Commonwealth’s Performance Recognition Program Honors 21 Employees

A woman in glass shakes hands with a man while handing him an award certificate Image by Tory Wesnofske
Chancellor Julie Chen congratulates Energy Manager Daniel Abrahamson for being honored with Facilities Management's Operations and Services team by the commonwealth's Performance Recognition Program.

By Ed Brennen

Much of their work is done behind the scenes, but nearly two dozen UML staff members stepped forward recently to be recognized by the commonwealth for their contributions to public service.

Twenty-one UML employees, representing a variety of departments, have received the state’s 2022 Performance Recognition Program awards.

Chancellor Julie Chen and members of the executive cabinet celebrated the award-winners at a reception at University Crossing.

“This is a university where every single faculty and staff member really cares about our students, and the work that’s done by this group is reflective of that,” said Chen, who expressed her pride in the “creative, can-do spirit” of the award recipients.

Facilities Management’s Operations and Services managerial team, which oversees maintenance of the university’s 5 million square feet of buildings and grounds, received the Manuel Carballo Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service — the commonwealth’s highest honor for state employees.

The managers include: Robert Greaney (mechanical services), Bruce Cayer (operations), Chris Golden (carpentry and lock shop), Daniel Abrahamson (energy), Jim Rossi (power plant), James Santangelo (building energy management systems), Kevin Block (grounds operations), Matthew Smith (power plant) and Nancy Amedee (housekeeping services), as well as Meaghan Healey (associate director of operations and services), Randy Branson (associate director of mechanical, electrical and plumbing operations) and Tim Deignan (operations coordinator).

They were nominated by Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management & Planning Jean Robinson and Executive Director of Operations and Services Terrence McCarthy.

“It’s nice that they can be recognized, but it’s not just them — there are 160 other people right behind them,” McCarthy said of the Operations and Services employees who “support the mission of the university by creating an environment where research and academics flourish.”

Five women pose for a photo in front of a UML backdrop Image by Tory Wesnofske
Chancellor Julie Chen, left, recognized members of the Enable Inclusive Identity group for their Performance Recognition Program award.
Sarah Corbett, director of editorial services in the Office of University Relations, received an Outstanding Performance award.

Vice Chancellor for Advancement John Feudo praised Corbett’s dedication to the university, particularly her work as editor of UML Magazine.

“We get raves from our alumni, donors and friends every single issue, and that’s all because of Sarah’s leadership,” Feudo said.

Several other staff members were recognized for their work with groups in the UMass system.

Assoc. Director of Facilities Management Business Operations Gary Nolan and Senior Account Administrator/Risk Services Coordinator Eileen Trott received a citation for their work with the Business and Travel Expenses Working Group. For nearly two years, representatives from all five campuses collaborated on updating the UMass business and travel expense policy.

“I was shocked when they told me about the award. It feels good to be recognized,” said Trott, who has worked for the state for 34 years, including the past 17 at UML.

And the Enable Inclusive Identity group, which includes members from UML, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Boston and University Information Technology Services, was recognized for its ongoing efforts to update the Student Information System to provide inclusive identity fields such as chosen name, gender identification and pronouns.

UML is represented by Enterprise Data Architect Deb Cantor, Senior Business Analyst Norma Clark, Assoc. Chief Information Officer Lori Dembowitz, Data Analytics and Institutional Research Director Christine Lewis-Horton, Multicultural Affairs Director Amy Liss and University Registrar Mai Nguyen. They collaborate with Web Services in University Relations.

“It’s a nice team of people with a diversity of experience,” said Dembowitz, who was surprised to learn of the award. “We just do the work; we don’t really think about the recognition.”