Enrollee Spotlights

Richard Casale, CA ACES Enrollee

Richard Casale, CA ACES Enrollee

As with many of the talented people that are involved with the ACES-NRCS Program, Rich Casale started as an ACES enrollee shortly after he retired from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  He had served for most of his career (43 years!) as the District Conservationist in Santa Cruz County, CA.  Rich had worked with several ACES enrollees while employed by NRCS over the years and always thought that type of work would be a great fit for him after he retired.  A short time after he retired Rich decided to contact his old boss following the wine country fires in CA to see if he might be able to assist as an ACES enrollee with working with landowners who suffered damages and loss following devastating wildfire.  Of course, his boss was delighted that he was willing to go back to work as an enrollee, and especially under the natural disaster circumstances! Rich likes to give credit to a special mentor, Eugene Andreuccetti (retired in 1998 and now deceased), who was a NRCS Assistant Chief and Regional Conservationist, as well as the State Conservationist for CA in the 1980s.  Gene “Gino” became a great friend and taught Rich a great deal about the importance of the human/social connection and interaction in translating the conservation science and message to landowners with natural resources under their stewardship. Rich, in his role as an ACES Enrollee, primarily provides on-site individual property assessment to lands affected by the CA Wine Country Fires, southern CA Thomas Fire (largest fire in CA history-nearly 300,000 acres) and Montecito Debris Flow (that damaged/destroyed over 500 homes and 23 lives lost). His assessments included treatment recommendations and supporting fact/guide sheets. On several occasions he met with entire neighborhoods going door-to-door. Additionally, he gave several community presentations to fire victims in need, with attendance anywhere between 40 and 400. Rich also wrote many of the NRCS fact sheets that were distributed following the site visits and meetings/workshops. On occasion he provided week long training in the field (as he was assisting fire and debris victims) to newer NRCS employees who had not had experience with post fire restoration. After completing all the requested site visits (more than 150 total) Rich continued to work part time (or on an “as needed” basis) speaking at various meetings and events including more landowner workshops and an agricultural professionals workshop held at UC Davis on July 24. In the evenings he would work on writing new fact sheets and reviewing post fire information from other organizations.  Rich cooperated with and co-authored a Post Fire Guide published in 2018 by the CA Native Plant Society. He also developed a fire hazard resistant plant list with the Native Plant Society for all the fire areas he assisted. In Rich’s own words: “When you control water you control nature. So why not use nature in your erosion and sediment control efforts? Many, if not all, erosion and sediment control practices attempt to control rain drops or runoff in one form or another especially those that are applied to landscapes following wildfire. If you are not fully aware of the natural processes in play following fire (or what I like to refer to as “the nature connection”) then your erosion and sediment control efforts may fall short or even be self-defeating.  I spent 5 months assisting property owners impacted by the devastating 2017 wine country wildfires in northern California and then Thomas Fire in southern California. The Thomas Fire became the largest wildfire in California history having burned 281,893 acres and destroying 1063 structures, most of them...

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Mark Lane, CO FS Enrollee

Mark Lane, CO FS Enrollee

How did you become interested in working for the Forest Service and when did you start work for the FS? It seems I’ve always had an interest in the outdoors.  In the 1960s, Lassie ended up with a Forest Ranger.  At that point, at about 10 years of age, I knew what I wanted to do for a living.  I originally worked for the Soil Conservation Service as a range conservationist.  My first job with the Forest Service was as a biological technician with the Rocky Mountain Forest & Range Experimental Station in Tempe, AZ. My last job was as a Range Program Manager for the Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands in Chadron, NE.  I retired on Dec. 31, 2016.   What are some of your best memories of your Forest Service career? One of my best memories was when I heard from a young rangeland management specialist who told me it was because of my mentoring that she felt prepared to take on a higher-level range position.   What is your position with the Forest Service ACES Program? I am a Rangeland Management Specialist under the ACES Program.   What made you interested in coming back to the Forest Service in the FS ACES Program with NOWCC? It was an opportunity to spend time in the field doing range-related work.  I got into the range discipline to work outdoors, but as I moved up in the organization, I spent increasingly more time in the office.   What do you like to do when you are not working? I presently own 10 Australian Shepherds that keep me busy.  I train them to work livestock and sometimes compete in stockdog trials, working cattle, sheep, goats, and ducks.   If you could invite eight of the people you most admire to an imaginary supper, who would they be? (for example: someone dead or alive; famous or infamous; celebrity or next door neighbor, etc.) First on my list is my wife of 35 years, who has been very supportive of me throughout my career.  I would invite my Grandpa Roy who was very instrumental in fostering a love for the outdoors in me.  Chris LeDoux would be on the list, because I love his music.  Jane Darnell, presently R1 Deputy Regional Forester, would be invited because she is probably the best supervisor I had in my career.  A couple of rangeland management specialists that have mentored me during my career and been very supportive, Bob Mountain and Floyd Reed.  I think I would have to round out the guest list with Gifford Pinchot and Teddy...

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Donald Gipe, CO SEE Enrollee

Donald Gipe, CO SEE Enrollee

Donald Gipe is an Instructor for EPA’s unique National Air Compliance Training Delivery Project (NACTDP). The Clean Air Act establishes the respective roles of state and federal agencies within the statutory framework mandated by Congress. States, usually in conjunction with their local agencies, have the primary responsibility for the control of air pollution within their respective geographic boundaries. This responsibility entails the development and implementation of air pollution control plans and strategies to meet national standards; the adoption of statutes, regulations, and rules providing for air pollution control; the monitoring and assessment of air quality; the provision of technical assistance and information to the public and to the regulated community; evaluating and ensuring compliance by those being regulated, and, when necessary, taking enforcement actions to resolve violations. How does this relate to Don’s position? The federal role under EPA, in addition to its responsibility to develop and implement national programs, includes providing program and technical guidance, oversight, and assistance to the states which meet their needs in their efforts to achieve the ends envisioned by the Act, and to address those problems which states are unable, for whatever reasons, to successfully resolve. EPA is responsible for providing Level 2 inspections under the Clean Air Act and the SEE Program has been helping EPA meet this need since 1993.  The NACTDP program continues to utilize the talent and skills of experienced workers (including retired EPA federal employees like Don!) with backgrounds in air pollution compliance and enforcement to deliver the specialized and sought after trainings. Don brings 40 years of experience to the SEE Program! Before joining the NACTDP Program as a SEE Enrollee, Don was a federal Employee with the EPA where his final assignment was serving as the Director of the National Enforcement Training Institute – West. He was responsible for developing and providing training for government inspectors at the State, Federal, Local and Tribal level.  As part of this job, he had the opportunity to provide training at a number of international locations including Eastern Europe, Asia, Southern Africa and the far eastern Pacific Islands.  Additionally, he was involved with assisting South Africa in developing their overall environmental protection and training program.  He continued this work with South Africa for several years after retiring from the EPA. Don’s prior positions within EPA all related to environmental enforcement work and concentrated on inspection issues.  For many years he was either an inspector or supervised inspectors.  He has worked in all environmental programs including the EPA’s criminal investigation program.  Don states, “All of this experience is used in the training programs I present now for the SEE program.  I think hands on experience is essential for providing good instruction to the participants.” He adds, “While working at EPA I supervised several SEE employees and became familiar with the program.  I’ve found I enjoy teaching and really enjoy the students.  Every class I learn something – I hope the students can say the same.” Don holds degrees in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering.  He also graduated from the Military’s Command and General Staff College and the Air War College. His military background spans 30 years including off and on duty with the Reserves. “I spent 30 plus years with a uniform close by,” he says. In addition to remodeling homes with his wife (putting his professional engineering registration to good use), Don and his wife travel extensively, “I have friends in South Africa that we attempt to visit on a regular basis – plus we love the animals.  Nothing like being in an open vehicle with a lion or elephant or leopard only a few...

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Denise De Joseph, CA ACES Enrollee

Denise De Joseph, CA ACES Enrollee

Denise at the Vasco Caves Archaeological District during survey fieldwork for the Concord field office this spring. This is a large complex site in the hills of Contra Costa County containing many pictographs (rock art) and bedrock mortars and seasonal camp sites. The NRCS project was a spring box replacement which required intensive tribal consultation due to the sacred nature of this National Register-listed historic property.       Denise De Joseph joined the ACES Program in June of 2017 as the Archeologist/Cultural Resources Specialist in the Davis, California USDA-NRCS office.  Denise’s Monitor, Tom Hedt, says “In a very short period of time, Denise has proven to be invaluable to our cultural resources efforts. In addition to field work for avoidance of cultural resources, she has developed our draft for a programmatic agreement with SHPO – State Historic Preservation Office – and presented to SHPO staff in regards to the draft, and she has re-built our system for consultation with SHPO and with tribes.  This includes a new format for direct Section 106 consultation with SHPO, which we had not previously done.  Her work has been invaluable.” We asked Denise to give us a rundown on her lifetime of adventures and experiences, and she provided us with some amazing insights! “Before I joined ACES, I was what I like to call “leisurely employed” rather than semi-retired; I had been working in private sector Cultural Resources Management (CRM) as a consultant since 2000.  In 2011 while on a mini-sabbatical in Hawaii, the Great Recession caught up with my Portland CRM firm where I’d been a principal investigator and project manager since 2005, and I agreed to trade in my full-time supervisory position for a half-time administrative position overseeing our regional environmental services contract with the US Army on Oahu.  Toward the end of that contract, having settled into a whole new life in Hawaii, I started my own consulting firm of 1.5 with a colleague who specialized in WWII-era archaeology of the Pacific Basin. Together we won a contract with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to clear a backlog of cultural resources compliance reports for Maui County, where I was based by then.  After about a year of running the business I returned to my native California where I’d begun my career in CRM, as an archaeologist with Pacific Legacy in Santa Cruz after I finished my BA in Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, and completed a Masters Degree in Archaeological Science at the University of Glasgow in Scotland years earlier.  I remember my first big project at Pacific Legacy was working on the FERC relicensing of Southern California Edison’s Big Creek Hydroelectric Project in the central Sierra Nevada for four years. To this day I can thank my supervisor and mentor, Dr. Thomas Jackson, for starting me on the path I’m still on today, which is specializing in compliance with NEPA and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. During my first week on the job he drafted me for the Big Creek project and handed me a thick white binder that contained the Section 106 regulations (36 CFR Part 800) and instructed me to “read the regs” which to this day is my mantra – just ask my ACES monitor, Thomas Hedt – “Hey, read the regs!”  Towards the end of that project I began work on several Central Valley projects as well, including the transfer of the Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 1 to a private co-generation company, trigging, of course, compliance with NEPA and Section 106. We found a lot of cool stuff...

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Lido Niccolai, IL SEE Enrollee

Lido Niccolai, IL SEE Enrollee

Lido Niccolai is currently working in the NOWCC/SEE Program as a Level 4 Data Assistant for the EPA Superfund Division of Region 5 in Chicago. Before joining the SEE Program, Lido worked for major consulting firms, spending 4 years with Arthur Andersen and 12 years with Deloitte Tax, LLP.  During his tenure with Deloitte, he served as Database and Office Administrator. Lido’s current position supports the office in its management of data, including reviewing grant work plans and quarterly reports to identify sites requiring the submission of property profile forms for completeness and accuracy, key measure and National Program Performance Goals target accomplishments.  Among the many other tasks he takes care of, Lido also makes recommendations to the grant program officers and works to resolve data discrepancies. Gary Schafer, Chief of Brownfields/NPL Reuse and Lido’s monitor, speaks highly of his contributions to EPA.  “Until a merger forced Lido and many other long-time Deloitte folks out of their jobs, he played a key role in the creation of many of the data and information tracking systems that the company still uses.  That made him an ideal candidate for us and I couldn’t hire him fast enough.  To use a football analogy, bringing him in here to handle our data needs is kind of like having Peyton Manning show up for your flag football game with your friends.  Too good to be true.  With Lido, we can generate reports now in a fraction of the time it took before.  Not only has he helped the Regional office with his skills, I am starting to see HQs and other Regions interact with him as we are sharing his innovations and improvements.” And to Lido from NOWCC, we thank you for your bringing your knowledge, experience, and hard work to the SEE...

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Monique Nivolon, CA SEE Enrollee

Monique Nivolon, CA SEE Enrollee

Story of my Life by Monique Nivolon I feel I’ve been a long time on this earth; I was born in Paris, France, as I said a long time ago, before WWII, so that I was pretty much aware and starting to have some understanding of what was going on upon France’s invasion in May 1940.  I did not live through the days of Paris being taken over, because I was with my aunt, we were refugees since early that year, in the center of France in a tiny town, Treignac, and my mother joined us in June after a memorable exodus from the capital, her suitcase stolen, disheveled, having slept for several nights in cattle trains.   Her arrival was memorable.  I was growing up quite fast. Then back to Paris in October.  In a boarding school held by nuns.  My (divorced) mother working downtown Paris, and living in this near suburb South, at my grand-parents little house, near my boarding school.  Four years; week-ends at my grand-parents’, summer vacations in the Pyrenees where my father had remarried.  Growing up in the school; bombings at night when we would be climbing down from the dormitory to the huge cellars; the blankets handed to us, with the strange smells of mold, dust, night smells, night noises, and airplanes and explosions. Then, mid-September 1944 – I was a little girl of not quite 11, travelling by train all alone from the Pyrenees – from that little town where my father and stepmother lived – back to Paris, back to my mother after the long summer vacation.  My mother had sent me early in May down there, foreseeing the turmoil of the war coming our way.  I still remember the headlines in the newspapers on June 6, 1944: “Les Alliés ont Débarqués en Normandie”. The Allies have landed in Normandy.  On that morning of June 6, occupied France was suddenly singing an entirely different song: the newspapers had been for four years mostly controlled and muzzled by the German authorities; when the Resistance exploits were of course acts of sabotage by terrorists.   Now everything was changed, the Allies’ long trek towards Paris until August became the everyday suspense.  Then the elation of Paris liberated pervaded the whole country right through the least village, floating under cloud nine – except that the retaliation of the resistance against the collaborators had started.  You must imagine that all normal communications throughout France was difficult.  My mother arranged for my trip back to Paris, by telegram. She was there, at the station: a whirlwind of loveliness, happiness, perfume, embracing smiles, hugging me till I could not breeze, my feet off the ground, and she was saying: “my darling, oh my darling I am so happy, I met at last the man of my life, you must meet him, and tell me what you think of him, if you like him” … That was the love of her life.  He was a British Major, part of the liberating armies stationed in Paris.   Now the war was over; another life; within a little more than a year, we were settled in London, England.  I was going to school to the French Lycee of London; staying there – except for vacations – when my new step-father took over his former job, a Chancery’s secretary.  His first post in 1947 was Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where we drove in May, in the car, with their new baby, my darling little blue-eyed brother, and we were visiting everywhere, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, – we took a month to arrive. From then on, my life...

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Richard Shelfer, FL Forest Service ACES Enrollee

Richard Shelfer, FL Forest Service ACES Enrollee

How did you become interested in working for the Forest Service and when did you start work for FS? Growing up in rural North Florida, I spent my early years roaming the woods with my father and grandfather.  We hunted game, camped, picked berries, scouted tracks, fished and picked wildflowers.  I always felt comfortable and at peace in the outdoors.  My other early passion was art.  I received a degree in visual art, but never pursued a career in that field.  I was the definition of the starving artist.  After a series of jobs such as trail guide, social worker, retail sales, landscaping and selling farm equipment, my wife convinced me to return to college and study forestry.  My first job with the Forest Service was in 1979 as a residential supervisor with the Youth Conservation Corps on the National Forests in Florida. What are some of your best memories of your Forest Service career? My best memories come from early in my career as a forester on the Ocala National Forest in Florida.  This forest is one of the busiest in the southeast and every day was an adventure.  I prepared silvicultural prescriptions, marked timber, prepared and administered timber sales, prepared and administered reforestation contracts, inspected special use permits, helped to  monitor endangered species such as bald eagles, Florida scrub jay and red-cockaded woodpeckers, conducted prescribed burns, fought wildfires, flew aerial wildfire detection, worked in recreation areas, maintained trails, helped to survey and posted boundaries, and rode with law enforcement  I worked with a great group of people who shared ownership of their program areas and we all worked together to accomplish the priorities of the day. What is your position with the Forest Service ACES Program? I am a silvicultural mentor.  The forest silviculturist position has been vacant for some time and I am assisting staff and detailers in managing the silvicultural program for the National Forests in Florida until a permanent replacement arrives.  I am also assisting foresters on the Apalachicola National Forest by examining timber stands, updating records and recommending treatments. What made you interested in coming back to the Forest Service in the FS ACES Program with NOWCC? I had been retired for about six years when I heard about the ACES program.  I was not bored in retirement, but felt I needed a little more brain stimulation and interaction with younger people not to mention a little additional income.  The program also would provide a means to maintain some of my skills and gain some new ones. What do like to do when you are not working? I do volunteer work at my church and local Kiwanis Club.  I enjoy visiting and traveling with my family.  I take courses at the local university lifelong learning institute.  I am working on restoring my 1952 ford pickup truck and always have plenty of projects around the home to keep me busy. If you could invite eight of the people you most admire to an imaginary campfire supper, who would they be?  (For example:  someone dead or alive; famous or infamous; celebrity or next door neighbor, etc.) Mom, Dad, Mark Twain, Will Rogers, the Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus and Abraham.  My mother could cook the best meal from a campfire, my father was one of the best story-tellers and I think it would be entertaining for Mark Twain and Will Rogers to moderate and comment on conversations between the founders of some of the world’s...

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Michael Giesey, MT Forest Service ACES Enrollee

Michael Giesey, MT Forest Service ACES Enrollee

How did you become interested in working for the Forest Service and when did you start work for FS? I’ve been interested in a career in forestry since I was about 10.  I’ve always enjoyed being in the woods and didn’t want to be like my dad and wear a suit and tie to work every day!  I learned about the Forest Service while reading about forestry careers and got my first job as a volunteer with the Student Conservation Association on the Kootenai NF in 1980.   What were some of the jobs you held during your career with the Forest Service?  I worked in timber sale preparation to first half of my career starting on the marking crew and moving up to pre-sale forester.  I really enjoyed working in small timber sales where I was able to locate, plan and prepare small sales dealing with salvage of dead and dying trees.  I also enjoyed the challenges of working on large timber sales:  The long term commitment of managing forests, working with the public to educate them in forestry practices, and guiding a team of specialists through the planning process.  The second half of my career I was a silviculturist, responsible for taking a hard look at the landscape (as well as the stand level) and determining the proper vegetation management methods needed to meet objectives. The complexity of nature and the possible effects of various disturbances (fire, wind, insect and diseases, climate) on the development of a forest is very challenging because there is no “right” answer.  As some have said – it’s not rocket science – it much harder.  I also was a tree climber and instructor the last half of my career.   What are some of the best memories of your Forest Service career? The best memories are of the early days working on crews accomplishing sale preparation duties. Working in very bad weather for weeks on end while trying to maintain a good attitude builds character.  Climbing whitebark pine to collect cones on a late summer day in the Cabinet Mountains is hard to beat for a job!   What interested you in returning to the Forest Service in the FS ACES Program with NOWCC? As the Forest Silviculturist I helped mentor a couple of up and coming silviculturists the last couple years of my career.  When I announced my retirement those trainees said they felt I was abandoning them as they were preparing to go through the difficult process of becoming certified silviculturists.  I didn’t want to leave them “hanging” so I told them I would continue to help them through the certification process. Then the ACES program was created and I found out I could get paid to do what I had offered to do for free!!    What is your title with the Forest Service ACES Program and what do you do? My title is Silviculture Mentor.  I am helping silviculturist trainees navigate the long process of getting certified as a silviculturist. This process is very similar to writing and defending a masters thesis. After attending 9 weeks of graduate level courses over a 2-year period, and gaining required experience in most natural resource disciplines (typically takes 2-4 years), trainees have to complete a land management prescription for their selected stand of trees.  The prescription analyzes everything under the sun – literally – that may affect the development of that stand.  The candidate must have a working understanding of water, wildlife, soil, geology, climate, fire, weeds, weather, carbon sequestration, economics, logging systems, tree growth models, genetics, tree physiology and morphology,...

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Elizabeth Scott, DC SEE Enrollee

Elizabeth Scott, DC SEE Enrollee

Enrollee Name: Elizabeth “Liz” Scott SEE Position Title:  Administrative Assistant for OPPT- IO Location: U.S. EPA Headquarters, Washington, DC Supporting EPA SEE Program since:  July 2010.   Elizabeth Scott retired from United States Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Washington, D.C., in April 2009 but felt that she wasn’t quite ready for official retirement. She first learned about the SEE Program through her niece who was working for the EPA at the time. After doing her research into the Program, she applied for a support position and by July 2010, she was back to work! She greatly enjoys working in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) division’s front office where the work has kept her very busy. She provides support to those in her direct office as well as six other divisions. Her primary focus is on assisting with EPA’s Correspondence Tracking Database, updating a special database for RRP Firm Applications (FLPP), editing, scheduling and reporting.  She also processes EPA staff travel utilizing the CONCUR system. She has mastered the complex EPA systems and processes and often provides cross training on the different databases and programs. EPA is thrilled to have Ms. Scott supporting their work. Her Monitor, Sharon Clark, says that Ms. Scott has been a pleasure to work with all these years. “Liz loves her job because she would do her best no matter what the assignment.  She is a team player and would go that extra mile to accomplish or complete what she started.” Ms. Scott’s previous work at the US Court of Appeals – specifically as a Case Administrator/Deputy Clerk where she managed cases from the initial docketing, entered activity into the court’s case management system, responded to litigants, reviewed file documents for conformity, prepared procedural and scheduling orders, and monitoring briefings – have provided her with a high level of expertise, experience, and strong skill set that have contributed to her success in the SEE Program. Additionally, her experience and education come from attended Southeastern University in Washington, D.C. where she studied computer programming. Outside of the SEE Program, Ms. Scott spends time with her niece and enjoys volunteering for different foundations in the area. She also enjoys exercising, dancing, family reunions, traveling, and the most important thing…spending time with family....

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Ted Evans, PA ACES Enrollee

Ted Evans, PA ACES Enrollee

ACES enrollee Ted Evans provides technical assistance to the Pennsylvania NRCS State Office. Ted is a Pennsylvania native and over the years has served his country and community. Ted retired from the Army-Guard Reserve after 39 years of service and retired from the United States Civil Service with 20 years of service. He gave selflessly of his time and talent while working for PA NRCS in a part-time capacity from March 2004 to March 2011. After retiring in March 2011, Ted did not slow down; he remained an enthusiastic part of the NRCS team as an Earth Team Volunteer. He enrolled in the ACES Program in September 2012. During the last 6-9 months of his part-time career with NRCS and during his time as an Earth Team Volunteer, Ted took on a hugely important task. The Pennsylvania NRCS website holds well over 1800 documents. The majority of these documents and attached files needed updating in order to meet Section 508 compliance and accessibility standards. Section 508 requires that federal departments and agencies developing, procuring, maintaining, or using electronic and information technology ensure that federal employees and members of the public with disabilities have access to and use of information and data comparable to that of federal employees and members of the public without disabilities. Compliance with Section 508 contributes directly to the effective utilization of USDA’s workforce and directly to the accomplishment of USDA’s mission and specifically supports USDA’s fifth strategic goal – to operate an efficient, effective, and discrimination-free organization. Updating these documents required time, patience and specialized skills. Ted Evans took on this task and ensured that over 800 documents and attached files were made compliant in time for the June 2011 Civil Rights Review. Because of Ted’s hard work, the Pennsylvania NRCS website changes were completed on time and the website passed the National Civil Rights Review. As an ACES enrollee, Ted continues to make the documents that go on the Pennsylvania NRCS website 508 compliant. He has attended specialized training to aid in this task. The NRCS public website will soon migrate to a new web platform; Ted is working with the webmasters to prepare for the migration process. Tim Kinney, Ted’s monitor, says that Ted has shown great innovation, reliability, and adaptability in handling this responsibility. When issues arise, Ted will go the extra mile to solve the problem. He adapts to the changing requirements of any task he endeavors and is always willing to lend a hand at anything that is given to him. Tim says the Pennsylvania NRCS State Office is fortunate to have Ted as part of the staff. Ted’s main hobby is wood-working; a project that he and his wife, Jean work together on. He builds the projects and she paints them. They have made doll houses, firehouses, a courthouse and a jail house for their grandchildren. They have also made assorted furniture for their home and for friends and neighbors. When asked for his thoughts on the ACES program, Ted tells us that during the time he was employed by USDA/NRCS, there were ACES enrollees in the field offices who enjoyed their participation in the program. After a year of retirement, Ted applied for and accepted an ACES position himself. He says “I am again working with those dedicated employees I had previously worked with. Needless to say, I am very happy to be a part of the ACES program and to be able to assist with the great programs of the USDA in general and this office of NRCS in...

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Minnie Lanier, DC SEE Enrollee

Minnie Lanier, DC SEE Enrollee

Enrollee Name:  Minnie Lanier SEE Position Title:  Document Management Assistant Location: U.S. EPA Headquarters, Washington, DC Supporting EPA SEE Program since:  June 2000   JOB DESCRIPTION AT EPA:  Support the Regulatory Coordination Staff (RCS) by overseeing, evaluating and processing essential program documents submitted through the RCS email and database. Review for completeness and evaluate for editing and formatting needs.  Ensure the proper log-in action into the appropriate systems and coordinate the accuracy of the required and complex numbering system. Position also includes a status review of documents sent to Office of Federal Register (OFR) for publication as well as responding to inquiries from programs regarding the status of particular actions. Ms. Lanier’s duties provide a full range of supportive tasks necessary to coordinate and facilitate the successful operations of the RCS program. Shortly after relocating from New Jersey to Washington, DC, Ms. Lanier first learned about the SEE Program from a neighbor who worked for the EPA. But at that time, Ms. Lanier wasn’t 55 years of age so she had to wait a year before applying to the Program. In that time, she worked as a full-time substitute and worked in retail.  Prior to moving to DC, Ms. Lanier was a Social Worker for the Atlantic City Housing Authority where she ran a senior program.  She holds a Bachelor of Social Work Degree from Stockton State College and an Associate Degree from Atlantic Community College in New Jersey. She has a business certificate from Cortez Peters Business College as well as multiple certificates in childcare from when she had her own business in Michigan. Ms. Lanier truly enjoys being a SEE Enrollee!  She says that she has worked with and continues to meet so many nice people.  She says, “My journey has been good, and has involved experiencing different duties and assignments; and even though I came to the position with years of experience and knowledge, I still learn something new every day.  I appreciate the opportunity to be able to come to work each day and feel valued, THANK YOU NOWCC!” Outside of working for the SEE Program, Ms. Lanier is an usher, a volunteer for the outreach ministry and the chair-person for the program committee at her church. She enjoys reading, writing, television, traveling and most of all, spending time with...

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Delmar (Dell) Needham, WA Forest Service ACES Enrollee

Delmar (Dell) Needham, WA Forest Service ACES Enrollee

How did you become interested in working for the Forest Service and when did you start work for FS?         After 4 years of college, learning all the nuances of forest management I was eager to apply the knowledge I learned in the real world of forestry.  I was very interested in government-related jobs because they not only applied good forest management practices, but also were committed to multi-resource management which added a layer of complexity and challenge to the job.  My initial government job working as a Forester for the Bureau of Land Management in Susanville, California (1975-78) was a challenging job since it involved all aspects of forestry from planning and inventory to timber sale layout and administration, reforestation, timber stand improvement and other resource involvement as well including archaeology and wildlife, hydrology and range management. However, it was a seasonal job and I was looking for a more permanent future in forestry.  At the time, the Forest Service had many more of these opportunities and were committed to the same multi-resource management as the BLM.  After numerous applications and interviews I was able to secure a permanent position with the Forest Service in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest in 1978.     What were some of the jobs you held during your career with the Forest Service?           My first job with the Forest Service on the Idaho Panhandle NF (1978- 1982) included a variety of work.  I supervised a FS crew of employees where we performed duties including marking and cruising timber in sale areas,  laying out timber stand improvement such as pre-commercial thinning and reforestation projects throughout the Fernan Ranger District.  Much of this layout work was done during the winter which brought on new challenges and experiences since transportation to the sites were often done using snowmobiles and snow-cats to transport crews, and the use of snow shoes and cross country skis to get the daily work accomplished.  Often we were camped out on the National Forest for the week.  Other duties included forest inventory work where uniform timber stand units were mapped out from aerial photography according to density, size and species composition and fixed inventory plots were installed and measured within these categorized stands.          To achieve a promotion opportunity I applied for and accepted a position with the Tongass National Forest in Ketchikan, Alaska (1982-1986).  My job title was TSI-Reforestation Forester. It was a uniquely challenging and rewarding job.  The Tongass NF is unique in that it includes all the small and big islands of land in the remote SE Alaska region where often the only access is by boat, hydro plane or helicopter with small remote FS camps located on the islands.  The predominant island I worked was the large Prince of Whales island.   I was responsible for laying out thinning and reforestation units, creating the required documents to advertise and award these projects to contractors where I performed all the Contracting Representative Officer (COR) duties including inspections of work for compliance. After 2 years, I was actually transferred out to the Ranger District in Thorne Bay on the Prince of Whales Island. The rugged terrain and rain that was measured in feet added to the challenge.           After 4 years of this challenge, and wanting a change to a less remote region, I did research and found that at that time job trades were a possibility where if you were able to locate another FS employee who was interested and qualified in working in your current job and you were interested and qualified in...

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Donald Noel, VA ACES Enrollee

Donald Noel, VA ACES Enrollee

Before joining the ACES/Natural Resource Conservation Service Program, Don Noel participated in many interesting endeavors, and all of them lead up to making him an excellent ACES participant!  His passion for agriculture and operating equipment began when he was a young man working for a dairy farmer in Connecticut to earn extra money.  He found that working with livestock and growing crops made an ever-lasting impression on him.  In his words: “This is where I learned about working with livestock and growing crops.  This is also where I first learned how to operate and maintain machinery.  I loved the outside work and never minded staying busy.  My first job made me realize that I wanted to purchase and operate my very own dairy farm.  However, I knew this would be a dream that would have to wait until I could save up enough money and build up my credit.  I worked on the dairy farm until I served in the US Army as an Artillery Crew Chief from 1971-1972 stationed in Vietnam.”  Don’s philosophy is admirable, again in his words: “This was not the best two years of my life, but it helped to shape me into the man I am today.  It made me appreciate the things I have in life and how well we have it living in America.” His varied work experiences made a great impression on him, and in 1976 he established his own excavation business, while still working full time as a Clerk of the Works for a hospital expansion in Waterbury, CT from 1974-1979.   In 1979 Don left the hospital project to work full time doing grading and excavation work for home builders, commercial builders, and projects on NE dairy farms.  In 1983 his dream came true and he was able purchase an established, but run-down, dairy farm in Vermont.  Through preservation and determination, he worked long, hard hours, and after three years of serious cleanup of the farm and dairy herd, he was able to “ace” a dairy quality inspection.  From that point on, the farm improved, and in 1990 his dairy received the highest quality milk award for the state of Vermont!  “Our dairy farm was even featured on the cover of a magazine and people joked that my dairy farm was My Estate.  I was truly living my dream job.” Many changes were in store for Don in 1992, a tough year for his family with major health concerns to combat.  In 1994 he made one of the toughest decisions he had ever made, he decided that he must sell his dairy farm and go back to full time excavation work.   In 2002 Don moved to North Carolina, and continued doing excavation work and driving a tractor trailer, along with raising cattle (“I have never gotten rid of the farming itch”).  In 2014, Don moved to Christiansburg, VA, where he calls home today. “I started as an ACES employee out of the Christiansburg Service Center in February 2014 while still operating my excavation business part time on the side.  The ACES program has been a great fit for me because of my passion and knowledge for agriculture and operating equipment. “ When asked how he learned about the ACES Program, Don responded: “I stopped by the Christiansburg Service Center to say hello to a now VA NRCS employee that used to work in Vermont.  She was not in the Christiansburg Service Center that day, but that is when I met the Area Soil Scientist: Jeannine Freyman.  The rest is history so they say.  I struck up a conversation with Jeannine about...

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Glenda Goodwyne, OR Forest Services ACES Enrollee

Glenda Goodwyne, OR Forest Services ACES Enrollee

How did you become interested in working for the Forest Service and when did you start work for the FS? I grew up in Virginia between Richmond and Williamsburg; my grandfather owned 25 acres of timberland that I roamed daily with both he and my Mom.  They taught me everything about the forest possible.   I was taught plant and tree identification, medicinal uses, creeks and fish, birds, deer and other wildlife and their habitats.  It was the best childhood on earth!  I knew that I wanted to work in the forest so I asked my guidance councilor to please notify me of any opportunities to volunteer for summer jobs with any forestry affiliation.  She called me in when the George Washington National Forest sent a letter of application to YCC (The Youth Conservation Corps).  I immediately filled it out, and I was one of eighteen students chosen out of 3,000 who had applied.  I was sixteen when I completed that summer’s work.  I was asked to return the following summer as a camp councilor but declined due to illness in my family.  I knew then that I wanted to work for the Forest Service.  I began working for the Forest Service at age eighteen, ten days out of high school on the Stanislaus National Forest in California in June of 1977.   What were some of the jobs you held during your career with the Forest Service? I began in 1977 as a member of the trail crew in the backcountry on the Stanislaus NF clearing and building wilderness trails.  In 1978, I was recruited by the PNW Research Station FIA Unit (formerly PNW Experiment Station).  I collected inventory data in a myriad of landscapes, soil and vegetation types, diseases, and insects in all counties of Oregon, Washington, and California.  I began as a technician and became a forester during this time.  While there, I also wrote inventory field manuals, supervised summer field crews, recruited and supervised students from Historically Black Universities for summer employment and became the station’s Civil Rights representative.  I was with PNW until 1989 when I began my work in forest management with the National Forest System on the Mt Hood National Forest in Estacada, Oregon where I remained for the next 26 years.  There, I began on the presale crew marking and cruising timber and laying out timber sales.  I then moved into silviculture exploring reforestation, stand improvement, and conducting stand and survival exams when I was asked to become a silviculturist.  I was a member of IDTs (interdisciplinary teams) as well as IDT leader and became a silviculturist in 1998 writing prescriptions for timber sales, huckleberry enhancement projects, and other resource projects.  I was invited to elementary and middle schools to teach tree identification and caring for the land, took families from the campgrounds on nature hikes, job-shadowed many high school students, engaged Cub Scouts in the forestry, and created a forestry internship program for German students from the University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany whereby, they came here to learn how the FS does business.  I wrote a training plan and arranged for each of them to spend time working with all resource disciplines on the District/Forest to get the full breadth of knowledge and experience.  During this 26-year period, I was also a Type II Firefighter/Squad Boss, Helitack crewmember, and READ (Resource Advisor).  I detailed into the Forest Silviculturist’s position at the Mt Hood NF Headquarters in March of 2014 and from there became the R6 Assistant Regional Silviculturist in the Regional Office where I retired in April of 2016.   What...

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Larry Grimsley, GA ACES Enrollee

Larry Grimsley, GA ACES Enrollee

Larry Grimsley is a level 1 technician in Bainbridge, Georgia. Larry first heard about the ACES program from a friend who worked for NRCS some years ago. Larry did a little research about the ACES program, decided that he was qualified, applied for a position and has been an enrollee since June 2010. Larry feels that the ACES program has provided a great opportunity for him to learn how the USDA/NRCS conducts business with farmers, ranchers, and other individuals. He likes meeting new people, teaching them about the Farm Bill programs and in the process, he learns a few new things himself. Larry’s very varied early work experience includes being a Master Counselor for youth and a Supply Specialist for the United States Army Division-Department of Defense. Larry holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of Biblical Studies and Theology. He has attended many other colleges/universities including the University of Alabama, the George C Wallace Community College and the Minnesota Graduate School of Theology. Larry enjoys spending time with his wife of 40 years, Lena, and their 3 sons and 4 grandchildren. He also enjoys reading the Bible, playing basketball and baseball. Larry serves as Pastor of 2 churches – Ebenezer AME church in Hilton, GA on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month and Beaulah AME church in Colquitt, GA on the 4th Sunday of the month. Larry is affiliated with many other groups and is also a member of the Son of Allens where he helps the community and those in...

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Arnie Lazarus, CA SEE Enrollee

Arnie Lazarus, CA SEE Enrollee

Enrollee Name: Arnie Lazarus SEE Position Title: Air Division Professional Support Location: U.S. EPA Region 9 San Francisco, CA Supporting the EPA SEE Program Since: March 2014 Job Description at EPA: Mr. Lazarus performs many different projects revolving around rule evaluations to control volatile organic compounds in the different air districts of Region 9 EPA. What makes his position exciting is that he gets to see rules that are “state-of-the-art.” By that he’s referring to rules that have forced technology to change. An example is the way the coating or painting industry has changed to make safer products via polymerization and delivery of the coatings. Originally it was solvent-borne and oil based, now it is water-borne and polymer or latex based. Similarly, Mr. Lazarus has been involved with rule changes for polyester resin and metal forming lubricants. Ultimately what he does becomes a Federal Register notice with his name attached to it, “I still get thrilled by publishing a Federal Register notice, which means the rule I reviewed becomes law.” The Federal Register is the daily journal of the U.S. Government.  Mr. Lazarus also performs a process call “Completeness” for all rule submissions for the Rules and Permits Office. A rule or submission to the EPA cannot be evaluated unless it is deemed “Complete,” which means all the documents are in order. The EPA is excited to have Mr. Lazarus supporting their office.  According to Mr. Lazarus’ Monitor, Andy Steckel, “Arnie’s enthusiasm for his work is wonderful, and he’s constantly trying to expand his understanding and effectiveness to support EPA’s mission.” And Mr. Lazarus is grateful for this opportunity, “I learn something new every day. I enjoy working around very interesting, intelligent and dedicated people. The SEE program gave me the opportunity to start a new career at age seventy-three. I have always considered getting this grant a real honor and I treat it that way. I have made friends here at the EPA and I take enormous pride being able to do something worthwhile and beneficial.” Prior to joining the SEE Program, Mr. Lazarus was an inventor with five patents in the music-electronics field. He manufactured them under the name FRAP (Flat Response Audio Pickup). He made the acoustic instrument pickups for such notables as Sir James Galway, Herbie Mann, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Emerson Lake and Palmer Orchestra, Grateful Dead and Neil Young to name a few. He has expertise in electronic design, sensor design, adhesives technology and mechanics and also made the strobe lights for Bill Graham’s Fillmore West around 1970.  He was also the Technical Editor for a local motorcycle magazine called Independent Biker, and wrote an analysis of a dynamometer. He describes his background as giving him “a real life understanding of many of the rules that I review.” Mr. Lazarus holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Long Island University in New York. Outside of the SEE Program, he enjoys staying in shape through lifting weights…heavy weights! “I started lifting weights at age 61 doing the Olympic lifts, the “Snatch” and the “Clean and Jerk.” I never before considered myself as a strong guy, a gym guy or a weightlifter. I started from scratch with Coach Jim Schmitz, a former 3-time Olympic Team coach. I started competing as a “master.” By age 64, I discovered I could deadlift a lot of weight, lifting 300 pounds. A year later I was deadlifting double my body weight. By age 66 ½, I lifted 402 pounds. When I was 70 I took a hiatus from lifting for about 6 years.” Need proof? Check out his...

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Dennis Aslett, Idaho ACES Enrollees

Dennis Aslett, Idaho ACES Enrollees

Enrolled in the ACES Program since 2006, Dennis Aslett supports the Sandpoint, Idaho NRCS office as a Conservation Planning Technician.  His primary responsibilities are to meet with private landowners and evaluate their existing grazing programs.  He identifies livestock grazing issues and natural resource concerns, conducts field surveys and produces pasture management and grazing plans that ultimately result in improvements for the landowners and increased protection for natural resources. In addition to the grazing programs, Mr. Aslett provides input into wildlife projects and assists with habitat and water quality programs such as stream bank stabilization.  He assists with monthly snow surveys in northern Idaho in the winter and enjoys helping with the annual Idaho State Forestry Contest. Mr. Aslett states that the ACES Program has “provided the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with my NRCS co workers, and with the private landowners and agencies that I work with.  I am continually gaining knowledge from them on local natural resource concerns, landowner issues, and potential solutions.” Mr. Aslett holds a BS degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from the University of Idaho and prior to joining the ACES Program, he spent 30 years with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in what he describes as his “dream job.”  The majority of his career was spent as a Regional Habitat Biologist in St. Anthony, Idaho where he provided technical assistance to federal, state, local agencies and private landowners on projects involving wildlife habitat issues and concerns. He oversaw the 32,000 acre Sand Creek Wildlife Management Area where he provided winter habitat for 3000 elk, 2000 mule deer, 500 moose and year round habitat for sage and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, waterfowl species, and upland game/nongame species.  He assisted with fish and wildlife law enforcement, oversaw a popular fishery, developed and implemented public education programs and fish and wildlife research projects and surveys.  He retired from the Idaho Fish and Game in 2005. He states, “I enjoy continuing to be involved in the natural resource field, but also have the freedom and time to pursue my other interests—particularly my passion for long distance running.  The NRCS folks that I work with are top notch and it is a pleasure to be associated with them.  The ACES program is a great opportunity for both the NRCS the enrollee to complement each other in providing quality service and products to the public and other agencies that are served.  Both the NRCS and the NOWCC staff have been exceptional in providing support for the program.  I personally appreciate the opportunity to be involved.” ...

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Paula Whittington, DC SEE Enrollee

Paula Whittington, DC SEE Enrollee

Enrollee Name: Paula Whittington SEE Position Title: Office Manager for the Office of Environmental Education Location: U.S. EPA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. Supporting EPA SEE Program Since: October 2015 Job Description at the EPA: Ms. Whittington supports the Office of Environmental Education (OEE) where she’s responsible for assisting in the organization and coordination of office operations, procedures and resources. Her duties include oversight of administration functions such as scheduling meetings and appointments, organizing supplies, and greeting visitors. She also facilitates OEE’s resources and libraries databases and serves as the primary records contact. She frequently assists with OEE’s educational events by identifying and arranging technical and instructional resources. Ms. Whittington recently utilized her IT strengths to create an office SharePoint site to better connect HQ EPA OEE and its ten Environmental Education (EE) Regional Coordinators throughout the country. She has received three Certificates of Appreciations for her steadfast team spirit and relentless can-do attitude. Ms. Whittington was attracted to the SEE Program and her particular position because of her strong interest in EPA’s educational mission and vision, and was eager to transfer that interest to the children and adults in her community!  In preparing for her initial interview for the position, she learned that the EPA has expansive resources related to educating the public on environmental issues. However, Ms. Whittington was concerned whether this information was being communicated within her local community’s schools. To her surprise, she found that the State of Maryland did utilize some of the EPA educational components.  After additional research on the topic, she was hooked on improving and increasing environmental education resources for the community, particularly the black community.  Due to her love of learning and teaching, she knew that she would be (and IS!) an asset to the EPA Office of Environmental Education. Prior to joining the SEE Program, Ms. Whittington served as a Program Analyst for the US Coast Guard. Her background spans more than 20 years of working as a contractor for the government, various software corporations, and educational institutions as a SME Information Technology Manager/Instructor. She holds an AA Degree in Business Administration from NYCCU, a BS Degree in Computer Science from Temple University, as well as several Information Technology and managerial certificates. Over the years, Ms. Whittington has earned many accolades and certifications, and she continues to dedicate her efforts towards the adult learners, as well as engaging children – ages 5 through 12 – in Practical Arts and Technology Workshops applying STEM initiatives. Outside of work, her interests consist of being a Member of (FREED) Female Re-Enactors of Distinction, which is a Black Female Civil War group emerging from the Black Civil War Museum in Washington DC.  FREED members act out known and unknown people from the Civil War era.  In addition, she enjoys writing and illustrating children’s books, writing poetry, drawing, listening to music, singing, reading, and creating arts and craft projects. In her own words: “My fellow SEE’s are awesome.  They not only bring in the talent and experience, but they bring with them the drive to excel; and reach even higher heights in the work environment.  The SEE’s give and share so much without hesitation.  I am overjoyed to be a part of this organization. Prior of August of 2015, I had never heard of NOWCC; nor the SEE program. It’s a great place for any “Baby Boomer” to apply their experiences, and to gather a host of new...

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Lewis Goins, MS ACES Enrollee

Lewis Goins, MS ACES Enrollee

I am an implementation specialist with ACES – Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). I was employed on March 22, 2010. I am based in Laurel, MS and I serve the surrounding communities. One of my most enjoyable duties is to meet with current active program contract participants to assist and follow-up in determining if additional technical assistance is needed. I also enjoy making field visits to landowners to determine their conservation needs and to assist them with a plan of action designed to address their natural resource concerns. One of my essential and key duties is to ensure and apply an effective community outreach program. I travel throughout the communities to talk to farmers and land users who may not know or be completely aware of the services and programs administered or available through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services. I’m proud to serve in this position. It afforded me with a great opportunity to serve others, which has always been a calling of mine. I am forever grateful for the...

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John Baker, TX SEE Enrollee

John Baker, TX SEE Enrollee

Long-time Texas resident and Region VI SEE Enrollee, John Baker began his career in the U.S Army at Fort Hood, Texas where you can follow his development from a Confinement Officer at the Fort Hood Stockade to Company Commander of the 518th Military Police Battalion, responsible for establishing a Security Command Post in Duncanville, Texas.  At an interesting point in Dallas-Ft. Worth history (commemorated in the plaque pictured below), Mr. Baker’s command post was responsible for providing total physical security for the removal of underground silos housing Nike missiles which provided air defense for the Dallas-Ft. Worth area as part of the United States Air Defense Command during the Cold War. Under Mr. Baker’s direction, the mission was completed without incident. Following his military service, Mr. Baker earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University in 1972 and went to work in the transportation industry, ultimately establishing Baker Transportation Consulting which he headed up from 1983 to 1991.  Other career highlights include serving as Vice President of Operations for Transportation Consulting, Inc. from 1993 to 2001.  Immediately prior to working for the SEE Program, Mr. Baker worked in the security industry, directing and planning all aspects of a Class A Building and tenant security with multiple building and security assignments. In his current position as a Region VI SEE Enrollee, Mr. Baker now assists EPA by conducting inspections (sanitary surveys), report writing and tracking of inspections for the Tribal Drinking Water Program.  In addition, he oversees the Lead and Copper Rule implementation for the Region 6 Tribal Drinking Water Program.  In this capacity he works with government agency officials and tribes on providing assistance with the direct implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act on tribal lands, communicating with Tribes on a regular basis, calculating averages on regulated contaminants to assist in compliance determinations and recording lab results/records in the Safe Drinking Water Information System database. Over the years, Mr. Baker has earned many commendations and certifications, not the least of these were his accomplishments in Judo.  In 1997 and 1998, he won the Bronze Medal while completing The Senior Nationals Judo, Inc. in Florida and Chicago.  Moreover, in 1999 he earned the rank of first degree Black Belt in the national organization of United States Judo, Inc.  How is that for being prepared to provide the utmost in...

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Michael Jones, VA ACES Enrollee

Michael Jones, VA ACES Enrollee

I was born and spent my entire childhood in rural Southside Virginia near a community called Purdy, VA. My rural background and love for the natural world, and all its resources, have been solidly ingrained in me by my family since early childhood. Growing up on the banks of the Nottoway River was every farm boy’s dream and a reality for me. I attended Virginia Tech and received a B.S. Degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management. Shortly after two years of serving my country in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era, I was fortunate enough to find employment with the USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (called the Soil Conservation Service at that time). I received training and served as a soil conservationist at various localities throughout Virginia, and these experiences broadened my knowledge of our natural resources, from the “mountains-to-the-sea”. During that time-frame, in addition to my career, I was married to my wife Pat, and we raised four lovely children. We are truly a Virginia Tech family and all six of us have attended VT. I thoroughly enjoyed my career and met many, many interesting co­ workers and clients. I hope that I have positively influenced them as much as they have me. In 2008 I retired after 39 years of employment with NRCS, and we currently live near the home farm on which I was raised.  Living on the banks of the Nottoway River is still a reality for which I will be forever thankful. I enjoy family, kayaking, wilderness adventures, traveling, outdoor photography, beekeeping, bird watching, hunting, fishing, and almost any outdoor activity. I see myself as an avid naturalist, conservationist, and outdoor enthusiast.  I now also very much enjoy my role as grandparent. I stay involved in numerous activities such as the Boy Scouts, Southside Beekeepers Association, Virginia Forestry Association, Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Poplar Mount Sportsman Association, etc. I have authored a periodical Newspaper column entitled “A NATURAL FACT” that was printed in many southside Virginia newspapers. I am often requested to speak before groups on many and varied aspects of the natural world. “The Wild-Side of Flowers” is a favorite  subject of those speaker requests,  but other  subjects  include “Snakes”,  “Water”,  “Biodiversity”, “Longleaf Pine in Virginia”, etc. After retirement, I had three months of “family time” for acclimation and transition to the “non-workday world”. Luckily, that transition was easy and relatively effortless for me. After this short hiatus from full-time employment, I was approached and asked to consider the ACES program thru the National Older Worker Career Center (NOWCC). After due consideration, I agreed to the part-time employment opportunity afforded by that program (ACES). I have relished every minute of this opportunity and enjoy my varied roles as a conservationist, wildlife biologist, Longleaf Pine enthusiast, etc. Through these roles, I continue to work with the public. I feel  that  I can use my years  of experience to help NRCS assure  that  our valuable Natural Resources are given worthy consideration when landowners are  making land-use decisions that  fit their  planning goals. Since working in the ACES program I have had the opportunity to be directly involved in Virginia’s efforts to restore the Early Successional Habitat so badly needed by the Bobwhite Quail and many other birds and animals. I have also been heavily involved in promoting the restoration of the Longleaf Pine ecosystem in Virginia. These declining species have always been of immense interest to me. NRCS, through the ACES program, has afforded me the unequaled opportunity to help improve these habitats, improve myself and improve this world in which we must...

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Marlene White, KS SEE Enrollee

Marlene White, KS SEE Enrollee

Marlene White is a Level 4 SEE Enrollee for Region 7 EPA in Lenexa, Kansas and has been with the SEE Program for eight years. Moreover, Marlene has a distinction few of us hold.  She has served in the Waste Enforcement and Material Management Branch since she began work as a SEE Enrollee.  Marlene now serves as Office Manager for the Branch and provides administrative support in the area of information management.  Her work involves analyzing data while developing, tracking and merging electronic files including raw data, graphs, charts and templates.  Among her other responsibilities, Marlene assists in setting up meetings and maintaining meeting documentation.   Marlene earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Ottawa University in Overland Park, Kansas and has spent most of her career in government service.  She began her career with the government in 1990 as a Fraud Investigative Aide with the Internal Revenue Service in Kansas City, Missouri.  After a stint as Branch Secretary in the IRS office in New Orleans, Marlene returned to Kansas City where she worked as a Tax Fraud Investigative Assistant until 2006.   Marlene has seen a lot of change during her time at EPA, including the office move from Kansas City to Lenexa and the changes among EPA Staff and SEE Enrollees.  While the move actually shortened her commute, she says it is often sad to see your colleagues leave.  When not working for the SEE Program, Marlene enjoys entertaining her grandsons and using her artistic skills as a seamstress creating...

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Eleanor Yeomans, GA ACES Enrollee

Eleanor Yeomans, GA ACES Enrollee

Why do you like working as an enrollee? As an enrollee in the ACES program I feel a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment at the end of each day. I feel like I have a purpose, I know that my skills are valued and are essential to the NRCS team. Over the past 25 years I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic landowners and NRCS employees. The role that NRCS and ACES play in the community is undeniable and I am proud to be part of this family. What do you enjoy most about being an enrollee? I enjoy the challenge! Rollout of USDA programs seem to evolve each year, tools are updated, and new information is constantly flowing. Change can be very challenging but I enjoy being kept on my toes and I really enjoy watching the younger generation adapt to change so quickly. How does your work help NRCS accomplish their mission?  The NRCS mission is to Help People, Help the Land. My work as an ACES enrollee consists of assisting in the development of conservation plans, ensuring landowners eligibility, and maintaining records. Are there any interesting projects that you work on? All of the projects are interesting and unique however, the 2007 wildfires were the most interesting and devastating event that I have been a part of. My role as an ACES enrollee was to assist the field office in administering USDA conservation dollars toward reforestation of burned sites. The fire burned for two months consuming about $65 million in timber. In our smoke filled office, landowners shared their stories of their property and livelihoods being destroyed. I worked with many new landowners, some had never heard of NRCS but the hope I gave as I told them about USDA conservation programs was extremely...

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Chris R. Shook, PA ACES Enrollee

Chris R. Shook, PA ACES Enrollee

When Huntingdon County, PA District Conservationist, Jim Steward, had an opening in his office in 2006 during the ACES Demonstration Project, he knew just the type of person he needed. He did not have much time to train anyone; he needed someone who could hit the ground running. Enter Chris Shook – currently a Level 2 ACES enrollee in the Huntingdon County office. Jim had met Chris on several occasions at various conservation meetings and thought she would be a great candidate for the position. Jim also knew that Chris ran her own forestry consulting business which kept her busy. When a colleague mentioned to Jim that Chris was phasing out her forestry consulting business, he decided to make a call and encourage her to apply for the open position. “She was interested, and the most qualified” smiled Jim, “But she wanted to be sure her work schedule would be flexible so she would have time to hunt ruffed grouse.” Chris had worked for both the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Forestry for several years before starting her forestry consulting business. She had been a consultant for over 20 years. When Chris’s husband retired, she decided to phase out the business so they could spend more time together. “Working part time through ACES was a good way to transition into retirement – the timing was perfect,” said Chris. “When Jim said my husband and I would have plenty of time to hunt grouse I decided to apply.” At first the job consisted of working one or two days a week, mostly with participants to plan for wildlife. Chris met with people to provide technical assistance in establishing and managing conservation cover, tree plantings and conservation buffers. As NRCS Programs expanded to provide additional financial assistance for forestry and wildlife concerns, Chris’s role expanded as well. She has been involved with many EQIP forestry contracts- evaluating TSI, brush management and tree plantings. When the Golden- Winged Warbler Initiative was unveiled in Huntingdon County, she was a force in conducting outreach and convincing landowners to participate in the program. “The Golden- Winged Warbler projects are a great way to promote even age forest management as a way to establish new young forests” Chris says. “Young forests are a component that is under-represented in Pennsylvania’s landscape” she adds. A new initiative that is targeting the Cerulean Warbler (another at risk species) which will continue the good forest management work that the Golden- Winged Warbler projects started is very exciting & rewarding for Chris. Another new component of her job is establishing & maintaining pollinator habitat. Many landowners are interested in learning & planting native plants that our native pollinators need. Chris enjoys her work as an ACES enrollee and intends to stay with it as long as she can. In her free time, she and her husband will continue to hunt upland game, turkey and deer. Their favorite quarry is the ruffed grouse which they pursue with their English Setters in the woods of Pennsylvania, Maine, Michigan and...

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Francis Reich, AK ACES Enrollee

Francis Reich, AK ACES Enrollee

Francis Reich’s 42-year adventure in Yup’ik territory would read like a classic Alaskan novel full of drama, humor, cross cultural encounters, and the brutal realities of life in bush Alaska. His formal education, historical perspective of the region, cross-cultural communication skills and practical small business development talents allow him to facilitate complex processes with successful results. Fran’s tenacity was instrumental in the development of the Kuskokwim Community College, the Kuskokwim Fisherman’s COOP, the Yuut Yaqungviat Flight School, and the famous Bethel Alligator Acres neighborhood. Fran is currently employed in Bethel, Alaska with NOWCC-ACES Program, assisting in the development of Tribal Conservation Districts. Prior to joining the ACES Program Fran worked for The University of Alaska residing in Bethel and served as Director of a Small Business Development Center for Southwest Alaska. The SBA/UAA Center received funding through The Small Business Administration. Providing direct, small business development assistance to the numerous fledging entrepreneurs, established businesses and village corporations located within the geographically vast Yukon/Kuskokwim Region, (inhabited by 27,000 individuals; each enrolled in one of the 56 Federally recognized tribes and primarily speaking their Yupik language) required him to constantly utilize a long cultivated awareness of the complexities inherent in assisting individuals and tribes when they work with various municipal, federal and state agencies. Living and working in the area for 42 years has immersed him within a unique cross-cultural arena full of language, logistical and organizational challenges. Fran completed his Master’s Degree at the University of South Florida and came to Bethel, Alaska in 1975 to work as a contractor (Education Specialist) for The BIA – Bureau of Indian Affairs. During his career he has had the opportunity to work for many years for The Association of Village Council Presidents (Regional Non-Profit Tribal Corporation) as a Program Development Specialist, Dean of Students for Kuskokwim Community College, Director of UAA/SBA Small Business Development Center and owner/operator of a small-scale agriculture, lodging and commercial fishing business. He was introduced to the ACES Program by Alaska NRCS staff members (Ryan Maroney & Ann Rippey) who work out of Fairbanks location. They had been working with Fran for about a year on his EQIP contract and when they came to certify his initial High Tunnel they mentioned the NOWCC–ACES program. At the time he was working closely with the newly formed Tribal Conservation District Board, located in the Village of Kwethluk, to establish a small scale – 3 High Tunnel – community garden/business venture. With the official federal recognition of many newly formed Tribal Conservation Districts within the Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta, much of what Fran does is appropriately called “Capacity Building”. Most of the Conservation District Boards operate as voluntary bodies, which experience high turnover rates and have needs for leadership training, improved planning skills and increased knowledge as to how to access and benefit from USDA/NRCS programs. He also frequently travels with various NRCS planners and engineers to remote village sites to assist them in their efforts when they work with tribal leaders on active NRCS contracts. He accompanies and serves as the boat driver for NRCS staff when they travel to villages located on The Kuskokwim River. River trips are often several days long and cover hundreds of miles. He has also been asked to transport and accompany various Washington D.C. USDA/NRCS high level staff to isolated communities where NRCS programs are ongoing. This past August, Fran was asked to accompany NRCS Biologist/Planner Ryan Maroney on a several day, 600 mile boat journey up The Kuskokwim River from Bethel in order to certify 4, EQIP (high tunnel) contracts. The trip required travel to...

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