2017 Making a Difference Awards Announced

MAD WinnersAt an awards program in the MUB Wednesday, the following staff members were honored with the Staff Council Making a Difference Awards. The winners, along with an excerpt from their letters of support, are as follows:

Above and Beyond Award

Lisa Hitch, Business Manager/Technical Communication Specialist, Electrical and Computer Engineering. “During our recent ABET visit, our department chair was suddenly called away from our department at a critical moment in the evaluation process. Without hesitation, Lisa organized the details of the department meetings between our ABET visitors and more than 50 students, staff, and faculty in a matter of hours. As a result of her intervention, the visit proceeded without interruption. When our chair returned, he found a department visit so smoothly tuned and ready that it went forward flawlessly. Without her initiative, the meetings would have been hopelessly uncoordinated and left a terrible impression on our visitors. She saved the day for all of us.”

Karen Salo, Director of College Administration, College of Sciences and Arts. “Every coordinator in the department can tell of a time when Salo (as she calls herself since there is another Karen in the office) dropped what she was doing to resolve a budget issue, a personnel difficulty, or just fix things by knowing who to call in HR, budgeting, or accounting. This all comes rather naturally since Karen basically designed this job, built the templates required to do the job, established the processes for how and what a coordinator at the college and department level does, and then set the stand for performance.”

Creative Solution

Allison Mills, Director of Research News, University Marketing and Communications. “Allison is a leader in finding new ways to tell Michigan Tech’s story. She created the Unscripted blog, which breaks science down without diluting it. She uses the @mturesearch Twitter account to reach out to other institutions around the world. She pitches our stories on a national stage and we’re more of a presence because of it.”

Outstanding Supervisor

Mike Abbott, Director – Great Lakes Research Center. “Not only does Mike stimulate personal and professional development for his employees through his flexibility in scheduling and encouragement for his employees to attend seminars and classes; Mike is often found right alongside the team pitching in when needed despite the mountain of work at his desk.”

Rookie Award

Zack Fredin, Enterprise Program Coordinator, Pavlis Honors College. “It is rare for a newcomer to step right into a new job role without missing a beat but Zack did exactly that in his first year. He has a special skillset that has enabled him to succeed on several fronts: securing project funding, managing client expectations, working with faculty advisors and students, and upholding the standards of the Enterprise Program. I greatly appreciate a person like Zack who focuses on finding solutions, not identifying roadblocks.”

Serving Others

Mary Yeo, Manager Auxiliary Fund & Banking Operations, Financial Services & Operations. “Mary is the face of Michigan Tech in our relationships with financial institutions. The University’s long standing relationship with Superior National Bank has been very successful due to Mary’s excellent customer service and knowledge in responding timely and positively to any issue that arises.” A Superior National Bank employee echoes this in her letter of support. “We are thankful to have Mary as our partner. Her positive attitude and commitment to do the right thing for the University, it’s employees and students are the reason I support her nomination.”

Unsung Hero

Ed Trinklein, Research Engineer, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. “This past spring our Michigan Tech student-built nanosatellite was at risk of missing a technical milestone set by the Air Force. If this milestone was missed our 7 year long program would have come to an end without a launch into space. Ed dropped everything he was working on, rolled up his sleeves, and inserted himself into my laboratory where he discovered complicated errors in our serial communication architecture—which he quickly fixed. The satellite shipped to the Air Force in June and, as a result of Ed’s work, will launch into orbit in April, 2018.”

2017 Staff Service Award Recognition

The annual Staff Council Service Recognition Luncheon will be held at noon Wednesday, June 14, in the MUB Ballroom. President Glenn Mroz and Staff Council Chair, Jenn Biekkola will present awards for five-year increments of service to more than 150 staff members. Recent staff retirees will also be recognized.

A big “THANK YOU” for your service and commitment to Michigan Tech to the following staff members who will be honored for reaching a 5 year anniversary date this fiscal year.

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Staff Service Awards

A big “THANK YOU” for your service and commitment to Michigan Tech to the following staff members who will be honored on June 14 at the Staff Service Awards Luncheon for reaching a 5 year anniversary date this fiscal year.

2017 Staff Service Award Recipients by Department
First Name Last Name Service Years Department
Ninette Carlson 15 Admissions
Robin Dillinger 10 Aerospace Studies (Air Force ROTC)
Brenda Rudiger 10 Alumni Relations
Christopher Roy 15 Athletic/Rec Facility Operations
Andre Soumis 35 Athletic/Rec Facility Operations
Emily Betterly 10 Biological Sciences
Tori Connors 10 Biological Sciences
Michelle Farrey 5 Career Services
Aparna Pandey 20 Chemistry
Lorri Reilly 25 Chemistry
Kelley Smith 25 Chemistry
Christopher Gilbertson 5 Civil & Environmental Engineering
John Kiefer 10 Civil & Environmental Engineering
Rashelle Sandell 20 Civil & Environmental Engineering
Sylvia Matthews 25 College of Sciences & Arts
Karen Salo 35 College of Sciences & Arts
Bonnie Gorman 20 Dean of Students Office
April Buschell 5 Dining Services
Allison Longenecker 5 Dining Services
David Miller 5 Dining Services
Paul Myers 5 Dining Services
Michael Porter 5 Dining Services
Ernest Beutler 10 Dining Services
Heather Kiilunen 15 Dining Services
Michael Patterson 15 Dining Services
Donna Blake 20 Dining Services
Joseph Palosaari 20 Dining Services
Joan Becker 20 Electrical and Computer Engineering
John Lehman 20 Enrollment, Mkting & Comm Office
Thomas Anderson 5 Facilities Management
James D’Luge 5 Facilities Management
Paula Dube 5 Facilities Management
John Longenecker 5 Facilities Management
Nathan Maki 5 Facilities Management
Christopher Maxson 5 Facilities Management
George Sever 5 Facilities Management
Joseph Caron 10 Facilities Management
Roger Gronlund 10 Facilities Management
Wendy Hackman 10 Facilities Management
Joseph Weingarten 10 Facilities Management
Debbie Jarve 15 Facilities Management
Melanie Narhi 15 Facilities Management
Andrew Parker 15 Facilities Management
Lori Carne 20 Facilities Management
Marianne Ojanen 20 Facilities Management
John Hackmeier 25 Facilities Management
David Hannon 25 Facilities Management
Will Graff 35 Facilities Management
Allen Olson 35 Facilities Management
Daniel Rouleau 35 Facilities Management
Karen Anderson 30 Financial Aid Administration
Cynthia Asiala 10 Financial Services & Operations
Raymond Lasanen 35 Financial Services & Operations
Matthew Jennings 5 General Athletics
Jared Johnson 5 General Athletics
Maria Kasza 5 General Athletics
Robert Barron 30 Geological & Mining Eng & Sciences
Guy Meadows 5 Great Lakes Research Center
Elizabeth Hoy 10 Great Lakes Research Center
Mike Abbott 30 Great Lakes Research Center
Jeremiah Baumann 5 Housing and Residential Life
Travis Pihlaja 5 Housing and Residential Life
Michael Gaddis 15 Human Resources
Ginger Sleeman 15 Human Resources
Vicente Alvarado 5 Information Technology
Eric Boersma 5 Information Technology
Christopher Bryan 5 Information Technology
Jena Hale 5 Information Technology
Angelica Hebert 5 Information Technology
Gavril Panov 5 Information Technology
Hans Storaker 5 Information Technology
Edward Wheaton 5 Information Technology
Mary Mongeau 10 Information Technology
Joshua Myles 15 Information Technology
David Chard 20 Information Technology
JoAnn Dombrowski 20 Information Technology
David Hale 20 Information Technology
John Diebel 20 Innovation & Industry Engagement
Jill Hodges 15 Institutional Equity & Inclusion
Thomas Freeman 15 Jackson Center for Teach & Learn
Steven Balla 10 Keweenaw Research Center
Janette Haase 10 Keweenaw Research Center
Brian Hannon 10 Keweenaw Research Center
Eric James 10 Keweenaw Research Center
James Pakkala 20 Keweenaw Research Center
Scott Gruenberg 30 Keweenaw Research Center
Robert Baratono 35 Keweenaw Research Center
James Jackovich 35 Keweenaw Research Center
Paul Fraley 5 Materials Science and Engineering
Thomas Wood 5 Materials Science and Engineering
Allison Hein 25 Materials Science and Engineering
Nancy Barr 10 Mechanical Engrg-Engrg Mechanics
Jeremy Worm 10 Mechanical Engrg-Engrg Mechanics
David Banach 5 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Sarah Endres 5 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Amanda Grimm 5 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Jessica McCarty 5 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Reid Sawtell 5 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Adam Webb 5 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Laura Bourgeau-Chavez 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Colin Brooks 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
William Buller 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Joseph Burns 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Nancy French 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Liza Jenkins 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Gregory Leonard 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Lisa Phillips 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Christopher Roussi 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Robert Shuchman 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Nikola Subotic 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Brian Thelen 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Brian White 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Michelle Wienert 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Brian Wilson 10 Michigan Tech Rsrch Institute(MTRI)
Evelyn Colon-Peters 15 Military Science (Army ROTC)
Allen Niemi 30 Occupational Safety & Health Svcs
Adam Johnson 10 Office of Advancement
Benjamin Larson 10 Office of Advancement
Lorrie Graff 20 Office of Advancement
Eric Halonen 20 Office of Advancement
Jiang Lu 5 Physics
Andrea Lappi 35 Physics
Daniel DuLong 5 Portage Lake Golf Course
Mark Maroste 20 Portage Lake Golf Course
Joan Tapani 10 President’s Office
Glenn Mroz 40 President’s Office
Cheryl Johnson 30 Public Safety & Police Services
Jamie Therrian 5 Public Safety and Police Services
Kelly Vizanko 5 Registrar’s
Judith Smigowski 10 Registrar’s
Michael Johnson 20 Registrar’s
Jean Burich 35 Registrar’s
Sharri Karppinen 35 Registrar’s
Patricia Shannon 5 Sch Forest Resources & Environ Sci
Jodie Filpus-Paakola 5 School of Business and Economics
Diane Benda 10 School of Business and Economics
Scott Meneguzzo 5 School of Technology
Peggy Gorton 40 School of Technology
Tracy LaPlante 5 Sponsored Programs Office
Maryann Wilcox 25 Student Activities
Sarah Bird 5 Univ Marketing & Communications
Jennifer Donovan 10 Univ Marketing & Communications
Mark Kastamo 10 Univ Marketing & Communications
Gail Sweeting 35 Univ Marketing & Communications
William Tembreull 40 Univ Marketing & Communications
Natasha Chopp 5 Vice Pres for Research
Joanne Polzien 30 Vice Pres for Research
Darlene Comfort 10 Vice President for Administration
Elizabeth Meyer 15 Visual & Performing Arts

Technology Day

Register for Technology Day—Wednesday, May 3

Technology Day, sponsored by Staff Council, provides opportunities for staff to improve their technical skills and knowledge through technology training sessions. The sessions are led by Michigan Tech staff and provide development in a peer-to-peer environment.

This year we are excited to bring you four exciting sessions. Technology Day will be on Wednesday, May 3. Please register by Thursday, April 27.

Help Us Help You: IT Self Service—Presented by Matt Bryan, Information Technology 9-9:50 am and 2-2:50 pm—MUB Ballroom A1
Interested in learning how to reset your own password, install software on your computer, add your own printers and many other commonly requested IT Services? Information Technology will share information about tools and resources available to the campus community for services such as how to setup mobile number recover for password resets, we will also show you how to use our Customer Support Center to find instructions on how to connect to the VPN, how to add printers, how to install software yourself using the Software Center.

Beyond the Meeting Room—Presented by Stefan Hurthibise, Information Technology 9-9:50 am and 1-1:50 pm—MUB Ballroom A2
Are you interested in learning more about what resources are available at Michigan Tech for web-conferencing? Let IT Classroom and Presentation staff help you redefine the meeting room, with creative ideas on how to use GoToMeeting to facilitate meetings, interviews, thesis defenses, and other online events. Session will include demonstrations.

Don’t Take the Bait: Online Security Essentials—Presented by David Hale and Justin Store, Information Technology
10-10:50 am and 1-1:50 pm—MUB Ballroom A1
Michigan Tech’s Security Architect, Justin Store, will be presenting practical information that you can use to keep your online information safe and secure from attackers. The presentation will cover a few key strategies that everyone should know including how to secure your accounts, how to verify a site is safe, how to manage your passwords, and how to identify phishing attacks. The presentation will explain why each of these topics are important, but also provide real-world examples that you can follow to make a meaningful improvement in your online security posture with minimal effort.

Step Up Your Social Media Game—Presented by Sarah Bird, University Marketing and Communications Photographer and Ben Jaszczak, Media Specialist
10-10:50 am and 2-2:50 pm—MUB Ballroom A2
Social media is a powerful way to tell Michigan Tech’s brand stories. Adding photos and video to your social media presence enhances storytelling, increases engagement, and grows fans and followers. This session will provide tips and tricks to create photography and video that will help you take your social media game to the next level. Bring your smartphone with you—this is a hands-on session.

2016 Making a Difference Award Winners Announced

Margaret Landsparger, Nancy Byers Sprague, Jeffrey Toorongian, Ian Repp, Jesse Nordeng, Karla Aho, and Sharon Attaway

At an awards program in the MUB Wednesday January 4, 2017, the following staff members were honored with the Staff Council Making a Difference Awards.

Above and Beyond Award

Maragret Landsparger, Testing Center Coordinator, Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning

Margaret received two nominations in this category.  When Margaret was initially hired the Testing Center gave 77 exams.  Three years later, Margaret oversees an operation that recently proctored 88 exams on a single day and 2,679 exams throughout the spring 2016 semester.  During low demand times Margaret found ways to keep it busy AND bring in extra revenue.  In addition to proctoring exams for online students from other universities, she has worked through the certification process for more than 15 different commercial tests, including the GRE, the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, and Microsoft Certifications for IT professionals.  Margaret will often return to work on evenings and weekends to ensure everything is set for the next day, to score the multiple choice exams so the instructors and students can receive feedback by the next day, to deal with last minute scheduling requests, or to resolve technical issues in the testing space.  She does not have to do this but believes that going above and beyond her work hours is needed when the issues are time sensitive.


Bringing out the Best

Ian Repp, Director of University Marketing and Communications

As one letter of support puts it “his southern accent is fading.  But his authenticity, positivity, and creativity remain.  When any member of his team feels the pull, or tug or outright drowning effect marketing and communications can have, does he swoop in and save them?  No.  He meddles only when asked.  Instead he brainstorms solutions, ideas, options, and perspectives to lay new ground and create our footing once again.  Ian brings out the best in us because of what he does – and doesn’t- do.”  As another letter states Ian “recognizes that we are not just a collection of job titles.  We’re people.  And he recognizes the worth in each of us.  In turn, we strive to do the best we can in large part because of his temperament, leadership, and example he sets each day.”


Creative Solutions

Jesse Nordeng, Master Machinist, Physics

As one letter of support states “How many times have I walked into the Physics machine shop with a group of students to ask Jesse for assistance with an urgent challenge?  I can’t count how many times and I positively and constructively Jesse responds.  He inevitably is able to help us come up with a creative solution that is more practical, more cost effective, and more direct than we had in mind.”  Jess is very collaborative in nature, he is very versatile, he routinely finds ingenious solutions to our problems efficiently and effectively and he often goes well beyond his expected role.  He also excels in his role as safety liason in the department.  His nominator also states “Often I will mention a project that I want to do in the near future and will pass Jesse in the hall and he will throw out 10 ideas that he was thinking about and how to make things better.”


Outstanding Supervisor

Karla Aho, Director of Gift Planning, Advancement

As her nominator put it “Karla continually pushes me and is fully supportive of the work I do.  Karla lets me run with projects I am passionate about and reigns me in when I need to settle down.  I often refer to her as my work mom, in which she chuckles.  But she’s as caring for her employees as a mother would be for their children.”  Another of her employees agrees and says that “Karla has always been a firm advocate for keeping life in balance, and not becoming overwhelmed/overburdened but our working lives.  She has done this quietly by example and overtly by reminding me of the need for family time.”  Karla readily acknowledges the contributions and successes of both her direct reports and her coworkers.  She does this not only on an individual basis but also often in a group setting.

Rookie Award

Sharon Attaway, Associate Director of Employer Relations, Career Services

One could not have possibly picked a more hectic department on campus to join at the most hectic time of the year in one of the most hectic recruiting seasons we’ve ever seen.  Within 1 ½ months of her start date Sharon would be doused with gasoline and thrown into the CareerFEST fire.  She assisted with the execution of 9 industry days and over a dozen more educational events which brought 71 companies to campus prior to the Career Fair.  Sharon jumped right in meeting with everyone from our facilities and transportation staff to academic department heads and our leadership team while stopping to meet and assist the many corporate recruiters and their on campus needs.  Sharon’s supervisor said it best “Sharon is like our graduates, they on-board quickly to their career roles and begin to immediately contribute value to their employers.”


Serving Others

Nancy Byers Sprague, Director of Graduate Degree Services, Grad School

One of her letters states “She devotes all of her time, energy and emotion into enriching the lives of others, particularly those who are vulnerable or less able to help themselves.”  Nancy is involved in several campus and community organizations including – Keweenaw Pride, Canterbury House, Good Shepard Lutheran Church, Sailing Club, and she religiously visits nursing homes to talk with residents.  She also invites 20+ students to her home for every holiday.  Another letter states “I am so happy knowing that she is there to look out for and take care of students and members of the community in her generous, genuine, loving way.”


Unsung Hero

Jeffrey Toorongian, Senior Educational Technologist, Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning

“From providing narration for many safety and educational videos to serving as the person behind the camera in a desert documenting a field geology class in Utah, Jeff has reliably used his skills to provide and excellent quality project.  Like innumerable faculty I have benefited tremendously from Jeff’s advice about what to wear, how to position a microphone, which color pen to use, and how to organize my class when recording for online display.  Jeff’s attention to detail and quality has long been an unrecognized but essential part of most every video produced at Michigan Tech in the last two decades.”

2016 Making a Difference Nominees Requested

Nominations are now open for 2016 Staff Making a Difference Awards. Nominate a deserving coworker for one of the following categories:

  • Rookie Award
  • Serving Others
  • Outstanding Supervisor
  • Creative Solutions
  • Above and Beyond
  • Unsung Hero
  • Bringing Out the Best

Each award recipient receives $500.

Staff Council is coordinating the awards and has streamlined the nomination form and criteria for 2016. Please follow these steps:

  1. Download the nomination form
  2. Fill out the nomination form electronically and save as PDF
  3. Create your Nomination Letter and save electronically
  4. Collect your Statements of Support and save electronically
  5. Email all documents to staffcouncil@mtu.edu

Note: if you prefer to submit a nomination using paper, please send to Alumni House 204 through campus mail.

Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m., Friday, November 11, 2016. For more information, contact us at staffcouncil@mtu.edu.