The Distinguished Service Awards, given each year to recognize exemplary service and outstanding contributions to the university, were presented during the fall luncheon, on Nov. 16. The event also celebrated the anniversaries of the many employees who have dedicated anywhere from 5 to more than 50 years of service to EWU.
The feel of the day was decidedly upbeat for the than 300 faculty and staff members who attended – and appreciated the return of this cherished tradition.
The Thanksgiving-style meal of turkey and fixings was sponsored by EWU’s own Executive Leadership Team while longtime generous supporter, STCU, sponsored the dessert.
In the weeks leading up to the luncheon, the University Medals and Awards Committee reviewed letters of nomination and support from departments throughout the university and selected two winners. Each award recipient received a Distinguished Service Award medallion and a check for $1,000, presented to the rousing applause of their coworkers.
Learn more about this year’s award winners, Kathy Kees and Amy Shadd, and their remarkable contributions, in the profiles below. Congratulations to them both on their well-earned awards!
Classified Staff Distinguished Service Award
When it comes to keeping the Eastern Washington University community safe from potential accidents and hazards, Kathy Kees, safety officer for the Environmental Health and Safety Department, stands out for her work ethic, diligence and willingness to help.
Numerous nominations recognized Kees’ outstanding contributions to Eastern, earning her this year’s Distinguished Service Award for Classified Staff.
Kees, who has worked full time at EWU for 12 years, finds creative solutions to properly dispose of hazardous materials, manage mishaps and train faculty and staff on best safety practices.
Kees is enthusiastic, educated and strives to always have – and provide – cutting-edge training to implement and maintain the highest standards for safety, says John Sauer, lead painter in Facilities Services. “Kathy never hesitates to help in a time of crisis and is very cool under pressure.”
Shawn King, associate vice president for facilities and planning, credits Kees for conducting regulatory work in a way that makes people feel respected. “She is professional, skilled, friendly and supportive of the safety and security of her campus community,” King says.
Kees goes above and beyond to organize trainings that are both informational and fun, says Lisa Logan, manager of the Women’s and Gender Education Center. In addition, Logan adds, “She is also one of the people on campus I know will handle my concerns quickly as they arise, making time to fit me in, even during her busiest times.”
Nigel Davies, adjunct lecturer and instructional technician in geosciences, praises Kees’ work to ensure that the geology labs maintain the highest standards for safety.
For instance, a biproduct of cutting ore-grade rocks is airborne particles that include traces of heavy metals. Kees works with geology to capture, contain, analyze and dispose of materials – prioritizing the health of faculty, staff and students over disposal methods that are easier but less safe, Davies explains.
“Kathy makes a point for in-person check-ins to address our current requirements, past errors and future needs. She proactively addresses chemical storage hazards and delivers creative solutions,” Davies says.
Administrative Exempt Distinguished Service Award
For faculty and staff at the College of Health Science and Public Health (CHSPH), one employee’s “herculean effort” is credited for ensuring that functions ranging from semester graduation and the Celebration of Scholarly Works to the Adaptive Athletics exhibition game at Hoopfest go off without a hitch.
Amy Shadd, administrative specialist for CHSPH, received multiple nominations from people within the college in recognition of her outstanding work and, as a result, was selected to receive the Administrative Exempt Distinguished Service Award.
Donna Mann, interim dean of the CHSPH, says she receives compliments on Shadd’s skills and professionalism on a near-daily basis. “Ms. Shadd excels beyond the bounds of her job duties. She is value added to every meeting because of her critical thinking skills coupled with her institutional knowledge,” Mann says.
Shadd, who has worked full time at EWU for 6 years, was praised for going above and beyond to support faculty, staff and students and for accomplishing things with a positive demeanor.
“Amy is her own “command central” that keeps us all running effectively. I rely upon Amy’s EWU knowledge and appreciate her quick responses to my requests and concerns. I know that when I reach out to Amy things will get done,” says Lucretia Berg, chair of the occupational therapy program.
Shadd’s to-do list is long. In her position, she organizes and co-organizes multiple events, helps with strategic planning and search committees, provides critical support for the Early Head Start Program, and assists with other needs that arise across the programs.
Donna Bachand, chair of the EWU Nursing Program, says of Shadd: “I would not survive the hiring process without Amy’s support and guidance. I genuinely appreciate her experience with the calendar of deadlines and her ability to organize all parties involved in the complex process of negotiating retention, promotion and tenure policy.”
Shadd, who transferred to the CHSPH a year ago from the College of Business, was also nominated by her previous team for the 2019 Distinguished Service Award based on exemplary work in that college.