Lou Garza worked her way up from office assistant to district office manager
WESLACO – Lou Garza, Texas AgriLife Extension Service district office manager in Weslaco, has been honored with one of the agency’s highest recognitions.
The Superior Service Award is presented to staff who demonstrate outstanding performance or who provide exceptional service to AgriLife Extension, an educational outreach agency of the Texas A&M University System, according to the award guidelines.
Garza, a lifelong resident of Donna, began working for the agency in March 1991 at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco.
“I started out with the IPM program, then worked with a diversity grant project called Una Vida Mejor,” Garza said. “In 1999 I became the 4-H secretary — which I loved — then in 2010 I became the office manager in (AgriLife Extension) District 12.”
“In the short time she’s been office manager, the changes Lou has made are simply incredible,” said Ruben Saldana, AgriLife Extension district administrator for District 12, in writing the nomination for Garza.
“I cannot think of one administrative process that she has not improved in some way,” Saldana said. “She is not shy about asking for support or trying new things to improve operations and, while she is respectful and professional, she will challenge the status quo until she is convinced it is the best way or until she finds a way to make it better.
“She is the flag bearer for continuous improvement and innovation, and she is the single best problem-solver I’ve ever known among support staff I’ve been associated with in my 22 years of Extension.”
Garza also received a Superior Service award in 1996 when she was working on Una Vida Mejor, Saldana noted.
“Una Vida Mejor was a grant project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, with the goal of determining how to increase Hispanic representation in Extension programs and employment, and Hispanic participation in other facets of higher education,” he said.
“Lou Garza has excelled at every job, task and position she has ever held without exception in 20 years of employment and has set a high standard for those who follow to meet,” added Saldana.
Garza has been married 27 years to Beto Garza. They have four children, Ray, Alyssa, Ashley and Alexis.