Scottsdale honors employees for performance, commitment to community

Assisting a single mother in crisis. Rescuing victims of domestic violence. Supporting LGBT issues through advocacy efforts and new events.

Those are just some of the actions over the past year by Scottsdale employees honored Dec. 14 for their outstanding work performance and commitment to the Scottsdale community.

In all, 25 employees were honored at Scottsdale’s annual Employee Awards Program, according to a press release.

The winners were among 222 employees nominated in various categories. Here’s a summary of those honored and their contributions:

Andrew Dorame (submitted photo)

Donaldson Award: Maintenance Technician Andrew Dorame

The city had a need for bicycle racks in the Civic Center Mall area and at Scottsdale Stadium – especially during spring training.

Mr. Dorame designed functional and attractive bicycle racks, which are now located throughout the mall and at the stadium. His work personally designing these bike racks also saved the city a substantial amount of money.

He also played a vital role on the city of Scottsdale’s Sept. 11 Memorial Planning Team. Mr. Dorame designed and built the props that were a pivotal part of the public event. His creations transformed the memorial and were truly the heart of the display, the release stated.

The late Bill Donaldson, a former Scottsdale city manager, believed in teamwork and empowering employees to apply their special talents for the good of the organization and community. Mr. Dorame’s nominator for this award said,  “Andrew shares these special traits and we’re extremely fortunate he provides his talent and creativity to make Scottsdale a better place.”

Nick Molinari (submitted photo)

Drinkwater Award: Parks & Recreation Operations Supervisor Nick Molinari

Since coming to the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park as supervisor, Mr. Molinari has tackled many different projects to help one of Scottsdale’s favorite places get even better.

A new logo, new website and new merchandise helped increase revenue at the park by more than $68,000 last fiscal year, the release stated. He is working with his team to make the park better for the future, and document its wonderful history.

Before coming to the Railroad Park, Mr. Molinari worked at the Granite Reef Senior Center, where he had a similar positive impact – just like he has in every position he has held throughout nearly 20 years working for the city of Scottsdale.

He is a positive leader who has helped develop a number of folks around the city. Through his work and the things he helps others achieve, Mr. Molinari’s impact in Scottsdale is remarkable.

But that’s just the half of it.

Off the job, he has another job – husband and father to three boys. To them, he’s not just Dad, he’s also coach for their Little League and club baseball teams.

“Nick and his family are Scottsdale fixtures, and our community is better for it,” said his nominator.

The Sept. 11 memorial team (submitted photo)

The People’s Choice Award: 9/11 Memorial Team

In recognition of the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, this team planned a week-long memorial tribute – a mini-museum of unique handmade items to honor the lives lost.

New props representing the Twin Towers, Pentagon, a plane wing and large metal flag were designed and created by city of Scottsdale staff, and 2,996 memorial cards were displayed on them. The planning group also gathered photos and memorabilia from retired New York police officers and firefighters to feature alongside the supersized props.

Because of their work, visitors experienced the overwhelming loss of that day, but also were reminded what came out of the attacks — the spirit of unity, peace, hope and perseverance. The vision for this tribute wouldn’t have come to fruition without these employees working together to make it happen.

Winning team members are Linda Annoreno, Jason D’Eliso, Andrew Dorame, Martin Hussey, Kelli Kuester, Lori Schmidt and Chris Vassall.

From left is Jennifer Paetkau, Natalie La Porte, and Cyndi Negron. (submitted photo)

Show Caring and Compassion for Others: Domestic Violence Victims’ Outreach Team

This team comes into contact with domestic violence victims almost every day. Victims are often reluctant to proceed with prosecution, so this group stepped up to provide extra outreach and follow-up to domestic violence victims to ensure their appearance in court and most critically — their safety.

Their efforts mean more than simply making sure victims and perpetrators appear in court. In many cases, the work of Natalie La Porte, Cyndi Negron and Jennifer Paetkau breaks a vicious cycle and helps everyone involved understand the causes and consequences of domestic violence.

Julie Dybas and Caron Close (submitted photo)

Listen, Communicate, Take Action: The East Valley Veterans’ Court Team

For some veterans, the battles continue long after they leave military service.

Anger, depression or lack of a structured environment can lead to trouble with the law, the press release stated. Earlier this year, this staff team of Caron Close, Julie Dybas and Judge Joseph Olcavage took it upon themselves to work with several other jurisdictions to establish the East Valley Veterans’ Court — a partnership that helps veterans overcome these hurdles.

Unlike traditional courts, the Veterans Treatment Court directly connect veterans with services to help them overcome behavioral issues that may be at the root of their legal problems.

When vets receive assistance instead of fines and jail time, they are less likely to reoffend. The city’s first cases were heard in October.

Be Accountable and Act with Integrity: Kim Lank

Ms. Lank is an executive secretary in the city attorney’s office. She developed an office-wide document scanning process that significantly eliminated many boxes of paper files retained in storage and to an annual cost savings of about $20,000 in storage and retrieval fees.

Scottsdale city attorneys are saving time and our citizens are saving money as a result of her work, the release stated.

Collaborate As a Team winners (submitted photo)

Collaborate as a Team: Fuel System Conversion Team

This group worked with departments throughout the city to convert more than 800 city vehicles and eight fuel sites to a new automated fuel system.

Thanks to this team, this significant project was planned, communicated and implemented within a matter of months and concluded with a flawless conversion to the much-needed new system.

Members of this winning team are Rick Lagno, Teri Raymond, Judy Silverthorn and Margie Vasquez.

Focus on Quality Customer Service: Rita McCleary

Ms. McCleary is the glue that holds the reception desk in the city of Scottsdale’s busy One Civic Center atrium together.

The reception area was designed for those visiting the One Stop Shop, but it has become the place to provide customers with building directions, get development questions answered and check on the status of plan reviews.

In addition to assisting more than 2,000 walk-ins every month, the area fields about 3,000 calls each month. Ms. McCleary’s flexibility and positive attitude provides consistency to this visible front-line area.

Ken Shoup (submitted photo)

Plan and Innovate for the Future: Ken Shoup

Scottsdale has some of the best aquatic facilities in the country and Mr. Shoup is one of the caretakers behind the city’s success.

While Mr. Shoup’s making sure the city’s pool water is safe and the city’s facilities are in top condition, he’s also thinking about the future. He developed a plan to change the way our pools are cleaned and maintained to a safer, environmentally-friendly method that is better for Scottsdale citizens.

Learn and Grow Continuously: Kacey Kracke

Ms. Kracke revamped training for Scottsdale’s public safety communications dispatchers.

The new curriculum was delivered in shorter sections and on-site to accommodate staffing levels and embrace new technology. Thanks to her efforts, hundreds of additional continuing education hours were offered to city dispatchers – improving their abilities, confidence and knowledge.

David Simmons (submitted photo)

Respect the Individual: David Simmons

Mr. Simmons took responsibility to act as an LGBT liaison for Scottsdale’s Office of Diversity –an entirely volunteer position that is outside the realm of his everyday duties as a development services representative in the city’s One Stop Shop.

He spearheaded several new ideas to address discrimination concerns and built strong relationships with several advocacy groups.

Mr. Simmons’ powerful voice for Scottsdale’s citizens and visitors has led to an increase in respectful community dialogue surrounding LGBT issues, and has improved Scottsdale’s reputation as an inclusive community.

Tarina Wood (submitted photo)

Thanks to You: Tarina Wood

Earlier this year, a single mother came into Vista del Camino for assistance after losing a long-term job. This mother of two was behind on her mortgage and her utilities were recently turned off.

Ms. Wood assessed the family’s needs and established a course of action, working with the client to gather the proper documentation required to receive some financial assistance. Ms. Wood secured ample assistance to cover the woman’s utility bills, keeping the family comfortable and safe in our summer’s hottest months.

The resident wrote, “Tarina was efficient, knowledgeable and went above and beyond. She was very effective and driven when assisting my family with much-needed resources. I sincerely believe any community would be privileged to have such an exemplary employee.”

Ron Roth (submitted photo)

Volunteer Impact Award: Ron Roth

Residents will find Mr. Roth all over the city as he transitions unsightly properties into some of the best on the block through his work with Scottsdale’s Operation Fix It program.

In the past year, Mr. Roth completed landscape, cleanup, installation and repair work on 112 properties. He even survived a bee attack while on the job – it’s no wonder people refer to him as “Superman,” the release stated.

Not only does Mr. Roth support Operation Fix It, he also supports the city’s Adopt-A-Road program. Companies typically adopt one mile of roadway to maintain – Mr. Roth has adopted 10 miles and he cleans up these roadways several times a month.

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