OSU Institute of Technology has selected three exemplary employees for the 2019 League Excellence Awards, formerly the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards.
James Duff, Physical Plant HVAC/refrigeration technician, was the recipient in the staff member category, Terry
Hanzel, Power Plant Technology instructor, was the recipient in the faculty member category and Jim Smith, vice president of Fiscal Services was the recipient in the Administrator category.
Duff has been instrumental in the support of the PSO Energy Rebate program all while pursuing two bachelor’s degrees at OSUIT, the new Bachelor of Technology in Applied Technical Leadership and the Bachelor of Technology in Instrumentation Engineering Technology.
“I have taken it upon myself to learn more areas of my trade to be able to help save the school money,” said Duff. “This not only helps me gain personal knowledge but also enables my department to do more work in-house.”
Scott Hunsucker, maintenance operations manager, said Duff continues to look for opportunities to learn and refine his knowledge of his trade.
“I have worked with few in my career that are as detailed oriented as Duff,” said Hunsucker. “His technical knowledge, work ethic, personal drive for quality, dependability and motivation are qualities that make him a successful employee and value asset to our campus mission.”
Duff said he felt honored and humbled to have even been nominated for this award.
“I strive for excellence in my life and having a positive impact on others,” he said. “It’s nice to know that someone has taken notice and appreciates my hard work and dedication to the campus.”
Through his roles as a co-host of the Online Learning Community in The Center, an instructor in his own program as well as delivering courses in the BT in ATL program and a student group leader, it is clear that Hanzel is committed to the future of OSUIT.
“I feel I am a person that embraces change,” said Hanzel. “There is a type of change that moves people in a direction that results in the construction of something and the opportunity to be involved in molding the future. This type of change is building upon what you have, know and do, which leads to improvement.”
Hanzel recognized that the culture of tomorrow’s workplace is going to be diverse and inclusive and took steps necessary to help improve his understanding of this cultural change. After acknowledging today’s learner prefers a variety of avenues for learning, he took the initiative to learn how to teach online to better meet his students where they are. Providing this option for learning has allowed students access to early job opportunities before graduation.
Hanzel said that one of his main focuses in the area of improvement is how to connect with his students.
“How can I be a mentor to them, not just a subject matter expert, but a real person?” said Hanzel. “Someone they want to call and talk to about life after they leave OSUIT. I realized that if I want to become that person for them when they leave, I have to become that person to them while they are here. Last year I began holding what I call ‘coffee shop classroom,’ regularly I take my class to the Student Union, move tables together to form one large group, grab food and a drink and talk. I have topics to throw out if the conversation lags but once the conversation kicks off it just grows organically.”
Hanzel said the old saying ‘we can do more together’ is true, and Tara Cole, Communications instructor, agrees.
“He not only is concerned that he continues to grow,” said Cole. “He constantly reaches out to faculty and staff across campus to collaborate on projects and helps us learn from each other. Due to his contributions, my classes are stronger and more relevant to my students. His contributions to aid and assist other instructors and programs makes him well deserving of this award.”
Smith provides the campus with forward thinking. Due to his contributions, Student Services and Fiscal Services has continually reduced budget in the past five years. Knowing that there were other areas of consideration for a budget reduction, Smith identified a third-party to help evaluate programs and make recommendations to be used as a roadmap to determine the future of the campus.
OSUIT has been and continues to be recognized, nationally and locally, due to the results of the Contribution Margin Analysis that Smith spearheaded.
“The implementation and continuation of the BKD CMA have helped tremendously with the poor financial condition that developed due to historic multi-year state appropriation cuts,” said Smith. “While still not as financially healthy and we would prefer, we are making great strides. As a result, OSUIT has seen a nearly 34 percent increase in its educational and general ledger fund balance from September 2017 to September 2019.”
Ina Agnew, vice president of Student Services, said that Smith is a tremendous asset to OSUIT.
“He leads from the front, he listens to try to truly understand your concerns--not just get through the conversation and then disregard everything you said,” said Agnew. “Then, he sincerely works with you to find a solution that benefits all parties to the best extent possible. He is creative, committed and 100 percent for the students and continued healthy operations of the university”
Smith said he desires to make OSUIT successful whether seen or unseen, recognized or not recognized.
“I want to see every OSUIT employee successful in their job, OSUIT to be recognized for the great product that we provide and the students to receive the best education possible.”