Employee of the Year – Debbie Robertson

by | Mar 10, 2011

Commissioner Troxler presents Debbie Robertson with the 2010 Employee of the Year plaque.

Commissioner Troxler presents Debbie Robertson with the 2010 Employee of the Year plaque.

Commissioner Troxler recently recognized the department’s 2010 Employee of the Year, Debbie Robertson. The employee of the year is chosen from the 12 employees who are selected throughout the year as an Employee of the Month. Debbie, assistant director of the Research Stations Division, was chosen as the December Employee of the Month for her helpful, “can-do”  attitude.

Below is what her co-workers had to say about her:

As Assistant Director of the Research Stations Division, Debbie Robertson is involved in the development of long-range goals, provides direct input on operational procedures, is directly accountable for all fiscal activities, and participates in all human resources procedures. She is required to represent the director at events and meetings whenever the Director is unavailable.

Debbie joined the Research Stations staff on November 1, 1988, as a forester, one of twelve employees in the Division. Over the years, she has acquired considerable knowledge of the principles of farm management, agricultural research (including animal husbandry, dairy operation, and crop production), fiscal principles, forestry management, and personnel policies.  Through job attrition and budget cuts, the staff of the Division is now only six employees. Because of that, Debbie has had to absorb duties previously delegated to other employees. Her personality has allowed her to easily establish and maintain effective working relationships with employees, research scientists, state and federal officials, farmers, professional grower organizations, and others. Her ability to apply the knowledge of program policies and procedures to interpret and communicate information to meet specific needs of the Research Stations staff is one of her many capabilities.

On a day-to-day basis, Debbie deals with personnel issues, computer glitches, and fiscal situations with aplomb. She gives each challenge her undivided attention, even when she has her own deadlines to meet. Debbie has the ability to apply her knowledge of program policies and procedures regarding HR issues which impact operations and employees. She is not afraid to get down in the trenches and work with those who support her. Teamwork is a very important ideal. Not only does she communicate this well, but she also demonstrates it. The Research Steppers walking team exemplifies this. Without her coaxing her co-workers into participating, we would have missed an excellent opportunity to compete as a team.

Below are samples from co-workers who supported her nomination:

  • Simply put, Debbie is a go to person. Debbie never tells anyone that something is not her responsibility. Anything that anyone asks her assistance with she always does everything that she can to assist. This comes at a personal cost.  Others learn very quickly that she is a reliable resource and come to her with anything they are unsure of how to handle.  She takes the time to assist in any matter putting her own tasks aside to be done later. I am one of those people that ask for Debbie’s help frequently and she comes through every time. Debbie believes very strongly in the mission of the Department and the Research Stations Division. She has a great vision of how to be a valuable part of the success of each. Her expertise and experience in forestry and now Administration provide a basis for understanding how decisions impact the Division and the Department. Debbie is very supportive of Research Station employees, as evidenced by her Employee of the Month nomination.
  • Ms. Robertson goes beyond the call of duty whenever assisting our Division. She often goes the extra mile and is always committed to the goals of the agency. In addition, she never waivers in her ability to be proactive when called upon. The dedication that she displays when asked to help our Division is absolutely commendable and is appreciated. In addition to her commitment to doing a good job, she continues to reinforce policies and procedures regardless of the consequences that may follow.
  • I certainly support the nomination of Debbie since I think that she exemplifies the “exceptional performance” required for consideration of this award, i.e. “Demonstrates excellence in customer service, Dedicated to accomplishment, Committed to people, and Enthusiastic / Volunteerism.” I think Debbie has carried an extra load in recent months due to staff changes and an employee’s family leave.

  • In 2008 the Research Stations Division was threatened with the consolidation and transfer recommendations from the NC General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division report – a report that specifically called for the elimination of many staff positions, including Debbie’s. To counter these proposals, Debbie served as an integral part of a team that refuted the report, leading to the legislative recommendation that the universities and NCDA&CS partner to create a strategic plan. Debbie was a leader in the drafting of the report – which called for an annual report of Research Stations activity.  Debbie continues to lead in efforts to implement the strategic plan, to insure that reports are produced, and to continue to better the working relationships for the entire program. From my work experience and my reliance on her for legislative requests, this nomination is long overdue.

Debbie’s impact across the state of North Carolina, her fellow employee’s belief in her abilities and tenacity supporting the mission and goals of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services make her more than deserving of recognition as the 2010 Employee of the Year.