November 6, 2019

    Texas A&M Forest Service personnel gather for annual meeting

    TEMPLE, Texas – Texas A&M Forest Service employees gathered in Temple, Texas at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center. Each year, agency employees meet to reflect on the last year’s progress and plan for the future.

    Dr. Patrick J. Stover, Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M AgriLife, spoke at the meeting on the importance of agriculture in Texas. 

    “Every day, Texas A&M Agrilife lives the mission of the land grant system,” Stover said. “The excellence of this group has been recognized worldwide.”

    State Forester Tom Boggus highlighted notable accomplishments from the past year, including celebrating Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday. 

    “The celebration of Smokey’s legacy will continue this fall with the debut of his new character balloon in the 93rd annual Macy’s Day Parade®,” said Boggus. 

    Boggus will be holding one of Smokey Bear’s character balloon ropes, guiding America’s national champion of wildfire prevention through the streets of New York City. 

    “It’s the people that matter. This is why we do what we do. The people of Texas, the people of this nation, and we do it for each other,” Boggus said.
    Agency leadership recognized outstanding employees with the Director’s Awards. The Director’s Awards are awarded to those employees that go above and beyond regular job duties – and consistently deliver excellence of service. 

    The following employees were recognized: 

    Director’s Award for Support Staff – Field
    Kim Sowell, Business Associate, San Augustine District 
    Kim is highly involved with district activities aside from what is required of her position. Because of her initiative and strong sense of responsibility, Kim has taken on many roles that a District Forester would normally handle – (if there were one at that office full time.) She can often be found participating in community events, school programs, landowner meetings, and other TFS district projects. She definitely goes above and beyond anything that is required of her! She serves as a shining example of an employee with a “servant’s heart” and is always available to assist TFS in any way that she can - even when she is on vacation!

    Director’s Award for Support Staff – Professional
    Jimmy Mullis, Central Branch Assistant Chief Coordinator, La Grange
    Chief Mullis is an excellent supervisor whose selfless actions have propelled his subordinates to exceptional levels of experience. His leadership has helped all members of the Central branch to develop under his guidance. Jimmy has developed creative and innovative approaches to improve effectiveness and efficiency of his unit. He has a firm command of subject matter knowledge and competencies that are a credit to the Texas A&M University System, TFS and the Public.

    Director’s Award for Support Staff – Office
    Jennifer Hayes, Administrative Associate, College Station
    Just as roots are critical for trees, Jennifer Hayes is critical to the success of TFS, She sets a great foundation of administrative assistance that supports our agency. Jennifer is key in the training of our admin staff and always works hard when planning and executing conferences and events. Jennifer is a wealth of knowledge and she’s always ready to step in and provide help. If you reach out with a question she will give you an answer right there or work to help you find the answer – definitely a quality characteristic of a wonderful support person. We are thankful Jennifer has dug her roots at TFS because she is an asset and a valuable person.

    D.A. “Andy” Anderson I&E Award
    Karen Stafford, Wildfire Prevention Program Leader, Lufkin
    Karen’s leadership helped plan, organize and implement a year-long, statewide Smokey Bear 75th Birthday recognition for Texas.  The celebration is grounded in her true passion - wildfire prevention. Under Karen’s leadership, Smokey Bear visited all 254 county courthouses in Texas, followed by Party in the Park events across the state, attracting 1,680 participants.  Karen helped pass a Smokey Bear resolution at the State Capitol, issued a Smokey Bear Texas license plate, brought the Smokey Bear Hot Air Balloon to College Station and hosted the culminating Texas birthday bash at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.   
    Because of Karen’s commitment to fire prevention, the Smokey Bear 75th Birthday celebration in Texas didn’t just celebrate Smokey’s legacy but reinforced Smokey’s message to new audiences across the state. 

    Director’s Award for Technical Forestry
    Jeff McFall, Staff Forester, San Antonio
    Jeff is in an integral member of the agency, providing a diverse set of technical skills which are constantly on display in his role of delivering the Water Resources and San Antonio Urban FIA programs. He works with a variety of partners to advance the agency’s role in urban watershed management and developing ways to better incorporate forested areas as recognized strategies for increasing water quantity, quality and mitigating flood effects. Jeff is always seeking out new partnerships and projects to benefit Texans who rely on our state’s natural water resources every day. 

    Charles Krenek Award for Resource Specialist
    Jacob Crowley, Resource Specialist, Jacksonville
    Jacob started his career with Texas A&M Forest Service in 2015. In this short time, he has been recognized by his peers as a strong employee with exceptional skills and knowledge. His devotion towards learning and self-improvement spans throughout his experience and assignments in wildland firefighting, incident response, forest management and conservation education. It is because of leaders like Jacob that we will continue to be able to serve the citizens of Texas in an exemplary manner. 

    Director’s Award for Team Effort – Best Interdivisional Project
    Map My Ranch - Jim Cooper, Bishrant Adhikari, Fernando Vara, Ionara Wilson, Brad Barber, Javier Vara
    Map My Ranch is part of the Texas Ranch Wildfire Program (TRWP) targeted for the Panhandle of Texas.  The TRWP is working with landowners to identify priority areas, boundaries, and other factors on ranches to allow firefighters to make tactical decisions that reflect landowner priorities. The team delivered the online application in just four weeks, essentially suspending work on other active projects and devoting most available time to this priority assignment. Their willingness to accomplish this important and time-sensitive task is exemplary of the service that Texas A&M Forest Service strives to provide.  



    Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Office, 979-458-6606,