Employees honored for exceptional service to the UChicago community

For the 12th 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.

The Keller Award this year was bestowed upon an Ivan Jureta, residential properties building janitor with the Operations unit. The team award went to Myriam Weaver, senior manager of Residential Properties in the Operations unit, and Crystal Smith, manager of financial analysis in the Business Systems + Finance unit.

Ivan, who has been with FS since August 1991, has a visible level of engagement with the tenants of his building. Ivan is well known to tenants, knows almost all of them by name, including their children, and regularly helps out with baby carriages, bags and luggage. This happens dozens of times day, day in and day out, which he gladly handles in addition to his regular duties. Ivan can be called upon at any time, day or night, and he willingly takes on last-minute or complicated requests. In addition, throughout the years, Ivan has honed his skills and expertise in residential trades through education and training. The warm relationship that Ivan has with our tenants allows him to be a terrific ambassador for Residential Properties, Facilities Services and the University of Chicago as a whole. The strength of our Residential Properties program, and our department as a whole, relies on exceptional individuals like Ivan.

Myriam Weaver and Crystal Smith may work in different units within FS, but they have formed a unique partnership by bonding over a shared love of finance. The two can often be found huddling over spreadsheets and staring intently at numbers – deep in conversation about new ways to create income and uncover opportunities for savings in Residential Properties. Their collaboration has led to near-immediate impacts not only on spreadsheets, but also on the culture of FS by establishing a newfound trust and credibility between property managers and the finance team. Thinking beyond their individual roles and beyond the day-to-day, they are looking at the bigger picture and taking strategic steps in ensure the financial stability of funding resources.

Honorable mention winners this year are Carpenter Nathan Pritchard with the Residential Properties shop and James Cook, space information manager with the Business Systems + Finance unit.

Nathan chaired the Safety Committee in 2012 and 2013, and through effective leadership has cultivated a greater awareness of safety-related issues. Nathan identified and implemented critical safety-related trainings, and provided metrics and analytics that allowed teams to correct course and improve overall performance.

James is a space data expert who is widely known for his deep knowledge of FS document and archives, as well as his dedication to embracing emerging trends relating to digital documents and various ways to apply information. In addition to leading a massive project to digitalize all of the department’s paper archives, James also was a key partner in the overhaul and redesign of the Facilities Services web site, a nine-month process that now offers visitors an interactive experience with the FS web site.

Facilities Services as a whole values teamwork, cooperation, partnership and respect, all of which is represented through this year’s team Keller Award recipients. Click to read about last year's Keller Award winner, Brian Lipinski.

-- By Adrian Velez, senior HR generalist

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