Southeast Missouri State University staff members were honored for their “will to do” and outstanding work ethic over the past year as the University’s Employee Recognition Awards were presented Nov. 23 at the annual Holiday Luncheon in the University Center.
Katie Foshee, assistant director of admissions for new student programs, was honored with the Employee of the Year Award. The Award for University Teamwork was presented to the University Communications and Marketing team. Bargaining Unit Employee Recognition Awards were presented to Thomas Stidham, a member of the custodial staff, and Dennis Koeberl, fleet lead and a member of the Grounds/Fleet/Support Services staff, both in the Department of Facilities Management. The Clerical/Technical/Service Employee Recognition Award went to Sue Kaverman, senior administrative assistant in Campus Life and Event Services. Winning the Administrative/Professional Staff Employee Recognition Award was Larry Hale, budget analyst for Facilities Management.
Employee of the Year Award
The luncheon’s top award went to Foshee, who was honored for ensuring that every student who enrolls at Southeast is successful, helping every student form a bond between their academic and student experiences.
The Employee of the Year Award recognizes an individual that has done the extraordinary for the benefit of the University community and the academic family.
“It is her personal and professional commitment to the success of our students that sets her apart from others,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “She is known across campus as a problem-solving professional. She works to set up our students for success both inside and outside the classroom.”
Foshee coordinates First Step, new student registration, SE101, the Welcome Back Picnic, welcome tents, Move-in Day and many other programs organized by the Office of Admissions.
Dr. Bruce Skinner, assistant vice president for Student Success, nominated Foshee for the award.
In reading his nomination, Vargas lauded Foshee for her social media presence, calling her “arguably the leader in the University’s response to multiple Facebook groups and across Twitter. … For many, many students, ‘Katie at Southeast’ has become the primary way they engage with Southeast.”
In his nomination, Skinner also wrote, “Going far beyond the call of duty, doing more than others expect – this is what excellence is all about. And it comes from striving, maintaining the highest standards, looking after the smallest detail, and going the extra mile. Excellence means caring – it means making a special effort to do more.”
Vargas said Foshee has “embraced all of these attributes.”
The award for University teamwork was presented to the University Communications and Marketing team, including Jeff Harmon, Jodi Williams-Cunningham, Juan Crites, Ann Hayes, Tonya Wells, Evan Starr, Nancy Kelley, Joanna Kubik, Marcus Painton, Krista Mayfield, Anita Palmisano, Cindy Price, Michelle Queiser, Joshua Russell, Andrew Schmid and April Schoen.
Nominated by Lenell Hahn, director of Admissions, the University Communications and Marketing staff is “dedicated to keeping Southeast in the limelight,” Vargas said, highlighting outstanding photos and videos, billboards along I-55 and in the St. Louis area, online and print advertisements, publications, social media interaction, media relations work and brand training produced by the group. He praised the team for their “flawless launch of the University’s new ‘Will To Do’ brand which has instilled pride in students, faculty, staff and the communities we serve.”
“The University Communications and Marketing team is a group of collaborative, well-respected and highly creative set of individuals,” Hahn wrote in her nomination, attributing this fall’s sizeable growth in the beginning freshman class to new messaging and advertising campaigns they created.
“After providing their team with the communication plan, they built video, print, photography, social media and Web content to support our recruitment efforts and goals,” Hahn wrote.
“The Office of Admissions thanks University Communications and Marketing for their continued support of recruitment, retention and graduation efforts at Southeast,” Vargas said.
Bargaining Unit Employee Recognition Awards
Bargaining Unit Employee Recognition Awards were presented to Thomas Stidham, a member of the custodial staff, and Dennis Koeberl, a member of the Grounds/Fleet/Support Services staff, both in the Department of Facilities Management.
Facilities Management Supervisor Lonnie Williford nominated Stidham for his “dedication to the job and for his ‘can do’ attitude’” at the University’s Autism Center, where he is assigned.
Carla Burnett, administrative assistant at the Center, says Stidham never complains, is courteous to the children and their families served there, stays on top of things “no matter how crazy it gets” and “goes above and beyond to help keep things running smoothly and safely for visitors, clients and staff.”
In complimenting Stidham, Vargas read from Speech Pathologist Jennifer Patridge’s nomination, saying, “Without Tom, the Autism Center truly could not function. He is the calm in our storm.”
The second Bargaining Unit Employee Recognition Award was presented to Dennis Koeberl, a fleet lead and a member of the Grounds/Fleet/Support Services staff, both in the Department of Facilities Management.
“As a Southeast staff member for more than 25 years, Dennis has proven time and again that he has the Will To Do,” Vargas said. “Dennis is a positive and dedicated staff member who cares deeply about the Southeast community.”
Koeberl is best known around campus for providing pest control services.
“He communicates effectively with students and staff, and his knowledge and expertise in the field provides a healthy environment for all of us, which protects the integrity of our buildings and the environment,” Vargas said.
Koeberl’s supervisor, Andy Tinney, said, “Dennis can best be described in three words – hardworking, dedicated and enthusiastic.”
Tinney also called him a “careful thinker” and “a true asset to the University.” As a grounds team member, Dennis helps out wherever needed, Tinney said. “There is nothing that Dennis would ask of his co-workers that he’s not willing to do himself,” except trap snakes,” Tinney said.
Clerical/Technical/Service Employee Recognition Award
The Clerical/Technical/Service Employee Recognition Award was presented to Sue Kaverman, senior administrative assistant in Campus Life and Event Services.
Kaverman’s supervisor, Michele Irby, director of Campus Life, nominated Sue for her outstanding contributions in planning Family Weekend 2016 as a member of the Family Weekend Planning Committee. In reading from her nomination, Vargas said Sue has taken on a majority of the work for the committee over the past year, including logistical planning, marketing, website maintenance, the coordination of volunteers and planning events.
“Sue single-handedly coordinated a new event for this year called ‘A Taste of Downtown Cape Tailgate Event,’” he said. “Because of Sue’s expertise, her organizational skills, and her dedication, the event was an unmitigated success,” all while ensuring her daily responsibilities also were covered.
Sue “has become integral to the success of Family Weekend and is viewed by most as the voice and face of Family Weekend,” Vargas said.
Administrative/Professional Staff Award
Winning the Administrative/Professional Staff Award was Larry Hale, budget analyst for Facilities Management.
Larry, who has served the University since 1996, was nominated by Project Budget Assistant Lisa Smith.
“Larry is described as one of those unsung heroes on our campus,” Smith wrote in her nomination. “It takes a great deal of dedication, expertise and patience to deal with the complexities involved in tracking budgets, especially those involved with multi-million dollar construction projects.”
Larry is responsible for ensuring contracts are bid and awarded in compliance with state laws and regulations, working with state and federal agencies to ensure grant dollars are properly expended.
“He is often the face of the University as bidders and vendors contact him with questions and issues,” Vargas said.
In Smith’s nomination, she said, “His work is essential to the overall process of project management, and no one is more knowledgeable or committed to doing that work than Larry Hale. He is known as a man of integrity who will not bend under pressure and is able to maintain a sense of humor through it all.”