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Inslee honors 20 state government managers for outstanding performance

June 18, 2019

Story 

Gov. Jay Inslee honored 20 state agency managers today who have demonstrated outstanding leadership. The 2019 Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management recipients were honored at an awards luncheon at the Executive Residence.

This year’s recipients were recognized for a wide range of accomplishments in 2018. These included delivering successful major transportation projects in Seattle and Spokane and developing a long-range plan for the state ferry system, providing crucial communication systems to first responders, supporting vulnerable adults, increasing apprenticeship opportunities to retrain for the high tech and medical fields and oversight of insurance companies to ensure promised service to the public.

“These managers have set priorities and achieved results, managed risk and modeled leadership competencies,” Inslee said. “They and their staff are responsible stewards of Washington residents’ resources as they serve capably and honorably every day.”

The Leadership in Management program was created in 1985 to recognize state government managers who demonstrate excellent performance. A selection committee composed of agency directors and executive staff chose the winners based on demonstrated performance.

This year’s recipients of the Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management are:

Vanessa Barnes, Washington State Patrol
Vanessa led the rebuilding of the training program for State Patrol communication officers who serve as a vital link to first responders.

Rick Bushnell, Department of Enterprise Services
Rick spearheaded efforts to negotiate more favorable leases for state facilities, saving taxpayers $2.2 million.

Tim Church, Department of Labor and Industries
Tim developed and oversaw a comprehensive communication and marketing plan to inform employers and workers about their responsibilities and rights under the state’s new paid sick leave law.

Stephanie Cirkovich, Washington Department of Transportation
Stephanie developed a long-range plan for the state ferry system involving advisory groups, tribes, business interests and ferry riders.

Debra Conn, Department of Revenue
Debra led the project to rebuild a new online system so businesses and taxpayers can more easily file and pay their taxes.

Maximilian Dixon, Military Department
Maximilian is recognized for his collaboration to promote earthquake readiness through drills, symposiums for emergency managers and outreach to coastal communities.

Mike Gribner, Washington Department of Transportation
Mike reinvigorated the community engagement process for the North Spokane Corridor project and brokered a path forward with stakeholders to prevent significant delay.

Shawn Hartline, Department of Social and Health Services
Shawn has transformed the Community Services Division by setting up systems for continuous improvement and data-driven decision making.

John Haworth, Office of the Insurance Commissioner
John led his team in improving insurance market conduct on behalf of consumers, saving them time and increasing industry compliance.

Lisa Heaton, Office of the Insurance Commissioner
Lisa recovered almost $16 million for Washington consumers through streamlined processes and the use of performance metrics to measure improvement.  

Kathy Hunter, Utilities and Transportation Commission
Kathy led the team of rail inspectors who assisted the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation of the Amtrak derailment accident last year in DuPont.       

Ronnie-Sue Johnson, Department of Social and Health Services
Ronnie-Sue eliminated obstacles to delivering reliable and language-appropriate services for clients of the Community Services customer service center.

Ron Judd, Department of Transportation
Ron helped the agency, partners and the public prepare for the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the opening of the new State Route 99 tunnel through downtown Seattle.

Yvonne Knutson, Department of Enterprise Services
Yvonne greatly improved facility maintenance operations to better serve the Capitol Campus through Lean process improvements and stronger staff engagement.

Annette Meyer, Department of Enterprise Services
Annette has served as chief architect of the agency’s financial management strategy and delivered a full suite of high-quality budget, accounting and payroll analysis and financial management consulting services to more than 30 state agencies.

Dale Mix, Department of Natural Resources
Dale reduced fleet program overhead by more than $1 million per biennium.

Kathy Morgan, Department of Social & Health Services
Under Kathy’s leadership, the Adult Protective Services team has access to the most promising innovations for tracking and trending data.

Sandra Najera, Department of Licensing
Sandra created the training program that ensured nearly 1,000 employees were prepared for implementing the agency’s largest project: combining the state vehicle database with the driver database.

Michael Ratko, Department of Labor and Industries
With early stakeholder input and successful collaboration, Mike led the modernization of rules that will allow businesses and their employees to manage workers’ compensation claims and help injured employees return to work.

Jody Robbins, Department of Labor and Industries
Through Jody’s vision and efforts, a record number of participants have registered in apprenticeship programs to retrain from traditional trade fields to the high tech and medical fields.

Media Contact 

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office
360.902.4136