Five earn annual President’s Employee Excellence Awards

showcase-logoPULLMAN, Wash. – Five staff members will receive 2014-15 President’s Employee Excellence Awards at the Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet on March 27, part of Washington State University’s annual Showcase 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:

AndersonGayle Anderson, provost’s office, principal assistant to the Faculty Senate and the Administrative Professional Advisory Council (APAC).

Among many examples of increasing work quality and productivity, she created a simple online tool so Faculty Senate members can track the progress of proposals through the system of committees, readings and actions. Similarly, she increased APAC’s productivity by taking care of scheduling, preparation and procedures so council members can focus on the issues. She improved APAC communications via efficient use of the listserve and website.

Anderson employs active listening, asks good questions, is empathetic and shares a “wonderfully wicked sense of humor,” said a nominator. She cares for her aging father, helps with her granddaughters and makes baked goods for work, the sheriff’s office in Garfield, Wash., and the local hospital.

Bentjen-CaoSusan Cao, project specialist in the Agricultural Research Center, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences.

She helps faculty apply for high-dollar, multi-institutional, collaborative grants in the Office of Major Grant Development and manages a training grant that is in its 26th year of continuous funding; only WSU and MIT have managed six successful renewals of the funding. “The grant would never have gotten funded without Susan,” said one nominator. “It’s amazing the solutions she develops and the work-arounds she discovers,” said another. “Since 2010… she has helped procure $60.6 million in external grants.”

Cao engages with students and cares about their progress and career prospects. She started Facebook and LinkedIn pages to enhance communication about their activities and opportunities. She uses humor to diffuse tensions that come with grant proposal preparation. She sometimes comes to work at dawn to email with grant partners in India or stays late into the night to reach other researchers around the world.

GoochAnn Marie Gooch, finance/personnel manager in the dean’s office, College of Arts & Sciences.

She multitasks in order to tackle large, difficult projects while remaining responsive to short-term needs of those around her. She has improved databases and spreadsheets that are integral to her area’s operations. She has moved up from department to college financial operations but continues to be available and generous with her knowledge to finance colleagues at the department level. “She willingly spent weeks helping these departments while trying to learn her new job,” said a nominator.

“I have been amazed at how many times she has volunteered to do the ‘not so fun’ jobs and performed them with a smile,” said another. Gooch has maintained a warm and pleasant demeanor when supervising struggling employees and dealing with anxious faculty members. “That kind of calm, productive approach to high stress situations is infectious to others in the office, setting an excellent example,” said a nominator.

GreyAmy Grey, graphic designer, WSU Libraries.

In just over a year – and working half time – she has “dramatically improved the look and comprehensibility of the libraries through her work on signage, exhibits and other graphics,” said one nominator. Efficient organization of her resources saves time and materials and has saved the libraries and university money. She has worked with library personnel to create displays and materials that help tell their stories to the WSU and wider communities.

“She helps us take pride in our  physical workplace,” said one nominator. Grey works well with diverse partners, listens well, is collaborative and able to creatively respond to the needs of others. In 2008, she founded Moscow, Idaho’s “Backyard Harvest,” a volunteer effort to harvest local produce for delivery to area relief organizations.

RatschBrady Ratsch, information technology specialist 3, WSU Spokane Information Technology Services.

He revamped the wireless network on the WSU Spokane campus to meet Information Technology Services design requirements. In addition, he installed outdoor wireless across the campus – a benefit for student and employee users and also used by campus security patrols. He worked with facilities to create dual brackets campus-wide that hold not only the wireless access equipment but also security cameras.

Ratsch works well with students, faculty and staff not only from WSU Spokane but also from Eastern Washington University, which shares the campus. He volunteers to help at commencements and proudly wears Cougar gear on campus and in the community. He is active in church and with his children’s school, sports and music activities.

In addition to the banquet, the Showcase celebrations include the Distinguished Faculty Address (March 26); the Academic Showcase display of faculty, staff and student work (March 26); the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (March 30) and more. See the complete schedule at