Five earn President’s Employee Excellence Awards


PULLMAN, Wash. – Five staff members will receive 2013-14 President’s Employee Excellence Awards at the Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet on March 28, part of the Washington State University Showcase annual celebration of faculty, staff and student achievement.

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The awards recognize civil service and administrative professional staff for outstanding contributions regarding work quality, efficiency, productivity, problem solving, work relations and community service.

The honorees are:

Anderson,-Brandon-80Brandon Anderson, an electronics technician with the life safety shop who passed away in January 2013.

He did his job keeping others at WSU safe with enthusiasm and thoroughness, nominators said. He was excellent at promoting teamwork because he was respected and others wanted to follow his lead. He made work fun, never complained and united others with his humor and laughter.

Anderson helped a co-worker find a more reliable, efficient and safe switch system for cooling tower fans in the WSU chilled water facility. When out in the community, he would notify business owners and others if he detected burnt out safety lights or other impediments to safety.

Boreen_Kris-80Kris Boreen, budget and finance manager for physics and astronomy.

After serving in a number of administrative and finance manager positions at WSU, Boreen has been at physics and astronomy for about two years. She has helped the department find optimal ways to invest resources, reduce expenses, identify resource needs and manage a complex budget. She asks questions, suggests options, provides answers and hammers out solutions, sometimes working late into the night and on weekends.

Boreen brought “an infusion of positive can-do energy” that helped improve staff morale. She cares about the success of the university, department, faculty, staff and “most definitely the students,” said a nominator.

Gorence-G-80Galen Gorence, animal care facility manager for molecular biosciences.

In addition to handling day-to-day operations of the animal facilities, Gorence provides instruction to his staff about animal husbandry, oversight of equipment maintenance and advice to faculty on breeding habits and other factors that potentially could affect research data. His problem solving is thoughtful and innovative, said one nominator.

Gorence displayed outstanding ability and worked extra hours to accommodate a construction project that required moving animals and equipment and decontaminating facilities. He anticipated problems and solutions in a way that caused minimum disruption to research.

Holbrook-D-80Don Holbrook, director of administrative services for business and finance in the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences and WSU Extension.

Soon after assuming this position with CAHNRS 10 years ago, Holbrook modernized and integrated the financial and accounting systems, increasing efficiency, said a nominator. This and other preparations made by him – as well as his financial acumen and exemplary leadership – enabled CAHNRS and WSU Extension to merge smoothly and weather four years of drastic budget cuts during the fiscal crisis of 2008-12.

Holbrook is a resource and mentor for other WSU finance officers and an active supporter in his community, in particular the Garfield-Palouse schools where he takes photos and stats for sports, volunteers to coach and raises money for field trips.

keopanapay-sisouvanh-80Sisouvanh Keopanapay, academic coordinator in criminal justice.

After Keopanapay revamped her department’s internship program, it added 25 students in two semesters, said one nominator. She now supervises about 40 interns working in Pullman-area courts and police departments and creates other innovative ways for students and faculty to connect with each other and with the justice community.

Keopanapay coordinates a variety of tasks efficiently and creatively, including institutional research, initiating a study abroad program, advising students and mentoring other advisers. She advises about half of the department’s undergraduates and “her evaluations are always at the top of the charts,” said a nominator.