June 13, 2022

MaPSAC Excellence Award honors Fields for high initiative, leadership

Jeff Fields Jeff Fields, the senior farm manager at Purdue’s Animal Sciences Research and Education Center, was recently recognized for his efforts with the 2022 MaPSAC Excellence Award. (Purdue University photo/Jonathan Garcia) Download image

After a career at Purdue University that has spanned more than 40 years, Jeff Fields has learned a thing or two about what it means to be persistent, especially when it comes to the day-to-day responsibilities of farming. 

Fields, the senior farm manager at Purdue’s Animal Sciences Research and Education Center (ASREC), says his competitive nature, combined with perseverance and teamwork, has helped him succeed and lead by example over the years. Fields was recently recognized for his efforts with the 2022 MaPSAC Excellence Award.

“No matter what I’m doing, I always want to do my best,” Fields says. “I’m competitive by nature, and to be competitive, you need to be doing your best work.”

The MaPSAC Excellence Award, given by the Management and Professional Staff Advisory Committee, recognizes a full-time management or professional staff member. The winner receives a plaque and $1,500, based on initiative, example and other factors.

The ASREC makes up more than 1,500 acres just 10 miles from Purdue’s main campus, and is home to a variety of animals and facilities that allows the Department of Animal Sciences to host instruction, research and Purdue Extension activities. Fields helps provide support to each of the animal species units at ASREC and is responsible for all planting, harvest and equipment repair.

In his role, Fields is the first responder as issues or challenges arise for the farm operations and animal facilities — and is often the first to volunteer to cover any staffing voids or to tackle a new task, his nominators wrote. Fields also stepped up during unique challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years.

A letter supporting Fields’ nomination describes his high initiative in all that he does, which helps ASREC consistently meet expectations and serves as an outstanding resource for Purdue’s diverse land-grant missions.

“Jeff leads by example, and he exemplifies servant leadership,” a nominator wrote. “Several members of the ASREC staff are long-term employees who have served their positions for more than two decades, and they are also high performers, which is a testimony to the very positive work culture that Jeff has built and his ability to lead by example.”

And if you ask Fields what stands out the most about his career, he doesn’t skip a beat with his answer: the people. 

“The people you work with can make or break a career,” Fields says. “I’ve been pretty fortunate to work with outstanding people since the very beginning.”

Another nominator described Fields as a “servant leader,” and while the work can sometimes translate into long days, Fields’ dedication to his career — and his employees — never wavers.

“We don’t just farm when the sun is shining,” Fields says. “There is always work to be done somewhere, but I work with some truly outstanding people who work really well together. At the end of the day, we all want to see each other succeed.

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