2018 marks our 3rd Annual Talent of the Year Awards! ETS’ Talent of the Year Awards honor individuals, throughout the Professional, Industrial, and Administrative/Office divisions, who are outstanding performers and exemplify the promise of staffing excellency.
This year’s winners include:

  • Professional Division – Christina McDonald
  • Industrial Division – Kevin Connell
  • Administrative/Office Division – Nora Ray

Talent of the Year Professional Award Winner: Christina McDonald, Quality Inspector, Norsk Titanium
After 23 years in the North Country’s pharmaceutical industry, Christina McDonald found herself unemployed. During her job search, she came to ETS for resume guidance. She had no idea she’d be walking away with an interview at one of the area’s most cutting-edge companies!
Born and raised in the North Country, and with an Environmental Science degree from SUNY Plattsburgh under her belt, Christina sought responsibilities similar to her past experiences. She wanted to be able to hit the ground running, while gaining scheduling flexibility and time off. She found this and more at Norsk Titanium. “Since I was placed in my current position, I have undergone a tremendous amount of training, both in my current role and in preparation for a role as a supervisor. My work/life balance is the best it has been in my entire working career. I live only ten minutes from work so my commute is very short. This allows me to have more time at home with my family. My manager allows me to flex my time when necessary, and I have the option to work from home as needed.”
Would she recommend the process? “Honestly, ETS did the hard work,” says Christina. “They did the research and located employers who would be interested in what I had to offer. All I had to do was show up at the interviews and represent myself as best as I could.” She adds, “Obtaining the job I have now was a breeze for me as a result of working with ETS.”
It’s no secret that Norsk’s exceptional quality and a forward-thinking approach are leading the new industrial revolution in the North Country, for which Christina has since developed a passion. She has a message for those interested in exploring careers in STEM. “I would most definitely recommend that others search for opportunities within this industry. This technology is cutting edge and very exciting.”
Talent of the Year Plattsburgh Industrial Award Winner: Kevin Connell, Miner, North Country Data Center
Since landing his first job as a dishwasher in high school, Kevin Connell has continued to prove he’s not intimidated by the thought of rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty.
From retail and customer service to maintenance and construction, he’s done a little bit of everything. A first-time staffing agency partner and transplant to the area, Kevin decided to stop by the ETS Plattsburgh Headquarters after reading positive online reviews. With his collection of transferable skills, we knew he’d make a great fit as a Miner at North Country Data Center (NCDC), where digital currency transactions are processed through data servers. A hot-button-topic employer of the future, NCDC was looking for someone adaptable who could thrive at the forefront of constant change, while also maintaining the height of discretion. Kevin says, “The most rewarding thing I’ve found so far was the experience all around. I went in with virtually no knowledge of the work I was about to begin and my co-workers were able to train me and fill in the blanks all along the way.”
In his free time, Kevin enjoys adventuring with his long-time girlfriend and exploring the North Country’s wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities, like hiking and fishing. To those skeptical about partnering with a staffing firm to find fulfilling employment, Kevin says, “Go for it! It may seem like it’s not for everybody, but the helpful staff at ETS will be able cater to your needs and find the right job for you!”

Talent of the Year Administrative/Office Award Winner: Nora Ray, Medical Office Receptionist, CVPH – Cardiology (UVM Health Network)
Nora Ray’s current position in CVPH’s Cardiology Department wasn’t her first placement through ETS. “Over 10 years ago, I wanted to work a few hours a week to earn some extra money for the holidays. I got a part-time job through ETS singing at Sam’s Club promoting a Karaoke machine!”
Nowadays, you’ll still catch Nora singing and spreading joy through weekend performances with the Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir, The Boobie Sisters, and many other local musical groups. But make no mistake – during the work week, she puts her well-sharpened Administrative/Office skills to good use!
In only a few short months in her role as Medical Office Receptionist in CVPH’s Cardiology Department, she has already grown in her industry. “I have learned multiple computer systems, how to send patient records electronically to doctors’ offices, and medical terminology to name just a few.” She goes on to say, “I feel I am becoming more well-rounded in the medical office field.”
For Nora, finding a meaningful opportunity was paramount. What does she love most about this job and her field? Making a difference by knowing she went the extra mile. “The most rewarding part of my career has been the feedback I have received from former clients and staff through the years – of how they appreciated how I did my job. That it made a positive impact on them.”
To first-time staffing agency partners, Nora says, “Why go it alone when there are agencies willing and ready to help you succeed?!”

ETS congratulates all of the Talent of the Year Award winners for being selected to represent the extraordinary skills, dedication and contributions of employees throughout the Champlain Valley. Their inspirational stories highlight the opportunities that staffing employment provides, as well as the diversity of the individuals employed in every occupation and sector of our economy.
For more information on ETS’ 3rd Annual Talent of the Year Awards, or to interview any of the winners, contact Alina Walentowicz by phone at 518.324.3126 or by e-mail at awalentowicz@etsjobs.com. For more information about ETS visit etsjobs.com.