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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Seven employees recognized for contributions

Seven employees were recognized for their outstanding contributions Dec. 6 at a reception at the Carolina Club. Five received the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence and two received the Excellence in Management Awards.

Chancellor’s Awards

The Chancellor’s Awards were established in 1991 to recognize University employees’ meritorious or distinguished accomplishments. Recipients received a monetary award of $1,000, 24 hours leave and a framed certificate presented by Chancellor Holden Thorp.

The winners also become the University’s nominees for the Governor’s Award, the highest honor a state employee can receive. Chancellor’s Awards are presented in one of six categories: outstanding state government service, innovation(s); public service; safety/heroism; human relations; and other achievements.

Lisa Daley, human resources manager for Energy Services, won for human relations. Daley spearheaded the effort to establish a successful co-op program and the Carolina TarHeel Power Program with Piedmont Community College, providing Energy Services with a source of future employees and students with valuable work experience. She has also sustained the North Carolina State Engineering Co-Op program; Energy Services hired two graduates from the program into entry-level positions in 2012.

Lori Harris, department manager for Asian Studies, won for government service. Harris’s management of visas, travel documents and applications for permanent residency for the international faculty in Asian Studies has required literally hundreds of hours, much of it during the past two years as several instructors have been hired from around the world. She has given faculty members in her area personal attention and learned the ways in which their homeland’s requirements affect their stay in the U.S.

Christopher Martin Jr., director of Energy Management, won for innovation. Under Martin’s leadership, the Energy Management department is leading a campus-wide energy conservation initiative that has reduced consumption on campus by more than $16 million, with a program-wide savings of 27 percent. Martin’s focus on energy efficiency involves first, optimizing what’s already there; second, replacing ineffective equipment; and third, bringing in new technology.

Michael O’Connor, staff support specialist in the Health Sciences Library, won for public service. O’Connor, who is universally admired for his prompt and friendly service, has earned the respect of his colleagues for his dedication, reliability and responsibility inside and outside the University. He participates in the MS Bike-A-Thon every year and he raises money in support of multiple sclerosis research. He also works alongside his wife to train service dogs to assist those with disabilities.

Rebecca Owen, administrative manager for the Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center, won for government service. Under Owen’s watch, the CF center has grown from a funding base of $300,000 in 1998 to its current $14 million in annual expenditures. It has principally been through her tireless devotion to the federal grants/private foundation/industry funding mechanisms, as well as rigorous forward budget planning, that the center has been able to fulfill its research and therapeutics mission.

Excellence in Management Awards

The Excellence in Management Awards were established in 1998 to recognize accomplishments in management. Recipients received a monetary award of $500 and a framed certificate presented by Meredith Weiss, associate vice chancellor for business services and administration, representing Vice Chancellor Karol Kain Gray, who was unable to attend the ceremony.

Todd Nicolet, associate dean in the School of Government, was recognized for consistently and successfully tackling challenges, in one case turning a struggling program area into one of the school’s highest-performing divisions. He engages the people he supervises in thinking about solutions and then mentors them as they implement improvements. Co-workers say he manages simultaneously to be a rigorous, challenging, supportive and affirming supervisor.

Christene Tashjian, project coordinator in Allied Health Sciences, became the project coordinator for the Early Development Project at a challenging time when the project had been without a coordinator for several months. She has helped take it from a three-year pilot study with fewer than 25 participants to a complex, $2.5 million, four-year study funded by the U.S. Department of Education with 60 participating families and the potential for twice that many.