Tag Archives: employee of the month

October Employee of the Month

img_3008-copyCongratulations to October Employee of the Month, Melanie Huffman!

Huffman is the fiscal coordinator in the Department of Biochemistry and had multiple nominators including Glenda Gillaspy, Karen Dove, and other members of the departmental office.

“In a nutshell, she helps us to accomplish more in a challenging funding environment,” said Gillaspy. “This involves managing our sponsored program accounts of more than $4 million a year, and numerous departmental accounts and purchases for faculty labs. She is a greatly respected member of our department who goes above and beyond to provide assistance with the many daily fiscal transactions necessary for the department to operate successfully.”

Her nominators called Huffman’s work ethic “exceptional.” Huffman provides valuable assistance to others within the department office calculating salaries, fringes, and figuring remaining balances on various accounts and sponsored projects in order to help faculty facilitate daily financial decisions. She makes herself available to help others figure out the best solution to many different challenging situations.We value her commitment to delivering excellent accountability in our fiscal office and being adaptable and flexible in working towards the goals of our department and individual research programs.

“Under her guidance, our fiscal operations run smoothly and efficiently.
We all appreciate the opportunity to work with her as her professional manner, coupled with her sense of humor, make her an absolute pleasure to have in the departmental office,” Gillaspy said.

Past winners include:

  • September 2016- Dumitru Branisteanu, field research technician  from the Department of Biological Systems Engineering
  • August 2016- April Mays, administrative assistant from Page County Virginia Cooperative Extension
  • July 2016- Chris Ellke, agricultural specialist, Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center
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September Employee of the Month

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Leigh-Anne Krometis,, Dumitru Branisteanu, and Alan Grant.

Congratulations to the September Employee of the Month – Dumitru Branisteanu, field research technician  from the Department of Biological Systems Engineering.

Dumitru’s nominator  praised his work ethic and attitude saying, “I am excited to nominate Dumitru Branisteanu for the CALS Employee of the Month award. Dumitru’s hard work, laughs, and engineering ‘magic’ have contributed to the success of many research efforts in our department, but he has been particularly instrumental in assisting students and faculty this year on a large interdisciplinary Farm to For effort funded by USDA-NIFA.”

“The field component of this multi-year project was particularly ambitious. Dumitru managed to help us to meet all project deadlines and improve our study design. Most importantly, he was never too busy to slow down and teach the students how to do the work safely and correctly. Working side by side, we managed to get our vegetables in this growing season with barely a bruised knuckle, despite working with heavy equipment.

“Even though his responsibilities on the project primarily pertain to the field work, he makes sure to drop by the lab and check on the students analyzing samples from the site and check out their results, reminding them how ‘cool’ and important their research is to the world. This ‘can do’ team-oriented attitude keeps morale high and everyone motivated and optimistic.”

As the September Employee of the Month, Dumitru received a plaque, gifts from the college, has his photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, will be featured in an article in Insights and will be eligible to be considered for the 2016-17 Employee of the Year award.

Past winners include:
·        August 2016- April Mays, Administrative Assistant from Page County Virginia Cooperative Extension
·        July 2016- Chris Ellke, Agricultural Specialist, Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center

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August employee of the month – April Mays

Congratulations to the August Employee of the Month – April Mays – administrative assistant from Page County Virginia Cooperative Extension!

April’s nominator  praised her work ethic and attitude saying, “April goes above and beyond her duties on a daily basis. She has been with Extension over 20 years and has a work ethic like no other. She is always willing to help others and answer calls from other units without hesitation. Recently she has been traveling to another unit to help out and get things back in order due to the death of colleague. She is always a step ahead with planning and preparing for upcoming programs and events. She is a true inspiration to work with a model employee of Extension.”

Another nominator added:
“A neighboring county lost their unit administrative assistant very unexpectedly in the fall of 2015, April Mays was asked to help with the finances until a replacement could be hired. Taking on this task was in addition to her normal responsibilities in the office. She has worked diligently over the past few months to reconcile reports and get the finances in order for the new hire. April is even assisting with training the new support staff member and is serving as her mentor. April is known in our district as a “go-to” person. Wimage004hen other unit administrative assistants have questions they often seek April’s guidance.
April is a great team player that is very committed to Virginia Cooperative Extension. She is a hardworking, caring, one-of-a-kind employee and very worthy of this recognition! ”

As the August Employee of the Month, April received a plaque, gifts from the college, has her photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, will be featured in an article in Insights and will be eligible to be considered for the 2016-17 Employee of the Year award.

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Karen Barnhart – April Employee of the Month

Congratulations to the April Employee of the Month – Karen Barnhart! She is the human resources and benefits administrative assistant in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Human Resources office.   

Pictured left to right: Patsy Neice, Karen Barnhart and Dean Alan Grant

Pictured left to right: Patsy Neice, Karen Barnhart and Dean Alan Grant

Barnhart’s nominators praised her work ethic and attitude saying she “is always cheery and helpful. If she does not have an answer for you, she will find out and get back with you. She stays current on personnel updates in the university and is always willing to explain if necessary to the departmental HR staff.”

Barnhart has even sent email notices to the departments to let them know about research extended appointments and PeopleAdmin training sessions (to name a couple) being available and where to register for the classes.

As the April Employee of the Month, she received a plaque and gifts from the college, has her photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible to be considered for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.

Other 2015-2016 Employee of the Month Award Recipients include:

  • March – David Dunaway, agricultural technician, Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  • February – Cynthia Beatty, scholarship coordinator, CALS Office of Academic Programs
  • January – Stephanie Slocum, Dean’s office support specialist, CALS Administration
  • December– Jeff Burr, greenhouse manager, Department of Horticulture
  • November – Robin Williams, federal project coordinator, CALS Research
  • October – John Mason, research specialist senior, Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  • September- Denise Dodd, database specialist, Department of Entomology
  • August- Ryan Mays, research specialist, Department of Entomology
  • July- Sammi Kent, unit administrative assistant, Greensville/Emporia Virginia Cooperative Extension office
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David Dunaway – March Employee of the Month

Congratulations to the March Employee of the Month – David Dunaway! He is an agricultural technician at the Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center.  

David Dunaway (left) receiving his Employee of the Month plaque from Robert Pitman, director of the Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center

David Dunaway (left) receiving his Employee of the Month plaque from Robert Pitman, director of the Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Dunaway’s nominators praised his work ethic noting that he  has worked at the Eastern Virginia AREC for almost 17 years. During that time he has learned, grown, and taken on more duties at a higher level than he was originally hired for. He has assumed additional duties and responsibilities of a more complex and/or varied nature that include advising faculty and staff with regard to equipment needs, modifications, and safety; construction or modifications of research equipment; serving as a crew chief for harvesting operations; and assisting with training of summer wage employees.

His equipment and machinery knowledge and expertise are sought and utilized by campus faculty who conduct research projects at Warsaw. In the spring of 2016, he learned to operate a new auto-steer system that was installed on one of the tractors in minimal time.

During extremely busy times, we frequently find ourselves planting one crop and harvesting another simultaneously. Dunaway can be trusted to take charge of whatever task and/or team he is given for the day and keep things on track and rolling. 

As the March Employee of the Month, Dunaway will receive a plaque, gifts from the college, will have his photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.

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Cynthia Beatty – February Employee of the Month

Congratulations to the February Employee of the Month Cynthia Beatty! She is the scholarship coordinator in the Office of Academic Programs.

February Employee of the Month Cynthia Beatty receiving her award. From left: Lisa Racek, Susan Sumner, Cynthia Beatty, and Dean Alan Grant

February Employee of the Month Cynthia Beatty receiving her award. From left: Lisa Racek, Susan Sumner, Cynthia Beatty, and Dean Alan Grant.

Beatty’s nominators praised her work ethic noting that she handles many complex financial systems for the college and administers scholarships for CALS students. She is great with details and performs this role with excellence. Her enthusiasm for students has also led her to increased roles in advising and administration. She is pleasant to work with, welcoming and enthusiastic, and shows genuine care for others in the unit.”

At the summer Board of Visitors meeting, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was highlighted for their increased scholarship spending and the decrease in the number of scholarships identified as hard to award. This recognition was the result of her dedication to the college scholarship program. Beatty skillfully manages the college’s electronic scholarship application process. This year, she spearheaded a new scholarship initiative for the college: the funding of students for the Agriculture Future of America leadership program. She is eager to enhance her skill sets through professional development and implement new programs in the department. Her nominator praised her dedication, saying that it is “an honor and joy to work with Cindy. Everyday, she brings her best attitude and smile to the office, which rubs off on everyone.

As the February Employee of the Month, Beatty will receive a plaque, gifts from the college, will have her photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible to be considered for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.

Congratulations!

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Jeff Burr – December Employee of the Month

Congratulations to the December Employee of the Month Jeff Burr! He serves as the research specialist senior and greenhouse manager in the Department of Horticulture.

Jeff Burr (second from left) receiving his award with Roger Harris, Zeke Barlow, and Dean Alan Grant

Jeff Burr (second from left) receiving his award with Roger Harris, Zeke Barlow, and Dean Alan Grant

His nominator noted that the “recent blooming of the corpse plant, Phil, was a huge success in terms of visitors, social media, and exposure for the college and a large part of the reason for this was Jeff Burr. Though his job title is greenhouse manager, during Phil’s blooming cycle, he served as social media manager, botany interpreter, crowd-controller, and all around great ambassador for the college.

Burr opened a Twitter account to promote the greenhouse and Phil. The #stinkyphil campaign earned more than 1.7 million impressions and he was a big part of this success.
When he learned that Phil was going to bloom outside of his typical work schedule, Burr kept the greenhouse open late on Friday, then opened the doors on Saturday and Sunday when more than 1,000 people visited Phil.

H answered hundreds of questions about Phil and always did so with a deep well of knowledge, but just as importantly, with a great attitude and a sense of humor. Though people waited more than an hour in line to see Phil, Burr made the entire environment light and lively. His nominator also noted that he was a tremendous ambassador for the college and Virginia Tech and was an integral part of a very successful campaign that helped spread the words ‘College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ around the globe.

As the December employee of the month, he will receive a plaque, gifts from the college, have his photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible to be considered for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.

Congratulations, Jeff!

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Stephanie Slocum – January Employee of the Month

Congratulations to Stephanie Slocum, the January Employee of the Month! Stephanie serves as the dean’s office coordinator in the college.

Stephanie Slocum receiving her award with CALS Director of Finance Steven Kleiber (left) and Dean Alan Grant

Stephanie Slocum receiving her award with CALS Director of Finance Steven Kleiber (left) and Dean Alan Grant

Since May 1, Slocum has shown a tremendous amount of professionalism and positive energy while being asked to assume a number of critical roles in the Dean’s Office. She helped by “taking on the Dean’s complicated and complex calendar, travel arrangements, and additional administrative support roles. She assisted with the Dean’s Advisory Council and created detailed and thorough minutes for that important meeting. Stephanie managed these additional duties with positivity, thoughtfulness, and a collaborative team-oriented spirit.”

During the same time, Slocum was tasked with handling the logistics for the AREC tours and was also brought in to the CALS Finance team’s reorganization. In this three month period, she “showed a desire to learn, grow, and take on new duties. College administration asked a lot of Stephanie over this time frame and she always approached these requests with a positive attitude, a team spirit, a high level of professionalism, and an ability to follow through and get things done.”

As the January employee of the month, she will receive a plaque, gifts from the college, have her photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible to be considered for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.

Congratulations, Stephanie!

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Robin Williams – November Employee of the Month

Congratulations to the November employee of the month, Robin Williams! She is the federal projects coordinator and administrative assistant in the college research office.

Robin Williams receiving her Employee of the Month award from Dean Alan Grant (left) and Saied Mostaghimi

Robin Williams receiving her Employee of the Month award from Dean Alan Grant (left) and Saied Mostaghimi

Williams’ nominator praised her pleasant personality, work ethic, organizational skills, and diplomacy. She is “dedicated to her job and shows a remarkable understanding of some of the complex (and often frustrating) federal reporting systems that she has to deal with. Her attention to detail, understanding of compliance obligations, and calm professional demeanor have helped transform our reporting processes.”

Williams is deeply committed to her job and to ensuring that things are done completely and correctly. She is noted as being kind, considerate, and trustworthy. Her nominator notes that they are “impressed by her dedication and willingness to learn. Robin demonstrates a work ethic and professionalism which is a positive example to all of us.”

As the November employee of the month, she will receive a plaque, gifts from the college, have her photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible to be considered for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.

Congratulations, Robin!

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Nominate a deserving staff member today

Anyone can nominate a deserving staff member to be considered for the Employee of the Month award. All staff in the college, on- and off-campus, are eligible. Please submit nominations electronically through our award webpage. Paper or email nominations may be sent to Dean Alan Grant at 104 Hutcheson Hall, mail code 0402, or emailed to algrant@vt.edu.

Nominations are valid for six months. If your nominee has not been selected within six months of submitting the nomination, please resubmit.

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