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10 employees receive 2020 University Staff Recognition Awards

April 16, 2020

Ten dedicated members of the University of Wisconsin–Madison community, working in areas including facilities, academic departments, human resources, technology — even a Master Cheesemaker — have been selected to receive 2020 University Staff Recognition Awards. While an official ceremony recognizing the winners has been postponed, we present them here to honor their contributions and thank them for their many years of helping keep the university running efficiently.

Andrew Broan
Printing Tech, Systems Engineering & Operations, Division of Information Technology

Broan’s nominator says his leadership and awareness of the department’s expected quality level keeps it successful in its mission. His knowledge of equipment maintenance saves the plant from having to bring external maintenance techs, avoiding downtime and reducing cost. The nominator also lauded Broan’s work ethic, problem-solving abilities, dependability and service to others. “Andrew’s dedication and work ethic make him one of the most dependable employees in our department, handling maintenance calls and issues during off-hours or when out of the office to ensure we keep our operations running smoothly. Andrew is intrinsically motivated to help the team succeed.”

Kurtis Casperson
Lab Prep Tech, Department of Chemistry, College of Letters & Science

Casperson started working in the general chemistry stockroom as an undergraduate during his senior year, one of several student hourly employees hired to help the stockroom fulfill its daily tasks. Upon graduation, Casperson moved into the Lab Prep Tech position, building an online database of inventory, standard operating procedures and training materials for student workers. He also undertook some of his own initiatives in an effort to provide better service and support to the teaching assistants in the laboratory. His nominator says, “I often find myself thinking if we had another dozen or so like him, we might find ourselves in a golden age.”

Jill Folkerts
Academic Program Specialist, Academic Programs, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Folkerts has worked nearly a decade at UW–Madison, and at the Nelson Institute since 2017. She has taken a lead as the primary business administrator for the Academic Programs Office and “demonstrates considerable initiative and independent judgment,” her nominator says. The office supports more than 20 Nelson-specific faculty from three interdisciplinary research centers, more than 150 affiliate faculty from across the campus, and nearly 1,000 students within graduate and undergraduate programs. “From assisting faculty members with grant proposals and graduate students with scholarships, to triaging the university financial systems for everything from printing, expense reimbursement and tuition remission, her pleasant problem-solving attitude is ever-present,” Folkerts’ nominator says.

Sara Frey
Custodian, Physical Plant Services, Facilities Planning & Management

Frey is on the campus crew of custodians, known to go about her job with a friendly demeanor and joyful attitude. “Sara keeps a sharp eye out on every nook and cranny of the buildings she works in, taking pride in the campus both as a workplace and as a showpiece,” her nominator says. A member of the University Staff Congress, Sara stays to clean up and on numerous occasions has recovered lost items and returned them to their grateful owners. “Sara is a friendly and trusted person who often acts as a liaison between her fellow 2nd and 3rd shift co-workers and Congressional Representatives, especially those who are English Language Learners, and has more than once made sure their needs are known and translators are provided to facilitate conversations.”

Gary Grossen
Cheesemaker, Center for Dairy Research, College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

Grossen is a Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker with more than 60 years of experience and numerous awards and recognitions. “Gary has raised the bar for the University of Wisconsin Babcock Hall Dairy Plant through his skill as a cheesemaker, his ability to train aspiring cheesemakers, and his generosity with his time outside of work promoting the University of Wisconsin,” his nominator says. Grossen had been a full-time cheesemaker at the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant for the past 15 years, crafting more than 20 cheese varieties. When the plant closed temporarily in September, Grossen joined the CDR as a Research Cheesemaker. “The new position with CDR requires him to take on the processes of all milk and dairy ingredient for CDR. These are very technical tasks with no room for error. However, as expected, Gary has taken on these new tasks and has quickly learned these new procedures, which are critical for the CDR to maintain operations while the dairy plant is closed due to the building project.”

Valery Jackson
Program Assistant, Budget & Management Services, Office of Human Resources

Jackson is known for her positive and welcoming attitude, her daily effort to go above and beyond, and her problem solving and innovation.Finding any resource you need — much faster than you ever could and with a smile, Val makes OHR efficient, welcoming and fun,” her nominator says. “I know that when I go to her with a question or challenge — and I have had to go to her often — she will never make me feel dismissed or unimportant. She always responds with a warmth, patience, and potential solutions.”

Shuwen Li
Training Officer Confidential, Cultural Linguistic Services, Office of Human Resources

Li has worked as a Chinese-to-English translator, interpreter and trainer since January 2013, performing translation, language support and interpretation services for Chinese-speaking employees, Chinese visiting scholars and campus departments. Li also facilitates campus informational sessions in Chinese on topics including Preventing Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence, Title and Total Compensation, Annual Benefits Enrollment, Hostile and Intimidating Behavior, and others. She also offers mini-lessons on Chinese language and culture to broaden multicultural understanding and cultural competence in the workplace and help enhance the welcoming environment on campus; coordinates language services within CLS to help ensure the unit provides language services effectively and efficiently; and participates in University Staff Congress. “Her professionalism, integrity and commitment are outstanding, and contribute positively to the workplace,” her nominator says.

Jerry Moran
Upholsterer, Residence Hall Facilities, University Housing

According to his nominator, Moran is not only skilled in his trade, but also teaches others to make the best product they can. ”His intelligence and personality make the work day a place you want to be.” Moran has also worked on many governance committees and has represented staff, particularly on transportation issues. “His contributions on best practices and solutions are well thought out and insightful. He is an exemplary employee working with others on staff as well as a compassionate person with a great contribution to the UW.”

Greg Pibal
Fleet Operations Specialist, Fleet Department, Facilities Planning & Management

Pibal is known to his colleagues for his smile and sparkling personality. According to his nominator, Pibal is “a great guy and a wonderful colleague … who always goes above and beyond what can be expected in assisting others — whether their questions, concerns or needs have to do directly with something that is in his realm of job responsibilities or not. Pibal is very knowledgeable in matters that pertain to his responsibilities and various other aspects of day-to-day operations at the university.”

Erynn Zweifel
University Services Program Associate, Department of Chemistry, College of Letters & Science

Zweifel acts as the face of the department’s Undergraduate Program, serving thousands of students, staff and faculty each semester, along with supporting all administrative functions in the Undergraduate Office. His nominator says Zweifel is the “master problem-solver” for undergraduate students. He does the work “with respect, kindness, empathy and humility. He also consistently has great ideas for how various processes in the department could be improved and is never afraid to bring forth a novel idea of something new that the undergraduate chemistry office should try.” His ideas “Inevitably, his ideas ALWAYS end up making the experience for our students, staff and faculty better.”

Tags: awards, employees