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, 2018
Carla Mason, Sr Custodian, Building Services
When Carla Mason heard a scream from a student, she didn’t hesitate to jump into action. She was completing her custodial work in Hooper Hall when she raced into the bathroom to check on the student. When she found the upset student, she described “just grabbing her and hugging her.” Once the student calmed down, she said, “I needed that. I so needed that. Thank you so much.”
Jean Rice, accounting specialist in the UTC Office of Budget and Finance, was so moved by Carla’s action that she nominated her for a Blue Ribbon Award. “Considering that some of our students are away from home, it was extremely nice that she showed empathy and support to the student that she helped,” she said.
Tim Pridemore, Emergency Management Specialist, Safety & Risk Management
Late on a Friday afternoon, a few engineering students visited Tim Pridemore’s office with an unusual request. As members of the UTC Chem-E car team, they needed to ship hazardous chemicals to the location of their next competition. Tim, a longtime employee of the UTC Office of Safety and Risk Management, dropped what he was doing to help the students.
“Tim did not put them off. Instead, he told them that he would stay as long as he was needed because students come first. Tim’s help and guidance were instrumental to the success of the team’s entry into the competition. Without his willingness to stay as long as it takes to get the chemicals properly sealed and mailed, the student entry might have been delayed,” Bob Jackson, UTC Director for Safety and Risk Management, said. “Tim’s passion for UTC’s mission is a success story, as it has been every year and every day in his support of students.”
Robie Robinson, Executive Director, Emergency Services
Robie Robinson isn’t one to hesitate when someone needs help. As the Executive Director of Emergency Services at UTC, he’s used to jumping in and fixing problems. He did just that when a water fitting ruptured on the fourth floor of the EMCS building.
Robinson directed the efforts of the UTC Police and Office of Facilities Planning and Management, the Chattanooga Fire Department and a contractor called upon to assist with clean up. For Susan Cardwell, an employee in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the time, Robinson’s leadership resulted in a prompt clean-up and return to regular operations.
“His calm and comprehensive decision making and attention to details ensured that the classroom areas and labs affected would be ready for classes to resume for the spring semester,” she said.
“Although this type of response is required of his position, Mr. Robinson went out of his way to assist with the cleanup and with helping with any necessary follow up,” she continued. “His dedication to the University and commitment to its students, faculty, and staff were evident in his actions in this situation. We are fortunate to have him as our colleague.”
Jason Lyon, Associate Director, Undergraduate Admissions
Jason Lyon lives by the UTC’s motto “Students First” no matter what time of day it is. When a prospective student walked into the admissions office looking for help, it didn’t matter that it was close to 5 p.m. and Jason was getting ready to leave after completing a full day of work.
“He sat with her in the lobby answering every questions until 5:45 pm. The office was closed but he wanted to make sure she had a solution before she left. To me that is the definition of ‘Students First,’ taking time to help her even before she was an admitted or enrolled student,” Brandon Justice, a recruitment programming coordinator at the time, said.
For Brandon, this moment demonstrated Jason’s style of leadership.
“This is not the first time I have noticed Jason taking extra time to help a prospective student, it was something I saw firsthand and serves as a reminder of our jobs,” he said. “Jason consistently leads by example, and this was just one time of many where that is the case.”
Susan Gutshall, Accounting Assistant, Health and Human Performance
As the head of the Department of Health and Human Performance, Dr. Marisa Colston manages a large team of 20 faculty members and guides 900 students through her department’s academic programs. She couldn’t do it all without the help of the department’s accounting assistant, Susan Gutshall.
When the department had an unexpected administrative support vacancy, Susan didn’t hesitate to take on extra work.
“Despite having to carry the load of two people, she has remained positive. She has supported me and the department exceptionally well and has kept a positive attitude through it all. She often stays after hours, even though she has not been asked to do so,” Colston said.
For Colston, Susan’s positive attitude, whether coordinating the logistics of an annual retreat or reworking the department’s budget, has been invaluable to her.
“I am indebted to Susan for her dedication, loyalty, sense of humor, and all-around delightful personality that makes coming to work a joy,” she said.
Brett Fuchs, Associate Dean of Students for Student Conduct, Student Affairs
No job is too small for Brett Fuchs, associate dean of students for student conduct, outreach and support. Pam Blevins, administrative coordinator and assistant to vice chancellor for student development, can always count on him to lend a hand.
“In spite of his extremely busy calendar and the stressful nature of his work, he is always willing to make the time to assist his colleagues in any way he can,” Blevins said. “This usually involves ‘grunt work’ like trips to UTC Mail Services to pick up heavy packages and collecting Scrappy’s Cupboard donations from all over campus.”
Brett also doesn’t hesitate to help out others.
“Most recently, he volunteered to cover for not only his administrative coordinator, but an additional three others in the office area for an entire day while we attended the Extraordinary Administrative Support Professionals Conference,” she said. “I would love for Brett to be recognized for his selfless acts and contributions day in and day out.”
Anthony Storti, Surplus Coordinator, Surplus — Procurement & Contract Services
Although not part of his current job description in the Surplus department, Anthony Storti’s computer skills have helped make the workflow in several UTC departments more efficient and streamlined.
Building databases for the Surplus department made it easier to keep up with inventory and handle the department’s twice-yearly auction. His database for Facilities created a central location showing all the work that needs to be done throughout campus for the next five years. For Safety and Risk Management, his database handles fire extinguisher expiration dates which must be inspected once a month.
Surplus Specialist Sue Garrett, who hired Anthony, calls him “the best co-worker I have ever worked with.”
“Oftentimes in a university we feel divided by our department lines,” she says. “Surplus coordinator Anthony Storti is breaking down those barriers by helping others with his past experience that isn’t necessarily in his job description, creating a more efficient workflow not only for his department, but others he can help along the way.”
Wayne Etherton, General Maintenance Skilled Craft Worker, McKenzie Arena
In McKenzie Arena, when you have an idea or a problem, Wayne Etherton is the go-to guy, a man who, as one person put it: “Work miracles on tasks that seem unattainable.”
In a recent task, he took an basic idea for changing the arena’s condiment stands and designed them to resemble the existing basketball court, with the symbols for the Southern Conference, the three-point line and UTC school colors.
While redesigning the stands, Wayne also maintained his daily schedule for numerous basketball games, a wrestling tournament and UTC Commencements. All without complaining. Describing Wayne’s exemplary behavior, Obie Webster, executive director of the arena, calls it “mind-blowing.”
Kim Sapp, Administrative Assistant, SimCenter – Center of Excellence in Applied Computational Science and Engineering
When graduate and undergraduate students come to the SimCenter to work on applications for a variety of grants, Kim Sapp helps them maneuver through the sometimes-difficult paperwork. She truly cares about each student.
As an example, SimCenter director Tony Skjellum points to an incident in which a UTC student was on her way to a conference in Kansas City, Missouri, when she was hit by a car, causing her to fall, hit her head and be taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
When she found out about the student, Kim called UTC Human Resources to report the accident, then contacted the frightened student, first to find out how she was doing, then let her know the steps for reporting the work-related injury to Human Resources.
“The student was thankful for Ms. Sapp’s guidance as she had never been involved in a workplace injury,” Skjellum says.
Oh, and the student is fully recovered and doing well.
Jessie Wright-Rudez, Office Manager, Theatre
Ever since the merger of the Theatre and Music divisions into the Department of Performing Arts, Jessie Wright’s role of office manager has become an increasingly important and hectic job.
Through dedication and hard work, Jessie has helped everyone weather the storm on the way to becoming a unified department. To do so, Jessie has worked late nights and weekends to handle the roles not only of office manager, but event organizer, caterer, even delivery man.
A few months ago, a reception was planned after a piano recital by Lynn Worcester, a new faculty member. Only a couple of days before the event, its professional planners dropped out. Jessie took over. She ordered all food and drinks then, the night of the reception—after a full day at work—picked up the items, brought in extra help to make sure things ran smoothly and even cleaned up afterwards.
“The reception proved incredibly important for our new faculty member and the community. Without Jessie, none of it would have occurred,” says Jordan Hicks, administrative assistant in the Department of Performing Arts.
Donna Cooper, Assistant Director, University Career Services
Each summer, the New Student & Family Programs hosts its Parent & Guest Orientation, a series of seven two-day sessions in June & July with over 300 parents and guests at each session. For the past five years, Donna Cooper has enthusiastically volunteered to help. At times she has tracked down transportation for parents or family members to attend the sessions; she has worked with overwhelmed parents, offering them assistance and reassurance that the problem will be solved.
“I have seen her give out her personal contact information to stressed out parents who find immediate relief to have the offer of a lifeline at UTC while they send their most prized possession away from home,” says Carrie Sherbesman, director of the New Student and Family Programs Office.
A two-person staff in the office “and there is no way that we could pull off a successful orientation program without the help of Donna,” Sherbesman adds.
Lofton Holloman and Tracy Scott, Information Technology Telecommunications Technicians
When West Campus Housing was about to open this past fall, it was discovered that some rooms did not have working cable TV service. Instead of waiting a couple of weeks for the system’s contractors to return, Lofton Holloman and Tracy Scott took it upon themselves to resolve the issue.
“Instead of waiting for the contractors to come back on site to fix their issue, which would have taken a couple of weeks to resolve, they put in countless hours for three straight days so the students didn’t have a bad experience when they first arrived in the new building,” says Telecommunications Technician Mark Stotts.
The pair fixed the problem without any students knowing there was a problem in the first place.
“If they did not resolve this, it would have turned into a nightmare,” Stotts says.