Eight staff members receive Outstanding Performance Awards
University of Louisville President James Ramsey recognized recipients of the 2009 Outstanding Performance Awards Sept. 15 at a reception at Amelia Place, UofL’s president’s home.
The president’s office presents the awards annually to staff who have demonstrated excellence over the past year.
In addition to being honored at the reception, recipients get $1,000 and a plaque.
There were 28 nominations this year. The selection committee named eight recipients.
Around 3,500 people work in full-time staff jobs at UofL. Their jobs range from medical technician to student adviser, plumber to auditor.
This year’s Outstanding Performance Award recipients work directly with students, in business offices, provide information technology services and physical plant maintenance, train professionals in and out of the university and direct an academic program. Although each job requires a different skill set, they have in common a sense of dedication — to doing their jobs well and to serving UofL students and the university as a whole.
College of Education and Human Development Advising Center
Tammy Albers has been at UofL four years. A program assistant in the Education Advising Center, she interacts with students throughout her work day and does it with genuine care and a positive attitude, according to colleagues who nominated her and supported her nomination.
“I frequently catch her doing the ‘little things’ for students that instructors, advisers or administrators may not always have the time to help with,” one nomination said. “Students within our college always know they can stop in and ask her for anything and she will literally do what she can within her limits to accomplish it for them. … She is the safe haven that students know they can cling to always.”
Albers describes her job as “student triage,” doing whatever it takes — scheduling appointments, referring to the website, or reviewing policy and procedures — to ensure students are helped. And she loves the opportunity to interact with students.
“I strive to make the Education Advising Center the place to come for help. I have fixed flip flops (and) jackets that won’t zip, printed papers, held the hand of a crying student and celebrated a first teaching job,” she said. “Many of our students are away from home and I think it helps for them to know that somebody cares.”
Albers said she was appreciative of those who nominated her for the award.
“It is nice to be recognized for the job I do and know others see that students are my passion,” she said.
Dora Bir, unit business manager
Department of Medicine
Dora Bir has worked in the Department of Medicine 35 years. Her nominators recognized her for her “exceptional leadership skills” and her willingness to help faculty and others with daily tasks, from balancing accounts to answering questions about their paychecks.
“Dora always has her door open and is a welcoming and reliable foundation to our department. She rarely has an empty office,” one nomination said. “She is consistently helping other co-workers or discussing issues with faculty members. Dora is a leader within the department.”
In addition to extensive job duties, Bir has taken on the role as departmental liaison for the UofL Cares program. She established and continues to organize the Department of Medicine Chilifest and developed the departmental cookbook to further raise funds for the annual event.
“This started out as something that no one else wanted to take on — so I volunteered, and now it is one of my passions,“ Bir said. “I wanted to make this something that the department could obtain a greater participation percentage.”
Bir said she loves the “challenge and the camaraderie” of her job, and the interaction of people at UofL. She said she was overwhelmed when she learned she received an OPA.
“Speechless, amazed and excited,” she said, describing her reaction. ”Again I feel that this is something that is not possible without the support of the outstanding staff and faculty with whom I work.”
Keni Brown, communications manager
Keni Brown joined UofL IT department three years ago. Her job includes communicating IT’s new initiatives to faculty, staff and students. She’s also taken on a variety of other projects including leading training for Sholar House families to use computers in their new homes, serving as committee chair for IT’s Cardinal Care team and leading the IT diversity team. Her nominators commended her initiative, dependability, personal interactions and team-oriented approach to work and other projects:
“She works beyond the normal work week to accomplish her job duties and always goes the extra mile to assure projects are communicated effectively and efficiently,” her nomination said.
Brown said she likes the ever-changing environment IT offers.
“IT is fast-paced and you never know what the day may bring your way. With each communication or training opportunity, I get to play ‘make-believe’ and pretend that I am IT’s customer,” she said. “What would they do? How would they perceive a certain project? Who would like this service? … and more importantly… Would I care if I were them?”
She said she also enjoys working on the extra projects and initiatives like Cardinal Cares.
“I am extremely embarrassed, humbled and thankful,” Brown said of receiving an OPA. “I come to work every day like all UofL employees. I don’t particularly feel that I’ve done anything outstanding. There are so many others that are more deserving.”
Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning
Denny joined UofL’s staff in 2005. She’s developed training programs to better the university community. Nominators commended her ability to facilitate meetings and trainings and her strength in developing curriculum for new training. They described her as team player with a strong work ethic.
“Virginia performs an eclectic array of tasks within her unit, including training, instructional design and development, networking with external clients and facilitating within the university,” one nomination said. “Even though she is constantly up to her ears with projects and deadlines, she always finds to time to mentor those around her.”
Denny said she has a passion for learning and helping others.
“I love my job for two very specific reasons. I get to learn and create every day (and they pay me to do it!) and I get to work with, through and for great people that inspire me to do my best,” Denny said.
Denny, who previously owned her own consulting company, said she like working at UofL because of the community and the positive work being done at the Delphi Center.
She said she’s honored to receive an OPA.
“I’m honored and humbled. I couldn’t have done it without fantastic support from my managers and from my team,” she said. “This award comes just on the heels of losing my mother. She would be very proud of me.”
unit business manager
Suzanne Galbreath serves as the unit business manager for Student Activities. She started at UofL seven years ago. Her job brings her in contact with hundreds of UofL students, staff, alumni and prospective students each week. Nominators applauded her effort to create a positive experience for each person with whom she interacts, with the goal of creating a better UofL. They also applauded her willingness to adapt to new situations when the job requires her to do so.
“Suzanne cares about the image of her department, our division and the university and wants our future alumni to have outstanding memories of their years at UofL. She never forgets that the small things we do or say can leave a lasting impression — positive or negative,” her nomination letter said. “She works closely with alumni and community members and strives to demonstrate a positive image of our university.”
Galbreath said she enjoys working in finance, but the interaction with the UofL community makes her job more fulfilling.
“We help mold young people into what they can become in the future,” she said. “I don’t just handle processing payments all day, I actually get to interact with many students and that makes my job more enjoyable. Our office is very dynamic and no two days are the same.”
She said she was humbled when she learned she received an OPA.
“People tell me all the time what an amazing job I do, but to actually be acknowledged publicly means all the more to me,” she said.
Jessica Kidd joined UofL’s staff four years ago and has quickly become a valuable asset to her department. Her nominator described her as a self-starter with a high level of productivity and quality of work. Kidd also has become an informal adviser for students, and a go-to person for faculty and other staff. She also has served as a mentor to work study and Cardinal Covenant students.
“She is very dependable and is relied upon heavily by everyone in the department. Jessica is definitely the ‘glue’ that holds the department together,” one nominator said. “The whole building seems to fall apart when Jessica is away from her desk just for her lunch break.”
Kidd said she enjoys her job because it allows her to do new things each day and to interact with UofL students.
“I like the atmosphere of growth and learning that comes from working here. Students bring so much life to a place. Also, I have been fortunate to work with a great group of faculty and staff,” Kidd said.
She said she felt honored to be recognized with an OPA.
“It means so much that someone would go out of their way and take the time to nominate me for the award,” she said.
Linda Krauth has worked at UofL for 11 years. In her job, she manages projects related to PeopleSoft applications. Her nominators commended her for a long history of excellent performance and for her strong commitment to achieve strategic goals. They also identified her as trustworthy and as an emerging leader within her department.
Her nomination specifically noted Krauth’s work on two major Information Systems projects over the past year, including one that was recognized with a national award.
“Her work managing major enterprise projects has placed the University of Louisville as one of the leaders that utilize the most current information technologies, which in turn has significantly increased administrative efficiency and student services,” her nominator said. Her “long history of excellent performance are conducive to Linda being a deserving individual that represents the essential qualities of a professional and essential employee at UofL.”
Krauth said she enjoys her job.
“Seeing the improvements that have been made to the systems makes it worth the extra time,” Krauth said.
She said she was excited when she learned she had received an OPA.
“It was an honor to be nominated. (It) lets me know that the work, time and effort is really appreciated. In a way, I'm still in shock about it,” Krauth said.
building maintenance mechanic
Dave Masden, who has been at UofL for 15 years, is the employee his supervisor turns to when the job is most challenging and when innovative ideas and extra effort are needed. He is one of the first employees to come in during an emergency and is always on the lookout for ways to save time and conserve energy and materials. His nominator commended him for his high quality work, keeping residence halls and classrooms problem-free for students, faculty and staff.
“David is one of the first I will call when we have floods, power outages, damage from storms, or any other emergency situations. He will always come in,” his nominator said. “Having David work for me makes my job easier. David’s efforts have created a positive experience for the students staying in the dorms and studying in the classrooms.”
Masden said he likes that he does something new on the job each day — which can mean replacing and repairing broken and worn out items in buildings across campus.
“I take pride in my job and doing the job right the first time,” he said.
He said one of the best parts of working at UofL is his coworkers and his interaction with students.
“I feel much honored that I was one of the few that was chosen from the many employees at UofL,” Masden said.