Has a UTC employee gone the extra mile to help you?

You can show your appreciation by nominating that person for the Blue Ribbon Award. A committee appointed by the chancellor will select monthly an award winner who exhibits outstanding service to others. Nominations should be specific in identifying incidents or situations that show the nominee has served his/her customers with special distinction.

If you have a nominee to be considered at an upcoming meeting, please e-mail your nomination to Melanie Sadler (Melanie-Sadler@utc.edu), Human Resources Administrative Assistant, or mail to Dept. 3603.

All non-faculty staff (full or part-time) with at least one year’s regular service are eligible for the award. Any UTC faculty, staff, student, alumnus, or member of the community are invited to submit nominations.

Blue Ribbon Winners, 2014


Val Sample, Director of Housing and Residence Life, keeps track of finances, staffing, camps, and conferences, and has her finger on the pulse of all of the department’s projects and their progress. When personnel changes took place in the department, she made sure positions were filled in a timely manner and kept the department running in a consistent fashion. Even with her attention to detail in the office, Sample’s attention to her staff creates a great work environment in the department. “Val is always on top of things, and always remembers staff birthdays and anniversary dates. She is very encouraging to staff to pursue personal development through training, classes, and seminars,” said Melita Rector.  Rector and Sharon Williams, who both work in Housing and Residence Life, nominated Sample.


Chris Charland has used many of his lunch hours to educate UTC students about how to prepare and nourish the soil of the UTC Sustainability Garden.  He also taught them how to use a gas-powered tiller and properly plant vegetables.

According to Lisa Darger, Sustainability Coordinator, Charland’s primary responsibility as Campus Services Supervisor is to maintain a clean, safe, well-landscaped campus.  He also assists faculty, staff, and students with numerous projects.

“Just in my short tenure here at UTC, Chris has orchestrated the inaugural I LOVE UTC campus beautification projects in 2013 and 2014, providing planning, mulch, straw, plants and tools to over 80 students. He was instrumental in providing support for the recent Tree Campus USA recertification and the Tennessee Arboretum designation, particularly in on-going maintenance of signage, tracking tree and shrub plantings, and project costs. The student Wildlife-Zoology Club adopted the Challenger Center wetland as a 2014 project, with Chris as an advisor to plant specimen, location, and maintenance,” Darger said.

Darger adds that each time a student group, faculty or staff member approaches with a request, Charland is immediately accommodating and gracious, interacts patiently with students, is generous with his time while balancing his daily responsibilities, and goes out of his way to ensure that each experience benefits the campus and those participating in the project.


Scott Newby, Senior Power Plant Operator, stayed at the UTC Central Energy Plant for more than 30 hours recently when inclement weather lead to problems with the boilers and chillers.

Newby was nominated by Brandon McDonough, Power Plant Foreman, who also worked to address the problem.  McDonough explained that as long as the boilers and chillers function well, most people on campus are blissfully ignorant of how the Central Energy Plant runs.

Thanks to Scott and Brandon for keeping our work environments comfortable!


Since Doug Burkhart, Craft Supervisor for Housing and Residence Life, joined the UTC staff a little more than a year ago, he has impressed Bud Sisler, his supervisor.

“When Doug was hired he hit the ground running, learning all the buildings he was responsible for and learning the skill levels of his direct employees to understand their strengths and weaknesses.  Those who report to him maintain a great relationship and they have never come to me with a negative word. If anything, they thank me for making the choice to hire him over the other candidates,” Sisler said.

Burkhart always responds to requests for help, whether it’s during or after business hours.  Sisler explains that Burkhart works very well with other departments and vendors that service the campus, all the while maintaining a positive attitude.  He also arrives on time and seeks the best answer to an elusive problem.

“I really can’t say enough about his added talents and contributions to our department. If all my employees modeled his behavior, you would need a lot more blue ribbons to go around,” Sisler said.


Rebecca Dragoo has helped Dr. Elizabeth Gailey on a number of occasions by locating new classrooms for her when audio-video and/or seating issues threatened to hamper her ability to teach (and for her students to learn). “Rebecca is always polite, responds to requests quickly, and–most importantly–has come through 100 percent of the time when I’ve asked for a classroom change–no matter how late in the semester. Her conduct and attitude suggest that she understands the importance of classroom environment in teaching and learning–especially in communication courses that rely heavily on being able to play music and show TV and movie clips to illustrate key concepts,” Gailey said.


Michael Savini, a two-time alumnus of UTC, loved using the lap pool at the ARC while he was earning his second degree in Chemical Engineering from 2011-2013.  He says he now has an “incredible job thanks to UTC.” Unfortunately, the job and the drive prevented him from using the ARC during the summer hours, which used to be Monday through Friday from 6 a.m.-5 p.m.  He called Caesar Wood, Director of Campus Recreation, to discuss the problem—that there wasn’t time for alumni to use the ARC pool after work.  That conversation had a productive outcome when the pool hours were lengthened. “For Caesar to call one alumnus, take the time to listen and then to make something happen!   That’s the type of staff that I want at my university.   I know Caesar hasn’t been at UTC very long, but you definitely found a top-notch manager.  I am very grateful he took the time and listened.  Thank you Caesar,” Savini said.  Savini’s son will enter UTC in fall semester as a junior, and he is hopeful his daughter and younger son will also be future Mocs!

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