UBC Okanagan staff honoured for excellence

UBC Okanagan staff award recipients for 2009 are, from left, Roger Bizzotto, Barbara Lucente, Wendy Mohns, Leanne Bilodeau, and Bud Mortenson.

Five staff members at UBC Okanagan were honoured on Tuesday morning with the University's Second Annual Staff Awards of Excellence.

The awards were created to recognize the extraordinary contributions of those who have gone above and beyond their job description in helping UBC Okanagan achieve its goals, says Doug Owram, Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

"UBC Okanagan is a place that celebrates and fosters an environment of excellence, equity and mutual respect," says Owram. "The Staff Awards of Excellence is one of the ways we honour the ability and ingenuity of those who enhance our university and community."

The awards were made in categories of customer service, leadership, sustainability and community engagement, and have been designed to reflect the objectives of UBC's TREK 2010 plan, UBC Okanagan's Academic Plan and UBC's Focus on People plan.

Also presented at the ceremony was the inaugural Deputy Vice-Chancellor's Award, presented to an individual who makes an exceptional contribution to the UBC Okanagan campus and the community at large.

This year, Leanne Bilodeau, Manager of Workplace Health and Sustainability, received the first-ever Deputy Vice-Chancellor's Award in recognition of the many projects and programs she has organized to promote healthy living and sustainability.

"Leanne is a leader in our community and an advocate for sustainable living," says Jackie Podger, Acting Associate Vice-President of Administration and Finance. "She has been involved with many community and university initiatives that far exceed her current duties, and these have directly benefited the community at large."

The Staff Awards of Excellence recipients for 2009 are:

Community Engagement - Bud Mortenson
As the Public Affairs Manager in the Alumni and University Relations department, Bud Mortenson was nominated because of his dedication, talent and passion for telling the UBC Okanagan story. His efforts ensure people from a local to international level know about the research and work being done by staff, students, faculty and the UBC Okanagan community.

In the words of faculty member Carlos Teixeira, "Bud has done a lot to promote our scholars, our research and our community. He cares about what's going on at UBC Okanagan. He cares, and this makes all the difference."

"Without Mortenson's efforts, much of the exceptional research and many of the tremendous initiatives undertaken at UBC Okanagan would not have received the enormous support and recognition they did," says Alumni Relations Manager Brenda Tournier. "He invests himself fully in faculty, student and alumni interviews, coaxing out the heart of the story."

Leadership - Roger Bizzotto
In his role as Manager of Facilities, Roger Bizzotto works closely with both the UBC Okanagan community and their community partners on large and complicated projects that include infrastructure upgrades and new construction.

Continually cited as a key leader in the ongoing and rapid development at UBC Okanagan, Bizzotto's extensive knowledge of the campus and his ability to act decisively, confidently and professionally makes him an invaluable resource at UBC Okanagan and deserving recipient of this award, says Garry Appleton, Manager Security & Parking.

Melody Burton, Chief Librarian, cites one example:

"Late one evening in January 2008 the library fell victim to a small fire. Roger arrived on scene almost immediately, coordinating communications with security and local fire and police officers. He calmed down my staff. The overall response was remarkable, and Roger's leadership ensured an excellent outcome."

Customer Service - Wendy Mohns
Wendy Mohns, Faculty Administrator in Creative and Critical Studies, is an essential part of the day-to-day operations and ongoing success of the Creative and Critical Studies department. She's responsible for a wide-range of services, including all matters pertaining to budget management, human resources, administrative tasks, and faculty and student support.

Often said to be doing the job of three people, Mohns goes well beyond her job description, using humour and diplomacy to help make those around her better at their own jobs.

"I can say with complete certainty that without Ms. Mohns we would not have enjoyed the level of success we have enjoyed in keeping our heads afloat and our spirits up," says Robert Belton, Dean of Creative and Critical Studies.

"There has never -- and I can say this with complete confidence -- been a time when Wendy has not been helpful," states Nancy Holmes, "Wendy defines excellence.

She sets a standard that is so high, and everyone recognizes her worth."

Customer Service - Barbara Lucente
As Faculty Assistant to the Barber Arts & Sciences Unit 2 department, Barbara Lucente deals with a variety of tasks on any given day.

"Barbara will go the extra mile in her work -- she routinely steps in to help out faculty or students and has an ability to anticipate any problems that may arise," says Robert Lalonde, associate professor.

Described by her colleagues as efficient, organized, positive and friendly, Lucente maintains a high level of professionalism while also fostering an atmosphere of warmth.

"Barb is unfailingly cheerful and professional in her dealings with students, faculty and staff," says Louise Nelson, Associate Dean, Research and Strategic Planning. "She has something positive to say about every situation and seeks out the best in every individual. Her warm smile, infectious laugh and respectful manner brings out the best in everyone and ensures a happy and well-functioning academic unit."

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