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, 2013


Linda Kidd, Administrative Specialist I, Health and Human Performance, is appreciated by her supervisor, Dr. Gary Liguori.  “Ms. Kidd is extremely diligent about her job and I have seen her go far beyond the call of duty on many occasions,” Liguori said.  For instance, Liguori recalled the way Kidd handled a call from an extremely worried parent of twin boys who were not able to secure housing.  “Ms. Kidd spent quite a bit of time that day on the phone with various people across campus to see what could be done for these two, and didn’t stop in her effort until residence life was able to determine that the boys did in fact have a place in housing, there had simply been an oversight. Ms. Kidd routinely makes these types of efforts for students regardless of their major or department. She is an exemplary employee who is proud to be a part of UTC, and because of this I feel she is an extremely worthy recipient of a Blue Ribbon award.”


Doug Sansom, Craft Specialist III, Campus Recreation, handles maintenance issues or problems that may arise in the Aquatics and Recreation Center.   He’s been a busy guy!  According to Caesar Wood, Director of Campus Recreation, Sansom worked nearly seven days a week, even weekends to ensure the ARC pool rehab project was completed as soon as possible.  ”His dedication to give up his time on Saturdays and Sundays to work with the contractors is above and beyond what is expected and he never did complain one minute!” exclaimed Wood.  One particular problem took Sansom’s creative powers.  “The contractors who re-plastered the pool did not install the hand rails and they were having problems getting these installed with the water in the pool.  So Doug came up with a very creative way to get them installed correctly and safely!  He used some engine pliers with a needle nose end and used his snorkel abilities with a wrench to get these installed.  If you could be here to see it- it was impressive on how he was able to get the job done.  His ability to think creatively and get the job done for the safety of our students should be commended.”


Everybody knows Sue Garrett in Surplus, Administrative Support Assistant for Purchasing.  But you may not know how seriously she has taken to heart UTC’s commitment to reduce its campus carbon footprint, which includes eliminating reusable and recyclable materials from landfills.  Lisa Darger, Sustainability Coordinator, says Garrett “works with our contractors to ensure that not only does UTC recoup all property suitable for auction, she collects broken items (chairs, desks, shelving) that have recyclable plastics, woods, or metals.  She has taken the extra step to break down some items and retrieve materials which can be recycled.  For example, the wiring conduit from construction projects has a fair amount of copper, which has monetary value.   Old computer cables, cords, floppy disks, books – the list of items which used to be thrown into dumpsters now are in the UTC recycling stream.  Another recent example is the move at McClellan Gym.  The recyclables collected actually paid for the contractors’ labor.”  According to Darger, Garrett has done all this on her own initiative “because she understands and believes it benefits our University.”


Maria Derrick, Assistant Director of the Partnerships and Sponsored Programs Department, is recognized for her excellent, customer-oriented service and dedication to others by Dr. Gregory Heath, Assistant Provost for Research and Engagement. Derrick’s job is difficult and requires specialized knowledge and an ability to work with many different kinds of people under stress of deadlines. Derrick handles delicate contract negotiations and proposals while always being considerate of constituents, building relationships between UTC and external sponsors. According to Dr. Nick Honerkamp, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Geography, “Year in and year out, Maria has been critical in dealing with ‘emergency’ time-sensitive proposals and contracts. This is due to (1) her extensive knowledge about the contract process, and (2) her strong work ethic. Last month she successfully negotiated an archaeological research contract with a sponsor who had next to no experience with the contract process, and she was able to complete the contract process while the archaeologists were actually in transit to the research site.” Coworkers say that Derrick is positive, professional, and a pleasure to work with.


Debbie Giles, Administrative Services Assistant, Physical Therapy, is recognized for her dedication for those around her. “She volunteered and mentored the new Occupational Therapy secretary. She scheduled biweekly meetings with Ms. Cathy Eppinger. She is going over all the ins and outs of UTC, all around her own work schedule,” says Dr. Larry Tillman, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physical Therapy.  She handles unscheduled advisements, makes sure faculty turn in materials and schedules before deadlines, and makes sure students have all required immunizations and medical paper work in on time so that students can attend their clinical experiences. “Faculty considers her the ‘glue’ that keeps the department running smoothly and the students think of her as ‘mom’ away from home,” says Tillman.


While J.D. Kyzer, head coach of the women’s soccer team, looks to prepare his players to compete on the field, he has also provided chances for his players to succeed off the field as well. Through volunteer opportunities at Brown International Academy, Kyzer has encouraged his players to take part in mentorship programs for students in need of positive encouragement. Sergeant Matt Holzmacher of the UTC Police Department has two children who attend Brown Academy, and he has seen firsthand how beneficial the UTC soccer players’ mentoring has been. “I was encouraged that Coach Kyzer had invested in his athletes in such a manner that they value giving back to those in need. Kyzer has a history of encouraging his athletes to part of the community and should be awarded for his humble service,” said Holzmacher.


Although getting trapped in an elevator can be a precarious circumstance, the attitude and response of Officer Harry Wolverton quickly turned what could have been an extremely stressful situation into one that was, according to Dr. Lyn Miles, “not a big deal.” After being trapped in the library elevator once it surprisingly jammed, Wolverton was the first responder to the scene. “While we waited for the fire department to arrive, Officer Wolverton continued to talk to me through the shaft and kept conversation going until the rescue could begin. I wasn’t panicked but appreciated his efforts to keep me calm and feeling connected to the outside world,” said Miles.


After Sue Stephens and Nancy Davis in Facilities Planning and Management were given a whole host of new responsibilities to handle, it was the helpful nature of Bob Snider that made the new workload manageable. Snider normally manages their store room while also handling the ordering and stocking of parts for the entire University. A new process required Stephens and Davis to go back through a vast array of documents to find vendor numbers. “We process the largest number of invoices on campus. Bob took it upon himself to contact vendors and asked if they would include their vendor numbers on the invoices. This may not sounds like a lot to anyone else, but to us it is a huge. I cannot find enough words to say how much that has helped us and how grateful we are for his thoughtfulness. To step outside his job duties and give to others is the greatest kindness I can imagine,” said Davis.


As the Program Specialist in the Office of International Programs & National Student Exchange, Joyce Blevins often deals with circumstances that are “exceptions to the UTC rule.” Whether it is making trips to departmental offices to pick up forms from faculty to process paperwork more quickly for a student, or working to speed up grade and transcript submissions for students nearing graduation, or making sure students in exchange programs are receiving the appropriate credit hours and meeting requirements, Blevins consistently goes above and beyond her responsibilities. Blevins often stays late in the office to help accommodate a student or faculty member’s schedule. For her supervisor, Hugh Prevost, Blevins demonstrates a constant commitment to the University community. “She truly has her customer’s best interests in mind as she carries out her work in our office; whether that customer be a student, parent, colleague, faculty member or a lost visitor who happens to show up in our office,” said Prevost.


Nikki Bonnington, Budget Coordinator for the College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies (CHEPS), takes on many roles and tasks around campus. As a presenter of a summer training seminar for the administrators in CHEPS, she went out of her way to hold a second training lesson for those unable to attend the first one. According to Diana Shelburne, who provides administrative support in the Social Work Department, Bonnington’s willingness to help goes a long way. “She shows so much patience with our requests, and she always has time to walk us through a procedure. Recently, I had to go to her for a travel question that I didn’t understand. Right away she knew what needed to be done. I was clueless, but she discerned and led me through the process. This is just one example of the many times I have seen her in action,” said Shelburne.

November – December

Roland Sanders and Ruby Jordan, custodians in Holt Hall, work hard each day to keep the building’s hallways, bathrooms, and common areas clean for students and faculty. ‘They both always exchange pleasantries with us whenever we pass in the halls, and their upbeat demeanor and attitude really add to the friendly atmosphere in our building,” said Dr. Jennifer Boyd, Assistant Professor of Biological & Environmental Sciences. Sanders and Jordan were tasked with the most extensive duties in helping clean up a Holt Hall bathroom that had been vandalized, truly going the extra mile to provide a clean and functioning campus environment.  Along with Boyd, Dr. Kate Harrell, Dr. Hope Klug and Callie Montgomery nominated Sanders and Jordan.

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