Most of the employee stories for NRCS involve Field Office staff who work in
county offices where the ‘real rubber’ hits the road. This one does not. This
Employee Vignette is about an employee who has worked in the slightly plush
environment of the IL NRCS State Office where she works on the Management
Support Team as the Contracting Officer. She doesn’t wade in streams or dig soil
pits or walk the fields with farmers. And yet, every day Bernita has a powerful
passion and carries real joy in her heart about her career and her work with
When asked where she gets that passion or why she’s toughed it out with the same
agency since 1984, she simply says it’s the people with whom she is privileged
to work with. “All our people have that passion and THEIR passion drives MY
passion,” she explains. Add to that her own personal passion and dedication
to impact important issues like air and water quality. Exposed to a wide variety
of issues, projects, products and services, purchases, and legal agreements,
Bernita is continually amazed by the diverse nature of the many issues and tasks
NRCS staff contend with across the state.
“I’m impressed by our people, their skills and the role they play on the
landscape. I always learn something new from them or am introduced to a new
concept about natural resource conservation because they’re always exposing me
to new ideas,” Bernita says.
Contracts and purchases are a day-to-day piece of NRCS business. Bernita sees
her role as less critical than those of technical specialists on the front lines
but she makes it her business to do all she can do to make their administrative
and office management tasks less complex and easier to complete. She sees
herself as a helper to Illinois NRCS’ 300-plus staff.
“I like what I do. I like what we do. I like who I work with. And I like who
it is that we all help serve. I’m proud to work for NRCS. The agency and the
people have been good to me,” Bernita adds.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and