SITES Award Employee Recognition SITES Awards Home Page

2015 SITES Awards Winners

photo of Cesar Armendariz

Cesar Armendariz

Project Management & Construction Services


When PMCS was contacted about a new child care center scheduled to open at the beginning of the fall semester, they were told that storage cabinets were needed. It was essential that they be installed on August 17, because the center staff needed time to unpack and store supplies before the center’s opening on September 1. PMCS purchased 24 pre-fabricated, unfinished cabinets, which were delivered on August 11. Cesar, a technical coatings specialist, took them to the finish shop on August 12. He completed the first phase of finishing (sanding, staining all components) at 1 a.m. on August 13. He returned later that day to apply sealant to the components. The same day, he went to another job on campus and painted walls for six hours, after which he returned to the finish shop to spray a final top coat on the components, completing all cabinets by 7 p.m. in time for the August 17 installation. Cesar’s dedication to teamwork begins with a can-do attitude and positive energy that is infectious.

photo of Jeff Bachschmids

Jeff Bachschmids

Project Management & Construction Services


Jeff displayed exceptional leadership during Commencement 2015. As Carpenter Shop crew leader, he not only supervised assembly and disassembly of the stage, but also ensured that crew members had all the materials necessary for the job. He kept them informed of modifications and changes to the schedule, due to the adverse weather conditions. He ensured that all personnel had the proper protective equipment and worked safely. Jeff also led the team in proper placement of the signs and barriers used for the event, and his involvement resulted in the shop being able to maintain the rigid schedule. Jeff is also the “go to” person when it comes to installation and modification of doors and door hardware. He is in constant demand for his assistance and expertise in this area. He frequently works through breaks and lunch to make sure that the clients have the needed security for their areas.

photo of Francis Bohn

Francis Bohn

Project Management & Construction Services


Over the past two years, an effort to combine two separate databases used by PMCS' Contracting team into a single database had taken many forms. Francis stepped up to the challenge, undertaking complex programming tasks in support of this project and taking on most of the project management efforts for it as well. Although more than 50% of his time had to be dedicated to this project, he completed his other data analysis efforts. Francis spent two days per week at PRC working directly with TRECS in order to perform much of this work. He understood the requirements and worked tirelessly to manage expectations and ultimately deliver useful, efficient tools that are streamlining PMCS’ efforts to deliver projects for its campus clients. Additionally, he used his vast knowledge of Sharepoint to develop a portal for technical review for the new plan review model that PMCS is using. Francis’s efforts demonstrate excellence and teamwork.

photo of Rick Dahl

Rick Dahl

Project Management & Construction Services


When the Power Plant needed a heavy duty workbench to work on motors and heavy equipment, they came to Rick, a cabinet maker in Construction Services. He designed it and selected recycled doors for the workbench. The doors were solid core, making a strong and durable work surface. By using the doors, Rick was able to spend less on materials. On another occasion, a client at Sutton Hall wanted to replace heavy wooden trim around chalk boards. Rick showed the client that by simply replacing a few pieces and drilling new holes to match the existing pattern, all new trim would not be needed. This approach saved the client over $800 in material and labor costs. These examples demonstrate Rick’s stewardship of clients’ resources, as well as commitment to service. He is also a good steward of equipment in his shop. When a large sander developed an air leak, it was unusable. He found and repaired the problem, saving over $500 in repair costs. 

photo of Debrah Fields

Debrah Fields

Business & Financial Services


Debrah demonstrated the qualities of integrity and excellence by providing above and beyond quality service. This excerpt from her nomination explains: “During my time in two independent programs, Debrah arranged extra time to help me increase my skills and confidence in public speaking. When I found out I would have to present at the New Manager's Orientation, Debrah showed the same caliber of teaching and support by creating a PowerPoint presentation for each individual presenter.” This information was relatively new to Debrah, and she spent hours editing and verifying that the information was correct. Further, she offered to practice it with each individual presenter, which helped build the presenters’ confidence and polish their presentation skills. As a training specialist, Debrah demonstrates dedication, commitment, enthusiasm, and support to her co-workers and exemplifies integrity and excellence.

photo of Rodney Givens

Rodney Givens

Project Management & Construction Services


Rodney worked on projects related to the moves of departments and their equipment from East Campus and was heavily involved with a project at SSW to fit-up a space for the Campus Mail group. The users rely on large, heavy equipment for their operations, all of which require power. An electrician, Rodney traced all the electrical circuits in the project space to identify the existing conditions. He noted his findings on drawings and surveyed the electrical for the equipment that would be moved. His information was used during client meetings to determine the best placement for all of the equipment. Rodney was invaluable on this project and his hard work resulted in cost savings to the project. While this is just one instance, clients from other departments have specifically requested him for their projects because of his expertise, stewardship, and service.

photo of Loren Hinkle-Roberts

Loren Hinkle-Roberts

Business & Financial Services


Loren demonstrates excellent customer service with a solution-oriented approach to work and a “can do” attitude. She considers the impact of her decisions and diligently identifies issues which may affect other areas in the organization. Recently, she identified a problem with a vendor that would have caused serious issues in procuring chemicals for water treatment for the plant at the beginning of the year, and she involved the appropriate people immediately, resulting in a plan to procure the necessary chemicals to prevent operational problems. Although she has been doing the work of two people for over two years, Loren does not complain about the workload and still offers to help others. Amidst the workload, she manages to learn new skills and has acquired a certification. Loren strives to do the job right and finds ways to say yes while still abiding by the rules.

photo of Patricia Maurizi-Schiff

Patricia Maurizi-Schiff

Facilities Services


Patricia demonstrates service and commitment to her job. As a building attendant leader, Patricia demonstrates strong customer skills and great leadership abilities. She inspires her employees to do their best. When University Health Services went through an accreditation that happens every three years, the two inspectors noted how clean and neat the building was. Patricia was also in charge of the cleaning services provided to MBB. When a realignment of the buildings took place, MBB building manager Rob Newton wrote, "Patricia, it's been a real pleasure working with you, and I hope that your next set of buildings will appreciate your work as much as we did." Soon after Patricia’s team acquired NOA, the building occupants immediately noticed the difference throughout the building. Rebecca Parks, HR office manager, wrote, "Thank you Patricia - you have made a HUGE difference in the appearance of our building." Patricia has received praise for the way she leads her crew at SSB as well.

photo of Mike Montgomery

Mike Montgomery

Business & Financial Services


Mike Montgomery, Business & Financial Services
Mike has gone above and beyond in developing processes to track the Central Stores inventory, saving the department time and money. Improved inventory tracking has enabled the department to reduce Stores inventory, saving more than $537,000. These funds can now be used elsewhere by the university rather than being used to fund inventory that is not needed or is not used due to obsolescence. The time that Mike put into developing the tracking process and his efforts to reduce the inventory have proven to be a tremendous success.

photo of Mitchell Stepp

Mitchell Stepp

Project Management & Construction Services


As a master electrician, Mitch was already proven in his career field, but in short time he proved to be an equally skilled and effective construction planner. Within two weeks of his promotion, he was selected to lead a priority project for Custodial Services. The project involved replacing all (estimated 2,966) toilet paper dispensers in 124 main campus E&G facilities with high-volume dispensers--a major labor-saving initiative for Custodial Services. Working closely with the supervisor of General Construction and with Custodial Services, Mitch developed a plan of execution. He then met with each building manager, systematically carrying out the project building by building. The project required close coordination with building managers for restroom access and required that all installations comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) criteria for clearances and stall access. Throughout the project, he maintained regular communication with Custodial staff in individual buildings and with the Custodial associate director on overall schedule and budget. Mitch has been a planner for only 18 months, yet he manages projects as a seasoned professional.

photo of Michelle Tanksley

Michelle Tanksley

Business and Financial Services


Since taking on a new role in Operating Accounts, Michelle has constantly come up with ways to streamline processes to better serve internal and external customers. For example, she has not only called bi-weekly team meetings to share knowledge and listen to her team members’ concerns, but also responds to concerns promptly and improves processes. With the high volume of invoices the team handles, Michelle created a spreadsheet showing the list of blanket purchase orders as well as a spreadsheet showing the list of vendors for MC postings. This provides the accounting technicians with a quick reference guide. The list of vendors for MC postings summarizes the information the accounting technicians need to enter postings into FAMIS. She also created a shared spreadsheet where all invoices and/or receivers can be tracked in one place, helping the team locate documents and respond to customers more quickly. Michelle not only had to learn a new role, but recently assumed some responsibilities from Campus Real Estate, acquired two members of the Utilities team, and is assuming responsibilities from TRECS. She enjoys helping streamline processes, sharing knowledge, and providing excellent customer service.

photo of John Vershaw

John Vershaw

Project Management & Construction Services


The AHU-5 fan in Jester Dormitory had a complete fan failure the weekend of August 8-9, leaving the unit completely unusable. This unit serves student dorm rooms on floors 2-10 of Jester East (160 rooms). Move in was scheduled to start on August 19. John quickly coordinated with the mechanical JOC contractor and DHFS staff to develop a plan to get the unit back into operation. By August 12, it was determined that best option was to purchase a skid mounted fan and motor just small enough to slide into AHU-5. Luckily, John had recently completed a pre-audit of AHU-5 for a future AHU replacement renovation project, and this information was used to help select the fan and motor sizes. He then had the JOC contractor reach out to different companies to confirm equipment delivery times and costs. A job order was issued and executed by the end of the day on August 14. The fan skid was delivered early in the morning on August 18, and was installed in the unit and started up by 4 p.m. that day, hours before the students arrived for early move in on Wednesday. Had John not worked tirelessly to complete this project in time, students may not have been able to move in as scheduled. 

Photo of BFS team award winners

Team Award – Project Accounting, Business & Financial Services


It can take an hour or tens of hours to close out a capital project account and lapse any unused funds back to the client. This complex task involves reconciliation among three different screens or systems: DEFINE, FAMIS, and WORQs. The work requires sleuthing ability in the case of complex projects. This team has cranked through a heavy workload to achieve the lowest number of projects in accounting status in the last five years--only 138 projects--a 69% reduction from the July 2010 figure of 449 projects. Even more importantly, the dollar amount in lapse balances is the lowest in five years, at $2.279 million. This amount has declined since May 2010, from over $11 million to the current level, a monumental 402% decrease. Improvement in this area is extremely beneficial to our clients, as it means that compared to 2010, over $9 million more is available in project funding after lapsing—money that can be used for additional projects rather than being "tied up" in project funds waiting to be closed/lapsed. Customers appreciate the shorter turnaround on closeouts. Project Accounting’s coordinated and focused effort on closeouts has converted what was once a backlog to a well-managed workload, highlighting the Project Accounting team’s focus on stewardship and excellence.

Team members: Andrea Ault, Vianey Chavarria Borrego, Amanda Henry, Judith Ramos, Leticia Amaro, and Carolyn Carrasco.

Photo of Carpenter Shop team award winners

Team Award – Carpenter Shop, Project Management & Construction Services


When the Nano Science & Technology (NST) building was flooded, the carpenters handled extensive demolition and replacement of sheet rock and wall materials quickly, with little interruption to the client. The cabinetmakers custom built a work station for assembly and repair of heavy-duty motors for the UT power plant. The shop handled a variety of summer projects despite being understaffed. For example, in one project, a team of two carpenters and two cabinetmakers modified and installed manufactured cabinets in the Lavaca Child Development Center under an extremely tight schedule. They installed numerous whiteboards, bulletin boards, and child “cubbyhole shelves” in all classrooms and covered a fence that was a child safety hazard. The center was able to pass inspections and open on time. As another example, the shop installed new doors and hardware at the stadium (for security reasons) in time for the first home game of the season. Special projects included Orange Santa (the shop made over 75 wooden toys); Commencement, which was set up in time despite adverse weather; tower number displays, for which a team member developed a faster process; a peregrine falcon nesting box, built and installed on the outer top level of the Main building; and two full-scale mock-ups of proposed installations that were subsequently approved by university officials. This shop has been recognized by UT Environmental Health and Safety as a model for working safely.

Team members: Armando Blanco, Jeffrey Bachschmid, Laura Burrows, Rick Dahl, Robert Delaware, Charles Jennison, Robert Lee, Kenneth Rhinehart, and Timothy Torres.