2017 Recogitions

Elise Kepus, 12/20/17 -- Nominated by Fonda Neal

Elise is always, always extremely responsive to requests for information whether by email or by phone. This is extremely appreciated especially since a lot of requests that I send to her are time sensitive. On October 26, 2017, I submitted a request to her for GPA information on Ph.D students that was needed by our Associate Dean very quickly. Elise indicated that the university does not record separate GPAs for Ph.D and MS level students; however, she took the initiative to find out if there was a different way the information could be obtained, and there was. Thank you Elise for your continued efforts to ensure we accomplish our mission here at VCU!

Kristin Smith, 12/20/17 -- Nominated by Fonda Neal

Kristin is always very responsive to requests for information. On October 26, 2017, I submitted an urgent request to Records and Registration for GPA information because I was unable to obtain the GPA data myself as the university does not record separate GPA for MS from Ph.D programs. Kristin was able to obtain the information from Degreeworks for me. I really appreciate her efforts to provide this information which was of a time sensitive nature. Thanks Kristin for always being extremely responsive!

Amy Nugent, 12/7/17 -- Nominated by Harris Middleton

Since I began working here in Family Medicine, Amy has continued to be professional, courteous, responsive, and extremely helpful with even the most difficult and complicated travel and reimbursement requests. One reimbursement in particular this week has required a great deal of research and communication with the entire procurement team, and Amy took ownership and was able to produce a solution quickly and efficiently while staying in constant communication with me along each step of the way. Amy is a pleasure to work with, and goes above and beyond to make sure we are reimbursing our guests at VCU quickly and efficiently, while adhering to all travel guidelines, policies, and procedures. We all really appreciate her hard work!

Latoya Blizzard, 11/8/17 -- Nominated by Debra Barksdale

LaToya is always pleasant, professionals, helpful and so nice to work with.

Latina Pitts, 11/8/17 -- Nominated by Debra Barksdale

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion and Building Inclusive Communities training and facilitation.

Christina Kyrus, 11/8/17 -- Nominated by Debra Barksdale

It is a pleasure to work with Christina on the Educational Grant Process. She is highly motivated, competent and energetic.

Jose Alcaine, 10/27/17 -- Nominated by Joan Rhodes

Jose Alcaine continually invites members of the School of Education community to interact with one another and share expertise. He is always willing to assist faculty immediately with support in locating and writing grants. I appreciate his quick responses to requests and his wonderful personality!

Julie Gorlewski, 10/26/17 -- Nominated by Joan A. Roads

Dr. Gorlewski consistently informs our department members (as a group) and faculty members (individually) of upcoming changes to our instructional schedule. She presents clear alternatives for meeting budget demands and supports faculty efforts as we "think outside the box" to generate revenue. Her initiatives are creative and insightful. She treats all members of our department with respect and kindness. Dr. Gorlewski has been a very positive addition to our department and VCU.

Scott Blackwell, 10/23/17 -- Nominated by Mariusz Ostasz

I've worked with Scott this summer/fall on the project to move our servers to Virtual Machines. Even though he just stepped into this position recently, he was very responsive, easy to work with, and patiently answered all questions I had. He is professional, and knowledgeable. He's help was extremely invaluable.

Benjamin Wyatt, 10/19/17 -- Nominated by Florence Johnson

I owe a HUGE 'thank you' to Ben Wyatt, one of VCU's Technology Services technicians. Ben stepped me through what felt like a technical maze! He was patient, clear, knowledgeable, patient, thorough, patient, proactive, responsive, and did I say mention patient? Sometimes IT professionals can appear to speak an unknown language, resolving an issue so quickly that the customer is left grateful but totally baffled - causing them to repeat requests for help that may not actually be necessary. Ben's level of service and his explanation, even as he resolved my issue, was absolutely amazing. His customer service skills and technical expertise make for one awesome professional, and I truly want him to know that his service is greatly appreciated.

Janet Ball, 10/19/17 -- Nominated by Florence Johnson

I called IT Services for help this morning, and Janet Ball was amazing! Polite, knowledgeable and patient, she assisted me with customer service that deserves an A+ and, recognition of a job exceptionally well done. She's a living example of what makes VCU a "Great Place." Thank you Janet.

Chriss Watts, 10/11/17 -- Nominated by Sue McGinnis

Chris stayed after hours at the School of Nursing to check to make sure that the automatic doors would open when the button was pressed. He knew that there was a young lady that would be coming to the school for a class who had a service dog. He wanted to make sure that she would have no trouble entering the building even though it was after his shift. I really appreciate this going above and beyond for customer service.

Melissa Burton, 10/5/17 -- Nominated by Jamie Smalley

Melissa was asked to help me with a symposium that had 150 attendees as I am about to go out on maternity leave and could use an extra pair of hands. To say she helped me is a huge understatement. She went above and beyond to make sure the symposium was successful and had a huge smile on her face the entire time! Not only did she help during the symposium but she stopped by the next day to see if I needed anything to wrap up the event and I actually did. She returned something for me that required a lot of walking which being 9 months pregnant is a bigger task then usual. I am beyond grateful to have a co-worker like Melissa. She is truly an asset to VCU! 

Ervin Taylor, 10/5/17 -- Nominated by Courtney Waker

This morning, I received a phone call from Captain Taylor who was responding to the chemical issue at Cary St. gym. He noticed a young lady who was evacuated from the gym standing in the street in a towel, visibly upset. He took the initiative to ask this young lady if he could help. This young lady had a meeting scheduled with a faculty member in the School of Education at 11 am and was upset because she had no clothes or her phone to contact the faculty member. Captain Taylor took time to speak with her and gather information from her such as, she just moved to Richmond and is moving into a new apartment today, along with the meeting she had scheduled. He showed an incredible amount of empathy and it was so rewarding to receive a call from Captain Taylor who was trying to do his best to help someone else. I believe this goes beyond his call of duty and I want him to know how this small act of kindness speaks volumes to his character and compassion for others. We are fortunate to have Captain Taylor employed with VCU Police!

Jonathan Blake, 09/07/17 -- Nominated by Brian Bush

Summertime upgrades to the centrally supported classrooms in our building added new video and audio hardware that required some tweaking to streamline use by our instructors. Jonathan made the necessary adjustments and performed troubleshooting, all while patiently answering my questions. He identified an issue with my lavalier wireless microphone and swapped the defective part to save me a trip to the helpdesk. While on site, he also identified that the rear of the classroom was inadequately covered by speakers, took the initiative to work with his manager to obtain additional ones, and installed them within a week and a half. There were numerous times Jonathan could easily have taken a shortcut and provided "good enough" service, but he chose to go above and beyond. His work and that of his manager and colleagues has placed us on excellent footing for the beginning of our fall seminar series.

Kevin Finity, 08/24/17 -- Nominated by Deborah Baines

While working on a project update for the Student Success Collaborative (SSC) Campus application, Kevin went above and beyond to reorganize for reuse a major, repetitive portion of code. This change will make project maintenance much more efficient for developers, increase code consistency and decrease the run time of the combined processes. Kevin thoroughly tested all changes to the program and the automated process and displayed excellent teamwork while quickly resolving post-production issues. Way to go, Kevin!

Corey Boone, 08/23/17 -- Nominated by Florence M Johnson

Corey Boone, Assistant Director for the Office of Events and Special Programs in the Division of University Relations, is also a fellow for the Division for Inclusive Excellence. I’m recognizing him not only for his integrity, but also for the respect, initiative and the responsiveness he demonstrates in every interaction I’ve encountered with him. Corey’s work is consistently infused with friendliness and the willingness to assist others, regardless of how busy he may be. He offers a helping hand as quickly to develop name tags as he does to serve on a task force or spearhead a new initiative. Corey exhibits a work ethic we can all do well to emulate and in doing so, truly enhances our university’s mission. For his professionalism, his smile, and his genuine dedication to making VCU a great place, I thank him. Corey, you are awesome!

Amy Nugent, 08/17/17 -- Nominated by Ginny Schmitz

What DOESN'T Amy know? Regardless of the complexity of the travel question, Amy has the answer. Unless she's answering someone else's question, Amy answers her phone, so I get an immediate response, even though I know Amy stays very, very busy. This is so helpful, as often I'm in the middle of filing a travel reimbursement and need an answer right away. Her sense of urgency and her availability, make me look efficient! I wish to acknowledge Amy for Integrity--she is scrupulous in her handling of the university's money--and Respect--she has never been rude to me and responds to my inquiries with patience and courtesy. The university is lucky to have her.

Stacy West, 08/15/17 -- Nominated by Dr. Maike Philipsen

Stacy West has been incredibly responsive to my needs as a researcher and change agent. She went out of her way to help me navigate a complicated IRB process; she even came to my office on the other campus to discuss and help me fill out the correct forms in the correct way. My team is able to move in a timely fashion on a grant proposal because of Ms. West.

Marcus Mickle, 08/15/17 -- Nominated by Deborah Baines

I want to recognize Marcus for an awesome job providing daily leadership for our team and temporary leadership for TS Administrative Systems. It seemed there was a new emergency involving a different system every day, and he not only resolved the issues as they arose, but he also took the time to answer my questions and provide the help I needed to complete assignments. Since joining Administrative Systems, Marcus has been pivotal in helping me to learn and grow and always includes me when a situation presents a learning opportunity. What a great way to lead! Thank you, Marcus.

Tasha Jackson, 08/08/17 -- Nominated by Cynthia H. Radvany

I would like to recognize Tasha for excellent observation skill in her current position as husbandry staff. She approached me concerned with water consumption of one set of animals compared to the rest of the animals in the room. The strain of animal was different and upon investigation she was correct in the differences in water consumption between the strains. Her main concern was for the animals and that they were getting enough water. I feel recognition is due for her above average husbandry skill in this incidence.

Candace Stafford, 07/25/17 -- Nominated by Mary Moore

Received the following email from a client: I wanted to tell you that Candace always goes above and beyond in her role as data manager for Healthy Start...but this year, she really wins the prize for Most Valuable Player. Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate her!

Gregory Kimbrell, 07/20/17 -- Nominated by Florence M Johnson

Gregory Kimbrell is truly one of the most wonderful members of the VCU community that I have the pleasure to work with. I periodically contact him regarding use of Cabell Library facilities. Regardless of how much or little notice is offered when I approach him, he is consistently professional, informative, friendly, courteous, patient and, kind. Gregory’s attention to detail and ability to dissect the various nuances of an event shows through every time, and he is wonderfully proactive in offering suggestions and solutions that enhance our events and add to an overall smoother planning process. Gregory is one of the folks who make VCU a Great Place, and I’m honored to be able to recognize him.

Sania Marcoccia, 07/07/17 -- Nominated by Florence M Johnson

Though I listed today's date, I've appreciated Sania Marcoccia for years, including for her tenure as president of the VCU Staff Senate. Her integrity as a leader, initiative in tackling everything from overall staff concerns to organized help for community members in need, responsiveness to those who approach her on a daily basis, and the respect she consistently offers to others, are just some of the reasons I admire Sania.

For me, Sania provides a living example of getting involved; of actively supporting our university community beyond the daily requirements of stated positions, and asking the hard questions without losing one’s professionalism. She’s pleasant, hard-working, gracious and, the last one to toot her own horn - so I’m tooting it for her. Sania, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, and on behalf of your many fans, we appreciate you!

Janet Sweeney, 07/06/17 -- Nominated by Stephen Davenport

I needed assistance with an HR function and Janet took the time to walk me step by step through the process. It was very much appreciated.

Debra D. Robinson, 07/05/17 -- Nominated by Susan W. Hall

I had a situation where I was having to go back and research an invoice that I thought had been paid a year ago. But when I went into Banner, it was indicating that the payment had not been processed which was odd. I called the Accounts Payable Department and selected the Vendor Payment Analyst indicated. But, to my surprise, it sent me to the wrong person. Rather than getting to the person I should have gone to, I was sent to Debra's phone. She no longer covers this particular vendor. But, rather than telling me to call the other analyst, she took it upon herself to help me with my problem. With her help, we figured out what was wrong and I was able to contact the vendor and complete my transaction. Debra truly went out of her way to help me. And, I greatly appreciate it.

Tammy Currie, 06/30/17 -- Nominated by Stephen Davenport

I needed Tammy's assistance with renewing a contract, she took the time to do background research and assist me with the process. 

Fenol Bellange, 06/23/17 -- Nominated by Isac Crouch

Fenol always goes the extra mile, but today he went above and beyond that by spending the entire afternoon assisting me with tracing out network connections. He has his own projects, but always offers to help with a smile. I am extremely lucky to have a co-worker like Fenol.

Shannon Cain, 06/21/17--Nominated by Jennifer Grey

We arrange photographs for incoming residents annually and Shannon is consistently quick to respond, extremely organized, and very pleasant to work with. I really appreciate the high level of service offered, as well as the friendly voice on the other end of our email interactions. Thanks, Shannon!

Tiesha Brown, 06/20/17 -- Nominated by George Kelly

Tiesha went the extra mile, contacted us, and notified us of a much more efficient way of processing I-9 re-verifications. This came at just the right time when we were about to process approximately 200 student worker transfers and new hires. She is always extremely helpful when interacting with me and my staff. Great customer service!

Raina Fields, 06/12/17 -- Nominated by Florence M. Johnson

Raina is our division's communications director. She has only been with us for two months but has already made a huge impact in raising our visibility via social media and news articles, and with various other communications. I truly appreciate her diligence and connection to our team in such a short time, and I know that my colleagues in Inclusive Excellence join me in giving her a HUGE HIGH 5! Thank you Raina.

Channing Holloway, 05/24/17 -- Nominated by Sheila Baker

I want to thank Channing for promptly responding to getting my son (Keon Nesmith) back into the HR system so that he can continue working as a part-time worker with Physical Plant.

Sharon A. Banks, 05/23/17 -- Nominated by Carol N. Brooks

Sharon was responsible for designing and initiating the new lunch room that our department sorely needed. She planned the design and worked with the craftsmen that painted, hung the cabinets and delivered the appliances. She did an excellent job and helped create a room that is well organized and easy to enjoy. We greatly appreciate her hard work and the wonderful outcome. Thank you, Sharon!

Mariusz Otsasz, 05/03/17 -- Nominated by John Bogan

Mariusz did a fantastic job spearheading the project to integrate Google Calendar functionality into the Crestron RoomView system and get our RoomView panels operational at 111 N. 4th. He went out of his way to stop by and walk us through use, administration, and troubleshooting of the panels and was very friendly, knowledgeable, and courteous throughout the experience. He represents his team very well!

De'Audrea Rich, 04/27/17 - Nominated by Florence M. Johnson

De'Audrea, or "Sha," is a model of initiative. Actually, she embodies all four recognition aspects: initiative, integrity, respect and responsiveness. This is even more impressive as she works part-time and could easily handle her job without the very real dedication she offers every single day. Sha is also a student here at VCU, and I greatly admire that she handles her classes and the responsibilities she undertakes in the workplace, seamlessly. I've never heard her complain or back away from an assignment, no matter how busy she may already be. Her manner is consistently pleasant, her customer service skills exemplary, and her work is always top-notch. She really does reflect the name of our division perfectly: Inclusive Excellence. Sha, you are greatly appreciated.

LeAndra Graves, 04/25/17 - Nominated by Florence M. Johnson

Responsiveness is just one of many reasons I'm offering this recognition 'shout-out' to Le'Andra Graves. Whether I come to her for specific or vague scheduling requests, she is quick to offer guidance and viable solutions for dates, locations, event needs, layout suggestions - you name it! Even when requests are impossible to fulfill, she offers detailed explanations as to why, and doable alternatives. Her professionalism is so on-target, one might be tempted to overlook the very real customer service that infuses her interactions. Her ability, expertise and willingness to go the extra mile are very much appreciated, and I greatly admire her ability to handle it all with grace, especially in such a high volume arena. Le'Andra: Congrats to you for being so very awesome!

Lauren Leavy, 04/12/17 - Nominated by Diane Stout-Brown

Lauren Leavy is an outstanding employee. She has provided the highest level of competence when carrying out any duties assigned to her. I am extremely grateful to her for all of her support with Reunion Weekend activities.

Lieutenant Leonard Dilligard, 04/12/17 - Nominated by Diane Stout-Brown

April 7-9 was Alumni Reunion Weekend. Lieutenant Leonard Dilligard went above and beyond the call of duty by helping out our disabled guests who were attending an alumni reception in the Office of the Provost. We are very appreciative of his support and willingness to ensure a first-class experience for alumni returning to campus. Thank you.

Demmie Pennix, 04/10/17 - Nominated by Teri Smith

I want to thank Demmie Pennix for all of the great work that she does. She is proactive, efficient, thorough and an utter pleasure to work with. If she says she is going to do it, she does it, no need to follow up or confirm....she gets the job done. She has helped to make the adjunct faculty assignment process so much easier for me as the course scheduler. My time spent working with Demmie is always always full of smiles, her positive attitude and smile are infectious. What a great asset you are to the School of Nursing; I am proud to be your coworker!

Lorraine Anderson, 04/10/17 - Nominated by Teri Smith

I want to thank Lorraine Anderson for always communicating so well with me in regards to the clinical placements and complex scheduling issues that are related to her courses. She is thorough and proactive, not to mention she makes working with her enjoyable as she has such a great personality and sense of humor. Thank you for being so wonderful to work with!

Lee Watts, 04/03/17 – Nominated by Konjit Chitty

Lee is often the person "behind the scenes" on some of the most critical, confidential, and time sensitive university initiatives. Most recently his work contributed greatly to the success of a faculty bonus process. We had a very quick timeframe for the implementation of a faculty bonus process. Lee produced the list of eligible faculty (based on the criteria provided) in a very short period of time at the beginning of the process, generated exception reports to check on any discrepancies towards the end of the process to ensure data integrity, and ensured that the bonuses awarded were processed in Banner in time for a March 31, 2017 payout. Lee should especially be recognized for his technical expertise, his attention to detail, and ensuring the timely production of the bonuses. Please know your efforts are greatly appreciated by many people. Thank you Lee for all that you do for VCU!

Angie Wetzel, 03/29/17 – Nominated by Charol Shakeshaft

Angie has done a terrific job of helping us craft an exit survey for our Ed.D. students. She was responsive, helpful, and thorough. I was impressed with how quickly she works and how much she was able to help me think "bigger."

Pam Moorehead, 03/29/17 – Nominated by Charol Shakeshaft

I've had a number of problems with my computer and printer over the past several months. I have also had difficulty getting the speakers to work in the doctoral hearing room. Pam is always on it. Right away. She and her staff are responsive, helpful, respectful, and they get things fixed.

Samantha Tansey, 03/29/17 – Nominated by Charol Shakeshaft

I needed some help with my FACR budget. Samantha was responsive and helpful. This is not the first time. Samantha has been a great help with a number of things. She's always responsive, 

Bruna Bussacarini Martins, 02/01/17– Nominated by Eduardo P. G. Vidal

Bruna has been an example of professionalism since the moment she started working at the Division for Inclusive Excellence a few months ago. Her demeanor helps the Division for Inclusive Excellence to spread our mission of diversity, inclusiveness and excellence. On behalf of my colleagues in the Division for Inclusive Excellence, I would like to thank Bruna for her services by nominating her to this recognition award. Thank you very much, Bruna.

Greg Kimbrell, 01/27/17– Nominated by Deborah Speece, Jose Alcaine, Danise Harmon

Greg Kimbrell was invaluable in the success of the School of Education 2017 Annual Research Colloquium that was held in Cabell Library lecture hall and board room. He assisted in securing the space, designing the layout of the space, ensuring audio visual needs, suggesting catering needs, and facilitating set-up and take-down of both rooms. Beyond the details of these tasks, Greg was unfailingly professional, courteous, and a joy to work with. His presence was welcoming and reassuring. We look forward to working with Greg for future events.

Elizabeth Seward, 01/19/17– Nominated by Yavonda Johnon

I am a new hire in a position formerly held by Elizabeth. Although Elizabeth left the department for another employment opportunity with the university, she is still revered and left a lasting impression on faculty and staff alike. For this reason I requested her assistance with helping me to become more acclimated to my new position as well as internal processes used while in the department. Without hesitation she obliged and took time out of her busy schedule to do just that. Her sharing of knowledge and expertise has enabled me to quickly jump into the daily milieu of the department and perform with confidence. The fact that she shared her broad knowledge about the duties and responsibilities of a PA and those specifically applicable to my role, as well as shared her resources and tools (some of which she created herself) shows that not only is she an asset to her new department, but is a true example of magnanimity in the university.

Demmie Pennix, 01/24/2017– Nominated by Sue McGinnis

Demmie always goes above and beyond. She most recently assisted with the hiring of a new employee at the VCU School of Nursing. She is professional, thorough, detailed, and always follows through. I really appreciate having someone like Demmie on my team at the school!

Derek Poe, 01/23/17– Nominated by Ronna Reiff

Derek provides the most comprehensive customer service on a daily basis - not just periodically. He will often go above and beyond what is required of his position in order to assist a student, fellow workers, parents, etc. It is not uncommon for him to contact other departments on behalf of the student or to go the extra mile by further researching the root of a problem in order to prevent its recurrence. I applaud Derek for his warm and caring approach to every situation.

Allison Wetterhahn, 01/03/17– Nominated by George Kelly

Allison exhibits all 3 areas of the trust triangle - Care, Competence, and Consistency. Whenever I consult her I can always trust in and rely on the information she gives me. Thanks for always going the extra mile!