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Mar 8, 2013 6:38 PM

'Women in Government' recognized in Tucson

The following is a release from City of Tucson:

Three women who broke new ground in local government service were honored with awards that recognized their pioneering spirits at a March 8 awards program celebrating the contributions of women in local government service.

The 2013 Women in Government Day Awards Celebration, presented by the Pima County/Tucson Women's Commission, honored three longtime public servants, along with recognizing the work of other stand-out women employed by the City of Tucson and Pima County.

• Katie Dusenberry, a third generation Tucsonan, was honored for her long-term contributions to Tucson and Pima County, as well as for her indomitable spirit and her determination to succeed. Elected in 1976 as the first female county supervisor, Dusenberry served for eight years. She also served on numerous boards that advanced the status of women, senior citizens, the arts and the economic infrastructure of the community.

• Barbara McDermott Weymann was honored for her vision and her pioneer advocacy in advancing equality for women. As the first woman elected to the City Council, serving from 1973-1977, she helped to establish the Tucson Women's Commission during her tenure. A founder of the hospital program in Tucson, as well as the Community Food Bank, Weymann also served as director of the YWCA of Tucson and on the Arizona Women's Commission.

• Jean Wilkins was honored for her longtime public service. Wilkins began working at the City in 1948, ultimately serving for 41 years, including 14 years as Assistant Director of Budget and Research and four years as an administrative aide to City Councilmember Roger Sedlmayr. She has continued to serve post-retirement, sitting on the Executive Board of the City of Tucson Retirees Association.

"Those who choose public service as their career touch many lives as they go about their work on a daily basis," said Deputy City Manager Liz Miller, noting the City of Tucson is proud of the contributions of its nominees and winners. "This awards program shines a light on many worthy individuals, nominated by their colleagues, for their dedication and accomplishments."

Deputy Pima County Administrator Jan Lesher similarly congratulated the winners. "The public sector provides a powerful way to make a difference and address important issues that are close to our constituents," she said. "These women honored today demonstrate the dedication and creativity that are so vital in fostering the success of our communities."

Of the more than 110 women nominated for awards, the winners include:

• Laura Baker and Jing Luo each were granted the Leadership Award for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and making a difference in their departments. Baker, the Deputy Chief of Fire Prevention for the Tucson Fire Department, co-founded a program that works with the Girl Scouts to provide girls with an introduction to firefighting careers. Luo, meanwhile, is working to help the County's Wastewater Department reduce its carbon footprint by finding sustainable uses for carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process and contributes to global warming.

• Dr. Bonnie Lilley, the chief veterinarian at the Pima Animal Care Center, was honored with the Unsung Heroine Award for consistently performing her duties above and beyond expectations, without thought of recognition or reward. Dr. Lilley not only provides compassionate care to the animals at the shelter, but promotes educational advancement of the staff by holding classes and purchasing related books at her own expense.

• Kristi Ringler, an executive assistant to Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor, was recognized with the Tapestry Award, which recognizes a woman who provides clerical and administrative support and helps city/county government function efficiently. Even with a typical day packed with scheduling and processing voluminous amounts of paperwork, she continued to attend school, earning a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration.

• Emely Aguino was granted the Evolving Young Woman Award, which recognizes a woman under the age of 25 years who has contributed valuable ideas in advancing the mission of her department. Employed at Tucson City Court since May 2008, Aguino has reshaped new employee training and completed an internship with the Court outside of normal business hours, as part of her bachelor's degree in Business Administration.

• The Plan Tucson team from the City of Tucson and the Communicable Disease Investigators team from Pima County were honored with the Sisterhood in Government Award, which recognizes a team of women employees who have made a difference in their workplace.
Five women make up a team of communicable disease investigators at Theresa Lee Clinic. Andrea Verdin, Mary Gallagher, Suzy Huerta, Katherine Browne and Lindsay Dashefsky work in close harmony to ensure that the health of the Pima County population is protected.

Meanwhile,Gina Chorover, Becky Flores, Maria Gayossa, Rebecca Ruopp, Ana Sanchez and Ann Vargas, were honored for working as a tightly knit team to develop the City of Tucson's General Plan, working together more than 18 months to complete research and generate public meetings to set a vision for Tucson's future.

For more information about the Pima County/Tucson Women's Commission, please visit http://pimatucsonwomen.org/

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