Project managers earn 2014 Keller Award

For the 13th consecutive year, Facilities Services leadership honors employees who contribute significantly to the University of Chicago community with the awarding of the Keller Award, named for Janet Keller, a former project manager. In the last months of her life, Janet led a project team to create the USITE Computing Cluster in the Crerar Science Library. Throughout the project, clients and team members alike repeatedly cited Janet for upholding the highest values of teamwork and cooperation and providing superior customer service and satisfaction through the duration of the project. This award, in her honor, recognizes employees who thrive on collaboration and demonstrate the highest professional and ethical standards.

Now in its 13th year, it’s a tie!  Facilities Services leadership has honored two individuals as Keller Award winners for 2014. Honored this year are project managers who hail from two units within FS: Laura Jansky-Jacobs, who works for Capital Project Delivery, and Maya Gharpure of the Planning & Design unit. Earning the Keller Award honorable mention this year is Kevin Rodgers, energy engineer with the Operations unit.

Jansky-Jacobs, who joined FS in 2002, earns this award for her stellar execution and leadership as the project manager for Residential Properties. When she assumed this role about a year ago, Jansky-Jacobs faced a slate of projects that were languishing in various stages of delay. Jansky-Jacobs established a tone of “no-excuse” accountability by scheduling bi-monthly meetings with the Residential Properties team to facilitate the collaboration necessary to address the backlog. Delayed projects included elevator modernization in one of our Kenwood Avenue buildings, demolitions of unsafe buildings along  Woodlawn Avenue and several porch replacements, to name just a few. Jansky-Jacobs’ expertise and skills got the projects back on track to meet deadlines and deliver superior outcomes.

“Laura has a very high level of credibility with the property management team. She keeps her promises for due dates and hold vendors accountable for performance,” said Myriam Weaver, senior manager of residential properties. “This allows property managers the ability to accurately communicate capital project timelines to residents with certainty, minimizing impact on services and keeping us compliant with Chicago’s Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance.”

Jansky-Jacobs has long been a solid, consistent contributor to the success of the Capital Project Delivery unit, and her focus and calm demeanor exemplify the attributes FS values in its employees.

The second Keller Award winner, Gharpure, joined FS in 2011. While she works for the P & D unit, she is honored this year for her exceptional ability to not only collaborate within FS to achieve superior results, she also excels at collaborating and cooperating with a variety of academic and administrative departments University-wide.

Key to her achievements this year is her contributions to the success of the University’s evolving global outreach through its establishment of satellite campuses. Gharpure is a key member of the team assembled to build a new University Center in Hong Kong. In that capacity, she regularly partners with individuals from FS’ Capital Project Delivery unit, the Booth School of Business, the Harris School for Public Policy Studies, the College, Alumni Relations and Development and Global Initiatives steering committee. This means Gharpure regularly participates in long, complex, off-hours conference calls on high-visibility overseas projects.

“Maya is unique in that she seeks out opportunities to collaborate and goes the extra mile to make sure the work is a success for all. She naturally finds areas of agreement and looks for ways to grow toward a common solution without seeking praise or recognition for herself,” said Alicia Murasaki, assistant vice president of Campus Design & Sustainability, which includes the P & D unit. “She truly models the oft-repeated motto of FS, ‘All of our work is all of our work.’”

Honorable Mention

Kevin Rodgers, energy engineer, joined FS in June 2012. Rodgers earned the Keller Award honorable mention for his critical role in the development and implementation of the Climate and Energy Investment Plan, his active participation on the FS Safety Committee and his engagement in community outreach programs.

“Kevin is thorough and highly motivated when researching energy efficiency technologies and best practices and has a highly consultative approach to solutions,”  Kevin Austin, director, campus services & residential properties. “His work product is of the highest quality and he continually adds value to projects with informed and insightful opinions.”

-- Compiled by Amy Lee, assistant director, communications

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