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Five receive Classified Employee Recognition Awards

May 12, 2015 By

Photo: Mike Drea

Mike Drea, a tech at the UW Arboretum, sharpens a chainsaw blade inside a garage. Drea has been an employee at the Arboretum for 33 years, keeping the equipment running and the trails clear.


The 5,000 classified staff members at UW–Madison play a critical role in keeping the university running – from keeping the books to making sure the lights stay on.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank honored five outstanding staff members with the 2015 Classified Employee Recognition Awards in a ceremony at Olin House Monday night.

The winners are:

Photo: Carmen Romero Gonzalez

M. Carmen Romero Gonzalez, a training supervisor in the Office of Human Resource Development.

In a multilingual campus community, it’s important to communicate in ways that easily reach everyone. Romero Gonzalez translates documents into Spanish and serves as an interpreter so that employees know what is expected of them and what is happening.

Her work, and that of others at Cultural Linguistic Services, was especially helpful during the recent state budget forums, which were held to inform university employees of proposed budget cutbacks and to answer their questions. CLS manages nearly 1,700 hours of events each year.

Don Schutt, who nominated Romero Gonzalez, said she carries out her work with a constant eye on improvement. She also reaches out and serves the community through several bilingual initiatives. 

Photo: Timothy Schultz

Timothy Schultz, a custodian at Memorial Union Building Services.

Schultz “has a great attitude,” said his nominator, Chris Acker. “He does not back away from or show reluctance to deal with things that are not pleasant; he simply sees a job that needs to be done and does it.”

Last winter, during a major snowstorm, Schultz spent hours clearing snow outside the union while still managing to complete what needed to be done inside. He exemplifies the dedicated service provided by the university’s custodial staff.

Photo: Christine Cleary-Hinz

Christine Cleary-Hinz, a financial specialist in the Bursar’s Office.

Cleary-Hinz works with more than 5,000 graduate students on tuition remission and collecting segregated fees. The collections are now done in a way that allows them to be spread over three paychecks, leaving more room for such things as food and rent.

Cleary-Hinz “uses her knowledge to help students, not to erect barriers,” said her nominator, Deb McFarlane. “Chris is the face of the Bursar’s Office. And it would be difficult to find anyone who would present a more positive image.”

Photo: Michael Drea

Michael Drea, an arboretum tech.

After 33 years on the job, coworkers say Drea knows the Arboretum better than anyone. And he’s dedicated himself to restoring the 1,700 acres of Arboretum land throughout the state.

He leads prescribed burns, harvests and plants native seeds, and works to bring back our native prairies, savannas and woodlands.

His nominator, Susan Carpenter, wrote that Drea “never stops finding solutions to tough problems because he never gives up when others might.”

Photo: Stephanie Olivas

Stephanie Olivas, an administrative assistant in the Department of Surgery.

Working in a high-pressure environment, Olivas is known for her ability to solve problems and provide exceptional service, day in and day out.

Her nominator, Herb Chen, said that Olivas noticed ways in which several different organizations connected to the Department of Surgery could be made more efficient. She helped create web sites and new billing systems to carry out her ideas.

Inspired by her mother, who succumbed to multiple sclerosis in 2011, Olivas has also led efforts to raise awareness of MS and other conditions. Recently she helped launch a new fundraiser for thyroid cancer on campus at Cyc Fitness, bringing more than 130 people together.

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