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Approximately 200 staff employees work at and support the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Each month, a deserving staff member is recognized for their exemplary job performance. As part of the honor, the selected employee receives eight hours of annual leave, a personalized front-row parking spot at the college for the month, and a certificate of recognition from Dean Cyril Clarke.
Individuals are peer-nominated and may only receive the recognition once per academic year. Faculty, staff and students can nominate a staff member by sending a completed nomination form to Rebekah Woodyard.
After working part-time for five years at the veterinary college, Raven Gray became a full-time employee in the Teaching Hospital business office in May. In only five months, she has made a positive impression on faculty, staff, and hospital clients.
Her nominator wrote, “Raven is a breath of fresh air when it comes to Business Office communications. She is always kind-hearted towards every individual. She smiles at clients and at staff (we have to pay bills too!). Raven actually takes time to discuss issues that may arise rather than just requesting money.”
Client relations are a very important aspect of veterinary medicine. “Specialty medicine is expensive and a real financial challenge for many of our clients. It is important that they have a positive interaction when it comes to paying the bill or working out financial details,” the nominator said. “No one wants to talk about money when a beloved pet’s health is at stake. When I hand clients over to Raven, I am confident that the interaction will be a considerate one.”
The Teaching Hospital’s nutrition service got a shot in the arm when Karen Whitt took on the role of nutrition technician last summer. A real advocate for the service, she assists with client communication and student education. “Karen is great to work with due to her friendly and flexible demeanor,” her nominator wrote. “Her help with nutrition consults definitely helps to streamline case flow. At the same time, she has increased our presence in the hospital by conducting daily rounds through the ICU.”
A 14-year employee of the college, Karen has coached several students in the nutritional management of their patients, and sometimes their own pets. “She is great with students and they are very comfortable interacting with her,” the nominator noted. “Karen takes initiative with student rounds and student lectures; she has proposed great teaching ideas that help to improve student engagement.” She is also credited with new ideas to help improve the service. For example, she helped formulate the Small Animal ICU Nutrition Protocol, as well as changes to the ICU flow sheet that are now being evaluated by the hospital board. Karen’s practical/hands-on experience (i.e. with managing feeding tubes) also serves as a great resource.
Since he joined the college in December, 2007, Ed Wilson has become a very important cog in the Vet Med machine. His work as a facilities maintenance assistant requires a wide range of skills, both mechanical and personal. Ed moves items when needed, put things together, and is often the first person called when something goes wrong. His calm, friendly demeanor is appreciated by all who come into contact with him.
His nominator wrote, "I would like to nominate Ed Wilson (for Staff Member of the Month). His assistance in moving faculty and items out of the 3rd Floor, Phase II area was exceptional! Ed always has an upbeat/positive attitude and helps with requests in a very speedy manner. I always appreciate his help."
Three members of the production management medicine (PMM) team were named July Staff Members of the Month. PMM supervisor Ralph Roop (not pictured) and PMM technical support specialists Charles Randel (pictured right) and Tracey Redifer (pictured left) were singled out for their exemplary service.
The three have almost 56 years of combined experience at the veterinary college. In September, Roop will celebrate his 30th anniversary, while Randel will celebrate 22 years.
Their nominator highlighted the above-and-beyond service and support they provided during a recent Beef Herd Health and Management Systems block. "During this block, the students, residents and intern did 16 c-sections. The students calved out the balance of 40 heifers provided by Virginia Department of Corrections," he explained. "We had both severe cold weather and a big snowstorm during this unique educational experience. The students managed to get 103% live calf crop. None of this would have been possible without the technical support provided by Ralph, Chuck, and Tracey. They also came in during the university closure to help out with student presentations on Thursday and Friday."
Since joining the vet college in May, 2010, Andy Kirkpatrick has worked as an information technology specialist. He is known for always being extremely helpful and polite when users are having computer problems.
“Andy always calms them down, is patient and makes them forget how frustrated they were when they first came in to get help,” wrote his nominator. “He works hard, always wants to gain more knowledge and never stops learning new things. The impact he has had on the IT Support Center is indescribable. We would not have been able to provide such a high level of service over the last four years if it wasn’t for him. He deserves to be rewarded for all of his hard work.”
Elaine Meilahn works tirelessly to care for the Equine Medical Center’s research horses and for the research program and regenerative medicine program in general. One of her nominators noted that “She cares deeply for the welfare of the horses and goes the extra mile to make sure that they are well cared for.”
An EMC employee since 2006, Elaine provides exemplary support to many single projects as part of her ongoing extraordinary job performance. Notable examples include coming in nights and weekends, juggling a busy schedule with many projects simultaneously demanding her time, training new staff members with patience and understanding, trouble-shooting issues with shipping in bad weather, and extraordinary care of research horses above all else. “Elaine is cooperative and helpful to all EMC faculty with their individual research projects and teaching laboratories. She is both kind and effective at her job, and her hard work makes an enormous difference to the faculty, graduate students, and staff members,” wrote a colleague.
Jill Kormendy was nominated as Staff Member of the Month for the exceptional job she has done over the years as the right-hand of the teaching hospital’s director. A college employee since 2001, she was cited as “dependable, well organized, even-tempered, and deals with other staff and clients extremely well. In regards to clients, individuals brimming with frustration over one thing or another usually leave this office with a sense that they have been heard, receiving a polite answer and/or a confident sense that the matter will be looked into.”
Jill is also trusted by the other staff members and faculty. Her nominator noted that “the recent change to Time-Clock Plus (which she manages for the hospital) was difficult, with enumerable glitches and complaints. Jill took it all in stride and worked out many of the problems for us. I depend on her quite a bit to keep things organized. She does a great job.”
Although he has only been at the college since August 2012, Matthew Boehret has made himself indispensable to the Office of Academic Affairs where, on a daily basis, he is the face of the college to students. His nominator wrote, “He stresses excellent customer service when it comes to our students and always tries to help them problem solve when there is an issue. Matthew has excellent professional skills and has high expectations for himself. He goes above and beyond.”
Matthew has been the key employee on several large projects initiated by the Office of Academic Affairs this year. The first was the implementation of One45, new software designed to schedule all DVM students and track their clerkship/course evaluations. “Matthew had to learn how to use the program, adapt it for our use, and train everyone in the office,” his nominator explained. “Secondly, he assisted with organizing the Class of 2018 interviews and organized the interviewers, no small task as they were from all over the country. These were huge projects and required good work ethic, determination, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. He is well deserving of this recognition.”
Ashley Snider has worked at the veterinary college since 2011. As a receptionist in the Large Animal Hospital, she answers all incoming calls, forwards them to different services, answers client questions, and schedules appointments. “She also is responsible for handling business office affairs and medical records for the Equine Field Service, Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, and Production Management Medicine,” wrote her nominator. “Ashley consistently goes above and beyond to make sure clients' needs are met. She always makes the clients and visitors feel welcome and assists them in any way possible.”
Another nominator shared, “Ashley is compassionate, organized, and her positive attitude resonates throughout the teaching hospital. She greets each day with a good attitude and always has a smile. Ashley has been an invaluable asset to the Large Animal Team.”
Stephanie Riggins is an integral part of the hospital’s busy ophthalmology service/clerkship. An employee of the college since 2008, she was recognized as an “extremely hard working, very upbeat, positive individual with a ‘can do’ attitude that is infectious.”
Her nominator wrote, “Stephanie is excellent with clients, patients, and students. She wears many hats: capable technician, operating room nurse, communicator with clients and referring veterinarians, equipment problem troubleshooter, and order placer of materials and equipment for the service. She is totally adept working in both the small animal and large animal clinics and works well with all house officers and technical staff. In addition, she educates students on proper equipment use and patient restraint. Without her hard work and expertise, our service/clerkship could not run as smoothly and efficiently. We are very happy and very lucky to have Stephanie as a member of our team!”