2009 Exceptional Effort Awards
These awards, presented on June 2, 2009 at the WWU Staff Awards Ceremony, are given annually in recognition of performance that consistently exceeds the quality that is expected; exceptional ability and willingness to work positively and effectively with others; an innovative approach to the job and willingness to manage changes in work priorities, procedures and organization; and performance that has resulted in important and significant contributions to the work unit and thus has furthered Western's mission.
Admissions Administrator, Woodring
Gretchen is extraordinary in her attention to the administrative and advisory aspects of managing admissions to the college. Each department in Woodring has different admissions criteria and procedures, all of which are continuously being updated and refined, and state requirements for teacher certification are seemingly in a constant state of flux. Gretchen has incorporated changing requirements into a process that is reasonable for student applicants and for department faculty who review the applications each quarter.
Her exceptional, sustained effort has resulted in a predictable and smooth-running process for each department. She is also uncommonly dedicated to increasing diversity among Woodring students. Her diligent work to establish meaningful personal connections with students, WWU admissions and other departments, community colleges, and other 4 year institutions has ensured that every applicant has the opportunity for an equitable, strengths-base review.
Student Affairs Division Director of Budget and Administration
As the Budget Director for Student Affairs, Linda has become an expert on each area in the division. In order to understand the budget, she needs to understand how each area works and know what their particular challenges are, as well as recognizing the styles of each of the directors. She is a great business consultant, personnel consultant and strategic planning consultant and has proven an invaluable asset to each area within the division. Linda is exceptionally talented, very bright, able to juggle multiple, complex tasks and never seems to lose patience. She finds solutions where others fail and maintains a cheerful and positive attitude when the rest of us grumble. She is one of a kind.
Administrative Services Manager A, Political Science
All of the faculty and staff of the Political Science Department provided glowing reviews of Joan Blackwell’s work as department manager, and heartfelt comments about how she has made a lasting impact on their professional and personal lives. Her depth of understanding of the department and dedicated problem solving skills helped the department to make budgetary cuts while maintaining high levels of support for our faculty and students.
She is supernaturally organized and efficient, confident, warm and personable, providing outstanding support needed for the department’s success. Her diligent support for seven faculty searches in eight years, her assistance in helping new faculty adjust to the university and the community, and her dedication to students, have created a department where – even in difficult times – people love to come to work.
Research Associate, Geology Department
Russ has been a trusted, creative member of the Geology Department for 30 years, maintaining and calibrating the Paleomagnetism Lab equipment and interacting with undergraduate and graduate students and faculty who use the lab. Russ has amazing patience when dealing with novice users who often make “interesting and unexpected” mistakes in their lab work, and has helped many students to achieve great success. His hard work makes possible many of the hands-on research experiences that our students value most.
He is a highly skilled electronics troubleshooter, which has enabled him to do maintenance that many university labs would contract out. His initiative and creativity have produced new instrumentation and computer programs, making ours one of the most efficient and well-run paleomagnetism lab in the country. In short, his work has put Russ's reputation and WWU's reputation in the forefront - exactly where we aspire to be institution-wide.
Financial Aid Counselor
Tammerly epitomizes Western's hallmark of tailored, caring service to students and parents through her work in the Financial Aid Department. She is able to resolve details associated with frequently complex student and parent financial situations, which requires empathy, technical understanding, supreme diplomacy, and the willingness to walk to the edge of professional judgment/decision making. This she manages, despite the increased file load and number of student contacts she has taken on as a result of an unprecedented increase in aid applications. She has also worked closely with the Student Outreach Services' Destination Graduation and Student Success programs, Northwest Indian College, and the Western Foundation to help students attend Western who would otherwise be unable to do so.
Director, University Communications
Paul was nominated by his colleagues, who conferred and agreed that he clearly meets all the criteria for the award, and is deserving of new categories unique to him: "Tireless Promoter of Western's Message" and "Unceasingly Vigilant Defender of All Things Western" which express Paul's devotion to his job and his craft. Throughout a phenomenally busy news and publications year, including presidential and vice presidential transitions, Paul handled every incoming event with professionalism, aplomb and unshakable calm, initiative, and willingness to take risks.
Program Coordinator, University Residences
Kim strives for excellence in every area of her work for University Residences. The quality of her work in marketing and web design enhances students' ability to clearly understand what we need them to know, and it helps them complete the forms required to secure the room and roommates they want. Three thousand new residents benefit from Kim's attention to detail and creative, humor-filled ideas. Her integrity in her personal interactions and enthusiasm and attention to detail create trust throughout our organization.
Maintenance Mechanic 2, Facilities Maintenance
Larry easily exemplifies all the criteria for the award. As the sole caretaker for Shannon Point Marine Center which is Isolated from the luxuries of campus - plumbers, electricians, painters, landscapers -- he does everything from mowing the lawns to engaging in stormy midnight battles with Mother Nature. Then he makes sure the marine labs and experiments are up and running the next day so that world class study and research can be accomplished.
His evident love of his job pours over into Larry's personal interactions with the Center's staff and students. He takes his work seriously, creatively, as a true professional, yet has a wonderful sense of humor and enjoys every day with great vitality.
Commencement Coordinator, Registrar's Office
Dixie has played a central role in implementing President Shepard's new vision and expectations for WWU commencement ceremonies, including significant format changes and inclusion of flags representing the homes of our students from around the world. Dixie did a remarkable amount of research, talked with multiple constituencies on and off campus, and accomplished the changes with extraordinary expertise, energy, and grace. The addition of a third ceremony in June will provide the next opportunity to witness her skills in handling complex logistics with the skill and diplomacy of a stateswoman, making it look easy to all of us who just show up!
Facilities Engineer 2, Technical Maintenance, Facilities Management
Chris has made a tremendous impact in his role in the Technical Maintenance Shop. He has taken on the role of teacher and mentor in addition to other duties. Through his efforts, this shop has stepped up productivity and overall professionalism. He takes extreme challenges in stride. For example, in a review of our complex HVAC systems, he resolved problems that have vexed external engineering consultants. He works flexibly with other departments, clients, contractors and colleagues, and produces results that generate energy cost savings while improving operations. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Construction Project Manager 3-Quality Assurance, Facilities Management
Greg's exceptional efforts as a leader and a "go-to guy" are indispensable and will serve the campus for many years to come. Greg is responsible for Western's Public Works Project design reviews, which includes the facilitation and management of construction and maintenance details. He is instrumental in developing and updating design standards for consultants that meet the requirements for new and renovated space. Tracking of building data, size and history and documenting and reporting the backlog of maintenance and repairs is important information that Greg provides, which forms the basis for institutional capital preservation funding requests. Western will realize dramatic long term benefits from Greg’s consistent above and beyond the call of duty approach.
Fiscal Tech 2, University Advancement
Lisa Keene has a reputation for asking "What more can I do?" or "What can I do to help?" She is the rock that ensures that the day to day fiscal work of the Foundation is accomplished when the finance officer's attention is necessarily diverted by investment management and budget issues. She is a steady, stabilizing force, a producer, a go-to person who is trusted to consistently come up with the right information.
Cashier Supervisor, University Cashier
Becky Kellow was instrumental in successful implementation of the CashNet online student accounting and payment system for the university. The project required extensive development to integrate the new application with the existing student database, and was accomplished in an accelerated time frame, from October through December, to be in place for winter quarter.
Becky consistently exhibited exceptional problem solving ability, attention to detail, and competence and was instrumental in creating a positive experience through effective communication with vendors and her mission-critical co-workers. Her outstanding achievement created a foundation for efficient payment processing that will benefit the University and its students for years to come.
Program Director A, Elementary Education
Ellen was "most heartily, vigorously, and enthusiastically" nominated by her department. "With her, Elementary Education faculty move confidently, find the answers to life's pressing questions, summon the ability to imagine at least six impossible things before breakfast, and learn how to train their dogs to become next year's National Agility Champions." This slight hyperbole was inspired by Ellen's work advocating for students, helping them create plans of studies, navigate coursework, register for classes, and meet deadlines, and doing so with interest, sympathy and respect.
She readily takes initiative, as when she connected the department electronically to students in the field. She is persistent in designing new and better ways to meet student’s needs. The department simply functions more effectively because Ellen Kreider works there.
Procurement and Supply Specialist 3, Purchasing
Though Barbara has been with the university for just a year, she has already saved the university over $350,000. This savings is a direct result of her ability to work with departments to ensure that they are receiving the products or services they need, negotiating bottom line savings with vendors, and drafting requests for pricing that provide ample opportunity to negotiate the best deal for the university. The AIC building furniture, fixtures and equipment - her first project - are visible evidence of her excellence. Her customer service skills are exemplary; she takes great pride in working to deliver the best for her customers - the campus community.
Associate Director, Career Services
Marcia will retire in August after almost 20 years of exemplary service to Western, an event she delayed to help the office cope with two vacancies due to resignations and budget cuts. She was invaluable in guiding the department through assessing budget priorities and has been a steadying and calming influence during this uncertain time. Marcia is a truly outstanding contributor. Noteworthy achievements include the creation and continuous development of the CSC's sophisticated web site offering a range of on-line services, and the compilation of annual surveys on WWU grads' employment status, which gets a tremendous response rate and is invaluable to students in making academic and career decisions. She never gets ruffled, is unfailingly positive, and always makes time to respond to staff needs.
Associate Director, Institute of Environmental Toxicology
April Markiewicz does exceptional work at many levels, from teaching students to the formulation of University-wide budgetary policy. She has made countless important contributions to the Institute of Environmental Toxicology and the Department of Environmental Sciences, which nominated her for her expertise, leadership, creativity and initiative, for helping to maintain and augment the resources and labs for undergraduate and graduate students in the Toxicology Program and serving a primary role in developing and implementing the institute's budget - a particularly key role this year.
She also actively represents her field in the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and edits and publishes the Pacific Northwest Chapter's newsletter. Her contributions to the governance of Western Washington University, as president of the Professional Staff Organization and as a member of university committees and the President’s Cabinet, have been outstanding. She also plays a vital role in the community, as a leader of her neighborhood association. April's broad network of connections, and the effective and collegial way she uses them, reflect well on the Institute and the University.
Circulation Services Manager, Western Libraries
For nearly 25 years, Kim has provided excellent customer service to students, faculty and staff of Western, and to the broader community of library users. As a manager, she instills the same commitment of effort in her employees. She has attained high standing among her colleagues from other institutions due to her diligence in seeking out better ways to efficiently share materials. Kim has taken on additional responsibilities this year in order to address pressing needs and position the library for the future. She does this all without pause, with a commitment to do what is right for the organization and for the university.
Research Technologist 3, Geology Department
Over a long WWU career, George has had consistently effective, happy interactions with students, faculty and staff in the Geology Department, with other science departments, and with the community. George has been extraordinarily resourceful in maintaining equipment and mentoring faculty and students alike in it’s use. He is creative in securing rock and fossil samples for the Department’s displays, even trading local samples for items further afield. George is an excellent resource about local geology, publishing his work in scientific journals and leading field trips for scientific meetings. His range of interests and enthusiasm are unusual – and catching. His work throughout his career has been nothing short of inspirational.
Information Technology Specialist 4, ATUS
It is not often when the terms “over-achiever” and “behind-the-scenes” are used in the same breath. Yet, Rick Nichols has achieved exceptional status while drawing almost no attention to himself. Led by Rick, a small army of hard-working staff members transitioned the students’ email accounts to a new @students.wwu.edu email system, the result of many months of labor. Rick managed the direct interface with students with grace and vigor as he answered literally thousands of questions that arose as more than 13,000 students were moved to the completely new email system. Rick and his staff were prepared to take all the questions, provide all of the answers, and improve feedback every step of the way. His diligent communication resulted in a milestone of 10,000+ accounts migrated nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.
His professionalism, empathy, and commitment shines as an example of what it means to belong to the Western Washington University family. Rick has been part of the Western family for more than 18 years each and every year has been a gift to our students and the university.
Office Assistant 3, Honors Program
Carla Pederson, working half time, is the entire office staff for the Honors Program, a program that has quadrupled in size over the past four years to more than 300 students, most with interdisciplinary objectives and high aspirations for personal achievement and associated needs for advising, scheduling, and counseling, all of which she facilitates cheerfully and diplomatically. Hers is an office that has moved three times in as many years, on time and without complaint. Carla has a sustaining sense of humor and proportion; comes early; stays late; attends most departmental functions and meetings; and makes certain that the Director avoids making mistakes. Her exceptional efforts will help Western to be the best of its kind, standing for academic rigor and creating an interactive, welcoming environment inside the classroom and beyond.
Information Technology Specialist 2, Student Financial Services
Leslie played an integral role in the successful conversion and implementation of the CashNet online student accounting and payment system for the university. Her 18-year experience with the student accounting system and database and technical background were pivotal in meeting the accelerated time frame for implementation, from October through December, so that it could be in place for winter quarter. This challenging project involved exceptional prioritization and organizational skills. She demonstrated professionalism and good humor with colleagues and with our new associates at CashNet. Leslie’s achievement will benefit the university and students for many years.
IT Manager, Facilities Management
As the manager of Facilities Management’s IT group, Gary cheerfully and effectively leads his three staff members in meeting all the multifaceted hardware and software needs of FM’s 100 workstation network and its diverse set of users. Gary’s outstanding interpersonal skills, positive attitude, and his rational, creative approach to issue resolution have a positive, calming effect on those around him. He instinctively does the right research and comes up with ways to make things better, and then takes the initiative to implement the solutions. His initiative, maturity, dependability and commitment to do a thorough job are exemplary.
Assistant Marketing Director for Athletics
Katie’s unmatched energy and outgoing performance consistently exceeds the quality that is expected. Her personality makes her a team member that people look forward to working with every day. From working with volunteer groups to student interns, her interaction with others always puts the Athletic Department in a positive light. She is a self-motivated, creative coordinator of our largest fundraising event - Viking Night - and of home athletics contests which are loaded with entertaining activities that make for a fun event for players, fans, and the greater community.
Program Manager A, PEHR
Becky Schindler helps manage a complex department made up of three diverse programs with 544 majors, sharing facilities with the athletics department and the campus at large. The Interim chair fully appreciates that the special configuration of skills, commitment and temperament needed for the role are multiplied with a transition in leadership. Becky is acknowledged for her flawless management of schedules, her analytical mind, her impressive ability to multi-task, and for her initiative, her work ethic, dedication, efficiency and professionalism. And lest we think that this is enough distinction, she is also certified as a fitness instructor and personal trainer and is simply committed to the physical fitness and health of our students, helping us to create engaged, informed and healthy citizens. Her efforts have made a lasting contribution to the educational mission of the university.
Construction Coordinator, Facilities Design and Construction Administration
Don is responsible for commissioning the complicated mechanical HVAC systems for Western’s new and renovated facilities. His breadth of knowledge about mechanical and electrical construction, building automated control systems and a commitment to LEED certification is unusual. He has often bridged the gap between contractors and engineers, coming up with solutions that keep building occupants safe and comfortable and foster Western‘s commitment to sustainability. We are fortunate that Don has dedicated his technical skills and work ethic to our campus.
Chyerl Wolfe Lee
Director, Human Resources
Chyerl is an exemplary leader who effectively balances her commitment to Western’s operational needs and mission and to the individual needs of employees through creative and strategic solutions. When the economic crisis began, it was Chyerl who took immediate steps to prepare for the potential impact on employees, directing the Human Resource staff to give extra attention to any employee concerned about or facing job loss, initiating the Outplacement Center, changing the focus of her recruiter to job developer, and facilitating a change in policy to give priority consideration to internal candidates.