BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Governor Doug Burgum and Lt. Governor Brent Sanford announced Thursday the 2022 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Public Service, recognizing team members for making a positive difference in the lives of North Dakota citizens through their dedicated work in state government.

“Team North Dakota members continue to deliver on our shared purpose to Empower People, Improve Lives and Inspire Success by providing outstanding service to our citizens, often in new and innovative ways,” Burgum said. “As a testament to their excellent work, we received more than 900 nominations this year. We are deeply grateful for these individuals, their teams, and their tireless dedication to the state of North Dakota and its citizens.”

Gov. Burgum and Lt. Gov. Sanford presented the awards during an in-person and virtual ceremony live-streamed from the North Dakota Heritage Center during State Team Member Recognition Month.

The awards and recipients are:

Pioneer Award for Excellence in Innovation: Paul Moen, director of technology for the Department of Water Resources, for his role in implementing the PRESENS monitoring system in North Dakota and prioritizing data-driven decision-making in water resource management.

Zezula Award – “One Who Helps”: Shane Grove, maintenance supervisor at Turtle River State Park, for actively seeking innovations and efficiencies that benefit the whole of Parks and Recreation, prioritizing the safety of Team ND, and enhancing the experience for citizens. This includes the development of an improved intake system for state winter trail grooming vehicles and the implementation of automated solutions for parks maintenance teams.

Harvest Award for Excellence in Quality: Lee Ann Oliver, elections specialist for the Secretary of State’s Office, for her dedication to ensuring the integrity of North Dakota elections and serving as an invaluable partner and resource to state government, candidates for office, elected officials, voters, and the public.

Landmark Award for Excellence in People Management: Monique Durgin, end user computer and collaboration manager in North Dakota Information Technology, for leading the desktop support team to some of the highest customer satisfaction rankings in the agency, improving team member morale and satisfaction, and supporting a team critical to the efficient operation of Team ND.

Telegraph Award for Excellence in Technology: Brain Hosek, business operations manager for North Dakota Game and Fish, for his role in the development and implementation of North Dakota’s electronic posting program, including the launch of the electronic posting application, empowering North Dakota’s hunters with information and resources.

Heritage Award for Excellence in Citizen Focus: Jen Raab, communications director for the Office of Management and Budget, for her commitment to quality communications with allow the state to better deliver messages to our team members and citizens, including the development of the Statewide Communications Network and Team ND Connect, and a state team member intranet.

Frontier Award for Excellence in Continuous Learning: Sarah Robinson, clinical associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of North Dakota, providing formal learning opportunities for professionals in North Dakota through the creation of evidence-based courses and a recognized certificate in dyslexia.

Sodbuster Award for Excellence in Growth Mindset: Kevin Connors, assistant director for regulatory compliance and energy policy at the Energy and Environmental Research Center, for his leadership in the effort to obtain Class VI primacy in North Dakota and his work with industry, researchers, and government partners to develop and implement carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology and policy.

Roaming Bison Award (Team) – Four recipients:

  • 2022 Spring Storms Response team for their efficient and collaborative response to two major weather events this past spring and going above and beyond to implement solutions, provide critical assistance, and save lives.
  • Department of Health and Human Services Integration for their collaborative and thoughtful work to form a team that builds on each other’s strengths and provides North Dakota citizens with needed services in an efficient manner and guiding the successful creation of the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Economic Development and Finance Division, Department of Commerce, for leading the state’s efforts to attract, retain, and expand economic wealth, assisting businesses and entrepreneurs in entering the North Dakota market, and improving opportunities for our workforce, citizens, and communities.
  • Cyber Madness team for developing and delivering the first-of-its-kind high school state championship for cybersecurity and creating valuable opportunities for our students and future workforce to explore the cybersecurity industry.