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Five UW staff receive Classified Employee Recognition Awards

April 3, 2013 By Greg Bump

Photo: Crawford

Chris Crawford, locksmith at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, rebuilds a door lock at a workbench inside the Physical Plant Locksmith Shop on March 29, 2013.

Photo: Bryce Richter

Five members of UW–Madison’s classified staff have been named recipients of the 2013 Classified Employee Recognition Awards.

Mark Walters, director of classified human resources, says sifting out five recipients from the many worthy nominees is always a challenge. “It really speaks to the wonderful employees we have on the campus,” he says.      

The honorees, who will be honored at a ceremony on May 1 at Olin House, are:

Christopher Crawford, locksmith, Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M)

Crawford says he gets the greatest satisfaction in his job by making sure his customers have both access and security.

Photo: Crawford

Christopher Crawford

Photo: Bryce Richter

“What they need is full security, and what they want is to flow through their facility freely,” Crawford says. “Trying to put equal focus on both security and convenience is sometimes a tricky task. When I am able to do this, the customers are happy, which makes me happy.”

Tim Croy, a fellow locksmith, writes in his nomination submission that Crawford is a good role model for his coworkers and that the positive attitude he demonstrates reflects well on the team.

“Chris encourages his colleagues through leading by example, and is willing to provide the assistance required in order for them to succeed,” Croy writes.

Crawford worked with the FP&M’s electrical shop to implement new lockout/tagout procedures, which disable equipment to protect workers during maintenance activities, and he designed a new process for checking out keys at the lock shop.

“On a daily basis, Chris emphasizes service and efficiency, and is constantly driving our team to improve our reputation,” Croy writes.

Crawford says he’s humbled to be named a recipient of the award: “The university is made up of a lot of really hard-working individuals, and it means a lot to have been selected from this group.”

Josh Cutler, building manager and pay and benefit specialist advanced, UW Law School

Cutler says he wasn’t expecting to be selected for recognition.

Photo: Cutler

Josh Cutler

Photo: Bryce Richter

“It was a real shock to me that I won the award,” he says. “I am sure that there are many people on campus who work hard every day to make their school and departments run the best they can. I am humbled to think that my coworkers thought this highly of me to nominate me, and I thank them with all my heart.”

Cutler’s nominators say that from the time he joined the Law School in 2005 as a financial specialist 3, Cutler has taken on and mastered new responsibilities with aplomb, and he handled the school’s business transactions, payroll duties and building management without complaint when staffing levels were low.

“I can honestly say he did the work of three people for an extended period of time,” writes Bethany Pluymers, associate dean for administration at the Law School. “I couldn’t ask for a better right hand, and I sure hope I never have to look for one.”

“In his time doing double and even triple duty, [Cutler] not only handled all the work accurately and efficiently, he also introduced innovations, such as training for faculty in the use of the increasing number of online tools available to them,” writes R. Alta Charo, law professor. “This has all been extraordinary, but what makes it unique is the good humor and generosity of spirit with which he had taken on these tasks.”

To Cutler, the best thing about his job is the variety of tasks he gets to tackle day to day.

“There is always a new challenge that keeps it fresh,” he says. “I really like and respect the people I work closely with on an everyday basis here in the Law School and across the campus community.”

Shoko Miyagi, training officer senior, Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M)

Miyagi says she feels fortunate to have a job where she can practice her passion — the communication skills that build relationships.

Photo: Miyagi

Shoko Miyago

Photo: Bryce Richter

“The biggest ‘aha’ comes to me when I get to connect with the real person behind the rough persona,” Miyagi says. “We discover that we share similar values, even in frustrating situations. I can change the world around me, one connection at a time.”

Miyagi organizes new employee orientation workshops for her division. Becky Guelig, Custodial Services program supervisor, notes that during her talks, Miyagi compares FP&M to the roots of a tree.

“She explains that while the rest of the campus is metaphorically the tree, the services that FP&M provides are that of the roots that ensure the tree stays upright and growing,” Guelig writes in the nomination document. “In many ways, Shoko embodies this metaphor with the work she does. She is always there to help provide support and encouragement to everyone she encounters to help them grow and be better.”

Miyagi has brought an innovative approach through her skill-building workshops on proactive communication, teaching participants how to use communication to address diversity issues and conflict transformation, and to create an inclusive work environment.

“We see clearly how the things she teaches us makes us better employees and competitive,” writes Guelig.

A native of Okinawa, Japan, Miyagi says the award has a special meaning for her. “I am far away from home. This acknowledgement reassures me that what I do matters — I matter here,” she says. “And that to me feels like home.”

Linda Row, university services program associate, College of Letters and Science

Sandra Arfa, English as a Second Language (ESL) director, says Lee — as Linda Row is known to her coworkers — is the “public face, and voice and email” of the program.

Photo: Row

Linda Row

Photo: Bryce Richter

Row juggles multiple tasks, from finding classroom space, to teaching staff how to use the copy machine, to helping students register for classes. She also instituted an efficient sign-up method for the SPEAK test, an oral test required of prospective international TAs, and improved the transmission of test scores to departments and students. She made the record-keeping system at the program user-friendly, and redesigned forms and memos to make them easier to follow.

Until a part-time position was filled recently, Row was the sole support worker for a program that includes nearly 1,000 international students, a variety of classes and a staff of 50 people, Arfa writes in the nomination submission.

“While the quantity of work that Lee accomplishes is quite stunning, it is the patience and kindness she exhibits that stand out,” Arfa explains. “She is always gracious to the many students who flock to the office with questions, always ready to help staff with problems and concerns, and is simply there for all of us, whatever we may need.”

To Row, the most satisfying part of her job is being “part of a program that makes such a genuine effort to help students succeed.”

“Receiving [the award] means that the people I work with in the UW–Madison’s outstanding ESL program appreciate the work I do and took the time and effort to propose me for the award,” Row says. “I’m humbled and grateful for the appreciation they have shown.”

William Zimmerman, IS supervisor 2, Repair and Departmental Support (RaDS), Division of Information Technology (DoIT)

“Bill’s work and leadership has been instrumental in creating a group that not only provides an outstanding technology service for the campus community, but also does so with a level of customer service and positive approach that is remarkable,” writes Brandon Bernier, director of user services at DoIT, in nominating Zimmerman.

Photo: Zimmerman

Photo: William Zimmerman

Photo: Bryce Richter

Bernier describes the RaDS group as being in “disarray” before Zimmerman took over. With Zimmerman’s direction, Bernier writes, “they have revamped the repair area to have a strong customer-service focus, which has led to faster resolutions, increased customer-service scores and less equipment being returned for issues.”

“[H]is area has become a cost model that allowed campus to leverage technology services for a smaller cost than what the department would’ve incurred by hiring their own staff, thus returning more money back to the academic and research areas of the university,” Bernier writes.

“The exemplary customer-service and troubleshooting skills that [the] RaDS staff provides under Bill’s tutelage is a model to emulate,” writes John Krogman, chief operating officer, in support of the nomination. “He instills high standards among his staff and yet provides a supportive and engaging work environment.”

Zimmerman says the award “reflects the dedication, passion and desire we have as a team to provide the best possible IT support service for our campus customers. Without our team, this award would not be possible.

“The most satisfying part of my job is working with and leading this outstanding team of experts who ensure a safe and reliable computing environment for our diverse campus customers.”