Administrative Professionals are Vital to UF/IFAS Extension

This Administrative Professionals’ Day (April 24), I’d like to offer my humble thanks to the people who make UF/IFAS Extension such an effective and valued organization.

Our administrative professionals are essential to the everyday functioning of Extension. They apply for the grants, submit the budgets, order the equipment, process the Pcards, work with vendors, schedule events and do myriad other tasks that are vital to making UF/IFAS Extension run smoothly and fulfill its purpose.

As much as they’re working behind the scenes, they’re also out in front with the public. When someone calls or walks into one of Florida’s 67 county Extension offices or 12 Research and Education Centers, the first person they’re likely to be greeted by is an administrative professional at the front desk. In many cases, it’s the visitor’s first encounter not only with Extension, but with the University of Florida and the land-grant system. The warmth, humor and professionalism of our staff goes a long way towards making clients feel welcome and getting the answers they need to solve their problems.

Because we value the work of our professional staff throughout Florida, we held the first Extension Business Professionals Conference in March this year. The purpose of the conference was to bring Extension support staff together from across the state to the UF campus in Gainesville for three days of training, sharing experiences and strengthening bonds with UF and IFAS.

Assistant Professor Cecilia Suarez gives a presentation titled “Rooted in Community” at the Florida Extension Business Professionals Conference.

Eighty-five staff members from 45 county offices and one research and education center attended the conference, which included professional development opportunities, panel discussions and speakers from IFAS Administration, UF and financial institutions. Attendees also were also given a tour of the UF campus. By all accounts, the conference was a great success. Many attendees said that the conference was much-needed opportunity to strengthen their connection to the university and share experiences with colleagues throughout the state. Thanks go to Keith Gouin, Charlotte Simmons, Carree Musgrove and other Extension Administration staff for helping to pull this together. The bar has been set pretty high for next year’s conference.

Attendees participate in a teamwork-building exercise.

To all our professional staff, I want to say thanks for all that you do on behalf of UF/IFAS Extension. I truly appreciate your leadership, work and commitment to making our organization one of the best in the country.

Doing the Gator chomp at the Swamp.

 


Reminder:

To all UF/IFAS Extension faculty, if you haven’t already done so, please register for the 2019 Extension Symposium before April 30.

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