Two employees received NCDA&CS Employee of the Month awards recently in Raleigh. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler honored them for their dedication to the department.
Greg Smith, district forester in Western North Carolina, was honored as the March Employee of the Month. Smith is responsible for overseeing and implementing the N.C. Forest Service’s programs in eight counties and ensuring that fire protection is afforded to more than 1 million acres of woodland within his district. Other duties include providing reforestation services and forest management services to landowners managing their properties. In nominating Smith, his supervisor wrote:
District Forester Smith leads his District forward in increasing the reforestation and management of the private forest lands so that our children and children’s children will be able to enjoy all that our forests provide for us. Without this leadership in promoting forest management, many acres would sit idly on the wayside, unproductive for timber, barren of wildlife habitat, and not protecting the watersheds that provide all of NC clean drinking water.
Andrew Meranda was recognized as Employee of the Month for April. He is a Forest Service pilot in Western North Carolina, providing aerial observation and situational awareness to ground units who may not be able to see dangerous conditions often just a short distance away. In nominating him, his supervisor wrote:
Andy took on the (Automated Flight Following) development and implementation with the end user in mind. He immediately recognized the end user was not just pilots but all of NCFS. By planning ahead with the end in mind, he has near single-handedly developed installation specifications for all aircraft, detailed operating procedures, and in-depth training materials. He has trained three lead trainers, one per Region, to facilitate on-site training at statewide operational units. He remains the lead administrator of the system and the primary point of contact for training and functioning as the ‘AFF Help Desk.’
Recently the base station radio at the Hickory Hangar failed. Andy used a number of surplus parts from essentially scrap to build a replacement station from scratch. The base station he built has a greater radio range than the older one, not to mention it has saved the Division roughly $2,000.