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Annual State Faculty Conference

December 5, 2016

Our state faculty for the UA Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service (and yes, that is a mouthful) only get together once a year for an annual meeting at the state extension office, and today was the day.  It was the largest attendance I have seen in many years and the room was packed with state staff from our office and all the satellite sites as well. faculty-conference-16 faculty-conference2 Today was a different format, because we have new leadership.  In August, our director Tony Windham retired and went to a different venture, and Rick Cartwright took the helm.  He has a very different style of leadership which I think is refreshing.  If two people are too similar it is hard to compare, but when they are quite diverse there needs no comparison–they stand alone.  Today Rick took the helm and shared his vision for all of us and spread the message live via remote broadcasting to county offices and I am sure those who want may watch it later.

Rick is by nature a storyteller and a rambler, and he did not fail today. His positive message was uplifting and he set the bar high for his expectations.  He will give no less.  Across the country and within our own state there are many naysayers about the future of extension, but Rick did not buy into any of it. He told us that we are a strong organization with some hurdles to beat, but they were beatable.  As an organization we stand at 620 employees across the state, down 25% 20 years ago, but no programs have suffered. We work smarter, more efficiently and with more technology, but we can always improve.  He has one of the most positive attitudes we have ever seen as a leader and I believe it is contagious.  I think we all left the meeting motivated and energized to give even more.  He said the two things he doesn’t want to hear from whiners is I can’t, and That is not my job!

In addition to getting a sense of our new leadership mantra, today was also a day of celebrating staff.  Many folks were recognized for their outstanding efforts across the state.  Our beekeeper extraordinaire Jon Zawislak got the Lynn Russell lynn-russell-award   award for professional excellence, which will help him on his road to a doctorate.  Cleveland County staff won the team award and team-award the county innovation award.  They also recognized all the length of service from 5-40 years.  length-of-service-awards The final awards were the Awards of Excellence honoring early career awards to the final Extension Employee of the Year, which I was humbled to receive.janet-carson-award-16-2 

I am honored to work for an organization that I have loved since the day I started work over 36 years ago.  It doesn’t quite feel like a job, but a place like home.  I have been blessed with strong leadership from the day I started which continues today. I think we are in for a great ride under the guidance of Rick Cartwright and I am glad I am still on that rollercoaster.  I have wonderful colleagues to work with along with the best staff and volunteers anywhere in the country.  This award is not about me, but about all of them who have helped me along the way.  I am honored, humbled and thankful for this accolade.  What a delightful early Christmas present!

When I got home my family was as excited as I was and they brought me champagne to celebrate.  janet-carson-award-16-1Life is good!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Wanda Madera permalink
    December 5, 2016 9:30 pm


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. karen sherman permalink
    December 5, 2016 9:42 pm

    Always wonderful to be recognized … Congrats!

    • uamg permalink
      December 5, 2016 9:46 pm

      It is and I am quite thankful. Thanks!

  3. Sheila Nash permalink
    December 5, 2016 9:50 pm

    Well deserved!

  4. Brenda Hawkins permalink
    December 5, 2016 9:51 pm

    A very well deserved award Janet.

  5. Hilde Simmons permalink
    December 5, 2016 10:48 pm

    Congratulations Janet. Well deserved

  6. Lynn Coates permalink
    December 5, 2016 11:09 pm

    What a well deserved honor. I think all of us who love gardening have learned a great deal from you.

  7. December 6, 2016 8:40 am

    Congratulations on your award-u certainly deserve it!

  8. permalink
    December 6, 2016 10:00 am

    Awesome!!!! I remember when you and Susanne were helping with Pulaski Co. 4-H and how helpful you both were. Thanks for your energy and faithfulness to our state. Jo Wilson

    Sent from my iPhone


    • uamg permalink
      December 7, 2016 7:23 am

      You go back a long way! Thanks. Janet

  9. Donald McMillan permalink
    December 6, 2016 11:22 am

    Janet,   Congratulations for being the 2016 Extension Employee of the Year.  Wow, we are so very proud of you and not at all surprised that you received this wonderful honor.  Please know that all your Red Dirt Master Gardeners in Miller County are so grateful for all you do for us and the Master Gardener program all over the state.  Thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!!  I have had the privilege of working with the program here for the past 15 years and every year I am more impressed and thankful for all you and your do to help the program.    We hope you and your family will have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017.  Merry Christmas to Julie and the rest of your staff there with you.  They are all awesome.    Fondly, Alice McMIllan Miller County MG

    • uamg permalink
      December 7, 2016 7:22 am

      Thank you Alice. I am blessed with a great job and fabulous volunteers like you and all the Red Dirt MGs. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

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