Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Laurie Wilson named employee of the quarter

Laurie Wilson, laboratory manager at the Matanuska Experiment Station at the Palmer Center for Sustainable Living, has been selected the SNRAS employee of the quarter (January to March, 2014).

Since 1977, Wilson has worked in the lab, analyzing soil and plant tissues for UAF researchers, farmers, gardeners and contractors. She is in charge of running samples of soil, hay, grain and other materials for nutritional content.

"I get to do a lot of different things," she said. "Lab work could be boring but mine is interesting because it's different every day."

Laurie Wilson
Her supervisor, Norman Harris, said Wilson keeps the aging lab equipment in tip top shape. "Professional maintenance technicians on service agreements have often commented that this is the cleanest and best-maintained equipment they have seen," he said.

"Many school departments and state and federal agencies send samples to the lab because of their confidence in her excellent work and her attention to detail."

When the former lab manager retired, Wilson picked up that portion of the job as well as her original responsibilities. "She has been instrumental in maintaining the stellar reputation of the lab when major cuts lead to the termination of three lab technicians, leaving her as the only employee for five years," Harris said.

Wilson is a ready source of ideas on how to improve the lab operations and has successfully implemented them once they are approved.

"She works hard to make our annual Agriculture Appreciation Day a success by talking to businesses and getting their support and donations," Harris said. "Laurie is a unique individual and will be impossible to replace."

He described Wilson as an open individual always willing to help on projects and freely share her knowledge with others. "She has trained many students who praised her for her great skills, concise instructions and  tremendous patience.," Harris said.

"The teaching has never been part of her position description and has, for the most part, been unrecognized. She is the glue that holds the Palmer center together, which is why she is affectionately and respectfully nicknamed the Queen."

Wilson is planning to retire in the near future and her dream is that UAF will find a replacement for her who will keep the lab going and make it even better.

In her free time she enjoys swimming, gardening and being with her dogs.

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