Three staff members at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business were honored at the school’s faculty and staff assembly on May 11 as the recipients of the 2012 Staff Excellence Awards.
The Staff Excellence Awards were established in 2008 to recognize the critical role that non-academic staff members play in the Smith School's success. In creating the awards, the Smith School strives to single out and personally recognize staff members for their superior performance and significant contributions each year.
Recipients of the award display quality and consistency in their job performance, a high commitment to the school, and strong customer service. They also have a significant impact and make important contributions to Smith’s sense of community among students, staff, faculty, and administration.
The 2012 awardees are Justina Blanco, coordinator of the PhD Program; Rachel Loock, director of undergraduate student programming for the Office of Career Services (OCS); and Jesse Veihmeyer, IT coordinator in the Office of Smith IT. They were selected out of a pool of more than 25 nominees and will each receive a $1,000 cash award and a plaque.
Veihmeyer, the first recipient of the award, received multiple nominations. Here’s what his nominators had to say about him:
- “There is never a problem Jesse cannot help with. He goes out of his way to make you feel that you actually know something about computers. He talks to you so that you understand what the problem is and that he is going to fix it. He does not conform to the 9-to-5 mentality. If you need him, he is there and he will help you no matter what time he finishes. I would venture to guess that there is not one person at Smith that Jesse has not helped at one point or another. He is a great problem solver; and if he does not know the answer he finds it.”
- “Somewhere in between running from offices and classrooms, Jesse also manages to make time to create relationships with different departments and pop in, even if it’s just to say ‘hello.’ … You cannot exclude his ability to connect Smith faculty and staff with his positive and outgoing attitude – from the blue hair of 2009 to showing up in a suit just for fun. Recognizing him with this award is a great way to show our appreciation for his hard work.”
Blanco received the second award, after the following bits of praise from her nominators:
- “Justina embodies excellence in service, a strong commitment to academic success and community building. She frequently goes above and beyond to ensure that students have what they need to be successful.”
- “Whenever I bug her about an issue that I am having, she is not only always willing to help but she also smiles every single time. She is always around and serves as the central hub for most of our administrative issues. She is nice, warm and pleasant, and that is a HUGE plus.”
- “Justina is by far the best staff member I have worked with ever since I joined my academic program. She is incredibly committed to the success and well-being of myself and my peers. I cannot think of any other person who deserves this award more.”
OCS’s Loock was the third and final recipient of the 2012 Staff Excellence Award. Like the two other recipients, her nominators had phenomenal praise to send her way:
- “Rachel has emerged as a superstar, organizational citizen and a role model for being a strong leader and team player. She consistently delivers outstanding customer service to internal and external stakeholders to include fellow staff, students and recruiters.”
- “Rachel is great leader and an even better co-worker. Her hard work has driven her team to achieve fantastic results and she deserves to be recognized for her dedication to the University of Maryland and the Robert H. Smith School of Business.”
- "She demonstrates poise and remarkable tact in all things, especially in stressful situations. She demonstrates incredible dedication to her work and shows day-in and day-out that her students are her first priority. I would not be where I am today without her support and encouragement and I am eternally indebted to her.”
Students, staff members, faculty and administrators submitted nominations for the awards, and all levels of full-time, regular, non-academic staff members who have worked at the Smith School for three years or longer were eligible for nomination.
Jessica Smith, Writer and Editor, Office of Marketing Communications