Outstanding Public Lands Professional Awards - 2016

Manager/Managerial - Administrative Category

Gera Ashton
PLF VP Don Simpson (l), Gera Ashton, PLF President Jesse Juen (r)

Gera Ashton is the Deputy State Director for Business and Support Services in the BLM Arizona State Office.  In Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, Gera lead a number of national and statewide efforts, including serving as the Chair of the Business Management Council (BMC), and a statewide Risk Assessment Team to ensure that BLM facilities across the state were provided necessary security updates due to increased risk to employee safety.

Under Gera’s leadership, the BMC developed an annual work plan to identify, track and report key work initiatives and Bureau-wide actions for the year.  This effort resulted in less duplication of effort and helped move key action items forward in the BLM.

Through Gera’s effort and coordination with the Office of Law Enforcement and Security, BLM Arizona was able to complete phase one of its facilities updates within set national timeframes. Gera led the effort to update all office public room designs, including the State Office public room, to ensure that front line employees were protected but customer service to the public was not negatively impacted.

Gera also played a key role on the BLM Arizona State Leadership Team (SLT), the Strategic Workforce Committee (SWC), and other ad hoc teams.  Through her leadership, the state moved several efforts forward in FY2016, including a Statewide GIS Strategic Plan, a statewide Safety Functional Analysis, as well as a reorganization of several areas in the Division of Business and Support Services. These efforts were successful in large part due to Gera’s willingness to work with the stakeholders and listen to multiple points of view.

Not only does Gera invest in the organization, but she invests in the people, building relationships across the state and nationally.  She works closely with her peers in other states and the Washington Office. One of Gera’s best qualities is that she genuinely likes to help others, is concerned for their well-being, and she takes notice of how she can serve others. Gera’s integrity and courage are the underlying factors in her decision-making.  Even when the right thing to do is hard, she does not compromise her integrity.  Instead, she evaluates the best approach in making the right decision.  All of Gera’s peers know that she has their best interests at heart, and for the work place environment, the government and for the public.

A large portion of Gera’s management success is that she expects professional performance from not only everyone on her team, but her highest of expectations begin with herself.

Because of her excellent body of work and her dedication to the BLM and public service, the Public Lands Foundation recognizes Gera Ashton with its Outstanding Public Lands Professional Award in the Managerial/Administrative category for 2016.

Edward Shepard
December 30, 2016