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Four named outstanding employees

Steve Miller outstanding employee award winnersUNT will honor four staff members March 31 with the newly defined Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award. This award was re-established as the highest honor a staff member can receive, and it was given to employees who work professionally and collaboratively, promote the university’s mission and demonstrate strong initiative and a positive attitude.

Supervisors and peers nominated the winners in December, and a committee reviewed all the nominees before President Neal Smatresk chose the winners in January.

Each winner will receive a $2,000 taxable cash award and an engraved award.

This year’s winners are:

  • Melissa Boyer, student services coordinator II, Financial Aid
  • Bruce Hunter, instructional lab supervisor II, Institute of Applied Science
  • Julie Willems-Espinoza, assistant director II, Marketing
  • Kevin Yanowski, administrative specialist IV, English

Melissa Boyer was cited as an invaluable member of the financial aid team, especially related to student loans. Her ambition and expertise in all parts of the loan process helped the department deliver those funds to students more efficiently.

She also led the loan and accounting team for several months in the absence of its supervisor during the department’s busiest time. She showed great leadership as the team updated more than 100 written procedures, and she trained several new employees during that time.

Bruce Hunter serves two roles – one as the assistant director of the Institute of Applied Sciences and the other as an adjunct faculty member in the geography department. He has supported interdisciplinary research for 25 years by teaching Geographical Information Systems to students, faculty, government agencies and businesses. He also is a volunteer wild land firefighter.

He also was nominated for his team-building “EESAT Parking Lot Spring Break Beach Party” for students, faculty and staff members in the building who had to work during spring break.

Julie Willems-Espinoza was credited for increasing the internship opportunities for students through the Logistics Center and for bringing more than $120,000 in scholarships into that program over three years. She regularly meets with high-level executives to engage them in UNT’s logistics program.

She began the Southwest Airlines Scholarship Breakfast, and she directs the UNT-Byron Nelson Open House. Those programs give students a chance to meet with executives and makes UNT’s logistics program more visible in the corporate world.

Kevin Yanowski treats students and faculty members with the same level of courtesy, and has played an integral role in keeping the English department, and especially the department’s Personnel Affairs Committee, running smoothly. He is noted for his technical savvy, patience and ability to help faculty members work through their computer-related struggles.

Members of the Personnel Affairs Committee describe him as a central part of that team, even though that’s not part of his job description. He helped that team develop a more efficient process for transmitting large promotion-and-tenure files to external reviewers.

More staff awards

In addition to the four Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award winners, UNT will present new awards to 11 staff members, recognizing them for specific areas of excellence. President Neal Smatresk and his team enhanced the Staff Appreciation initiative to celebrate excellence in more meaningful ways. The new awards also allow more staff members to be recognized for their contributions. The Human Resources staff received more than 120 nominations for these new and updated awards, and staff members anticipate even more nominees next year.

The winners were:

Customer Service Award

  • Darlene Callahan, director, Space Management and Planning
  • Kathleen Shelby, administrative specialist II, Speech and Hearing Sciences
  • Georgianna Stone, administrative coordinator II, Counseling and Testing Center

Each winner will receive a $1,000 taxable cash award and an engraved award.

Diversity Award

  • David Barkenhagen, facilities manager, Facilities
  • Matthieu DeWein, assistant director II, Office of Disability Accommodation

Each winner will receive a $1,000 taxable cash award and an engraved award.

Rising Star Award

  • Naomi Alvarado, administrative coordinator II, History

She received a $500 taxable cash award and an engraved award.

UNT Spirit Award

  • Terri Pierce, construction manager, Facilities
  • Audra Taylor, assistant director III, Admissions

Each winner will receive a $1,000 taxable cash award and an engraved award.

Student Success Award

  • Maureen McGuinness, executive, Dean of Students
  • Rodney Mitchell, assistant director III, Dean of Students
  • Russ Stukel, assistant director III, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science

—Matthew Zabel, University Relations, Communications and Marketing

Each winner will receive a $1,000 taxable cash award and an engraved award.

Above, The Steve Miller Outstanding Employee Award winners from left, Bruce Hunter, Melissa Boyer, Kevin Yanowski and Julie Willems-Espinoza. (Photo by Ahna Hubnik, URCM) Below, pictured are the 15 staff award winners. front from left, Naomi Alvarado, Darlene Callahan, Kathleen Shelby, Maureen McGuinness, Kevin Yanowski and Terri Pierce. Second row Audra Taylor, Matthieu DeWein, Melissa Boyer, Julie Willems-Espinoza and Georgianna Stone. Back row, Russ Stukel, Bruce Hunter, President Neal Smatresk, Rodney Mitchell and David Barkenhagen. (Photo by Gary Payne / URCM)

Staff Award winners

Posted on: Tue 03 March 2015

Owning Excellence

Faculty and staff members have roles in transforming UNT into a nationally prominent university. Share your ideas on how you can help UNT to own excellence, keep students on track and improve graduation education.

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