DAFVM Spotlight Employees
Steve Jones   Amanda Smith

Steve Jones
May 2015

Electronics Laboratory Manager
Extension Center for Technology Outreach
Starkville Campus

Years in Position: 15 Years
Years of Service to MSU: 15 Years

Steve Jones would have laughed at the idea of being an electronics laboratory manager 20 years ago.

But today, he provides supplies and computer support for 100 sites as the electronics laboratory manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service. These sites include 82 county offices, four district offices, 14 Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Stations, the Lloyd-Ricks-Watson building on the MSU campus, and three academic departments.

Jones said that he had no idea when he went to talk to the Director of Vo-Tech to finish up his teaching degree that he would stumble onto an amazing opportunity.

“In 1988, I had no idea what a computer was. The director of vo-tech said that his brother-in-law at Computer Services was looking for someone who was good with electronics,” he said. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time. You never know where you are going to end up. Sometimes you just have to take a chance.”

Jones said his favorite part about his job is knowing he helped someone else.

“Knowing that I have done my job correctly and that I have helped someone out in the process is what it is all about for me,” he said. “When someone has zero backup on their computer and I am able to recover that information for them, that not only makes their day but it also makes mine.”

Patience is the key to this job for Jones.

“If you did not have patience before this job, you definitely will after. When I first began this job, things were a lot slower than they are now. I had to wait for a long time for the system to work correctly,” he said. “Also, I learn something new every day. Electronics are constantly changing now. I get to experience something different every day on the job.”

In his spare time, Jones enjoys fishing, volunteer firefighting and spending time with his family. He has a wife, Lisa, and two boys, Colby (18) and Riley (14).


Allen Shack
May 2015

Research Associate III
CVM Basic Science Department
Starkville Campus

Years in Position: 13 Years
Years of Service to MSU: 13 Years

Research Associate III becomes more than just a title for Allen Shack when all his hard work pays off with good, publishable results.

Shack’s duties are divided into four main areas for a lab in the CVM Basic Sciences department: lab maintenance, lab safety, lab work and management. In the lab maintenance area, Shack is responsible for managing online databases for inventory purchase request orders and data files; ordering equipment and consumables for the lab and other documents and technical service for equipment.

Shack is also responsible for proper adherence to all lab safety guidelines when individuals are in the lab, including maintenance of biohazard and hazardous waste disposal containers. Shack participates in various proteomics and genomics projects in the lab. He also provides instruction for using equipment, establishing proper operating rules and procedures, and assisting workers with fundamental laboratory practices, which all fall under his management responsibilities.

Shack said attending graduate school helped his career.

“I was a graduate school student in the Department of Biological Sciences at Mississippi State University from 1999 to 2001,” he said. “I applied for the position of research associate at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine. I was hired to my current position in March 2002. My lab experience from graduate school has really prepared me for this position.”

Shack said this job requires a lot of attention to detail, but the results make the process all worth it.

“To do my job, good hand-eye coordination is required. Also, good pipetting skills are necessary,” he said. “Patience and determination are good qualities to have as well.”

In his spare time, Shack enjoys collecting songs for his iTunes music library and playing computer games.

The administration for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine (DAFVM) plans to spotlight two employees each month. All benefits-eligible professional and support staff employees within the Division qualify as part of the pool from which employees will be chosen. Highlighted employees will be randomly selected and given his or her choice of a $50 prize from DAFVM to be claimed from specific vendors at MSU.


  • The drawing for the DAFVM Staff Spotlight recognition will take place the last week of each month and be announced the first working day of the upcoming month.  Names are pulled randomly from a pre-populated Banner list.
  • To be the highlighted staff for any given month, the employee must have acceptable recent performance evaluations on file. Those evaluations will be reviewed prior to acknowledgement of the employee and awarding a prize. The evaluation itself will not be viewed but rather HRM will provide a general recommendation based on the employee’s past reviews.
  • The selected employees will be notified by letter from Dr. Greg Bohach, Vice President, DAFVM.
  • A required photo and a brief  interview of the recipients will be posted on the DAFVM Staff Council Web page www.dafvm.msstate.edu/advisory/spotlight/. This information will also be displayed on the monitors of the first floor of the Bost Building, as well as in other MSU locations and publications.
  • Each recipient can choose one of the following prizes:
    • $50 gift certificate to the University Florist
    • $50 gift certificate to the MAFES Sales Store
    • MSU apparel item ($50 value)

At each annual DAFVM Summer Celebration, the Staff Spotlight recipients from the previous year will be acknowledged. The DAFVM website will have an archive of all winners listed by month/date.

An employee cannot be chosen more than once during a two (2) year period.

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