CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 30, 2015 – Southeast Missouri State University staff members were honored for their “will to do” and presented with the University’s Employee Recognition Awards Nov. 25 at the annual Holiday Luncheon in the University Center.
Employee of the Year Award
The Employee of the Year Award was presented to Charlie Hirsch, manager of University Receiving. Hirsch was honored for making the impossible, possible.
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.
“Perhaps you have a story about some office supply that you just had to have, and somehow Charlie not only found it for you, but he found it at a more economical price than what you’ve been paying,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University.
In reading from a nomination from fellow staff members Lisa Smith, Heather Lesch, Carol Kitchen and Janice Bittle, Vargas lauded Hirsch for going the extra mile “to deliver a package that you just had to have or stayed late to accept a package that just has to get out.”
Vargas commended Hirsch for his outstanding relationship with vendors, his quick wit and friendliness.
“Charlie has always been and continues to be one of the greatest cheerleaders for our institution,” he said. “He has hired, trained, and mentored hundreds of student workers, who, to this day, keep in touch with him. And I guarantee, his former students know the meaning of the word ‘timeliness.’”
One of Hirsch’s nominator’s wrote that from time to time, people have bad days, “except Charlie Hirsch – he is never too busy or grumpy or short when he answers the phone,” Vargas read from the nomination.
Another nominator said, “Charlie makes it look easy to meet the demands of mail and package delivery.”
The award for University teamwork was presented to the Facilities Management Grounds and Fleet Crews, including Grounds Crew members Gene Pyle, Daniel Koch, Scott Peel, Leigh Hamilton, David Lowes, Robert Tiehes, Tom Bowen, Shelby Koch, Michael Layton, Tim Clifton, Kristin Ham and Bruce King; and Fleet Crew members Dennis Koeberl, Mary Haupt, Larry Lacey, George Smith and Andy Welker.
Nominated by their former supervisor Tom Lee, who recently retired, the Facilities Management Grounds and Fleet Crews are responsible for mowing, upkeep and grounds maintenance, turf maintenance for all athletic and intramural fields, irrigation systems and parking lots. The Southeast fleet crew works in conjunction with the grounds crew to maintain equipment and works side by side with the grounds crew during snow and ice removal.
Vargas recognized the crew particularly for their work last winter in clearing ice and snow from parking lots and sidewalks during harsh inclement weather. He also noted that the because of the crew’s outstanding work, the University was recognized earlier this year by the Cape Beautiful Committee with the “Beautiful Property Recognition Award.”
Bargaining Unit Employee Recognition Award
The Bargaining Unit Employee Recognition Award was presented to Robert Claar, plumber journeyman in Facilities Management.
Vargas commended Claar for his “can do” attitude and for “jumping in with both feet” in quickly learning the intricate plumbing and sprinkler systems on the main, regional and River Campuses when two long-term plumbers indicated they would soon be retiring.
“Robert is completely focused on customer service, whether it’s a leaking faucet in a student’s residence hall room or it’s the entire Towers domestic water system,” said Vargas, reading from a nomination from Terry Major, Facilities Management supervisor.
His outstanding work ethic has earned him a promotion to temporary lead plumber.
Clerical/Technical/Service Employee Recognition Award
The Clerical/Technical/Service Employee Recognition Award was presented to Karen Gleeson, senior administrative assistant for the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies.
Gleeson was nominated for her ability to adapt to any situation and any assignment. Vargas said she enthusiastically and graciously greeted faculty, staff, students and visitors when she previously worked the lobby desk for the executive suite, and since has taken on new duties and assignments for the Higher Learning Commission accreditation and travel plans associated with the annual trip in March for 50 to visit the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
“She juggled duties between two desks, and greeted all with a genuine smile and positive attitude,” said Vargas in reading from a nomination from Dr. Willie Redmond, professor of economics, and Jennifer Smith, senior administrative assistant in the Provost’s Office.
“Most recently, Karen put her expert event planning skills to work again in making all the arrangements for the five Provost candidates who visited campus,” Vargas added.
Administrative/Professional Staff Award
Winning the Administrative/Professional Staff Award was Steven Taylor, who has served an orientation career development specialist in New Student Programs and academic specialist in the TRIO/Student Support Services Program and currently serves as coordinator of University Tutorial Services in the Office of Learning Assistance Programs.
Nominated by Valdis Zalite, director of TRIO/Student Support Services, Taylor is the founder and advisor of a male initiative called “Men Encouraging New Ways,” designed to assist male students in developing leadership skills through a structured group experience. He provides financial literacy-related information through classroom discussions, involvement with the Greek community and through individual and direct assistance with students. Taylor also advises and supports students identified as low-income, first-generation and students with disabilities.
“Over the past three years, University Tutorial Services and Supplemental Instruction have both grown immensely, with three times more students now taking advantage of those services,” Vargas said. “Through active engagement with faculty and active promotion of the services, Steven has assisted in the hiring and training of internationally-certified tutors, growing the program in terms of both size and prestige.
“Steven is committed to our University, our students, our faculty and staff, and his contributions to the success of our students are exemplary,” Vargas said.