Before students could move into the university’s new Toni Morrison and GanÄdagÇ« residences in August, countless details needed special attention behind the scenes.
In addition to ensuring that the North Campus Residential Expansion (NCRE) facilities were clean after construction was completed, Building Maintenance staff member Melissa Heuser hung hundreds of shower curtains , unpacked and installed nearly 900 desk lamps and deployed over 1,000 garbage cans and recycling bins, while overseeing the delivery and assembly of childcare equipment.
For helping ensure a successful move, Heuser was one of six Building Care employees to receive a Bartels Award for Child Care Excellence on December 15, which recognized essential and often overlooked work that took of even greater importance during the coronavirus pandemic.
The past year “has reconfirmed the importance of the work that the Building Care staff do every day, and you have played an important role in Cornell’s ability to succeed in her academic year,” said Bob Pils, Department Director, during a virtual conference. ceremony.
The staff’s work made possible a fall semester in person, the resumption of athletic competitions and launch ceremonies in May and September, Pils said. In addition to supporting NCRE openings, the department successfully reopened Balch Hall in two days to serve as a quarantine facility.
Rick Burgess, vice president of campus facilities and services, said the move to a virtual awards ceremony was just the latest example of the department’s flexibility and resilience.
âIt’s been a tough year and a half, there’s no getting around it,â said Burgess. âThe mark of a professional, however, is that you take the good times and the bad and you don’t compromise on quality, and you don’t compromise on the level you work at. And I’ve seen it day after day after day from all of you.
Also in attendance were Keith Barton ’94, associate vice president for facilities management and contracted university facilities, and Rob Osborn, retired director of Building Care.
Phil Bartels ’71, joined by his wife, Susan Bartels, and daughter Katie Bartels ’06, said the family were proud to support the ‘backbone’ department which has worked through hours and harsh weather conditions and since in early 2020, âthe darn little COVID bug.â He praised the Building Care for team for their dedication and âagilityâ in adverse circumstances.
âWe thank you very much,â he said.
Since 2007, the Bartels Award winners have been nominated by managers for their strong customer service orientation, reliability, teamwork and communication skills, technical knowledge, support for the Cornell mission and their positive attitude. They receive a framed certificate and a monetary reward.
This year’s winners:
Melissa Heuser, who joined the department in 2005, took on a leadership role and shone in helping open NCRE Residences, said Cindy Lockwood, Associate Director of Building Care. Lockwood said Heuser has “worked consistently and diligently to ensure a clean and safe environment in which students can thrive and do their best.”
Alain james, nearly three decades of service with Cornell, has been recognized for his positive attitude, his sense of humor and his knowledge of his third-shift work âinside and outâ. A night watchman from the Uris Library praised James for his flawless professional work and for regularly asking how he could help, concluding: âYou can’t ask for anything more from a person. “
Zorica Mrdjen, a Building Care employee since 2016, has won quick promotions because of her work ethic, integrity and focus on customer service, Lockwood said. Mrdjen knew little English when she started her career at Cornell, but made it the fourth language in which she is fluent, and is now working on a bachelor’s degree. One manager called Mrdjen a “born leader and problem solver” whose contagious attitude makes people smile.
Donnie Parker, a 32-year Cornell veteran, is a ‘gem’ who gives all he can every day, always ready to lend a hand, do extra work and provide great service, the proposers wrote. . One wrote that Parker works hard because he “wants the students, faculty and staff around him to have the best possible experience.”
Rob reis, a 13-year university employee, was praised for his meticulous, high-quality work, responsiveness to service requests, and commitment to departmental standards. Reis is “very reliable, has a great attitude and is definitely a team player,” said Lockwood. Known for his passion for drums, Reis helped rebuild a drum kit for the William Keeton House on campus.
Kathy “Kate” Smith, a 21-year veteran, helped ensure a smooth transition as the department recently added 10 buildings to its portfolio, said Hazel Hall, associate director of Building Care. According to his manager, Smith âhas a great work ethic and keeps the team moving. The staff love to work with her. She makes the job fun while doing the job 110%. “
In addition to congratulating the six winners, the department heads announced the recipients of $ 5,000 scholarships supported by the Bartels family, including a Building Care employee and 11 children of employees.