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Inslee honors government employees for strong management and leadership skills

June 9, 2020

Story 

Gov. Jay Inslee recognized 21 state agency managers today with an annual leadership award for their hard work, dedication and measurable success on 2019 projects.

The Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management award was created in 1985 to honor state government managers who demonstrate excellent performance.

“These managers not only went beyond their initial goals, but they showed Washington what strong, effective leaders look like,” Inslee said. “Today, we honor their hard work and service to our wonderful state. We are better public servants and agencies because of their efforts.”

The governor typically honors recipients at an awards luncheon but this year’s event had to be cancelled because of physical distancing guidelines. Recipients, instead, received an online congratulations from the governor.

The 2020 winners include individuals who developed a nationally recognized infection prevention program in correctional health care, saved Washington ratepayers more than $50 million in utility rate cases, made sure that 33,000 individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities received appropriate services and community options, protected guest (agricultural) workers’ safety and rights, and helped expand mental care facilities across the state.

A selection committee composed of agency directors and executive staff chose the winners.

This year’s recipients are:

Dave Christiansen, Department of Ecology

Dave helped align and implement new law to make sure rural homeowners can be sure their water supply for domestic purposes is legal.

Jen Clawson, Department of Licensing

Jen excelled at staff engagement to remove barriers to information and services for customers, especially those from marginalized populations.

Mike Dennison, Department of Licensing

Mike led the way so that state driver licenses could include a new non-binary gender option, and incarcerated individuals could get access to ID cards for a successful community re-entry.

Cindy Guertin-Anderson, Department of Enterprise Services

Cindy initiated a statewide project to provide suicide prevention resources and support for public sector workers.

Tony Hanson, Department of Commerce

Tony and his staff oversaw the coordination and contracting process to expand mental care facilities in a timely manner.

Uriel Iniguez, Department of Labor & Industries

Uriel led innovative efforts to protect vulnerable workers’ rights, foster workplace safety and health, and strengthen relationships with the state’s tribes.

Lisa Kissler, Employment Security Department

Lisa provided the leadership to develop and launch the new Paid Family and Medical Leave program under an aggressive timeline, which allowed 10,000 people to receive benefits.

Janet Kenney, Department of Labor & Industries

Janet’s efforts finished several major multi-year initiatives that directly impacted staff development, prevented worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses and will permanently enhance workplace safety resources.

Ken Krous, Department of Revenue

Ken and his team tackled the backlog of audit refunds to customers and streamlined the process to speed up refunds.

Cindy Lysne, Washington State Department of Transportation

Cindy led several complicated environmental projects from the North Central region and delivered them all on time and within budget.

Julie Martin, Department of Corrections

Julie played a critical role in building the foundation and structure to develop a new vision and strategic plan for the agency.

Chris McGuire, Utilities & Transportation Commission

Chris led the review of a record number of electric and natural gas utility rate cases, saving taxpayers millions while also doing foundational policy work around clean energy.

Jim Morgan, Liquor & Cannabis Board

Jim provided a great model of success after he successfully managed all elements of a headquarter relocation that involved 250 employees.

Jairus Rice, Employment Security Department

Jairus proved an exceptional utility manager after stepping in to oversee critical administrative services for the agency.

Debbie Roberts, Department of Social & Health Services

Debbie led the successful opening of programs for developmentally disabled individuals and served on the workgroup making policy recommendations for people in residential habilitation centers.

Kellet Sayre, Department of Social & Health Services

Kellet’s leadership has saved taxpayers millions of dollars through his careful stewardship to maintain the infrastructure at Western State Hospital, and established an apprenticeship program for hard-to-fill trade positions.

Malinda Silva, Department of Social & Health Services

Malinda has led the quality management program at Western State Hospital that profoundly impacted the hospital’s ability to meet accreditation standards. 

Dr. Lara Strick, Department of Corrections

Lara has developed a nationally recognized infection prevention program in correctional health care with an emphasis on risk reduction.

Cheri Ward, Department of Labor & Industries

Cheri’s leadership has led to better outcomes for workers and significant savings to the worker’s compensation system.

Roger Wigfield, Department of Enterprise Services

With Roger’s leadership, public sector clients have reduced their carbon footprint, met goals and lowered utility and energy costs.

Christina Zimmerman, Department of Agriculture

Christina worked tirelessly to draft Washington’s new Pesticide Certification and Training Plan and submit it the Environmental Protection Agency, and was instrumental in bringing an online payment option for stakeholders.

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