Workplace Staff Recognition Awards
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2008 Winners & Nominees

Each year, the Office of Human Resources takes nominations of staff members who have provided distinguished service, displayed exemplary teamwork or demonstrated outstanding leadership. A committee of peers selects the winners from among those nominated.

The Office of University Human Resources is pleased to announce the finalists and winners of the Workplace 2008: University of Michigan Staff Recognition Awards.  Laurita Thomas, associate vice president of Human Resources, will present the awards to winners and finalists on June 5, 2008.

The awards honor staff members who have made marked contributions to the mission and work of the University. The award categories are distinguished service, exemplary team, and outstanding leadership. Each individual award carries a monetary prize of $800. Team recipients divide $2,500.

We want to thank all those who took the initiative and effort to nominate candidates for the 2008 Workplace Awards. A full list of persons nominated will be available here soon.

Distinguished Service Award
Outstanding Leadership Award
Exemplary Team Award

2008 Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award honors a university staff member who has provided distinguished service to the University of Michigan and to the community.

Honorable Mention
Rita Benn, PhD, Dept of Family Practice, Medical School                                      
R. Thomas Bray, School of Art & Design                                                     
Jane A. Carey, Dexter Family Medicine                    
Janice W. Davis, Department of Surgery, Medical School   
Stephen E. Eberle, Digital Media Commons 
Michelle M. Hall, School of Social Work                  
Jackie M. Julien, Office of Public Svc., Law School
Bonnie S. Kerschbaum, Theatre & Drama, School of Music
James A. Kosteva, Office of the VP for Government Relations
Erik K. Kreps, Institute for Social Research (ISR)               
Linda A. Lawrence, University & Development Events       
Bonnie J. Loepke, Periodontics & Oral Medicine
Michael D Marable, Enterprise Device Eng & Mgmnt, LS&A
Judith K. McDonald, Humanities & History Internship Ofc/Dearborn
Philomena A. Meechan, Language Resource Center                                                 
Janet L. Miller, Human Genetics, Medical School
JoAnn Nemeth, Political Science, College of LS&A
Ann M. Okkerse, RN, 5East Mott Nursing
Kelly S. Parent, UMH & CW Advocacy
Christine M. Psujek, Program in Biology, College of LS&A
Sandra H. Pytlinski, AOSS, Space Physics Research Lab
Cindy M. Siegel, UMH Ophthalmology
Mark Skalski, MD, Internal Medicine/Brighton Health Center
David R. Smith, LSA Student Academic Affairs     
Michael Smith , Plant Building Services
Scott Stanfill, LSA – Biophysics
Linda Thomas, M-Fit, UMH TCS
Ann Marie Titus, LSA - Biophysics
Eun Ja Yu, Ross School of Business, Admissions Office


Bonnie J. Loepke, Periodontics and Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry

Bonnie is the Clinical Coordinator for Periodontics and Oral Medicine in the School of Dentistry.  ‘Generous’ is a word that is used throughout this nomination:  Bonnie is generous with her time, with her knowledge, with the students, faculty, staff and patients.  Bonnie is an anchor for the students; she is a constant resource for them and is delighted with their successes.  With her efforts, dedication and endless work, she has been a role model for all of the staff.  She is always looking for ways to improve staff achievement and communication.  Bonnie has a love and passion for the work that she does, and it shows.

Bonnie has made a great contribution to the University of Michigan and School of Dentistry through her more than 35 years of unselfish service and dedication to excellence. 

Scott Stanfill, Biophysics, College of LS&A

Scott is a Financial Specialist with Biophysics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.  He joined the University as an inpatient unit clerk at the Hospital in 1993.  Since then, he has progressed through the financial ranks after earning his degree in accounting.  Not only does Scott show strong support for his co-workers, he is also willing to go the extra mile whenever and wherever possible.  He oftens spends his lunch hour helping other departments with a problem.  Scott is very involved on various committees, focus groups and volunteer tasks.  Because of his knowledge and skill in budget, grant preparation, reporting, audits, grant management and on-line grant submission, his help is sought by research administrators at all levels.  His patience and calm nature makes him an excellent teacher as well as a role model and mentor for many staff across the University.

Scott has made an enormous contribution to the University; his willingness and ability to assist others and to elevate group goals has been a resounding theme throughout the letters of nomination we received for him.



2008 Distinguished Service Award Winner
Janet L. Miller, Human Genetics Dept., Medical School

Janet Miller is an Administrative Assistant in the Department of Human Genetics and has been a mainstay in that unit for 22 years.  Her outstanding people skills and rapport with the students contribute to the morale of the graduate program.  She has an unfailing positive attitude, ability to get things done, collegiality with faculty, staff and students, and has outstanding problem-solving skills.  One of the students states, “she seems to have the uncanny ability to track the academic progress of the students better than the students themselves do!”

We received several supporting letters of nomination for Janet, and the same sentiments rang true throughout:  sensitive to the needs of underrepresented students; gracious; supportive; great insight into human nature; priceless; listening ear for troubled students; devoted; dedicated.

Janet has put a lot of effort into ensuring the success of students at the University of Michigan, and she consistently provides a role model to the students and faculty with her positive attitude.  She is truly irreplaceable and the entire department dreads the day she decides to retire!


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2008 Outstanding Leadership Award
The Outstanding Leadership Award honors a university staff member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, vision, and initiative.

Honorable Mention
Ami Y. Ball, Level C Nursing
Margaret G. Britton, Nursing, Peds/Perinatal
Ezio L.Fortuna, RN, Emergency Dept          
Michelle R. Hassan, RN, Emergency Dept   
Keysha N. Jefferson, Taubman General Medicine
Lynn A. Johnson, School of Dentistry
Denise A. Landis, Survival Flight
Judith M. Lawson, School of Information
Brigette Lee Lippert, RN, Emergency Department
Jon P. Lillemoen, OSEH
Prof. Robert J. Miller, School of Social Work
Jorge F. Palacio, Plant Operations – Network Services
Kenneth C. Paris, DPS (Dearborn Campus)
Susan M. Seychel, Engineering Professional Develop. (Dearborn)   
Tammy Shown, Orthopaedic Surgery           
Jocelyn E. Wiggins, MD, Internal Med/Geriatrics


Margaret G. Britton, Nursing Administration, UHS

Margay is Director of Nursing and Leader of the Making Mott Safer Team.  She has played a critical leadership role in implementing the philosophy of patient-family centered care in Mott Hospital.  Margay has the ability to identify and convey visions, goals, options and strategies.  Her intense desire to Make Mott Safter led her staff on a four-year path of formulating plans and changes that truly had an impact on C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital.  During their most trying times when it did not seem that the infant protection system replacement project would every get funded, she remained positive.  Because she is so well respected in the institution, she was able to lead the team to success.  She is willing to take creative risks and help her staff learn from their mistakes.  She has a strength of leadership that is truly remarkable.


Jon P. Lillemoen, OSEH

Jon is a Senior Representative with OSEH.  His outstanding team leadership skills and positive support are the backbone of their technical staff.  He continually collaborates with and encourages staff to find better and more efficient ways to work.  Jon is a member of the emergency response team at OSEH and, as such, he must at times leave to take care of emergencies all over campus, many times in the middle of the night.  Jon is a central driver for innovation, continuous improvement, and a focus on the institutional good.  He anticipates the need for change, analyzes options and designs solutions through teamwork. 

2008 Outstanding Leadership Award Winner
Judith M. Lawson, School of Information

Judy is Director of Admissions and Student Affairs at the School of Information and has been with the University almost 20 years.  Judy has been “wildly successful” in her current position.  She advises and mentors students so that their experience at the University is both rewarding and of high caliber.  In addition, she is very supportive of her staff and their growth and is concerned about their futures.  Faculty expressed their highest regard for Judy as a colleague, impressed by her dignity, leadership and knowledge.  Staff expressed appreciation for her support, style and leadership.  Judy is a visionary and clearly conveys her vision and goals.  She gets involved and takes on many roles.  She empowers, leads and challenges her staff to take any and every opportunity for professional development.  She has a strong desire for all students to succeed.  She has tremendous insight into student issues and promotes systemic solutions that meet the needs of both the students and the academic unit. 

Judy has built up an academic and career services department that is admired and modeled by many of her professional peers.  She has the amazing ability to understand and appreciate both the student affairs world and the academic affairs world, and she bridges them together.  That is the sign of a great leader.



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2008 Exemplary Team Award
The Exemplary Team Award honors a group of university staff members who have functioned as an exemplary team, whether formally or informally designated.

Honorable Mention
6-A Admissions Team, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation UMHS
Book Selection Committee of the Summer Reads Programm LS&A Student Academic Affairs
Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Team, Department of Otolaryngology
English Department Writing Program, English Department, College of LS&A       
Program in the Environment Staff, LS&A Environment
U of M – Flint Student Housing, UM – Flint            nominated by: Office of the Vice Chancellor
High Performance Computing Team, Center for Advanced Computing, College of Engineering
LVAD Support Team, UMH Cardiac Surgery
MPOWER (Michigan Pediatric Outpatient Weight Evaluation & Reduction Team, Pediatrics                                       
Making Mott Safer Team
Mathematics Undergraduate Student Services, Mathematics
Mega Midwest AGEP Conference Team, Rackham Graduate School
UM Outpatient Physical Therapy Team, Physical Therapy Division 
Histology Team, Department of Pathology   
“Pearls for Peds” Team, Emergency Department, Peds
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Pediatrics & Communicable Diseases
School of Nursing Pelvic Floor Research Team, School of Nursing
School of Public Health Office of Academic Affairs Team, School of Public Health


Mathematics Undergraduate Student Services
Bert Ortiz, Jessica Taylor, Christine Betz Bolang.

Team members Chris Tetz Bolang, Bert Oritz and Jessica Taylor form an “awesome threesome,” according to the Mathematics Department faculty, staff and students.  Their tireless efforts have been instrumental in recruiting and retaining some of the best students in the college.  They can be counted upon to finish each job expeditiously and correctly; they are unflagging in their recruitment and promotion efforts; their welcoming and relaxed attitude makes the math department one of the most pleasant places to work; and no obstacle is impassable for them as a team.

This team requires virtually no supervision because they are so experienced, accurate and efficient.  They touch the lives and experiences of virtually everyone in the department – faculty, staff and students, and glowing remarks and testimonials are evidence of their positive impact.  Since this team is on the front line with students, they need to be sensitive to the needs of these students but at the same time enforce departmental policies.  This is a delicate balancing act that the team performs with admirable precision.  As one student commented, “every time I’ve walked into that office, I walked out feeling comfortable and secure with whatever it was I needed.”

Chris, Bert and Jessica are truly a superb team, and much of the credit for the smooth operation of the department is owed to them.  They have more than earned this recognition.


Making Mott Safer Team
Margay Britton, Kimberly Barker, Ulku Kocabas, Cathy Erdly, Tom Jensen, Perry Spencer, Teresa Swarczinski, Grace Brand, Sue Kofflin, Katrina Hanosh, Lori Lathers, Paula Greene, Beth Johnson, Jan Bogart, Marc Danzig, Christine Belt

The Making Mott Safer Team is a cross-functional team from Nursing, Social Work, Maintenance, Facilities Planning and Development, Architecture and Engineering, Security Services, MCIT, Central Staff Resources, Mott Community Relations, Public Realtions, and Marketing/Communications.  The team gelled quickly under the leadership of Margay Britton, and it had to because the task it was facing could only be dealt with successfully if it attained true synergy. 

The focus of the team was to produce a more secure environment through a systems approach to provide a comprehensive security system.  The hallmarks of this success were based on:  overcoming an adverse situation, attentiveness to the multicultural nature of the community, sensitivity to co-workers and family obligations, willingness to assist others, and ability to elevate group goals. 

Creativity was the strength of the team and it was fostered by the collegial atmosphere at meetings.  The Team capped off a four-year effort in November of 2007 when the HUGS infant protection system went operational.  The journey to reach that point required a great deal of effort, but the end result is a new, state-of-the-art infant protection system.

2008 Exemplary Team Winner
School of Nursing, Pelvic Floor Research Team
Margaret Tolbert, Lee M. Park, Caroline Garcia, Marni Arnett, Ruta Misiuna

Ruta Misiunas, Meg Tolbert, Lee Park, Caroline Garcia, and Marni Arnett have together formed a team that is better than a well-oiled machine.  This team has used creativity, communication and project management to perform at a high level.  They are a self-managed team using an internal leadership style and constant process improvement to get it right.  Culturally, they span a wide spectrum across religions, races, politics and education, what they like to eat, how they like to have fun, and who they know in life.  This is not a homogenous group who intuitively know how to work together.  Instead it is five individuals who have learned how to help one another through good times and difficult times, by getting to know each other’s personalities, culture and preferences.  Where others see a problem (parking, anticipating the future of grant funding), this team strategizes, collects data, negotiaties, and plans accordingly.

While each person on this team has a unique and individualized expertise that is brought to the group, they also work in concert to the degree that at times they seem almost interchangeable, yet they are not.  Ruta:  dedicated, focused, keen understanding, invaluable resource.  Meg:  strong social skills, sensitivity, meticulous attention to detail.  Lee:  analytical genius, sweet, patient.  Caroline:  helpful, editor extraordinaire, proficient.  Marni:  brilliant accountant, patience, grace, confidence.





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