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Employee Recognition

2 NC State Staff Members Receive 2023 Governor’s Award

NC State staff members Kelsey Mills and Bill Carlson have earned the highest honor a state employee can receive: the Governor’s Award for Excellence.

The award recognizes state employees for accomplishments above and beyond their job duties. This year, 41 state employees received the award and were honored at a ceremony held Oct. 24 at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

Mills, a research technician in the College of Veterinary Medicine, won the award in the efficiency and innovation category. Carlson, the assistant director of materials support in the Materials Support Warehouse, received the award in the public service category.

Earlier this year, Mills and Carlson were among 12 employees who won NC State’s Award for Excellence. The award is the most prestigious honor bestowed upon nonfaculty employees at the university. All 12 winners were eligible to win the Governor’s Award.

Bill Carlson

Carlson received the Governor’s Award for his work as the executive director and president of Support U.S. Armed Forces, a nonprofit organization one of Carlson’s friends started in 2009 to support military members and their families. Carlson got involved in the nonprofit because he served in the U.S. Air Force from 1984 to 1991 and understands the difficulties military families can face. Some service members suffer from post-traumatic stress, and some have difficulty readjusting to life after multiple deployments.

Carlson took over the nonprofit’s leadership role from his friend in late 2015. He said he is surprised by the recognition he has received.

“It is very humbling,” said Carlson, who has worked at NC State for 10 years. “Anybody who works in the nonprofit world knows it takes a team of people to make things happen. Being honored as the face of the organization has certainly been a memorable experience.”

Here are some of the programs Support U.S. Armed Forces offers:

  • The Give To Honor program helps relieve some of the financial burden families of deployed troops face. Families can receive household supplies, fuel cards, military base commissary gift cards and other gift cards.
  • Carlson and his wife, Crystal Carlson, organize a weekend retreat for military couples. During those retreats, couples learn communication skills and how to overcome challenges that arise from deployments.
  • Lights of Gratitude is a Christmas tree donation program. Through this program, Support U.S. Armed Forces identifies sponsors to decorate Christmas trees and donate the trees to military families.

Kelsey Mills

Mills has worked at NC State for about three years. She earned a master’s degree in geographic information science at NC State in 2021.

Mills won the Governor’s Award for her work as a researcher. Mills has been instrumental in designing and implementing new GIS solutions, pig movement data analysis and disease-tracking systems that have greatly improved her lab’s ability to monitor disease outbreaks and respond to them in a timely and effective manner.

One of Kelsey’s most notable achievements was her role in developing an app for tracking disease in pig production.

“This app is revolutionizing the way we collect and analyze data, and it has allowed companies and state veterinarians to respond to outbreaks much faster than before,” Mill’s nomination letter states. “Kelsey’s dedication and attention to detail have made this app user-friendly and easy to use, and it has been praised by farmers and veterinarians alike for its design.”

Mills said she is extremely proud of her work on the app.

“I’m from North Carolina, and the pork industry is very important here,” she said. “Being involved in something heavily related to where I am from is one of the reasons why it’s so important to me.”

Mills said she is also proud of the recognition she has received as a result of her work but noted her work is part of a team effort.

“I am very honored,” she said. “Everything that we produce in the lab is a group effort. It’s not just a single person or an individual thing. I always like to make that a big point when I do any interviews related to this award.”