Debbie Francis, administrator and financial services associate in the Office of International Research, Education, and Development at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2009 President's Award for Excellence.

The President’s Award for Excellence is presented annually to up to five Virginia Tech staff employees who have made extraordinary contributions by consistent excellence in the performance of their job or a single incident, contribution, or heroic act. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.

Francis has worked at Virginia Tech for 15 years, the last six-and-a-half of them administering the financial side of a multi-million dollar project in the Office of International Research, Education, and Development. Success in her position requires the ability to handle large amounts of information in a complex program.

The program Francis administers – the Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Program (IPM CRSP) – receives $2.5 million annually and uses 13 sub contractors and over 50 additional contractors in 32 countries.

“On a daily basis, Debbie deals with many different currencies as well as practices of accounting from places such as Eastern and West Africa, South America, and Central Asia,” says S.K. De Datta, associate vice president for international affairs, and the office’s director.

“Keeping track of all this paperwork and making sure all of the funds are appropriately spent is a daunting task, but Debbie manages it with seeming ease and good humor,” adds Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics George Norton, who has worked in the IPM CRSP program since 1993 and with Francis since she joined its staff in 2002.

Rangaswamy Muniappan, IPM CRSP program director, praises Francis’ initiative in taking professional development courses to be able to do her job even better.

“She adapts to new systems well and uses technology to increase her productivity and work quality," Muniappan says. "In general, Debbie handles a large workload for the IPM CRSP, and frees up the program faculty to focus on the program itself. Debbie’s human and professional qualities make her a vital asset to the IPM CRSP."