UACES Facebook Cooperative Extension Service honors standout employees
skip to main content

Cooperative Extension Service honors standout employees

By the U of A System Division of Agriculture
Dec. 6, 2016

Fast Facts:

  • More than 100 Cooperative Extension Service employees from around Arkansas attended annual ceremony
  • Extension personnel honored for individual and team efforts throughout 2016 

(440 words)
(Newsrooms: With downloadable art at 

LITTLE ROCK — Faculty and staff with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service met in Little Rock on Monday morning to honor their own, recognizing standout achievements during the 2016 Excellence Awards. 


The annual conference began with a presentation from Rick Cartwright, interim associate vice president for agriculture at the Division of Agriculture. Cartwright stepped in to temporarily fill the position when Tony Windham left the university system earlier this year, after a 28-year career with the Cooperative Extension Service. 

Cartwright spoke to the gathering of approximately 100 Cooperative Extension Service personnel from around the state, addressing the future direction of the Cooperative Extension Service, as well as the many challenges facing the organization today. 

“The 21st Century Cooperative Extension Service and the Division of Agriculture face many complex challenges,” Cartwright said. “But we have exceptional employees, programs and advanced technology to better address them. With additional and appropriate resources, the best days for Extension and the Division are ahead, not in the past. Those best days are exemplified by the employees being recognized today.” 

Both individuals and teams were honored with Excellence Awards throughout the ceremony that followed. 

Janet Carson, extension horticulture specialist for the Division of Agriculture, was named 2016 Employee of the Year. Cartwright noted that the Employee of the Year award represents the “gold standard” for performance, going “above and beyond all expectations,” he said. 

“Janet Carson is an exceptional representative oif the Division of Agriculture by any measurement,” Cartwright said. “She is an extremely gifted professional, demonstrating the highest levels of competence, dedication and impact to benefit our stakeholders.” 

Other individual award honorees include: 

  • Steven Hefner, website software developer: Early Career Classified Employee of the Year
  • JoAnn Vann, Clark County Cooperative Extension Service agent: Early Career County Agent of the Year
  • Terry Spurlock, plant pathologist: Early Career Faculty Member of the Year
  • Kristin Higgins, public policy program associate, Early Career Non-Classified Employee of the Year 

 Team award winners included: 

  • Diane Clement, Nora Terry and Les Walz, Cleveland County: County Team of the Year.
  • Diane Clement, Mark Peterson and Less Walz, Issue Team Award for Positioning a Rural County for Success in the New Global Economy
  • Creenna Bocksnick, Shannon Caldwell, Eric DeVries, Darlene Horne, Taylor Knox, Casey Marshall, Luke Nipper, Chris Russell and Mike Simmons, 4-H Center: Unit Team of the Year Award. 

“All of our honorees represent the best qualities of the Cooperative Extension Service and the Division of Agriculture,” Cartwright said. “They were honored for their performance, creativity, responsiveness, dedication and program impact. These are truly outstanding individuals and teams that we are proud to call vital members of the Division family.”


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

# # #


Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

Related Links