The Governor’s Award for Excellence (GAE) is the highest honor a state employee may receive for dedicated service to the State of North Carolina and its residents. Nominations may be submitted by coworkers, managers and/or Agency Leadership to recognize any exemplary state employees who lead by example and contribute well beyond their normal job requirements.

Details regarding the nomination process and seven categories of recognition may be found on this page. For your convenience, a checklist to aid you in preparing your nomination and a listing of each Agency/University Governor’s Awards coordinator is available here or on the GAE Coordinators tab below. You can also find the “Past Recipients” tab below to access all previous winners’ videos since 2017. This will give you ideas of the qualities the Selection Committee will be looking for.

The deadline to submit nominations was April 13, 2023.  Honorees selected for this prestigious award will be notified by the end of July and recognized in a ceremony on Tuesday, October 24, 2023.  

Qualifying Employees

Nominees must be permanent state employees and include:

  • Employees who have a permanent appointment, including the managerial and administrative levels such as:
  • Deputy and Assistant Department Heads
  • Division Directors
  • Deputy and Assistant Directors of major divisions in the larger departments
  • Key assistants to the Department Head or University Chancellor who exert major policy influence.

Employees not eligible

  • Elected officials, Department Heads, and University Chancellors
  • Employees of the public school system or Community Colleges
  • Employees of the Judicial Branch
  • Employees of the General Assembly
Tab/Accordion Items

Awards are presented in seven categories:

  1. Customer Service – Provided exceptional service that left the customer fully satisfied with their experience. Exceeded expectations to meet the needs of the customer. Added value to the customer experience.
  2. Efficiency and Innovation  Improved the efficiency of state government services. Established new and/or improved methods, practices, plans or designs resulting in innovation, savings and/or efficiencies. This is an ideal area to nominate an employee who has thought of and implemented an employee suggestion that has proven successful.
  3. Human Relations  Made outstanding contributions toward enhancing the quality and morale of the workplace or creating a better public image of state government (such as positive personal interaction with other employees; public awareness; working on relations internally within an agency; or collaboration between different agencies).
  4. Outstanding State Government Service  Exhibited unselfish devotion to duty far and above the normal requirements and contributed significantly to the advancement of state service to the citizens of North Carolina. 
  5. Public Service  Made outstanding contributions by participating in or implementing community and public service projects (such as volunteering with various non-profit organizations).
  6. Safety and Heroism  Demonstrated outstanding judgment or courage in an emergency, voluntarily risking his/her life or exhibited meritorious action to prevent injury, loss of life or prevented damage to or loss of property.
  7. Spirit of North Carolina  Exemplified the state motto “To be, rather than to seem.” Mentored others in the pursuit of excellence.  Served as an ambassador for the State of North Carolina. This special award is reserved for exceptional circumstances and for accomplishments and achievements of the highest caliber.

Online Submission Checklist

  1. Employee’s name, home address and position title
  2. Employee’s basic job description
  3. Employee’s supervisor’s name, email, and phone number
  4. Agency/University Coordinator name and email address
  5. A written a summary of why this employee is being nominated. The summary should be a minimum of 350 words but can be longer if needed.
  6. Category you are submitting this nominee for consideration
  7. Consent from the nominee’s supervisor. The supervisor must be made aware of your intent to nominate the employee before you complete the nomination form.

Once you have this information ready, you are all set to begin the online nomination!


Number of Submissions Allowed Per Agency University

Number of Employees Number of Nominations
Less than 300 employees 3
300-1,999 employees 6
2,000-10,000 employees 8
More than 10,000 employees 12

Agency/University Coordinator Email
Administration  Althea Trantham
Adult Corrections Barbara Revels
Agriculture Tara Sandford
Appalachian State  Tina Chaffin
Arboretum Amy Owenby
Auditor Lauren Eiswirth
Commerce  Deborah Wilkerson
Community Colleges Shakeyia Hazell
Natural and Cultural Resources  Kim Campbell
Bonnie Meucci
East Carolina University Rob Weatherly
Elizabeth City State University Tanisha Brumsey
Department of Environmental Quality  Jennifer Homan
Fayetteville State  Abby Folgate
Health & Human Services   Felicia Lacy
Information Technology Services Samuel Stephenson 
Insurance  Monica Shank
Justice  Maggie Rodriguez
Labor Kyla Virden
Military & Veterans Affairs Creshaye Graham
NC A & T Linda Mangum
NC Central University Connie Boone
NC Lottery Van Denton
NC State University  Avery Tuttle
Office of Administrative Hearings Angeline Hariston
Office of the Governor Karen Cheek
Office of State Budget & Management Melissa Martin
Patty Garcia
Office of State Controller Michael Euliss
Office of State Human Resources Karen Cheek
Public Instruction Houston Davis
Public Safety Margaret Ekam
Robin Becker
Revenue  Angelina Harvey
Secretary of State  Tim Crowley
School of Science & Math  Jaime Kelsky
Transportation Dennis Franz
Treasurer  Debra Thomas
UNC – Asheville   Karla Piccirillo
UNC – Chapel Hill Jessica Pyjas
UNC – Charlotte   Linda Diggs
UNC System Office Kathy Bryant
UNC – Greensboro  Jeanne Madorin
UNC – Pembroke  Sheila Hardee
UNC – School of the Arts Aretha Sutton
UNC – Wilmington  Tessa Lachman 
Western Carolina University Cory Causby
Wildlife Resources Commission Patricia Barnes
Winston Salem State University Tracey Worthey