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2016 SITES Awards Winners

photo of Aileen Simmons-Bantau

Aileen Simmons-Bantau

Manager, Business and Financial Services


Aileen has made a remarkable impact on process improvement in the BFS Finance and Operating Accounts division. With Michelle Tanskley, Aileen improved adherence to university policy in the letter bill and cash handling processes and created training for Procard holders. She also developed a reconciliation feature for the merit and budget customer workbooks that improved these two major processes. She collaborated with TRECS to produce a visualization in Tableau that allows for real-time data access and automation for a report previously generated by a staff member and emailed weekly. She partnered with Cognos IQ staff over several months to produce automated transaction level detail reports to replace staff-generated reports. With growth of BFS customer departments from 7 to 18 in just a few months, Aileen’s efforts to automate BFS financial reporting were critical to meeting customers’ financial reporting needs.

photo of Christopher Brensinger

Christopher Brensinger

Project Manager, Project Management and Construction Services


Chris led PMCS’s charge to implement a new software, Bluebeam, and train and support staff in its use. He took on this effort in addition to his primary role as project manager. Chris had used Bluebeam previously and presented information about it to the management team, showing how the way PMCS marked up plans, reviewed drawings and put together plan sketches could be improved. He also showed the fiscal benefits of switching software. The management team approved purchase of the software for project managers, planners, the technical review team and others. Chris then put together specific training modules for the various teams and demonstrated how the software could be used. He also supported software users by being the in-house resource. His actions reflect the shared value of stewardship, as he was able to see how staff could be more productive using another tool. Chris's actions will save the department thousands of dollars in billable hours.

photo of Pete Espinoza

Pete Espinoza

Project Management and Construction Services


Pete’s willingness to help others around campus exemplifies his stewardship and goodwill toward the whole UT family. One example of his helpfulness and stewardship is when he was on his way to check the status of a job at FAC and he saw a staff member experiencing difficulty with a cart carrying several cartons of drinks. Pete offered to assist her and fixed the faulty wheel assembly on the cart. She sent a thank-you email to him and copied his leaders the next day to express her gratitude. As an example of Pete’s teamwork, when a PMCS supervisor asked him to help general construction crew members erect the replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall on the LBJ Library concourse, Pete immediately agreed to help although he was finishing his workday at that time. The assembly took four hours. When the time came for disassembly, Pete was asked to help again. Later, in speaking about the work, he said, “It was a privilege to be part of the event.”

photo of Steve Giannascoli

Steve Giannascoli

Supervisor, Project Management and Construction Services


Crew leader of the Electric Shop, Steve unexpectedly became interim supervisor in late 2015. As interim, Steve performed with excellence leading the shop, managing client expectations, and collaborating with project managers and construction planners, while continuing to execute projects and event support. He effectively maintained morale and productivity despite an extremely demanding workload, amplified by vacancies in the shop. He continued to work with his journeymen staff, personally executing projects and supporting tower lightings and campus special events. For example, when last-minute support was needed for the Document Solutions move to Montopolis Research Campus, the electrician assigned to the project was off that day, so Steve went to the site and resolved the issue. Throughout his interim tenure, he coordinated support from one of his staff or personally responded to the need, including after-hours and weekends.

photo of Jennifer Hobson

Jennifer Hobson

Zero Waste Coordinator, Facilities Services


Jennifer’s work with Texas Athletics to implement sustainability initiatives and work toward zero waste in their facilities embodies the SITES values. She established a collaborative relationship with the Athletics sustainability coordinators, and together they developed a multifaceted approach to waste in the Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium and other athletic facilities. This approach included waste audits to analyze the waste stream from the stadium after game days. From this analysis, she and her Athletics colleagues made operational changes to increase recycle rates and decrease contamination of recyclables. They identified food service items in the stadium that couldn’t be recycled or composted. Now, 98% of items coming into stadium food service locations are compostable or recyclable. Jennifer assisted Athletics with their section of the university’s Sustainability Master Plan and their application for the Green Sports Alliance College Sports Sustainability Makeover Contest. Texas Athletics was the inaugural winner in the large campus category.

photo of Wayne King

Wayne King

Program Coordinator, Facilities Services


Wayne inherited a time consuming and error prone manual process of tracking invoices. He took the initiative to learn FileMaker to set up an automated tracking process, which eliminated having to retype information in different places and reduced input errors. He set up FileMaker so that he could look up information in FAMIS, eliminating the need for the data analyst to generate reports for him and helping him discover errors in FAMIS. For example, he was easily able to locate artwork that had been moved, which was needed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request. Wayne attends weekly alarm meetings with UTPD and ITS, and he worked with UTPD to set up work orders so that he could readily identify problem areas. He took the initiative to get a continuous door alarm problem resolved at the Gates-Dell building. He works after hours as needed to solve problems. When an AC unit went out on a Friday, he stayed late to ensure funds were made available to pay for repairs so the building would have air conditioning over the weekend.

photo of Steven McDonald

Steven McDonald

Technician, Facilities Services


A fire-life-safety systems technician in Fire Safety Systems Shop (FSSS), Steve consistently performs great work. When all the fire sprinkler backflow preventers were turned over to FSSS, he was the only technician with a backflow preventer license for inspecting, testing, and maintenance. He took control of verifying all fire sprinkler backflow preventers on campus including location, date of last inspection, serial number, and whether they were in the City of Austin’s tracking system. He enlisted the help of Mike Johnson, FSSS maintenance planner and scheduler, to help with scheduling backflow preventers for inspections. Now, for the first time, all backflow preventers are ahead of schedule for inspection. If inspections, testing, and maintenance are not kept up to date, the City of Austin can require the water to be shut off, rendering the fire sprinkler systems inoperable. Steve takes pride in his work, provides excellent service to all customers, and has true integrity. He utilizes these qualities to ensure the fire sprinkler systems on campus are operational.

photo of Cindy Parker

Cindy Parker

Work Control Specialist, Project Management and Construction Services


During summer 2016, the Sign Shop was tasked with making and hanging Campus Carry signs throughout the campus before the fall semester began. The added labor required to fulfill this task resulted in a backlog of administrative duties for the shop. Cindy was asked to assist the Sign Shop with the Trello program–a scheduling and work management system. After one short training session, Cindy quickly learned the new program and began to incorporate those tasks into her daily duties. She became a primary point of contact for customers who needed to check the status of their work request and informed Sign Shop employees of additional requests in real time. Her inherent desire to provide both the clients and her coworkers with the utmost in customer service demonstrates that she is a team player. Cindy is an integral resource in the PMCS organization, always willing to further her knowledge and help those in need.

Brian Stokes

Brian Stokes

Maintenance Engineer, Facilities Services


In May 2016, Brian was in charge of heat wheel replacements being done by subcontractors. They had to work at night, so Brian volunteered to change his normal schedule of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Instead, he came in at 6 p.m. at night and left in the morning. Along with the subcontractors, he also worked at night on weekends to get the job completed as quickly as possible. This work schedule lasted for several weeks and continued through Commencement and Memorial Day weekend. Brian would also respond to calls during the day from UT staff, when he was off work. During the replacements, there were several problems encountered that he had to solve on the spot instead of delaying the project by waiting for someone else to make a decision the next day. Brian went way above what is required of him, and his actions and dedication reflect all of the shared values.

photo of Timothy Torres

Timothy Torres

Carpenter, Project Management and Construction Services


One summer day, the campus was hit with an unexpected torrential downpour. Everyone caught outside was immediately drenched. As Timothy drove in his van, he stopped repeatedly to offer students, faculty and staff a plastic pocket-raincoat, and most of them accepted. Timothy’s actions that day embodied service, as well as kindness and thoughtfulness. He also demonstrates stewardship and commitment to excellence. When contractors had fallen behind in completing the Lavaca Child Care Center, several members of the Carpenter Shop, including Timothy, were sent to the site to help. While there, Timothy noticed a metal fence along one side of the school yard. He became concerned that the children might get burned if they touched the fence after it had heated in the sun. He designed and installed a bamboo cover overlay for the fence to protect the children from the hot metal.

photo of Jonathan Williams

Jonathan Williams

Supervisor, Business and Financial Services


Jonathan’s willingness to help customers and coworkers and his energetic, positive attitude have earned numerous comments about his excellent customer service. He’s also able to troubleshoot and solve work problems quickly and efficiently. These traits were exemplified by his handling of an issue he resolved regarding tracking of kitting items received at the warehouse. Jonathan noticed the problem, and over the past year he took the initiative to find and set up an online tracking system. He found and implemented Trello, a system that would track, organize, and share details about the kitting items ordered and received so that warehouse staff could be in sync regarding those items. This effort has not only helped warehouse staff work more efficiently, but has ultimately benefitted warehouse customers.

Team Award – Campus Carry Team, Construction Services, Project Management and Construction Services


When the Senate Bill 11 passed, regulating concealed carry of handguns on public university campuses, the law required clear signage posted at locations that would be excluded from the ability to carry a concealed handgun. The deadline to post signage was August 1, 2016. In May, the University Sign Shop (USS) was contacted about not only producing the signage but also having it installed across campus by August 1. The project required more than 650 permanent and temporary signs for interior and exterior doors. It also required over 40 signs excluding concealed carry in rooms or areas when children in Pre K-12th grade would be present on campus, to be displayed during the visits and taken down once the visit or event was concluded. The deadline for more than 40 signs for Athletics facilities was slightly more relaxed, but the requirements were challenging. The Campus Carry signage project spanned multiple campuses, including Main, PRC, MSI, and McDonald Observatory, and the team logged approximately 672 labor hours. Craftsmen from various trades accomplished this work, and the level of communication and willingness to help each other was flawless. The Campus Carry signage team provided a special kind of stewardship, empowering the university with the ability to balance excellence in safety while upholding Texas state law.

Team members: Matthew Carpenter, Orlando Ramirez, David “Tollan” Neagley, Matthew Frymire, Michael Phalan, Timothy Torres, Cesar Armendariz, Danny Salazar, Gilbert Torres, Willie Gooding, Louis Sandoval, Frankie Falcon, Felix Galaviz, Philip Wenske, and Arthur Rodriguez.