NMU Employees Recognized

Snow removal team
Snow removal teamOnline application team
Online application teamCourse waitlist (technology innovation)
Course waitlist (technology innovation)Plagiarism detection (technology innovation)
Plagiarism detection (technology innovation)Excellence in Service recipients
Excellence in Service recipients

NMU’s newest retirees, along with employees who have reached years-of-service milestones, were honored at the faculty and staff recognition luncheon on April 6. Awards were also presented to distinguished teams, technology innovators and individuals recognized for excellence in service. 

The two winners of the Distinguished Team Award were the campus snow removal crew and the custom online application team. The NMU grounds crew was recognized for adopting the following techniques and procedures to improve winter conditions on campus: creating wind rows to better align cars when snow covers the painted lines; identifying and maintaining pedestrian routes, where special ice-melting material is applied; and maintaining awareness of class schedules of students with mobility issues to provide them clear access to class. Members of the team are (all of Plant Operations, unless otherwise specified): Supervisor Terry Eilders, Andy Buckmaster, Joe Dagenais, Brad Gischia, Veikko Heikkinen, George MaDosh, Terry Norman (Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports), Dave Raudio, Jim Robare, Brian Schmeltzer, Dean Schmeltzer and Jeff Skoog.

The second winning team was charged with customizing an online application product to fit the needs of NMU undergraduate admissions in partnership with the vendor Axiom/SSDEL. The team embraced challenges presented by the evolution of university software, new federally mandated application questions and changes in academic program offerings. The new online application is student-focused by allowing more flexibility in the application submission process and it now provides accurate and timely information on the listing of majors and any changes that may occur. The application also enables automated online payments and collects applicant data for NMU Institutional Research for state and federal reporting. The team was able to transform a standard off-the-shelf purchased product into a dynamic, and ever-changing, tool for use by prospective students and many university offices. Its members were: Jerome Anderson, Tony Bertucci and Brian Larson of Information Technology, and Kay Manderscheid and W. Kevin Stulz of Admissions.

Technology Innovation Awards went to a team that developed a waitlist capability in the registration process to provide a fair way for students to "get in line" electronically for seats in classes that are full and to two employees who developed solutions for detecting and deterring plagiarism with VeriCite. Prior to implementing the waitlist, students had to continue to check online to see if there was an opening and seats were filled solely by good timing and luck. The waitlist also provides meaningful information regarding demand for courses to guide departmental decision-making. It was recognized as an example of a successful cooperative effort that improves service while decreasing cost. Team members were: Joshua Cook, Janice Crawford, Brian Larson and Brian Maniko of Business Intelligence-Information Services; Kathy Dawe and Kim Rotundo of the Registrar’s Office; and Michael Truscott of Registration and Scheduling.

Stacey DeLoose of AIS-Instructional Design Technology and Christopher Lewis of Business Intelligence-Information Services tackled the ongoing issue of plagiarism. DeLoose was introduced at a conference to VeriCite, a program that compares submitted papers to a wide repository of written work. It eliminates the need for a laborious search or the cost of purchasing access to a search service. VeriCite can also be used as a teaching tool to instruct students on what plagiarism looks like. The employees integrated VeriCite into EduCat and did a pilot test with 10 volunteer faculty members before implementing the program last summer. Faculty feedback has indicated it saves time, is easy to use and intuitive, and better ensures academic honesty in an online environment while maintaining the integrity of NMU’s programs.

Individual Excellence in Service Awards were presented to the following:

Robin Aho, office manager at the NMU Health Center: She played an instrumental role in the recent conversion to electronic patient records, an effort that earned an award. She also serves as the liaison between NMU and the area’s healthcare professionals and serves on a number of university committees, including the Tobacco-Free Implementation Committee.

Shirley Brozzo, assistant dean of students and coordinator of the Multicultural Education and Resources Center: She was recognized for maintaining an office culture centered around making students feel like they belong to the campus community, successful grant writing, assisting with NMU’s stereotyping/anti-bullying campaign and overseeing programs and services that highlight diversity.

Tom Erspamer, buildings and grounds attendant, Facilities/Plant Operations: A 26-year employee, he has always been available in emergencies. Erspamer embraced the new cleaning system implemented in Whitman Hall, one of the highest-rated campus buildings for cleanliness, and offers suggestions for improvement. He is also committed to his student employees, acting as a mentor as well as a supervisor.

Kelly Healy, medical insurance biller/coder, Health Center: She was instrumental in two major changes: conversion for paper-based to electronic medical patient records; and the shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10 diagnosis coding. She has taken coding classes and has applied herself to become licensed and certified as a pharmacy technician, all to better the services provided at the Health Center.

John Marra, director-technical/wireless services, AdIT (not pictured): He purchases and installs a complex array of gear that forms the backbone of NMU’s Internet services. This network controls everything from telephones to emergency generators as well as a host of computer services. Marra was a major architect in installing the wireless video features in the Jamrich Hall classrooms. He was also recognized for finding cost-effective solutions to problems without sacrificing quality.

Mindy Nannestad, executive secretary, Dean of Students Office: She has worked hard to create an inclusive, collaborative, student-centered environment. She was instrumental in budget review, strategic planning and complex scheduling.  She also managed office moves, construction plans and training of new staff. Nannestad willingly took on the student announcement system and off-campus housing listing service, making improvements to both. 

Thomas Olson, senior electrician, Plant Operations: He was recognized for his strong work ethic, extensive institutional knowledge, dedication to the university and electricity cost-saving ideas. After his team analyzed outdoor lighting levels on campus during low-traffic periods, they implemented a plan that reduced consumption by 2 million kilowatt hours. Olson has worked at NMU for nearly 24 years.

Susy Ziegler, associate dean, College of Arts/Sciences and department hear of Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences: She was a chief contributor to the Wildcat Innovation Fund proposal that led to a week-long, residential environmental sciences summer camp for high school students, with a goal of creating an enrollment pipeline for NMU. She goes out of her way to connect with the campers and their parents, following up with personal notes and maintaining contact as the prospective students considered NMU as their college choice. This dedication and commitment is also demonstrated with every interaction she has with students in the office and through her sessions during Wildcat Weekend.


Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director