Published: Fri Oct 22, 2004Three Tennessee Tech University employees — Linda LaFever, Vickie Mayberry and Candice Norris — recently received recognition for their skills, attitude and dedication to the university.
As the recipients of the 2004 Outstanding Staff Awards, each received praise from colleagues, supervisors and students.
The Outstanding Staff Awards program was established in 1989 to show appreciation to TTU’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.
As a custodian in Johnson Hall, Linda LaFever’s positive attitude and friendly demeanor “outshines even her conscientious and efficient work,” said Donna B. Smith, adjunct professor of decision sciences and management.
“She has raised the standards of cleanliness and neatness in our building, and maintaining a building that is constantly used by students and faculty is not an easy task,” Smith continued.
Among LaFever’s responsibilities are sweeping, mopping, buffing and vacuuming stairs, corridors and floors; washing windows, polishing furniture and cleaning woodwork; picking up litter in and around the building and emptying and cleaning trash receptacles; cleaning bathroom walls, floors and fixtures and replenishing bathroom supplies; making minor repairs to the building and moving furniture; and assisting to train any new custodial staff assigned to Johnson Hall.
“She looks for the causes of problems rather than just cleaning up the result,” said Robert Niebuhr, dean of the College of Business. He cited an example in which LaFever recently discovered a deteriorating ceiling tile and had it replaced instead of continually cleaning the white residue it caused people to track onto carpets.
Associate dean Gary C. Pickett said, “As the building coordinator, I’ve witnessed the quality of work of all of our facility support staff over several years, and simply stated, no one has ever surpassed Linda in any aspect of the job or criteria for this award.”
Accounting professor Jon A. Booker agreed, saying, “I’ve worked at TTU for 20 years and have never met an employee with a more positive attitude or better work ethic than Linda has.”
Vickie Mayberry’s 15 years of “dedication, imagination and constant job improvement” all add up to a successful career as a secretary III in the mathematics department, according to Chairperson Rafal Ablamowicz.
Her duties include supervising student workers and processing payroll; preparing and maintaining all departmental key, facility and computer inventories; coordinating the department’s annual International Conference; maintaining personnel files for faculty, undergraduate and graduate students; and maintaining departmental web sites.
“I’ve known Vickie for 15 years — both as a co-worker and as a close, personal friend — and I feel that I have a unique perspective about her qualifications,” said Mamie Goulet, a secretary retired from the mathematics department. “It is my opinion that there is no better secretary on TTU’s campus than Vickie Mayberry.”
According to associate professor Brian M. O’Connor, Mayberry’s qualities include “a wonderful personality, a terrific sense of humor and her friendliness to all, both faculty and students.”
Associate professor Allan D. Mills describes her as “a wonderful ambassador for our department. She is dependable, competent and hardworking. Vickie is a person one can trust to handle many responsibilities.”
“Without her commitment and dedication, our department wouldn’t operate nearly as well as it does,” he concluded.
As a secretary II in the College of Business’s Division of External Relations, Candace Norris has been described as “more than a team player.”
“She performs her work immaculately, is dedicated to the success of this university, and her upbeat attitude makes us all feel good about what we do,” said associate dean Virginia Moore.
Donna B. Smith agreed, saying, “Candy is one of the reasons I love to walk into the Division of External Relations office. She and her fellow workers seem to enjoy supporting faculty, students — and each other. Candy’s attitude toward others and toward her work is outstanding. A short talk with Candy can leave me more ready to face my day, and the work she and the office produce is excellent.”
Among her duties are coordinating recruiter lunches; typing, revising and formatting documents — including exams, syllabi, academic papers and technical material — for faculty, staff, students and customers; typing and securing tests and exams to be duplicated; preparing initial correspondence and maintaining contact information in the Distance MBA program’s database; and preparing invoices for all non-routine copying and typing projects.
“She created a form called ‘Candy’s Handy Dandies’ to aid our faculty members in developing timely, accurate syllabi,” said Lelia Gibson, director of External Relations.“It provides a list of days each class meets, as well as any scheduled holidays, and many professors now count on it as an invaluable tool to help them prepare their syllabi.”
Neibuhr describes Norris as one of the college’s most loyal and dedicated employees. “When we started the new Distance MBA program, we needed an individual who would be able to learn a new database, and Candy quickly did,” he said.
G.A. Swanson, professor of accounting and business law, says she “is like a right hand, processing my not-so-state-of-the-art first drafts into fine manuscripts, letters and other documents — and amazingly, she does it with the efficiency of a personal secretary. When I realize she’s providing similar services to some 50 other professors, I honestly don’t know how she manages it all.”