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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.

2020 awards


Leslie McGuire, State Human Resources Division
Office of Financial Management
(360) 407-4105

2019 award recipients

Group photo of award recipients, 2018
2019 award recipients with Governor Inslee.

  • 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.

Full news release: