June 8 -June 21, 2001
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Block, Ayers named to top posts
Time to pick Mulberry
Outstanding Employees show passion and dedication
Employees Honored for years of service to U.Va.
Believe in miracles
Alternative health therapies offered
Hot Links -- Geospatial Data Center
Hospital celebrates 100th anniversary
Heritage Repertory Theatre season opens June 21
Babyfest to arrive June 16

Outstanding Employees show passion and dedication

Staff Report

This year's Outstanding Contribution Award winners stand as shining examples — for their grace under pressure, respect for others and dedication to their work and the University. Their colleagues, and even their supervisors, look to them as role models and revere them for their passion and problem-solving skills. Revealed here are some employees called "treasures of the University."

John R. CarterJohn R. Carter

"Life holds all kinds of surprises. One of the nicest surprises in my life has been the privilege of working with 'J.C.' for the past 10 1/2 years," said Julia Gremer, a nurse at the U.Va. Pain Management Center.

Carter is a patient care assistant who has worked at the center since 1997 and before that, in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit for about 20 years. Staff and patients agree that he lifts their spirits every day, some even saying that his presence is half the therapy that helps them.

For the patients, needing the center's services is not the kind of surprise anyone would want, but despite their discomfort, stress and other difficulties, J.C. puts people at ease with his calming influence and generous kindness, noted Deborah Blue, another nurse at the center.

Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger made a point of supporting Carter's nomination for the Outstanding Contribution Award, saying he is totally professional and reliable — as well as "pleasant, caring, respectful [and] fun to be with."

Staff members emphasized that Carter is a team player who, along with his regular duties of helping patients, is always willing to lend a hand wherever it's needed.

"If one were to ask of John's biggest contribution," added Blue, "it would have to be that he is a shining example of the values of our institution. With the respect and care he demonstrates to others, he makes us all want to try a little harder, do a little better..."

Dr. Robin Hamill-Ruth, the director, echoed that response: "I use him as a role model for my own behavior and attitude, and feel that I have a long way to go to reach his level. If there were any way of cloning or bottling his attitude, we would all be better with a dose," she said.

When Hamill-Ruth became director of the Pain Management Center, she asked Carter to transfer there, "because I was so impressed with his attitude and work ethic. … I believe that convincing him to do so will be one of the best things that I have done."

— Anne Bromley

Diane Cole

Diane ColeDiane Cole "fulfills the highest mission of this University — to love, teach and heal," wrote David Cattell-Gordon in his recommendation of her for an Outstanding Contribution Award. Cole is the patient, family and education coordinator at the U.Va. Cancer Center; Cattell-Gordon is the center's director of community relations, psychosocial services and cancer control.

"Diane is one of the treasures of this University," he said. Her "most important contribution has been her work counseling individuals with cancer and their families. She spends countless hours engaged with and caring for people perhaps at their most difficult hour. Diane brings to this work a sense of serenity and focus. She recognizes that by being invited in, she has been given the gift of a sudden intimacy with a family in one of their most profound moments and so treats that gift with respect. Families [say her] presence eased their suffering. She does indeed ease suffering [and] works to keep suffering from occurring."

Cole is widely recognized for her leadership in developing countless patient-education programs and publications for the Cancer Center, as well as helping organize the Breast Resource Center at the Medical Center. Thomas J. O'Leary, associate director for research administration at the center, said because of her work, "our education program is now rightfully perceived as one of the top programs in the nation."

Her efforts to combat cancer and help others understand this disease extend beyond the University. She serves on several committees for state and national cancer organizations and last year presented three papers on cancer education around the country. She also helped develop a statewide breast-cancer detection program that trained hundreds of women to perform self-exams as well as to teach others to do the same.

"In her heart and soul, Diane is an educator," Cattel-Gordon said. "She knows when facing a life-changing struggle, such as cancer, education is a powerful tool."
Cole recently garnered another high honor for her work. She was among 10 state employees — and the only one from U.Va. — that the governor recognized in May during a ceremony for Virginia Public Service Week.

— Ann Overton

Sharon Drumheller

Sharon DrumhellerLike others receiving the Outstanding Contribution Award, Sharon Drumheller has the requisite outstanding leadership and people skills. What sets her apart, according to those recommending her for this honor, is her ability to save money for the University.

Drumheller, a field engineer supervisor in the installation and repair (INR) department of Information Technology and Communication, has been with the University for more than 27 years. She designs the layout of ITC computer labs in nine classroom buildings and 10 dormitories, which includes working with contractors and acquiring and installing furniture, wiring, outlets, security, computers and related hardware, plus their network — all at the lowest cost possible. She also consults with the users — students, faculty and staff — to ensure the equipment match is right, and she maintains a good inventory for follow-up support.

Mary Hanna, manager of labs and classrooms for computer and technology support, cited the time Drumheller saved the University more than $39,000. She and her staff "devised an effective way" to pay $2 per computer — rather than $58 — to connect earphones to lab computers. "She [also] has worked with vendors and purchasing in obtaining price savings in many areas for the public computing labs," Hanna said.
Steve Bankard, an INR field engineer, concurs. "She works on getting the [labs] installed with [everything] at the lowest cost but at the same time in a very desirable way."

Another colleague, An Nguyen of ITC installation and repair, says Drumheller "thinks about the future and what impact that will have on the layout and design of the labs or the equipment we're installing. Her mind is two steps ahead of where we are today.

"She helps U.Va. … compete for distinctions such as ‘The 10-Most Wired Universities' in the country and the top universities in the Yahoo survey," Nguyen added. "The students don't realize how much effort it takes or who does the work to keep the public labs running … she is valued and appreciated by all who work with and for her."

— Ann Overton

Steve ElliotSteve Elliott

When someone at Pegasus flight operations mentioned that the University was seeking Outstanding Employee Award nominees, the entire staff on duty that day said, "Steve," according to his fellow flight paramedic, Robert Hamilton.

Steve Elliott, who has worked on the Pegasus team for nine years, is revered by his colleagues for his reliability and hard work.

"He is just as solid a partner as you could ask for," said Pegasus nurse Donna Hill, who has worked with Elliott since 1995.

Hill remembered a day when she and Elliott treated a man who'd accidentally shot himself in the leg while hunting. "We worked on him in the air. It was a tense situation, and having someone like Steve there that I knew I could rely on made a traumatic event like that easier to deal with. He doesn't get flustered, and he's always ready to learn something new," she said.

Elliott is eager not only to expand his own horizons, but also to help others expand theirs. In addition to working full time, for the past three years he has coordinated a six-week certification course for paramedics from across central Virginia.

Organizing the Critical Care Paramedic Course requires a great deal of time and work, but "Steve does this willingly because he believes that patients deserve the best care that they can receive and that can be accomplished with the education of caregivers," wrote Pegasus nurse Mona Snow. "His energy and commitment are boundless."

The course has not only improved the quality of patient care in the area, but also "been instrumental in building the working relationship between [regional] volunteer rescue squads and the U.Va. Department of Emergency Medicine," wrote Pegasus nurse Scott Singel.

Elliott also studies emergency medical services management at the University of Richmond.

"Steve most certainly has a full plate and somehow he manages to do the very best in everything he does," Hamilton said.

— Nancy Hurrelbrinck

Holly Glassberg

Holly GlassbergHolly Glassberg gets high marks from other nurses.

In a recent survey, 90 percent of the nurses who responded called Glassberg, a patient care service manager with the Health System, a good manager and leader.

The recipient of an Outstanding Contribution Award, Glassberg is praised both for her passion for nursing and her dedication to quality work.

"Ms. Glassberg goes out of her way to make time to listen to and get to know each of the many staff who work with her," said Deborah Cox, a patient care manager. "I know she has come in and worked the night shift with the staff. She routinely finds ways to recognize and reward the staff's contribution."

"I want people to be involved," Glassberg said. "I delegate a lot but I stay on the front line."

Glassberg, who said the recognition is wonderful but prefers to maintain a low profile, supervises 100 people, including registered nurses, patient care assistants, health unit coordinators and physical therapists.

She said patient care is very team oriented and credits her teammates and staff for their work. "We run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so no one can do it alone."

Coworkers praise her interpersonal skills, her good communication even during difficult times and her ability to focus on the personal and professional needs of her staff.

"I take care of the nurses and they take care of the patients," Glassberg said.

Glassberg provided a smooth transition during the merger of two surgical nurse staffs. Soon after, she guided the creation of the Digestive Health Center, which merged with Surgical Health Services, a process that easily could have been stressful for employees.

"She created opportunities for staff to vent their emotions and then to develop action plans for solving problems," said R.N. Kathleen Rae. "Holly's passion for nursing and patient care is so contagious that solutions to major issues began to quickly emerge."

"She is greatly respected by her staff, her administrative peers and the physicians with whom she works daily," said Terry Lucas, another patient care service manager.

"Holly is the epitome of a leader. She leads her staff and thus does not have to manage them. She allows them to grow and flourish."

— Matt Kelly

David Handy

David HandyDavid Handy had a lock on an outstanding contribution award — he's the University's locksmith.
Handy started out as a storeroom assistant, worked his way up to supervising three employees in a state-of-the-art lockshop, and is an integral member of the security system on Grounds.
On his own initiative, Handy took a locksmithing course to follow up on his passion for locks, which started during his stint at Martin's Hardware on Preston Avenue. "The owner asked me if I wanted to learn to pick a lock," Handy said. "I did and I had a spark."

That spark has maintained Handy through many security systems, including the computerized one in his office that controls hundreds of perimeter locks. He thinks the computer locks and swipe cards are more fun than tumbler locks, but said that the University never will completely depend on computer locks in his lifetime.
Handy initiated the installation of the University's first card reader locks at Bice House. He oversaw the systems as they spread to the other residence halls and shepherded the upgrades as they evolved into a computer-controlled locking system.

"David takes pride in what he does and is a true professional," said John B. Griffin, director of operations for housing. "David is always up for a challenge and will take on any project assigned to him."

Kay Varner, assistant director of the housing division, praised Handy for his willingness to work with students, faculty and staff and for devising ways to make the students' environment safer. Mark Doherty, director of housing, cited Handy's creativity and his ability to solve seemingly intractable problems, as well as his tenacity to find a better way to do things when presented with a challenge.

Several people compliment Handy on his demeanor. "David always has a smile or a joke to brighten your day," Varner said.

When it comes to security on Grounds, Doherty said, "I sleep soundly at night knowing that David is on my staff."

— Matt Kelly

Barbara Henry

Barbara HenryBarbara Henry brings to her job as a team leader on the Integrated Systems Project the energy and enthusiasm of at least two people, according to those who recommended her.

"She gives 200 percent of herself," wrote Kathrine M. Reed, recently retired associate provost for management.

"If the University had half the number of staff it does but all of them were like [Henry], we would manage to accomplish twice the amount of work," said Jay Scott, associate dean for finance.

As chief information officer in human resources, Henry single-handedly created the University's Online Employment System in 1990. The system vastly reduced paper shuffling and streamlined the application and hiring process, reducing the number of steps from 18 to eight.

In 1995 Henry worked 60 to 70 hours per week developing the Online Personnel Action System, which automated all personnel transactions for employees not processed through the online employment system, wrote Thomas Gausvik, chief human resource officer.

Recently, as team leader developing and testing the ISP's labor distribution module, "she has worked to ensure the reporting needs of the schools are developed and has made the certification of effort reports practically effortless in the new system," wrote Tonja Moore, director of budget and payroll in the School of Medicine.

Henry's work "places her under a tremendous amount of pressure, yet she never fails to … provide an extraordinary level of customer service," Scott said.

To offer one example, after participants in a recent ISP "conference room pilot" said they needed reporting formats not included in the original design, Henry spoke with a programmer that night and brought in an enhancement to the module the next day, wrote Nancy Bertram, associate dean for management and budget.

"She listens actively and moves quickly to respond to user needs and concerns. Where solutions are not easy and obvious, she goes the extra mile to brainstorm alternative approaches with users …[maintaining] a sunny disposition and a warm sense of humor," Bertram wrote. "She is the ultimate team player."

— Nancy Hurrelbrinck

Leanna Marshall

Leanna MarshallShe's been at Patient Financial Services since 1963, three years longer than Medicare has existed and decades before the University's hospital and related health-care units became the Health System. Her ability to adapt and excel in this ever-changing environment is one reason Leanna Marshall, manager for Medical Center patient financial services, is an Outstanding Contribution Award winner.
Marshall began her career more than 40 years ago as a part-time clerk in medical records. For the past 38 years, she has worked full time in patient financial services.
Accolades abound from co-workers, executives, patients and others about Marshall, who now supervises 23 employees.

"There have been many changes in PFS leadership over the years, and she has been the force to provide stability and hold the department together during periods of radical change," said Jack Peeks, director of finance.

"My first experience with Leanna," wrote Bob Chapman, Marshall's supervisor, "was in 1998, when I was a bewildered and extremely frustrated patient with a maze of bills and insurance company denials. At the time, I was convinced that the hospital, the doctors and my insurance company had victimized me ... With limited expectations, I followed a friend's advice and [contacted Ms. Marshall]. I was pleasantly surprised. …
Her demeanor and obvious willingness to step in and assist me in dealing with the insurance company was exemplary. … Ironically, several months later I joined the Medical Center's staff as director of Patient Financial Services. I quickly learned that I had only been exposed to a sampling of the marvelous qualities Leanna brings to her work. Dedicated, loyal, skilled, productive, compassionate and unselfish, this lady epitomizes a standard that we all should emulate."

Marshall is also well-known outside the Health System. "She is recognized nationally for her knowledge of third-party billing. … The University of Virginia is seen as a leader in patient accounting because of her knowledge, commitment to excellence and willingness to assist others," noted Cynthia Watson, president of the American Association of Healthcare Management.

— Rebecca Arrington

Jackie Mullins

Jackie MullinsYou can see your reflection in the floors of John Cook Wyllie Library.

In fact, every surface in the two-story, 28,000- square-foot library glistens thanks to Jackie Mullins, a lead worker on the housekeeping staff at the University's College at Wise.

A dedicated employee of U.Va.-Wise for nearly 18 years, the petite grandmother of two is never low on energy or effort.

"Although Jackie is in her mid-70s, she performs her rigorous duties with the zeal of a 20-year-old," said John Reeves, director of facilities at U.Va.-Wise, who nominated Mullins for the Outstanding Contribution Award. "One only needs to visit ‘her' library to see the quality of her meticulous housekeeping work."
Mullins starts her work day by 5 a.m., sometimes earlier, so the library will be in pristine condition before students arrive to study. Two days a week, she works her magic at the Lila Vicars Smith House, the chancellor's residence.

"Jackie is a fine person and one of the hardest workers I have had the honor to know," Carolea Newsome, a library program support technician, wrote in a letter of support for Mullins' nomination. "She is a very dedicated employee and always does a wonderful job. Many times she has come into the library before her regular work shift begins to get her work done before we open. She has worked on Saturdays and on scheduled days off to make sure the library is spic and span."
Mullins has thought about retiring in the last few years but admits it will be hard to leave her family at U.Va.-Wise. "If you like your job, it makes you feel younger," she said.

It's safe to say her "family" will miss her when she decides it's time to leave. "She's a mother figure and dependable friend," Timothy V. Wright, a plant operator, wrote. "Her warm heart and lighthearted personality make our jobs more enjoyable."

— Jane Meade-Dean

Joseph Stewart

Joseph StewartKnown affectionately to his customers and co-workers as "Joe-Joe," Joseph Stewart, University Transit Service operations supervisor, won an Outstanding Contribution Award "for one simple reason: he cares," said Parking & Transportation maintenance supervisor Gary Small.

"He takes pride in leading UTS to provide safe and reliable transportation for the University community. He is a hard worker [and] follows through on his word," Small wrote in his letter recommending Stewart for the award. This care "shines through in everything he does, every single day. His honesty and devotion are unparalleled."

Stewart came to U.Va. in 1994 and drove a bus for two-and-a-half years before being promoted to operations supervisor. He distinguishes himself in "many different situations and endears himself to many different people," said Parking & Transportation director Rebecca White. "He oversees day-to-day fixed-route and charter operations that serve nearly 15,000 passengers daily." In a typical day at UTS, he handles more than 80 shift changes, over 20 bus dispatches on fixed-route and charter services, special-event operations and emergency detour or equipment substitute situations, according to White.

Despite the pressures of his job, "Joe-Joe meets his responsibilities with a calm and respectful voice." He offers "clear and efficient directions to the drivers on the road, sometimes sending five different buses in five different directions to get everything back on track," White said.

Stewart recently created four new permanent bus routes and coordinated the new football game shuttles from downtown. He has developed an "invaluable working relationship with our counterpart in the city," said U.Va. transportation manager David J. Kloss.

He also provides strong leadership to his staff, especially the student supervisors and drivers. Many of them call him "Dad," White noted. "He listens, coaches, provides advice and inspires them to give their best to UTS and the University community."

— Rebecca Arrington

Angela N. Wooten

Angela WootenAssistant directors can be unsung, behind-the-scenes heroes, making a department function smoothly "24/7." Angela N. Wooten's coworkers, however, sing her praises loudly. Credited with being loyal, dedicated, efficient, hard working, organized, responsible, logical, practical, motivated and action-oriented, Wooten is assistant director for business services in University Career Services (UCS) and a 15-year U.Va. employee.

In the past year, Wooten has overseen the relocation and redesign of the group's new office in Bryant Hall, including all related administrative activities; supervised the sale of UCS's old furniture (which brought in $10,000 for the office budget); and rewritten job descriptions for all office staff as part of a reorganization.
Wooten's boss, James L. McBride Jr., UCS director, offered nearly two pages detailing her accomplishments of the past year in nominating her for the Outstanding Contribution Award. "Angie is probably the most organized person I have ever known … She also has a remarkable memory for important details regarding business-related matters, and staff always seek her advice when they assume new or different responsibilities," he wrote.

Some saw Wooten's "greatest achievement" this year in her work contracting for and organizing the office's new credential service, which collects and transmits recommendation letters for more than 7,000 students and graduates.

"Angie's leadership and negotiation skills allowed [us] to secure first-class service [for our clients] for … greater accessibility to their portfolios," said Rita Barton, UCS office manager. "Students and graduates can easily open their files [on the new system], and I hear positive feedback from students as far away as Paraguay and New Zealand."

Calling her the "heart and soul" of the office, McBride sums up Wooten's work: "[Her] work has greatly improved every aspect of the office — from the physical relocation and office appearance, to the organizational restructuring and new service offerings. … She quite honestly rates as an exceptional employee every year."

— Ann Overton


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