Governor's Awards for Leadership

The Governor's Award for Leadership in Management is an annual award that recognizes managers in state government who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through performance results in the previous year.

Contact for 2021 awards

Chelsea Lee, State Human Resources Division
Office of Financial Management
(360) 867-8712
chelsea.lee@ofm.wa.gov

2020 award recipients

Dave Christiansen, Department of EcologyDave 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.

Full news release: