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U of M Extension dean honors Connie Greer, employees

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, U of M Extension, (612) 625-0237,

ST. PAUL, Minn. (10/14/2013)—University of Minnesota Extension Dean Bev Durgan honored Connie Greer, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, on Oct. 8 at Extension's annual conference. She also honored several Extension faculty and staff members for exemplary work that helped Minnesotans improve their lives through Extension research and education.

Following is a list of recipients and awards:

Connie Greer, Distinguished Friend of Extension
Connie Greer, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), has positively impacted the lives of low-income families across Minnesota for 40 years. In her role with DHS, she has been a stalwart friend of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and improved healthy food access through changing food systems and environments.

Marla Spivak, Extension entomologist, Distinguished Campus-based Faculty
Marla Spivak's research and Extension programming have significant impact on food and agriculture. She reaches commercial bee breeders and backyard beekeepers with hands-on mentoring, e-learning and short courses. She has built valuable partnerships, such as the Bee Tech Transfer Teams. The Extension Bee Squad program provides hands-on assistance to urban backyard beekeepers.

Rebecca Harrington, Extension Educator, Distinguished Field-based Faculty
Becky Harrington led a team of colleagues in developing the web-based MN 4-H Volunteer Orientation, which is now being used by Extension youth development programs across and beyond Minnesota. She also provided leadership in addressing the 4-H membership retention rate in Minnesota. Harrington has also contributed significantly to the body of knowledge regarding the capacity of youth and adult volunteers to serve in quality assessment and coaching roles.

4-H State Fair team, Distinguished Team
It takes a dedicated team to bring life to the WWII-era building that becomes home to more than 6,800 4-H members each August. The team is led by Brad Rugg, program manager of animal science and fairs. Rugg provides visionary leadership throughout the 12 days of the fair. He orchestrates the work of more than 500 staff and volunteers to ensure successful learning experiences for 4-H members.

State Fair Leadership Team: Brad Rugg, superintendent; Amber Runke, operations; Todd Mehrkens, enrollment; Karen Nelson, administrative assistant; Kristen Delph, Arts-In; Wendy Huckaby, Communications; Jacquie Lonning & Jan Derdowski, state ambassadors

Leadership and Civic Engagement (LCE) team, Distinguished Diversity and Inclusion

The Leadership and Civic Engagement (LCE) team established multicultural literacy as a program priority and, as a result, is leading communities to make room for diverse leadership across Minnesota. The team spreads the word about how how diverse leadership is essential for the future of Minnesota.

Team Members: Ryan Allen, Peter Campion, Eriks Dunens, Mary Ann Hennen, Lisa Hinz, Jody Horntvedt, Mike Liepold, Barb Radke, Catherine Rasmussen, Lori Rothstein, Toby Spanier, Denise Stromme, Denise Trudeau Poskas

Jeffrey Reneau, Extension Animal Scientist and Program Leader, Distinguished Outstanding Leadership
Jeff Reneau's leadership has provided first-rate Extension dairy programming for more than three decades, as well as greater exposure and impact for all livestock programming in the eight years he has been program leader. As one of the nation's authorities on dairy milk quality, Reneau has documented significant decreases in milk's somatic cell counts due to management improvements throughout the state and region.
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