The commendable service and commitment to the Aggie core values of three staff members from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) have earned them the 2018 President’s Meritorious Service Awards.
Misty Skaggs, Vidal Villarreal, and Steve Canon were among the 25 individual staff members, two supervisors, and two teams who were bestowed the honor during the annual ceremony on April 23 in the Memorial Student Center’s Bethancourt Ballroom to kick off Staff Appreciation Week at Texas A&M.
“When I talk to our former students, the frequency with which they tell me about a staff person who changed their lives—an adviser; an assistant/executive assistant in a department who helped them through some bureaucracy that made it possible to actually graduate; or someone who simply sat down with them and listened to the concerns they had about paying their tuition, or getting a meal plan, or trying to talk themselves out of a parking ticket—the compassion and concern the staff at this university shows in helping them achieve their academic goals is not unnoticed. I get comments about the staff as much as I get comments about great professors,” said Texas A&M President Michael K. Young.
“You all are profoundly, deeply, importantly critical to this university; without you, we could not accomplish what this great university accomplishes,” he said. “I hear it again and again, and I see it again and again.”
As the chief of staff for the CVM since 2013, Misty Skaggs is responsible for assisting Dean Eleanor Green in all aspects of the college’s operations and administration, including serving as a liaison for the dean; providing daily assessment and counsel regarding new and ongoing issues; planning and coordinating the scheduling of logistical and administrative support for events, meetings, and special functions; supervising the Dean’s Office administrative staff and college-wide functional groups; and readily responding to and meeting with a broad range of internal and external constituents.
“Misty always goes above and beyond the call of duty in her role as chief of staff,” Green said in her nomination. “Having worked side-by-side with Misty for many years now, I have had many opportunities to view her flawless work ethic and witness her rising to any occasion and challenge. She is the quintessential ‘we can do it!’ person.
“Misty truly has a servant’s heart that shows through both professionally and personally. She continuously makes the college, our office, and others her priority, and she is certainly the CVM’s most loyal and best cheerleader,” Green continued. “However, Misty’s loyalty and selfless service goes far beyond just the CVM. She is a loyal and true Aggie, as she has served Texas A&M University for her entire career of more than 26 years.”
A veterinary technician IV and supervisor of the large animal intensive care unit for 23 of his 31 years with Texas A&M, Vidal Villarreal provides multiple layers of support to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH), offering top-notch veterinary care; keeping highly trained and motivated staff; guiding new technicians on a path for career ladder advancement through training opportunities; and overseeing a 24-hour support service.
“Without hesitation, it is evident each and every day that Vidal promotes a work environment of openness and inclusion,” said nominator Galen Pahl, assistant director. “Large animal ICU routinely treats and cares for some of the most critically ill patients in large animal veterinary medicine. Vidal and his staff provide the most compassionate care while comforting our clients during some of their most challenging and difficult times. Respect is always present in Large Animal Intensive Care Unit.
“He frequently puts the needs or wishes of his staff, the faculty, and the students before his own. On numerous occasions he has come in during the middle of the night to provide relief support for his staff; this is after he already completed an 8-, 9- or 10-hour work-day,” Pahl said. “He has worked university holidays allowing his staff to have that special time with their families. Oftentimes it will come at the expense of him sacrificing his own personal leave request. Clearly, he’s a loyal, selfless service leader in our university.”
For the past five of his 14 years at Texas A&M, Steve Canon has served as the complex manager for the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex, where he performs managerial duties ranging from efficiently utilizing his given budget to repair and maintain the six-building facility, to preparing for the multitude of events that occur at the complex and overseeing the Equestrian Team horses and their facilities, the Dale Watts Cross Country Course, and the Freeman Arena.
“Steve’s selfless service is evident on a daily basis. There is nothing Steve can’t do by himself, if something needs to be fixed, repaired or maintained. He is willing to take charge of a project, no matter what the circumstances. Steve is also a crucial part to the execution of the 250 or so events that take place at the Equine Complex,” said nominator Jim Heird, executive professor and coordinator of the Equine Initiative. “He is caring, supportive, confident and demonstrates all of those to those that walk through the front doors.
“Steve’s work ethic has only scratched the surface of how he provides excellence for Texas A&M University,” Heird said. “When Steve took over managing Freeman Arena, he transformed a dilapidated arena into an equine area used by several different Texas A&M-affiliated groups. His dedication to the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex and to Texas A&M University will continue to have an impact for years to come.”