Williamson County recognized three Employees of the Year for their leadership during the past year which included a pandemic response and a week-long ice storm. The employees were introduced at the beginning of the Round Rock Express game Thursday, August 5, and were recognized at the Commissioners Court meeting on August 17, where they received an engraved plaque and a check for $500. The award recipients were selected by a committee from 35 nominations in three categories.
For the category of Pandemic Leadership, Jim Daniels with Information & Technology Services was the recipient. At the beginning of the pandemic, county employees adapted to working remotely to provide continued service for our residents. Jim worked countless hours to find creative ways to solve unanticipated problems. His proactive approach not only helped employees, but also ensured network security in the new working environment. Jim was instrumental in the roll-out of Microsoft Teams prior to the pandemic, which proved to be instrumental in keeping departments connected while working from home. Jim provided additional training across the county to make sure everyone could use Teams efficiently. His nomination stated that Jim’s mantra is: “If one shines, we all shine".
Laura Gorman, criminal division chief with the County Attorney’s Office, received the award for Professional Leadership. Laura joined the County Attorney’s Office in March 2020. When COVID hit, she established a remote work schedule for 30 employees, while she remained in office to assure that the County Attorney’s Office doors never closed. Laura maintained communication with the defense bar, judges, the jail, mental health providers, support services and staff to ensure work was conducted up to the expectations of the citizens and elected officials. She trained new employees, over saw the filing of 3,170 new criminal cases, 382 protective orders, 39 bond forfeiture cases, 308 pre-trial division cases and resolution of 2,511 cases with no jury trials. Most notable is the quality of training and mentoring she provided to her team. Laura inspired them to strive for the best and worked countless hours outside of normal business hours, demonstrating her “whatever it takes” attitude. Her nomination stated that the County Attorney’s Office thrived this past year because of Laura Gorman.
Michael Shoe, director of Emergency Management, received the award for Project Leadership. In the last year, Michael worked through some of the biggest obstacles of his Emergency Management career. He, along with other department heads, helped care for Williamson County employees, citizens and even those outside the county as the pandemic began. If the pandemic itself was not enough, Michael and his team also took the lead and coordinated testing and vaccination sites. To add another layer of emergency response, Michael and his team coordinated with other department heads to orchestrate services for Winter Storm Uri, the largest winter event Texas has ever seen. This affected the community in many ways, with vital resources unavailable, creating a widespread impact on citizen’s health, safety and wellbeing. Without Michael’s leadership and his team going above and beyond normal deployment measures, our community, workplace and lives could have been very different during the past year. The nomination stated Michael’s great leadership in the most difficult of times has shone through some of the darkest moments seen in this last year.