AgriLife Extension honors Kyle Smith with Superior Service Award

Contact: Kyle Smith, 979-845-7896, k-smith10@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION  –  Kyle Smith, executive associate director of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, has been awarded the Superior Service Award, the agency’s highest recognition.

Smith, who serves as chief operating officer and second-in-command of the agency, won the honor in the category of agency leadership.

The role has long existed, but when Smith took the position in 2008, he was the first to serve in a restructured, streamlined administration that placed even more importance on his performance, according to his award nomination.

“To streamline AgriLife Extension’s administration, the number of associate director positions was reduced from six to three by 2008, then to two by 2011,” the nomination reads.

“Due to retirements, when Mr. Smith became the executive associate director, all associate director positions also were filled by individuals new to their jobs. Mr. Smith ably met the challenge of both fulfilling his own duties and mentoring the new associate directors.”

Dr. Chris Boleman, 4-H and youth development program director, praised Smith’s performance.

“I cannot accurately express how much his institutional knowledge and his integrity helped me with this transition,” Boleman wrote. “While it was the absolute right organizational structure for the program and the agency, it was very challenging for me. He is the most sincere, caring and trusting person I know, and that shined through.”

A district AgriLife Extension director concurred, saying, “Kyle made very difficult decisions regarding the restructuring of administration. He knew more than anyone how the responsibilities of the reduced number of positions would have to be split among fewer administrators. He had the courage to make these decisions and he was not afraid to justify them to our key stakeholders and other administrators in the Texas A&M University System.”

Besides one-on-one guidance, the nomination states, Smith also provides leadership for monthly and special meetings of the senior administrative leadership team.

“In effect, he directed agenda setting and follow-through actions that enabled the agency to deal with emerging situations while staying true to its strategic plan and mission,” the nomination stated.

In addition to administrative restructuring, Smith was cited for exemplary leadership in agency budgeting and staffing, implementing a partial cost-recovery initiative, and providing agency-wide oversight in emergency management of events including Hurricane Ike, the H1N1influenza outbreak, drought and wildfires, and in improving the agency’s emergency preparedness.

Letters of commendation were submitted by Ronald Brown, executive director of the Association of Southern Region Extension Directors; Don Allred, Oldham County judge; and Dr. William Dugas, associate vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences of the Texas A&M University System.

“I can say that in all my observations over many years, Mr. Smith has exhibited honest and trustworthy behavior that all his peers appreciate,” Brown wrote. “He is a man of integrity and is consistently likable and personable as an individual.”

Allred wrote, “It is not only an honor to work with Kyle because of his vision and support of AgriLife Extension and his professionalism, but also because his most impressive characteristic is his genuine caring for the people with whom he works.”

Dugas cited Smith for his balance, honesty, loyalty and perspective.

“Kyle brings a clear, lifelong and sincere commitment to do what is right for AgriLife Extension,” Dugas wrote. “Yet, he also recognizes that Extension is part of a larger family and provides input and counsel that is thoughtful, balanced and reasonable.”

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