Employees show passion and dedication
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."
"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.
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."
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
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.
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
"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."
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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 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
"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
"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
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."
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
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."
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.
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.
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
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
[maintaining] a sunny disposition and a warm sense
of humor," Bertram wrote. "She is the ultimate team
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.
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
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.
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
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."
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
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.
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."
Angela N. Wooten
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
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
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
She quite honestly rates as an exceptional employee