12 named Awards for Excellence Winners, Three named to Governor’s Award

Awards for Excellence Winners

Chancellor Randy Woodson, center, poses with winners of this year’s University Awards for Excellence. (Sheri Schwab, right, standing in for Tracey Ray)

Congratulations are in order for the twelve (12) NC State employees who received the NC State University Award for Excellence on Monday June 11, 2018. The Award for Excellence is the most prestigious honor bestowed upon non-faculty employees at NC State.

Three (3) this year also were named recipients of the 2018 Governor’s Award for Excellence Program the highest honor a state employee can receive.

Chancellor Woodson, left, pictured with 2018 Governor’s Award for Excellence Winners Dane Johnston- CVM, David Josephus-Finance & Administration, David Setser-Finance & Administration. 

David Josephus- University Architects Office, Finance & Administration, David Setser- Design and Construction Services, Finance & Administration, and Dane Johnston- College of Veterinary Medicine were chosen along with 11 other Governors Awards for Excellence recipients from across the state out of 105 total nominations statewide. They will be honored at a ceremony this fall.

The NC State Awards for Excellence program recognizes the significant accomplishments and contributions of non-faculty employees across the university. This year a total of 46 individuals were nominated to the NC State Awards for Excellence Program. The employees honored today demonstrate excellence not only in their profession but also in their individual departments and divisions, the campus community and the lives of others.

Photos of the 2018 Awards for Excellence Ceremony

Following is a list of the winners and excerpts from their nomination submissions

Kevin Johnson

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, County Extension Director

Kevin was the key element and driving force of making a decade long vision of building a new Ag Center in the Southeast District of North Carolina a dream come true. Due to Kevin’s extensive efforts, eastern North Carolina is gaining a 66,000 sq feet premiere meeting space in Wayne County, The Maxwell Regional Agricultural and Convention Center. This facility will house offices for several agricultural agencies including offices for Cooperative Extension, Wayne Soil and Water, and Farm Service Agency. The Maxwell Center will always reflect the passion and love that he has for Agriculture, and his desire to pass this on to future generations.

Susan Bernacki

College of Engineering, Research Associate- Biomedical Engineering (BME)

The intersection of biology and medical engineering is a cornerstone of today’s medical innovations, and Susan’s expertise puts BME ahead of the game.  She has developed the BME Culture Core labs, which provide microbiology, cell culture, tissue processing, and histology facilities that allow investigators convenient access without having to set up individual culture cores in their own labs. Susan also developed a state-of-the-art lab where students grow skin, induce differentiation into the three layers of dermis, and examine the growth of blood vessels into the tissue, a critical step to engineer viable tissue for transplantation.  With Susan’s guidance, research is beyond reproach.

Austin Heine

College of Natural Resources, Research Associate- Forestry & Environmental Resources

Austin is the Operations Manager for the Cooperative Tree Improvement Program (TIP). He is dedicated to introducing the next generation of students to the world of forestry and natural resource management. He leads activities at the Girl Scout Science Academy, hosts Boy Scouts for merit badges and leads workshops for hundreds of high school students every year. Due to his efforts, there has been a 25% increase in forestry applications.  Austin regularly hires students as interns, assists them in job placement as well as volunteers regularly within the community to “preach the gospel” of forestry and sustainable natural resource management.

Shannon Holloway

College of Sciences, Sr. Research Scholar- Statistics 

Shannon has made exceptional and innovative contributions to a major $10 million research project spanning NC State and two other universities. She redesigned the project website, oversaw National Institutes of Health public access compliance, and helped faculty on the project improve their writing skills. She also began holding a writing workshop for junior faculty, doing this on her own time and solely of her own initiative. One nominator praises Shannon for her “innumerable high impact contributions to, and profound influence on, the research accomplishments, training and grantsmanship skills of faculty and students in our department.”

Dane Johnston

College of Veterinary Medicine, University Program Specialist

CVM renovated recently 2 student theaters. Original wooden desktop used by every student from 1981-2017 were destined for dumpsters and landfill.  Dane thought the desktops could be cut into two different sizes, treated to protect one side, branded with the college logo and sold as cutting boards. He marketed the cutting boards to alumni on the idea that they could have a piece of college history while providing financial resources to current students. As of February 2018, the cutting board initiative had raised approximately $25,000 for the student enhancement fund. Picture dumping $25,000 into the bottom of a landfill. Dane’s actions embody the university motto of “Think and Do” as this initiative raised substantial dollars that can impact student life at CVM.

Sean Fokes

Division of Academic & Student Affairs, Energy Manager

Sean is innovative and tireless in his pursuit of energy efficiency. He is always interested in implementing new technologies in buildings to increase energy efficiency and provide a better living environment for NC State students. Through a recent project Sean developed the scope of work, hired staff and oversaw the installation of a new system, which resulted in a savings of $1.7 million with no additional energy costs. Sean is an extremely talented engineer that does not accept status quo. He is constantly seeking improvements to our building systems that provide a better learning and living environment for our students.

Curtis Jackson

Division of Academic & Student Affairs – University Housing, Assistant Director

Curtis Jackson (CJ) serves as the East Campus Assistant Director for University Housing. In addition to overseeing the area’s administration and operation, CJ is also responsible for developing the Living and Learning Villages within his area. An extra special accomplishment that makes CJ shine particularly bright is how he has developed the Black Male Initiative (BMI) Village that has affected the hearts and minds of the 35 participating students. BMI promotes brotherhood and develops leaders through academic success, personal growth, professional development, and self-responsibility. Under CJ’s leadership BMI has provided the students with numerous engagement and learning opportunities. CJ provides strong vision and leadership, creates and implements initiatives that impact students, and gives tirelessly of himself to craft an exceptional experience for his students.

David Setser

Finance & Administration- Design & Construction Services, Engineering Technician

Truck driver, HVAC Technician, HVAC Supervisor, Plant Maintenance Supervisor, Construction Project Manager, “Project Closer.” These are just a few of the roles David has taken in service to the Pack. Each done outstandingly. This past year in addition to juggling up to 20 projects at a time, as project manager David took on the job as interim Assistant Director of Construction Services. Tired yet? David isn’t. David continues to serve as the liaison and “do it all” person for The Point (chancellor’s residence). Project work, repair and maintenance, event planning, David is the on point for The Point. But it doesn’t end at work. This past fall, David found a person on the roadside not breathing and with no pulse.  David immediately began CPR which he maintained until EMS arrived. His service ethic applies wherever David goes.

Luis Gaitan

Finance & Administration- Waste Reduction & Recycling, Recycling & Collections Supervisor

Luis is more than a Supervisor, he’s a fixer, a cheerleader, a mentor, and a million-watt smile generator. He puts 110% into pleasing our customers and completing his work. In addition to Luis’s dedication and relentless work ethic, he always has a positive attitude and time to make every person he comes into contact with feel that their issue or project is his top priority. Relish the irony of this last plaudit – Just recently a parent contacted the recycling office because her daughter had accidentally thrown a special ring in a dumpster. Luis and his team helped that mother dig through the dumpster to find the ring. Luis earns his highest praise for a ring….NOT RECYCLED.

David Josephus

Finance & Administration-University Architects Office, Facility Planner

With the approximately 240 campus building identification signs reaching their end-of-life, rather than just replacing them, Dave saw a better way. He redesigned the signs, making them simpler, easier to repair, more legible and with addresses and street names to enhance safety. If that were not enough, Dave’s new signs are more durable and cheaper to install and replace. All totaled, the new signs will save the university, $475,000 in material costs during replacement, $25,000 in annual maintenance and since Dave completed the signage manual update in-house, he has already saved the university $35,000 in consultant fees. With David on the team, we all win.

Jeff Webster

Office of the Provost – DELTA, Senior Associate Director Applications Development

Jeff Webster, is focused on creating positive customer experiences and is committed to customer focused design and collaboration with others both internal and external to DELTA.  Jeff is known for quietly working in the background but always leading the way for new innovations. Jeff helped pilot an early version of Moodle and shepherded DELTA though it’s many iterations. In 2012, he led the project to move NC State to Moodle 2, now used by almost every NC State student and which offers new tools and features for faculty for course enhancement.  Jeff recently helped implement Blackboard Collaborate and Sonic Foundry Mediasite – useful technologies for enhanced teaching and learning.

Tracey Ray

Office of the Provost-OIED, Former Assistant Vice Provost for Student Diversity

Tracey Ray functioned as the primary diversity and inclusion consultant on campus for nearly two decades.  As Assistant Vice Provost, she launched campus-wide initiatives such as administering climate surveys to all students, faculty and staff. She represented OIED on university-wide diversity councils and committees for many different populations.  She led major programming efforts such as the annual Diversity Education Week and campus Diversity Dialogues, now both in their seventh year while spearheading interfaith initiatives such as the campus spirituality study working to establish designated prayer and meditation spaces on campus.  She worked to achieve NC State’s military-friendly designation through support of military-affiliated students and staff with the new Military and Veterans Resource Center and Green Zone training program.  Tracey’s service exists at every level from project teams to councils at the Chancellor’s level.