2023 Staff Awards Recognize Service, Innovation and Commitment
Every year, the University of Denver recognizes three staff members and one department that have devoted themselves to exceeding expectations at the University. The winners are nominated by colleagues across campus and embody the dedication and commitment to DU that drive the University to be its very best.
Outstanding Service Award: Janet Redwine
The Outstanding Service Award is the highest award presented each year and recognizes a person who exemplifies the University of Denver’s vision.
Redwine is the director of program success in the Daniels College of Business Executive Education program. She faces challenges head-on while supporting her team to the fullest. During an extraordinary transition, Redwine became a source of stability when she filled in for three vacant positions. “Janet is so efficient and so kind,” one nominator said, impressed with the grace and creativity she manifested with her swift and capable response to the crisis. “Even in the toughest times, Janet is always positive, optimistic and inspiring to her colleagues," wrote another nominator.
Redwine invites collaboration from all corners to improve experiences at the University. She embraces responsibility and partnership and consistently aspires to optimize processes to provide an excellent educational experience. “Janet has her head on a swivel when it comes to DU—she is always looking for different things happening that she can learn from, collaborate on or be part of,” one of her nominators said.
She builds bridges that set DU up for success in many areas besides her own. “Janet continually collaborates with marketing, advancement and corporate and community relations to foster a One DU approach to outreach, learning and advancing the University goals,” said another colleague.
Redwine exemplifies the core values of excellence, innovation, engagement, integrity and inclusiveness at the University. Her dedication to personal growth is evident, as she taught herself accounting and mastered Salesforce (a customer relationship management program), despite lacking prior experience, while concurrently pursuing a master's degree in curriculum development. Redwine personifies merit, adhering to the highest standards of professional conduct. She demonstrates integrity in her work, models empathy and fulfills her commitments to students and organizations.
Staff Innovator Award: Joshua Heredia
The Staff Innovator Award is given to a DU staff member who has demonstrated creativity and innovation in work that advances the University’s strategic plan.
Heredia inspired his colleagues’ nomination with his exceptional creativity and unwavering commitment to advancing the goals that guide the University of Denver. As a vital DU Help Center staff member and systems engineer in IT, he has streamlined tasks that were once time-consuming and manual, in part by implementing an advanced scripting language he created. “These scripts not only showcase his technical acumen but also reflect his capacity to develop innovative solutions that revolutionize traditional methods,” said Ashley McCord, an IT support specialist. “His ability to harness technology to improve our everyday tasks demonstrates a remarkable level of creativity and innovation.”
Diverse perspectives can lead to breakthroughs. Heredia continually displays a desire to catalyze cross-functional collaboration, encouraging new discoveries through the exchange of ideas across disciplines.
“Josh has spent the last year working closely with the Information Technology Help Center staff, ensuring that they not only have the tools necessary for them to troubleshoot issues and solve problems, but also has acted as a mentor and resource to make sure they understand the tools and scripts he has created,” said Drew Shope, the manager of systems operations in IT.
Heredia’s commitment to the University goes beyond the work he does in his department. He is eager to engage with the DU community, assisting colleagues and peers campuswide. “Whether it's troubleshooting technical issues, sharing his expertise or providing guidance, Josh's kindness and approachability shine through, making him a valuable asset to us all,” said McCord.
Crimson and Gold Award: Alexandria Vasquez Parnell
The Crimson and Gold Award recognizes a DU employee who demonstrates outstanding commitment to and support of the University.
The student support team at University College (UCOL) is essential for keeping scholars on track, from getting started on Canvas to ensuring everything is ready for degree completion. Parnell leads this five-person team with exceptional commitment to each person’s growth and development. “Her leadership ensures the rest of us can do our jobs well, and our students can be successful,” said Christine Gallager, who nominated her for this award. "She is a beautiful example of going above and beyond in her commitment to the University and, most importantly, to her team and our students.”
Parnell, who is the assistant director of student services, also devotes her time to a number of collaborative teams at UCOL. She is a member of the goodness committee, a staff-led group dedicated to promoting positive experiences that improve employee morale, and the tactical team, which unites co-workers to address challenges facing the UCOL community. “Alex listens, shares ideas and can always be relied on to provide valuable perspective,” Gallager said. “Her commitment to supporting her peers and her team sets her apart.”
Parnell greets new hires with enthusiasm, taking the lead on search committees by considering skillset and team dynamics when evaluating candidates. “Alex takes great pride in building a strong and cohesive team, and this is felt across all areas of UCOL,” says Gallager.
University College’s hooding ceremonies draw over 200 people every year and involve a lot of logistics management. “The hooding is such a special event for University College students, many of whom fly from out of state to participate,” Gallager says. “Alex’s work on this event is instrumental to the final experiences a student and their support system have with our programs, and she deserves every recognition for this.”
Quality Department Award: Conversions
The Quality Department Award honors the staff of a DU department for its outstanding service to the DU community.
Ben Nelson and his Conversions team in Facilities Management are integral to event operations on campus. Known for quick, agile and positive communication, they are admired by DU staff for going beyond expectations in their willingness to find creative solutions to any problem that might arise.
“They earnestly address mistakes that are made, which is admirable and makes working with them enjoyable and easy,” wrote one person in their nomination letter. “They are also continually working to improve their processes and ensure they benefit all stakeholders.”
They recently refined invoicing and filled out their team in order to ensure optimal customer service. “Ben has made my event managers' jobs so much easier with his attention to detail and quick response time,” one person wrote. “Sandra and Loc and Robin have been a joy for me to work with—if they don't have an answer, they will find it or connect me with the appropriate person.”
“The conversions team is always available and willing to lend a hand or solve a problem,” another person wrote. “They are often the first to arrive and the last to leave for events like this, which shows their quality of service and dedication to DU as a whole.”