Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Governor’s Distinguished Management Leadership Awards
May 19, 2004

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Mansion—I am honored to be your host today.

It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as your governor the past seven-plus years. I am very proud of all that we’ve been able to accomplish together for Washington. These accomplishments include significant improvements in government efficiency, accessibility, and effectiveness.

These improvements are a direct reflection of our outstanding state workforce. I believe Washington has the top state employee team in the country. And you are the leaders of that team.

There are many outstanding managers in Washington state government. But you are our best and brightest. It’s a privilege to recognize your leadership excellence this afternoon with these awards.

Sixteen of you have earned the Distinguished Management Leadership Award for this year. And we are honoring 11 of you for outstanding Sustaining Leadership. Please give yourselves a round of applause—congratulations!

It is impossible to summarize a year’s worth of accomplishments in just a few minutes. Let alone the many years of sustained leadership collectively represented here. You have each worked hard to earn this honor. I am so proud of you.

The list of your accomplishments is impressive. You have protected public health and safety, worked for clean air and water, secured badly needed funding for programs, championed the use of technology, and improved customer service. You’ve streamlined and improved processes, developed effective organizations, analyzed costs and benefits, and reduced wait-times and backlog.

You’ve combated crime, efficiently administered complex systems and managed major facilities and enormous projects, you’ve earned national recognition.

These are the successful activities in which you’ve excelled. These activities have human faces, just as all of you and your many colleagues are the face of Washington state government.

Your outstanding leadership has helped children and senior citizens, injured workers, long-term patients, youthful offenders, veterans, the unemployed, taxpayers, and those battling substance abuse. Your efforts have benefited state employees, our state’s communities, and future generations.

You have each been asked to meet rising demands with diminishing resources. The people of Washington depend on you and all of our state employees, every single day. And you never let them down.

You’ve shown innovation and dedication—and you’ve inspired and encouraged others to follow your example.

President John F. Kennedy had a speech planned for the Dallas Trade Mart on November 22, 1963. He never had a chance to share those words with the world. His prepared remarks included this simple phrase: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

A good leader teaches, and a good leader learns. Each of you has taught us how to do things better, smarter, faster and less expensively. Each of you has taught us how to put people first, even when you are under stress and under-resourced. Each of you has taught us that when times get tough, good leaders rise to the top. Good leaders teach, and we’ve certainly learned from all of you.

Perhaps even more important, each of you is a good learner, too. With heavy workloads and management responsibilities, each of you still takes the time to clearly understand how things are done, and figure out how they might be done better. You’ve learned about your employees and colleagues, and what motivates and inspires them. And you’ve learned about yourselves, and challenged yourselves to excel.

So today we salute your exceptional leadership, and we learn from your example.

Before we present the awards, I want to say one more thing:

Thank you.

Thank you so much for caring about your jobs and most importantly the people with whom you work.

Thank you for making state government more effective by leading the way.

And thank you for making a positive difference in the lives of people across our state, every single day. I am proud to be on the same team with you.

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