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Best Wishes in Retirement: Janet Brown-Simmons
Janet Brown-Simmons, CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) of the Phoenix cluster, is retiring on July 1, 2015. Her last day with the Phoenix Cluster is Monday, June 29th. After almost 21 years of service to UC Davis, Janet has earned the widespread respect of faculty and staff for her extraordinary leadership abilities. Janet has a master's degree in education from Boston University. Before joining the UC Davis workforce, she worked 13 years as a licensed medical technologist and supervisor in chemistry, microbiology, toxicology and quality assurance for a reference lab.
She joined us in 2000 as the MSO (Management Services Officer) in the Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology). Janet moved back and forth as the MSO for the departments of entomology, plant pathology and nematology and she was able to foster positive and effective changes to departmental operations that made sharing administrative units across departments possible. When the mandate to administratively cluster these departments came from the Dean’s office, we were way ahead of the curve due to Janet’s leadership.
Along the way Janet has found time to simultaneously serve as MSO for the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program, become the interim CAO for the Metro Cluster (Departments of Environmental Toxicology, Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, and Land, Air and Water Resources), assume management responsibilities for Foundation Plant Services, and conduct administrative reviews of many other CA&ES departments. “I wanted to give back to the CA&ES staff, faculty, and chairs partnering with me through the years,” Brown-Simmons said. “The results of this synergy have been incredibly rewarding to me personally—knowing I have made a difference in some small way.”
Janet has received numerous honors and awards from the campus including the UC Davis Staff Assembly’s “Citation for Excellence” award and the prestigious 2013 College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Award of Distinction being honored as “Outstanding Staff”.
Faculty and staff colleagues of Janet’s often describe her as energetic and creative in her efforts to foster team spirit and a shared commitment to the academic mission. Janet has always been a very strong advocate for the staff. She holds high performance standards for her staff, encourages her staff to acquire new skills for career development, and is sensitive to work-life balance issues. Her ability to use humor to diffuse tensions when conflicts arise is legendary. Professors Thomas Gordon and Richard Bostock (past chairs, Department of Plant Pathology) state: Janet has succeeded in creating a positive environment for our staff. This enhances their sense of job satisfaction and their performance. As a consequence, the full department enjoys the benefits of a capable and enthusiastic support team. Dave Rizzo, Professor and current chair of Plant Pathology notes: Janet will certainly be missed. Her dedication to the smooth running of the two departments has been amazing. Professor Michael Parrella (current Chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology) comments on what Janet has meant to the departments: It would have been very difficult to administratively cluster departments without Janet’s leadership. Faculty students, postdocs, research scientists, visiting scientists, etc. across all departments enjoy an unprecedented level of service from the staff and esprit de corps among all remains high. We have one of the best performing clusters on the campus and this contributes to the high national ranking of the departments. Janet’s positive impact on the Departments of Entomology and Nematology and Plant Pathology will never be forgotten.
Story written by Michael Parrella, chair Entomology and Nematology
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