the list, reduced the cost and respondent
burden, increased relevance and data quality, and led to a highquality
publication NASS can be proud of.

JONATHAN SHIN, Information Technology Division
For his expertise and initiative in modifying the Agricultural Reports
Generator (ARG) to enable Regional Field Offices to produce
multiple annual state bulletins. His modifications to the import/
export and switch state features provided efficiency and time gains
for RFO staff on the bulletins and future projects.

LEANN TANG, Methodology Division
For building and maintaining the Generalized Analysis and
Summary Tool (GAT) that is the platform for 45 unique NASS
surveys. In GAT, she has created a modern user-friendly platform,
with easy-entry gateways, that standardizes statistical practice across
commodities, states, the nation, and time.

JENNIFER VAN COURT, Pacific Regional Field Office
For successfully stepping into the role of Acting Deputy Regional
Director for estimates at a critical time, enabling the office to
complete reimbursable and national surveys in a timely manner. Her
work ethic and calm demeanor helped the staff of 14 get the work
done smoothly despite long hours and days.

HEIDI WOODSTOCK, Upper Midwest Region
For exceptional leadership and dedication in conducting high-quality
enumerator training workshops, achieving substantial savings in
training costs. She also trained and mentored two new coordinators
in the region who, under her leadership, quickly developed the
confidence needed.

KRISSY YOUNG, Public Affairs Office
For outstanding management of the 2012 Census of Agriculture
and Census follow-on survey communications efforts. For both data
collection and data release, she provided vision and leadership in
developing creative new products to generate interest in Census data
among media, stakeholders, and the public.

Wendy Barboza, Nathan Cruze, Andrew Dau, Jonathan Lisic, Darcy Miller, Jenny Shiao, Kay Turner

For outstanding effort in research and production of a new imputation methodology, Iterative Sequential Regression, that improved the quality of Agricultural Resource Management Survey data.

Tanimola Ayewa, Amy Bailey, Russell Bowers, Karl Brown, Jeff Carlson, Adam Cline, Shiela Corley, Lorna Drennen, Kelly Dunford, Kim Dunn, Bryan Durham, Robin Gannon, Lynn Gentrup, Erik Gerlach, Vera Gleaton, Judy Hawkins, Gene Lapin, Jeff Lemmons, Arman Mikaili, Kevin Mills, Mojo Nichols, Everett Olbert, Ben Phan, Jean Porter, Noah Sepsenwol, Barbara Smith, Curt Stock, Ann Summa, Robert Wadsworth

For successfully developing, implementing, and integrating the centralized Survey Management Services (cSMS) system into NASS’ business model.

Claire Boryan, Patrick Willis, Zhengwei Yang

For developing new geospatial “crop planting frequency data layers” that improve agricultural survey estimates and enable data users to analyze and download data for research and decision making.

DAN KERESTES, Statistics Division
For exceptional leadership on the Livestock Branch’s commitments to the Pollinator Working Group/Pollinator Task Force to collect data on honeybee mortality and health. His concise, clear vision provided direction for the project and ensured the staff had the necessary tools and training.

Supervisor of the Year Award


Jeff Carlson, Tony Dahlman, Huong Luong, Anthony Prillaman, Julie Schmidt, Russell Weisfield, Leo Zeggert

For outstanding effort and teamwork in designing, building, integrating, and implementing a modern, standards-based system that improved the quality and consistency of Crop Progress and Condition data.

Jeff Carlson, Joel DeArmitt, Troy Hamilton, JoAnne Kyttle, Jubal Molina, Nick Pallotta,Brian Robertson

For outstanding effort and teamwork to successfully increase LincPass usage and strengthen the security of NASS data during the OMB-mandated Cybersecurity Sprint.

Dan Beckler, Alison Black, Allison Borchers, Adam Cline, Liana Cuffman, Kara Daniel, Andrew Dau, Tony Dorn, Melanie Edwards, Christa Eisenhuth, Dana Gilliam, Jovan Gregory, Joe Hagedorn, Ginger Harris, Darcy Miller, Kevin Mills, Alex Minchenkov, Rosemarie Philips, Faye Propsom, Cedric Reddick, Marisa Reuber, Jackie Ross, Cathy Scherrer, Kelley Smith, Jay Wells

For successful implementation of a new design for the Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey, developing innovative methods to collect data from non-farm-operating landlords without jeopardizing operator/landlord relationships of trust.

Greg Bussler, Dan Lofthus, Greg Thessen

For developing and implementing concise, comprehensive, and easy-to-follow biosecurity guidelines for enumerators during livestock disease outbreaks, promoting respondent relations and maintaining response rates.

Circle Awards
Cooperator of the Year Award

For exemplary performance servicing the geospatial and remote sensing needs of the Spatial Analysis Research and the Geospatial Science and Survey sections of the Research and Development Division during staffing shortages.

Karson Becker, David Biar, Patrick Boyle, Jason Byers, Justin Cech, Stephanie Corbin,
Christina Dowd, Sean Fedt, Lynn Gentrup, Erik Gerlach, Dean Groskurth, Kara Hagemeister,
Gail Hanneman, Brian Hellman, Robert Hill, Jon Hornung, Randy Ingerson, Nikhil Iyengar,
Darin Jantzi, Scott Keller, Peter Kuzila, Victoria Lowry, Kevin McMillan, Kyle Nelson,
Marilyn Nelson, Lynne Pelan, Travis Smith, Nicholas Streff, Paul Sueper, Steven Susemihl,
Darin Twete, Katherine Vetter, Yan Wang, Quentin Wearne, Erika Whiting

For outstanding commitment to the successful completion of NASS programs and special projects, and for active participation in national teams, while meeting all due dates during a time of significant staff shortage.


Brent Chittenden, Angie Considine, Tony Dahlman, Vincent Davis, Jorge Garcia-Pratts,
Fleming Gibson, Fred Granja, Klara Greene-Eaton, Chris Hawthorn, Lance Honig,
James Johanson, LaKeya Jones, Greg Lemmons, Dan Norris, Jean Porter, Anthony Prillaman,
Bianca Pruneda, Steve Sakry, Daphne Schauber, Chris Singh, Travis Thorson, Artina Washington

For extraordinary effort and dedication to publication of the seven Final Estimates Statistical Bulletins and publication of the 2008-2012 County Estimates revisions.


NORA FITZGERALD, National Operations Division
For dedication, flexibility, and maintaining a standard of excellence as an enumerator coach in service to the National Operations Division Call Center.

NOD Enumerator Award
NASDA Enumerator Awards
Field Enumerator Awards

GARY CARROLL, North Dakota
For exceptional dedication and service to NASDA and the NASS North Dakota Field Office.

KERRY JOLLEY-LITTLE, Eastern Mountain Region
For superior data collection skills, above and beyond expectation, and loyalty to NASDA’s and NASS’ commitment to collecting accurate and timely agricultural statistics.

LARRY PANASUK, Northwest Region
For exemplary commitment to the NASS and NASDA mission and conscientious and dedicated service to the agricultural businesses and producers of eastern Washington.

For superb performance as a NASDA enumerator, demonstrating excellence in teamwork, data collection, and strengthening respondent relations.

For high-quality work, extreme dedication, consistent service to NASS, and great representation of NASDA.

Field Supervisory Enumerator Awards

SHIRLEY EKLUND, Northwest Region
For exceptional enumerator training, diligent improvement of response rates in a historically difficult territory, and devotion to excellent communications within the region.

For exceptional leadership, commitment, and performance on behalf of NASS and NASDA for the Census of Horticulture and the Organics and other surveys using new regional procedures.

For high-quality professionalism, superior efficiency, and exceptional dedication and service as a field supervisory enumerator for the NASS New England Field Office.

Office Enumerator Awards

For hard work and dedication to the Wyoming Data Collection Center.

For exceptional dedication and service to NASDA, NASS, and the NASS California Field Office.

For service to the Montana Data Collection Center as a seasoned enumerator with exemplary customer service skills and excellent understanding of agriculture and the NASS mission.

For hard work and dedication to the Wyoming Data Collection Center.

Office Supervisory Enumerator Awards

For determination and perseverance in staffing, training, and processing LincPasses for the Montana Data Collection Center.

For exemplary performance and dedication in learning the new enumerator scheduling system and utilizing it in service to USDA, NASS, and the Arkansas Data Collection Center.

NASDA Enumerator Awards

Introductory Survey Methodology Citation, Joint Program in Survey Methodology,
University of Maryland

Chief Information Security Officer Certification, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University
Completed the USDA IT Fellows Program

Completed the Questionnaire Design for Social Surveys Training Course,
University of Michigan

Project Management Professional Certification, Project Management Institute

Completed the USDA IT Fellows Program

Completed the USDA IT Fellows Program

Geographic Information Systems Certification, Lansing Community College

Completed the Questionnaire Design for Social Surveys Training Course,
University of Michigan

Completed the USDA IT Fellows Program

Completed the Questionnaire Design for Social Surveys Training Course,
University of Michigan

Training Awards

IT Service Management Certification, ITIL Foundation

Introductory Survey Methodology Citation, Joint Program in Survey Methodology,
University of Maryland

Completed the Client-Side Web Programming Series, O’Reilly School of Technology
Training Awards

Hall of Fame Induction

Charles E. Caudill was a distinguished agricultural and mathematical statistician committed to improving agriculture statistics in the United States and abroad. Throughout his career at NASS, he led many efforts to improve and modernize the collection and analysis of agriculture data, including applying sound statistical techniques to the emerging field of remote sensing.

When Mr. Caudill joined the USDA statistical agency as a student trainee in 1955, he began a career that included positions as Chief of Methods Staff, Statistician-in-Charge of the Texas State Office, Research Director, Director of State Offices, and Deputy Administrator before being appointed Administrator of the recently named National Agricultural Statistics Service in 1987.

Mr. Caudill provided leadership in modernizing the collection and analysis of agriculture data. In the early 1970s, while at the Texas State Office, he improved and expedited county estimates by developing a new approach that combined the results of three major annual surveys. He was a principal leader on the agency’s list sampling frame research. In recognition of these contributions, he received USDA’s Superior Service Award in 1976.

Among his many special assignments, Mr. Caudill initiated the agency’s generalized edit system, and chaired a special task group on Crop Reporting Board procedures for field crops that led to improved handling of annual summary and grain stocks reports. He negotiated the establishment of the multi-departmental Agriculture and Resources Inventory Surveys through Aerospace Remote Sensing (AgRISTARS) Program. He chaired AgRISTARS’ Interagency Management Group for six years, applying sound statistical techniques to the emerging field of remote sensing. For this work, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) awarded him its Outstanding Leadership Medal.

Mr. Caudill was NASS Administrator from 1987 until his untimely death in 1993. Under his leadership, NASS initiated many programs and activities that continue to be central to the agency today. NASS, for example, began a small demonstration project with computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) and undertook the first Chemical Use on Farms survey. Today NASS' CAPI program is a widely recognized innovative tool in data collection, and NASS agricultural chemical use data are used to make decisions about health, environment, safety, trade, and other issues.

After studying economic development and modernization as a Fellow and Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Mr. Caudill supported the agency’s statistical and technical assistance activities in 15 countries. He was an active member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, the American Agricultural Economics Association, and the American Statistical Association. He was a faculty member of the USDA Graduate School’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and served on its Advisory Committee for 17 years, including six years as Committee Chair.

In 1993, Mr. Caudill received the American Statistical Association’s prestigious award “Fellow of the ASA.” The citation read: “For outstanding administrative leadership during challenging times, and for his contributions to the development of modern methods of statistical measurement of complex biological production processes.”

With all of his professional accomplishments, those who knew him appreciated also his kindness and caring. “Charlie,” as NASS colleagues called him, touched the life of each person who worked for and with him.

Mr. Caudill’s impact on the agency continues to be considerable, and NASS is proud to induct him into the NASS Hall of Fame.
About the NASS Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame honors individuals whose work made lasting contributions to the quality of the information collected and the service NASS provides in producing timely, accurate, and useful agriculture statistics. Through the Hall of Fame NASS recognizes the talent, vision, and energy of individuals whose contributions to the agency and to agriculture statistics transcend time. Individuals honored in the Hall of Fame exemplified integrity, honesty, innovation, positive impact on NASS, and commitment to public service.

NASS established the Hall of Fame in 2014, inducting an inaugural group of five former staff. Mr. Caudill was selected for induction in 2015 through a highly selective nomination process.

Incentive Awards Committee
Wendy Barboza, Research and Development Division
Jerry Burney, Information Technology Division
Mark Gorsak, Research and Development Division
Jennifer Ratliff, National Operations Division
David Legan, National Operations Division
Longino Bustillos, Mountain Regional Field Office
Christina Harlow, Northwest Regional Field Office

A special thanks to the Incentive Awards Committee (IAC) members for contributing their time, energy, and talent to make these awards possible.

In addition to the IAC, thanks also to the numerous Headquarters and Field Office Awards

Committee members whose recommendations and insights played a pivotal role in the awards decision-making process.

Program Committee
A huge thanks to all members of the Public Affairs Office staff and numerous Headquarters staff whose contributions helped make the program booklet and event possible