December 2021 Snapshots
Dearborn, Mich., Circuit Inspectors Receive Collaborative Coins
By Felicia Thompson, OPACE
Team members proudly hold their recognition coins for collaboration, one of FSIS’ Core values. Pictured, front row, from left: Consumer Safety Inspectors (CSI) Michael Raymond and Jessica Carter. Pictured, back row, from left: Chicago District’s Deputy District Manager Dr. Tamara Davis, CSI Marco Cervantes, and Food Inspectors (Exports) Myra Kramp and (Imports) Curtis Judgeware. Photo by Frontline Supervisor Dennis Wlasiuk, OFO.
On Oct. 27, Dr. Tamara Davis, a Chicago District deputy district manager, presented inspectors in the Dearborn, Michigan, circuit Collaborative recognition coins. The employees, who are assigned to different establishments, received the coins for their efforts in working with their Frontline Supervisor (FLS) Dennis Wlasiuk and other FLSs in the Chicago District to ensure seamless execution of the Agency’s mission during the COVID-19 pandemic. The inspectors protected the public’s health without interruption throughout Fiscal Year 2021 when they staffed egg products, livestock slaughter and processing, and import and export establishments.
“The team stepped up, covered additional facilities, and volunteered to travel to other circuits throughout the four states of the Chicago District to provide inspection duties where they were needed. This made us more flexible and allowed other circuits in the district to receive the help they needed,” Dr. Davis said. “Their efforts are an excellent example of team members working together to ensure the Agency’s mission is accomplished.”
Team members share their thoughts about public service, working at FSIS and being recognized with a coin.
Front row, from left:
Michael Raymond has been with FSIS for more than 10 years. He’s assigned in Detroit, Michigan. “I chose public service so I could do right every day. I like having a job where doing the right thing is the only thing that matters. The results of our work don’t always seem tangible since we don’t get notified every time a family eats dinner and doesn’t get sick, but I find great satisfaction in performing our crucial mission of keeping food safe and wholesome every day. Everyone in FSIS works toward the same mission. We all have the same impact. It was nice to get some extra recognition during one of the more trying times in our country’s history. No matter how difficult things get, people need to eat, and they shouldn’t have to worry if their next meal will get them sick.”
Jessica Carter is a 14-year FSIS employee assigned in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. “I chose to work for public service to give back to my community. I love my job! I feel a sense of purpose and value to work for FSIS knowing that I am keeping the public safe. By giving the job 100 percent every day, it lets the Agency know that the public is in good hands. I am honored to receive the collaboration coin.”
Back, row from left:
Dr. Tamara Davis.
Marco Cervantes is assigned to Roseville, Michigan. He has been with FSIS for six years. “I chose this career path because public sector employees report feeling like the work they do benefits humankind, not just commercial profit-makers. I see the role as a way of developing my career in a forward-thinking, in a well-established Agency. I protect the public’s health, even if it means traveling to other states and working seven days a week. I am honored! Awards recognize hard work and achievements, and they can boost employees’ morale and motivation, as it acknowledges their contribution to your Agency’s success.”
Myra Kramp has been with FSIS for 14 years and works in Hamtramck, Michigan. “I worked as a trimmer in a poultry plant for 10 years prior to applying for FSIS. I felt that I could contribute more, learn more, and travel more as a public servant. The job is very fulfilling. I love being able to interact with industry and learn about the different processes. My current position as an export inspector is important because I not only verify that US product meets the standards of other countries, but also when returned to the US for any reason, the food item is still a wholesome product before being released into commerce. It feels good to receive recognition for a job well done.”
Curtis Judgeware is assigned in Hamtramck, Michigan. He has been with FSIS for nine years. “I chose public service because I wanted make a difference in the world and protect public health. My job means a great deal to me. It offers me financial security and challenges me to be a better me. My job impacts the Agency by keeping the food source safe throughout the world. Receiving the collaboration coin shows appreciation to me from the Agency at this difficult time, and I am very honored to have received this token of appreciation.”
Photos by Dr. Davis, OFO.
From Collins to Sebastopol, Miss.
Consumer Safety Inspector T.J. Dear is transferring from one establishment in Collins to another establishment in Sebastopol, both poultry plants. Dear’s colleagues surprised him with a going away luncheon and gifted him an engraved Bible cover, a bronze solar light lantern, a case of soda and a two-month supply of canned meat that they purchased themselves.
Said Christina Walker, a resource manager in the Jackson District, “Dear loves his job in protecting the public health. For many years he has ensured that poultry products are safe, wholesome, and correctly label and packaged.” Photo by Allison Thomas, OFO.
On Nov. 18, Administrator Paul Kiecker (pictured, third from left) met with Inspection Program Personnel at a meat processing facility specializing in dried snack sticks. IPP talked with Kiecker about working hours, overtime flexibilities, ideas for veterinarian recruitment and retention, and remaining competitive with private industry.
Pictured, from left: Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Witte, Consumer Safety Inspector Amy Barto, Kiecker, Frontline Supervisor Dr. Robert Clarkson and Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Carla Miller. Photo by establishment employee.
On Nov. 19, Administrator Paul Kiecker (pictured, back row, left) met with Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) at a small slaughter and processing plant. IPP spoke with Kiecker about overtime flexibility, work-life balance and connectivity.
Pictured, front row, from left: Food Inspector Adam Musick and Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Raeahhah Lamb. Pictured, back row, from left: Consumer Safety Inspector Steven Farris, Kiecker and Frontline Supervisor Dr. Robert Clarkson. Photo by Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Witte, OA.
St. Joseph, Mo.
On Nov. 18, Administrator Paul Kiecker (pictured, left) met with FSIS night shift personnel at a swine slaughter plant. Inspection Program Personnel spoke with Kiecker about the vaccine mandate, the number of hours they dedicate to the mission and the importance of work-life balance. The group also expressed their appreciation for Kiecker meeting with and working alongside them on the line.
Pictured, front row, from left: Food Inspectors (FI) Veronica Olmos, Wendell McCauley, Nora Diano-Everett and Marissa Gonzalez and Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Alana Harkleroad. Pictured, back row, from left: Kiecker, Frontline Supervisor Dr. Robert Clarkson, Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) Mohamed Lakhal, FIs Anni Tejeda, Douglas Lindsey and David Chol and Supervisory CSI Nathaniel Shrieves. Photo by Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Witte, OA.
St. Joseph, Mo.
On Nov. 19, Administrator Paul Kiecker (pictured, standing, fourth from right) met with FSIS day shift personnel at a swine slaughter plant. Inspection Program Personnel spoke with Kiecker about career advancement and detail opportunities, inspection system differences (traditional and modernized), and the addition of part-time public health veterinarians to help cover assignments to maintain work-life balance. They thanked Kiecker for meeting with them and for working on the line shoulder to shoulder. Afterward, they all shared lunch.
Pictured, seated, from left: Food Inspector (FIs) Miranda Hurst and Elissa Arnett, Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) Dolores Hill and FI Rosalina Rangel Cruz. Pictured, back row, from left: Supervisory CSI Christopher Bagley, FIs Oscar Owens, Ruby Chol, Trevor Long, Jason Ritchie and Alfredo Gonzalez Jr., Kiecker, Frontline Supervisor Dr. Robert Clarkson, Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Travis Nienhueser and CSI Victor Sustaita. Photo by Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Witte, OA.
St. Joseph, Mo.
Pictured, from left: On Nov. 19, Administrator Paul Kiecker met with Consumer Safety Inspector Jeff Cass and Frontline Supervisor Dr. Robert Clarkson at a bacon processing plant. Cass spoke with Kiecker about the upcoming Further Processing and Labeling Inspection training to get more information on processing calculations and net weight verification. They also spoke about connectivity concerns and ideas for making export certification more efficient. Photo by Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Witte, OA.
Inspection team members at a poultry establishment recognized their colleagues on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2021. Consumer Safety Inspectors Charles Shepard (pictured, second from left) and Wayne Cox (pictured, second from right) are veterans of the United States Army.
Shepard enlisted in the Army to try something different. He served two years as a Private at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he worked as a 94B10 Food Service Specialist. The most rewarding part of his military experience was meeting other people and becoming one big family. He credits his military service for giving him discipline and making him more responsible. Shepard currently has 31 years of service with FSIS.
Cox enlisted after a draft call and served three years in the Army. He worked on hawk missile testing in Key West, Florida, and served under the 32nd Army Air Defense Command in Germany as a Senior Records Clerk. The most rewarding part of his military experience was meeting different people and traveling. Cox currently has 27 years of service with FSIS.
Pictured, from left: Consumer Safety Inspectors Lane Sanders, Shepard, Jacquelyn Moore, Cox and Janice Sanderson gathers for a group photo. Photo by Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Linda Riggs, OFO.
During his Nov. 18 visit to a swine slaughter establishment, Administrator Paul Kiecker (pictured, back row, second from left) met with Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) and team members that he knew from his days as the Springdale District Manager. The group talked about career advancement, lateraling to be closer to family and the strong team atmosphere that has been built.
Pictured, seated, from left: Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) Dr. Jessica Brown, Food Inspector (FI) Alex Pulliam, Consumer Safety Inspectors (CSI) Philip Deng and Brian Marriott. Pictured, standing, from left: FI Jacquelin Lopez, Frontline Supervisor Dr. Robert Clarkson, Kiecker, Supervisory CSI Karen Moyer, CSI Daniel Stubblefield, FIs Tyler Allen, Wayne Moore, Sahara Mullaney, Tammy Reynolds, Jeffrey Darnell and Hector Legrand Rivera. Photo by Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Witte, OA.
On Nov. 18, Administrator Paul Kiecker (pictured, center) helped give breaks by working at the heads station at a swine slaughter establishment. Kiecker worked alongside Food Inspectors Tyler Allen (pictured, left) and Alex Pulliam (pictured, right). Photo by Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Witte, OA.
On Nov. 9, Administrator Paul Kiecker (pictured, second, from left) visited with inspection program personnel. During the visit, Kiecker and the team talked about staffing, connectivity, career development and training opportunities.
Pictured, from left: Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Essam Otefi, Kiecker, plant owner Greg Gunthorp and Frontline Supervisor Dr. Reginald Bigham. Photo courtesy of Dr. Bigham, OFO.
On Nov. 12, Administrator Paul Kiecker (pictured, back row, second from left) met with inspection personnel. The group spoke about staffing, working long hours, the ways the District obtains new job applicants, and being transparent with applicants about the typical work hours of an FSIS food inspector.
Pictured, front row, from left: Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education Legislative Analyst Benjamin Bell, Frontline Supervisor Dr. Teresa Martinez, Food Inspector (FI) Jerran Wallis and Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Trudy Mauer. Pictured, back row, from left: Operations of Field Operations Deputy Assistant Administrator Dr. Hany Sidrak, Kiecker, FIs Brandon Boyer and Thomas Powell Jr., and Office of the Secretary Legislative Advisor Edward Shimkus. Photo by Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Witte, OA.