We Are Agriculture is a year-long series that will highlight the hard-work done by employees across the Department of Agriculture. Martha Worley, Executive Assistant to N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, is one of those employees. Stay tuned each Wednesday here on the blog or any of our social media accounts and join us in honoring those who continue to drive our state’s agriculture industry forward each day!
Not many people can say that they literally grew up in the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, but Martha Worley, Executive Assistant to N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, certainly can. Not only did she grow up immersed in the world of agriculture, but her mother worked for the department in accounting. “When I was a kid, my dad would bring me to the department when he came to pick up mom,” she said. “I remember coming here, playing here and meeting people, as well as hearing stories from mom about working here, so I literally grew up in this industry and business.”
On February 19, 1996, Martha started her career with the NCDA&CS in the Payroll Division, processing workers compensation claims. “I had worked for an outside company in workers comp, so this was a natural transition for me,” she said. After staying in that position for four years, she moved to the Marketing Division where she truly fell in love with the work and the people. “I loved working in the marketing division because not only do they have fun but they are also passionate about their work,” she said, “which is something that I have since found as a consistent theme across the department.” Prior to working for Commissioner Troxler, Martha held one more position with the policy group where she made many connections that helped her transition, including Kathy Scott, Donna Creech and Linda Sears. “I worked with Kathy, Donna and Linda in the front office for a short while,” Martha said, “and I learned a lot from them that helped me flourish through the years.”
As Executive Assistant to the Commissioner, Martha is tasked with something new every single day, giving her quite the sense of adventure. “My days are never the same but I love that about this position,” she said, “because I get to have a hand in a variety of tasks that not only help Commissioner Troxler and his Chief of Staff, Zane Hedgecock, but also various other employees across the department.” Just a few of Martha’s regular responsibilities include, managing Commissioner Troxler’s schedule, taking action with staff on necessary to-do items from executive meetings, preparing materials for Commissioner Troxler such as speeches and maps, and, on the rare occasion, puppy sitting when Commissioner Troxler brings his pride and joy, Harley and Dash, into the office. “I work with a great team of people, the best in the industry, who help me to accomplish these and other tasks that we are faced with each day,” Martha said. “It is an honor to be making a difference with them.”
Throughout her 26 years with the department, Martha has seen a lot of changes both in the department and in executive staff. “Technology has grown our industry in tremendous ways,” she said. “For example, when I first started as Executive Assistant, we used to print our maps for everywhere the Commissioner needed to go, and today we just pull it up on a Google map or GPS for him.” The use of cell phones, enhanced internet technology and other devices has made Martha’s job, in addition to others across the industry, much more efficient.
“All of our agriculture commissioners have been good in their time and in their way, but what I will say about Commissioner Troxler is that he truly has the heart of a farmer,” Martha said. “He goes to bat for the farmers of our state every single day and it has been incredible to work with him and watch his passion flow through everything he does, both on and off the clock.”
Although working through a crisis can be challenging, Martha truly enjoys the family atmosphere of working at the Department of Agriculture. “We truly are a family here because we all look after and care about one another,” she said. “That’s why working through a crisis can be so difficult because we all care so deeply about the people of this industry that each one of us wants to help and make a difference in any way that we can.”
Martha is retiring from the Department at the end of this month and truly looks forward to spending more quality time with her grandchildren. “I currently have 15 grandchildren with one more on the way and they are my pride and joy,” she said. “Although I will miss the people of the Department of Agriculture dearly, this is the type of place and they are the type of people who will forever be in my life and in my heart.” Join us in thanking Martha for all her hard work through the years and wishing her a happy retirement!