Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pat Austin is EOM for December

Pat Austin, administrative aide in Academic Affairs, may have wondered what all the recent extra activity up and down the hallway was about, but then it's the holidays and everyone is busy.

But in reality, it was her colleagues cooking up an elaborate plot involving "Front End Banner" meetings, fake phone calls, and a new co-worker – all of it designed to lure Pat down to conference room G so she could be recognized as Employee of the Month for December.

Associate Provost Aaron Shures began the presentation by listing the qualities that made Pat an indispensable part of the staff and a perfect choice for EOM. They included her willingness to take on extra duties and go the extra mile and it wasn't until he added "without complaint" that the crowd burst out laughing.

"But seriously," Aaron continued, "Pat exemplifies the dedication that is so typical of UIS staff, and that's why she deserves recognition as one of our best."

Pat's first response was to greet her husband, David, and sister, BJ, with hugs and "How long have you guys known about this?" The rest of her acceptance speech was brief: "I don't know what to say. I love working here, you guys know that because I've said it often enough. Thank you."

Friday, November 30, 2007

November EOM is Melanie Smith

Melanie Smith (holding the baby in the picture at the right), employment services manager in Human Resources, was totally surprised to find herself being honored as Employee of the Month as she walked into her party in PAC C/D on Thursday afternoon.

Wes Weisenburn, assistant vice president for human resources, made the official presentation and briefly recounted Melanie's long association with the university, which began when she was a student worker.

Accepting the honor, Melanie noted that the campus had always been like a "second home" to her. Later on she was still wondering "how everybody pulled this off without me knowing.
"When Wes opened that door, the first person I saw was my sister standing there with a camera. I realized what was happening and turned and went the other way. Apparently, we have a lot of people on campus with good poker faces and I have no idea how this was kept secret!"
She added, "It's one thing to know that someone out there appreciates my efforts enough to have nominated me, but it's an even bigger honor to have looked around that room and to know that all of the people there shared the same sentiment. I am thankful every day to be here, and on the not-so-good days, I have an reminder on my wall that it's not all for nothing: a sign that reads 'Who says HR is a thankless job??' I've surrounded the sign with a variety of thank-you cards I've received over the years.

"This is not just a place that I come to work. This campus became home for me over 14 years ago."
For Melanie, the moment was made even more special by the many family members who were on hand, and who presented her with a big bouquet of flowers.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Krystal Wilson is October EOM

Catering supervisor Krystal Wilson spends a great deal of her time in the PAC restaurant and has seen dozens of Employee of the Month parties. And because the restaurant is a popular spot for EOM and other events, she probably didn't think much about it when Brian Patton sent her through the kitchen doors into the restaurant on Friday morning.

But this time when Krystie walked in, she was met by a hearty round of applause that stopped her dead in her tracks. Surprise! Krystie was Employee of the Month for October.

Brian made the official presentation. "You all know Krystie," he began. "She's probably the most familiar face of the Food Service. She goes all over campus and is a wonderful emissary. She's my best hire so I claim some credit for that. She really deserves this award every month."

Brian explained how Krystie had worked for the Food Service as extra help since 1991, until 2000 when he was finally able to convince her to apply for a full-time position despite her protest that she was "no good at taking tests."

Krystie's acceptance speech was short and sweet: "Thank you to everybody." Then, realizing she wasn't working at this particular event, she exclaimed, "I don't know what to do!"

Her mother and several other family members were among the crowd gathered to help celebrate.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Patsy Nation is September EOM

As operator for the campus switchboard, Patsy Nation is often the first contact that people have with UIS. So it's important that she not only know what's going on around campus, but also that she can relay that information in a clear and pleasant manner.

And since Patsy is also a secretary in the Provost's Office, it was Debbie Gill's job to praise those qualities and more as Patsy was named Employee of the Month for September.

But first Patsy's colleagues had to lure her in to the PAC restaurant on Thursday afternoon, which proved difficult. "She won’t come in!" said Debbie.

So Provost Harry Berman intervened. "Patsy," he said, "do you really think all these people are here for an HLC reaccreditation meeting?"

Making the official presentation at last, Debbie explained, "We weren't sure we were going to be able pull this off. Patsy is the social coordinator in our office, and it's hard to pry her away from her desk.

"She's a wonderful ambassador for the campus and the Provost's Office," Debbie continued. "Her loyalty and dedication are commendable. You know that TV show 'Everybody Loves Raymond'? It really should be 'Everybody Loves Patsy.' It's a privilege to have her on our team."

"Well, I'm shocked," Patsy replied. "It's really because of the people I work with. Thank you all!"

Joining in the party were Patsy's husband, Bud, and their daughter, Mandy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

August EOM is Dale Abeln

Anyone who works in building services is hard to fool when it comes to planning an EOM party, since they always know what's going on in their buildings. And, as building service supervisor, Dale Abeln was harder to dupe than most.

But his colleagues are a creative (and sneaky) bunch and Dale didn't have a clue when Steve Marvel and Tim Ritzo led him into PAC conference room C/D on Friday morning – until he caught a glimpse of the crowd waiting inside, that is. Then Steve had to push him through the door.

Ritzo, building services superintendent, explained that he and Dale had been involved in planning some furniture moves and it was "most difficult to get him down here.

"If I had to pick someone who is semi-level, who doesn't get too upset about too many things too often, it would be Dale," said Tim. "This is well-deserved."

Bearing out Tim's description, Dale didn't seem too taken aback by the surprise. "I've been here a long time," he said. "It's been nice working here … though I'll still be glad when I get my time in. Thanks!"

Dale's wife, Linda, and some of their children and grandchildren were also there to help celebrate.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

July EOM is Bill Ulery

The staff in Facilities and Services have to be ready for just about anything, so on August 8 when stationary engineer Bill Ulery got a call about water coming out of a light fixture in the PAC restaurant – even though he wasn't sure what he was going to do about it – he grabbed a ladder and headed over to check it out.

Everything in the restaurant was fine; it was just one of the more creative excuses dreamed up to lure an unsuspecting Employee of the Month into his or her party.

This time it was even more unexpected because Bill was EOM for July.

"It just took him this long to get here," quipped Dave Barrows, executive director of Facilities and Services, as he made the official presentation.

"Seriously, though," Dave continued, "when I was thinking what I was going to say about Bill, the one word that came to mind was 'unflappable.' And that applies to all these guys (the engineers). They do their job well, they take their time, and they do what it takes to keep this place running on a shoestring." Then turning to Bill, he asked, "Is there anything you'd like to say?…Speak slowly."

And Bill obliged. "I'd like to thank everybody," he said. "I appreciate it. I like this job. I've been here 27 years. In fact the other night I had a dream where I was in Marine bootcamp, so yeah, I'm happy to be here."

"My worst dream would be that you weren't here," said Dave.

"Let's eat," said Bill.

Bill's wife, Carol, three of their children, and a granddaughter were also in the crowd helping him celebrate.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June EOM is Doug Sheley

As a building service worker assigned to the Public Affairs Center, Doug Sheley probably knows what's going on in the PAC better than his own house. And that was a major difficulty in planning his party as June Employee of the Month.

But when co-workers finally decided to just lie and say that tables needed to be set up in the restaurant for a special event, Doug's eternal willingness to help out played right into their hands. He walked into the restaurant without hesitation and without suspecting a thing.

After the applause died down, Building Services Supervisor Tim Ritzo made the presentation. "It's my honor to present this," said Tim, "because Doug is one of the hardest-working guys we have on staff. He'll do anything at any time for anybody. This is very much deserved."

Accepting the honor, Doug said, "The job I do is a combined effort. I get a lot of help and I work with a great bunch of people. Thanks very much."

Doug's wife, Pam, and two of their three children -- daughters Emily and Grace -- were on hand to help celebrate. Isaac, their son, was unable to attend.

Monday, May 14, 2007

John Ringle is May EOM

The day before commencement is one of the busiest days on campus. So as John Ringle, (left in photo)director of housing and residential life, walked back across campus from a "meeting" on Friday morning with Steve Chrans and Jim Korte, he didn't think too much about the crowd gathered in the patio area outside Lincoln Residence Hall. Even though there was a grill and tables set up and someone was cooking hotdogs, John, Steve, and Jim kept on talking business, right up to the minute when the crowd broke into applause.

John was being steered into the party honoring him as Employee of the Month for May.

"I always thought I would never fall for this," said John as Steve prepared to make the official presentation.

Reading from nominating materials so he "wouldn’t mess this up," Steve hailed John as the "epitome of an engaged UIS community member."

"He cares deeply about the housing residents and is committed to them," Steve continued. "Just about any Saturday you can see his car in the parking lot."

"I have a great staff and great colleagues," John noted. "Thanks, everybody."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Brian Beckerman is April EOM

With the early onset of spring, Brian Beckerman, assistant superintendent of grounds, has more than enough to do these days. However it’s always good to take a mid-morning break, so when a stop by the Student Center was suggested, he was agreeable.

But in the end Brian was too sharp. He spotted a lot of people, including his wife, through the window and knew something was up. Joan Buckles literally pushed him inside to face his party as April Employee of the Month.

Joan is superintendent of grounds and Brian’s supervisor and she made the official presentation, noting that since coming to campus in 2000 Brian has been promoted from assistant tree surgeon to tree surgeon to his present position. “But he may have regretted accepting that last promotion,” she said, “because it was Brian’s responsibility to be out here at 3 in the morning to clear away the snow and downed trees this winter.

“But he did a great job, and it’s a privilege to work with him.”

For his part, Brian made perhaps the shortest acceptance in EOM history. “Thank you, everybody,” he said.

Brian’s wife, Wendy, and their three children -- Abigail, Connor, and Celia -- were there to help celebrate, and the kids made Dad a special card for the occasion. (See the photo.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March EOM is Lisa Clemmons-Stott

Working as development director in a small radio station, Lisa Clemmons-Stott generally knows what's going on. But Lisa's colleagues at WUIS kept her out of the loop quite nicely when she was chosen Employee of the Month for March, even going so far as to hold the party right out in the station's reception area.

"When I came in this morning, I wondered what all that food was for," she remarked later. "I figured it must be for Pledge Week, though it would've been stale by then."

Actually, Lisa's party was unusual in that in started not right on time, but early. The "staff meeting" that was held to get her out of the way broke up despite the best efforts to ask questions and otherwise drag things out, and Lisa got to her party before most of the well-wishers.

General Manager Bill Wheelhouse cited Lisa for her "very hard work as we head into an important time for the station."

Said Lisa, "I'm really surprised. I love the university and the station and I'm glad to do what we all do."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Kathryn Kleeman is February EOM

Kathryn Kleeman, assistant director of Admissions, may have wondered – after a cold, snowy week filled with closings and reschedulings – why this meeting late on a Friday afternoon couldn't be postponed, too. If she did, she found out when Lori Giordano led her into the PAC restaurant.

Surprise! Kathryn was Employee of the Month for February.

"We were a little worried about being able to pull this off on time," said Admissions secretary Lee Wensch. "Lori (associate director of admissions, and Kathryn's boss) was on vacation, then on Tuesday the storm blew in. We had to do it on a Friday, because that's when the counselors are here."

Fortunately, the party went off with only a couple of little hitches – the coats hanging outside the restaurant were a giveaway, and Kathryn had been congratulated in advance, though she persuaded herself that the person had her confused with someone else.

"I'm surprised," said Kathryn. And she was.

"Kathryn is the go-to person in our office," noted Giordano. "She works very hard, and if anyone deserves this honor, it's her. Whenever I have to be away I never worry about the office running smoothly. Kathryn organizes all the events at our Preview Days, and she also goes on the road when we're short of recruiters."

"I have to say this is very unexpected, and very appreciated," said Kathryn. "And I am certainly not the only one who deserves this – everyone in our office does. Thank you all."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cynthia Thompson is 2006 Employee of the Year

Director of Student Life Cynthia Thompson was named 2006 Employee of the Year at the 24th annual EOY Recognition Ceremony, held January 24 in Sangamon Auditorium lobby. Thompson was employee of the month for September.

Materials nominating her at that time cited her "stellar service and commitment to students and to the university" and her "tireless" efforts to expand programming and opportunities for students. Others noted, "Students and their development are the center of all her decisions and activities."

Making the official EOY announcement and presentation, Chancellor Ringeisen observed, "The Employees of the Month are the special ones among us that make us all special. Looking out at this audience, I think that any one of you are deserving of this award."

Thompson came to UIS in 2002 from the University of North Dakota, where she had also received a number of awards for exceptional service to students.

Friday, January 05, 2007

EOY Announcement

Watch for the announcement of the 2006 UIS Employee of the Year. See the bottom of this page for links to previous winners.