Examples of Grace, Leadership and Perseverance Honored as TTU's 1999 Outstanding Staff

They lead in different ways -- by quiet example, by highly-visible leadership and by graceful perseverance -- but James Leon Wright, Terri Watson and Anita Leftwich all go beyond the call of duty.

For the appreciation and respect they have earned from colleagues and supervisors, these three were the 1999 recipients of the Outstanding Staff Award during a recent Luncheon Forum.

The Outstanding Staff Awards program was established in 1989 as a show of appreciation to Tennessee Tech's most outstanding clerical and support staff. Awards are based on job performance, attitude toward work and the university, attendance and perseverance, professional development and suggestions for improvement.

James Leon Wright

Sometimes a person leaves a good impression on others without even realizing it. James Leon Wright's job as a carpenter for Facilities and Business Services takes him into many campus offices to work on different projects. What he's left behind is a lot of good will.

Sandra Bohannon, an administrative assistant in Student Affairs, says she remembers his work ethic and his good attitude.

"He spent many days in our offices this past summer and was always willing to do his very best," said Bohannon. "His work performance was outstanding, and he always greeted us with a smile on his face and a friendly word."

Having worked on a number of projects in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Wright's work caught the eye and appreciation of the department's interim chair Larry Peach.

"His technical skills are outstanding, and he has excellent human relations skills," said Peach. "Mr. Wright is very thorough in the completion of any job, and he does so graciously."

Wright joined the university in 1987.

Anita Leftwich

To hear it from many professors, co-workers and students, the only thing more valuable to them than Anita Leftwich's talent is her ability to smile through the best and worst of times.

As a secretary in Decision Sciences and Management, the largest department in the College of Business, Leftwich juggles more than her share of duties, according to her supervisor and associate dean of the college, Gary Pickett. She is called on to give secretarial support to two chairs of excellence, to the Computer Center and BusinessMedia Center and to Pickett as he serves as both department chair and college associate dean.

"She exudes all that defines perfection as a secretary; she is irreplaceable," said Pickett.

Although he values her job skills, Pickett credits Leftwich with an uncommon ability to show people she cares.

"She once drove a student worker to receive medical attention, and she recently spent her lunch hour going to a local hospital to check on one of our majors whose sibling had been in an accident," said Pickett. "And I've been approached in a restaurant by a parent of a student who credited her with having such a positive effect on her daughter."

"She is always patient, calm and diplomatic," said associate professor Linda Lerner. "She has the highest degree of integrity. I truly admire this in her."

Leftwich began working at TTU in 1992 and joined her current department in 1994. She earned her bachelor's in office administration from Tech and also attained her Certified Professional Secretary's Certificate.

Terri Watson

Terri Watson can even make her colleagues look forward to committee meetings because she's earned their respect as an effective leader and chairperson.

As an executive aide to the College of Business, she leads the clerical/support staff with enthusiasm and is credited with creating a cohesive, energetic work group and an atmosphere of cooperation and collegiality.

Watson's reputation for high-quality work is known beyond campus boundaries. She is recognized throughout the Southeast among business deans for her work with the Southern Business Administration Association.

"Terri is a superb manager and a recognized leader across the entire campus," said Bob Bell, dean of the College of Business.

Watson is known as a team player who can propel a project to success.

"My colleagues and I look forward to working on teams with Terri," said BusinessMedia director Kevin Liska. "We have confidence the end result will be organized and professional."

Watson has served the university since 1986.
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