On March 4, five University employees were recognized with Outstanding Service Awards, and 167 employees were recognized for their years of service, from five to forty years. The Outstanding Service Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues, who shared how the nominees exemplify the University’s mission and values.

Kirstin Berben, Laboratories Manager for the biology department, won the Sustainability award. Berben not only manages the campus bees, but she headed the rescue effort last year when a downed tree threatened tens of thousands of bees. “Despite having no prior experience, [Berbend] managed to tend the hive, involve students, and is now supporting the ability of faculty to use the beehives in their classes,” said Rob Andrejewski, director of sustainability.

Krista Stenger added, “Kirsten has taken it upon herself to learn how to manage and maintain healthy beehives without using harsh chemical treatments. Specifically, she found a study that demonstrates how feeding a fungal extract to the bees boosts their immune systems and helps them fight off various diseases that can stress a colony.”

Chris Harrison, HVAC Mechanic II in Facilities, won the award in the Service/Maintenance Support Staff category. Rick Richardson, HVAC Mechanic I said of his colleague, “He’s just one of those guys everyone looks up to. Not just because of his vast knowledge of the mechanics at the university, but because of his work ethic and morals as well.” When he presented the award, Mike Bowles, Mechanical Supervisor, noted how much he and their team respected Harrison and considered him a friend.

Kathy Rothert, Administrative Coordinator for the math & computer sciences department, won in the clerical category. Rothert is known for going above and beyond to support her colleagues. Dr. Kathy Hoke, chair of the department, said, “Kathy Rothert cares deeply about the university—its faculty, staff, and students‚ and this sets a positive tone for those who come in contact with her‚ which is a sizeable number. She inspires us.”

The Dining Services Employee of the Year was Matt Brock, Cafe/Stores Associate for Passport Café. Paul Just, café lead at Lou’s Café, commented that once Brock started, he “noticed a spike in the general positivity, effectiveness, and efficiency of the Passport team.” He also said, “The heart and pride that Matt brings to the job makes him [a] team player. He is always willing to take an extra task off someone's hands when their personal juggling act is about to collapse.”

Susan Taylor, Director of Budgets and Operation for the Jepson School of Leadership, won the administrative award. In addition to her daily duties, in her twenty years of service, Taylor has co-chaired a USAC Affinity Group, served on the Planning & Priorities Committee, and formed a peer group of colleagues responsible for budgeting, operations, and faculty onboarding. Dr. Sandra Peart, dean of the Jepson School, stated, “Susan Taylor epitomizes high quality, dedicated service. Day in and day out, she is cheerful and welcoming to visitors, faculty, staff and community partners alike. Willingly, she takes on new projects, complicated or small, better to serve the University and the School.”

The complete list of Service Award honorees is here.