Employees honored for dedication and service

By the numbers: Service Recognition Luncheon

In addition to the winners of the President’s Achievement Award and Donald Griffin '23 Management Award, a total of 426 University staff members with a collective 7,420 years of service were honored for their dedication March 24 at the annual Service Recognition Luncheon.

They included:

• 1 employee with 45 years of service
• 10 employees with 40 years of service
• 15 employees with 35 years of service
• 37 employees with 30 years of service
• 44 employees with 25 years of service
• 72 employees with 20 years of service
• 66 employees with 15 years of service
• 181 employees with 10 years of service

All employees received certificates of recognition embossed with a special copper-engraved rendering of Nassau Hall by Michael Graves, the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture Emeritus. Those with 25 years received a chair bearing an engraved University seal. Those with 30, 35, 40 and 45 years selected from various gifts including jewelry, luggage and clocks bearing the design of the University shield.

Five Princeton staff members were recognized for their commitment to excellence and exceptional performance during the University's annual Service Recognition Luncheon on March 24 in Jadwin Gymnasium. In addition, two staff members were honored for their leadership potential.

Those honored as recipients of the President's Achievement Award were: Sharon Brown, special collections assistant in the Princeton University Library; Dale Grieb, director of administration and services in the School of Engineering and Applied Science; Michael Karl, manager of the procurement office in the Department of Facilities; Josko Plazonic, infrastructure operations analysis and manager in the Department of Mathematics; and Joseph Winston, technical associate at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

The award was established in 1997 to recognize members of the support and administrative staffs with five or more years of service whose dedication, excellent work and special efforts have contributed significantly to the success of their departments and the University. The winners receive a framed certificate and a $2,000 award and have their names inscribed on a plaque that is displayed in the Office of Human Resources.

The President's Achievement Award is part of the University's Staff Recognition Program administered by the Office of Human Resources. Staff members with 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years of service were presented with a certificate during the luncheon; those with 25 or more years of service also received commemorative gifts. A total of 426 University staff members with a collective 7,420 years of service were honored for their dedication this year (see "By the numbers" at right).

In remarks at the luncheon, Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman commended both the award winners and the long-serving staff members who were recognized at the event, praising their talent, dedication and commitment to excellence in their work at the University.


Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman (third from left) joins the winners of the President’s Achievement Award (from left): Michael Karl, Sharon Brown, Dale Grieb, Josko Plazonic and Joseph Winston. (Photo by Brian Wilson)

joined the Princeton staff in 1980 in the binding department of the Princeton University Library. Today, she is a special collections assistant at the circulation desk of Firestone Library. In her nomination, Karin Trainer, university librarian, wrote, "In many ways Sharon Brown represents the 'face of the library.' She is one of the few staff known personally by many library users because of her presence at the circulation desk, the busiest service point in Firestone Library." Trainer added, "Sharon provides exceptional service to every type of customer from faculty, staff and students to guests." Joshua Katz, professor of classics, commented, "The circulation desk at Firestone may well be the best-functioning part of Princeton's library system, and Ms. Brown, who has been working there since 1998, the year in which I joined the faculty, is a leading reason for the success of this 'front-line' operation.”

Grieb has worked at the University since 1971, when she began as a project secretary in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. During her time at the University she has held positions in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, the Department of Chemical Engineering (now the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering) and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, where she currently works. As director for administration and services, she manages the school safety program, and oversees administrative, human resource and compliance policies and procedures. Pablo Debenedetti, vice dean of the engineering school and the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science, described Grieb in his nomination as "extraordinary in dealing with people. Her positive attitude, open-mindedness, ability to listen and good judgment proved to be invaluable in innumerable situations involving faculty, students and staff." Garth Walters, director of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, added that she is an "exemplary 'University citizen' in her willingness to participate in all kinds of initiatives to improve Princeton in many ways."

Karl came to Princeton in 1992 as a subcontracts administrator at PPPL. In his current role, Karl oversees the procurement of design, construction and construction-related services for new construction and renovation projects within facilities. Through his work "he has supported every member of our community who has studied, taught, worked or lived in the approximately 3.5 million square feet -- one-third of the campus -- that have been constructed or renovated during his tenure at Princeton," wrote Michael McKay, vice president of facilities, in his nomination. Karl also was cited for his support to the staff members who manage and support the University's construction projects and maintenance programs. Sharon Warkala, assistant manager in the facilities procurement office, noted, "Mike is an effective team leader -- coach, really -- who lifts up all who work for and around him through his positive demeanor, his knowledge of his/our profession and his exceptional 'people skills.'"

Plazonic joined the staff in the Department of Mathematics in 2001, four years after completing his master's degree in the department. He serves as a systems administrator for both the Department of Mathematics and the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics. Curtis Hillegas, director of research computing in the Academic Services unit of the Office of Information Technology, wrote in his nomination, "Josko Plazonic has outstanding technical skills, especially in the areas of Linux system administration, programming, and software packaging. … What is even more impressive about Josko is his willingness to share his work with the rest of the University community." Sun-Yung Alice Chang, chair of the department and the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics, added, "A few sentences about his abilities could never properly sum up the dedication, the expertise, kindness and respect that he shares with everyone he works with. … Conscientious, thorough, dedicated and completely reliable, he serves as an example to us all."

Winston has been a staff member at PPPL since 1969. In his current role, he is the lead technician supervising the crews responsible for operating, maintaining and upgrading the National Spherical Torus Experiment, one of the nation's largest experimental fusion energy machines. He also has been a lead technician on several prior experiments. In his nomination, Stewart Prager, director of PPPL and professor of astrophysical sciences, wrote, "Joe's stellar use of this knowledge, driven by his powerful commitment to the PPPL enterprise, and combined with his generous tutelage and guidance of large numbers of staff and students, combines to make Joe an ideal candidate for this award." He added, "It is rare to be able to recommend for this award a University staff member who has served for 40 years and is currently performing at the top of his game."

Griffin Management Award

In addition to the President's Achievement Award winners, two staff members were honored as recipients of the Donald Griffin '23 Management Award. They were: Zia Bartley, HR events and communications specialist in the Office of Human Resources, and Rebecca Graves-Bayazitoglu, dean of Whitman College.

The award was established to honor Griffin -- a 1923 alumnus who served as the longtime secretary and general secretary of Princeton's Alumni Council -- through a gift from his son James, a 1955 alumnus; his granddaughter, Barbara Griffin Cole, a 1982 alumna; and her husband, Chris Cole, a 1981 alumnus. The award was instituted by the Office of Human Resources to recognize administrators who would like to develop their leadership and management skills. The winners receive a grant of up to $2,500 to participate in professional activities scheduled within the next year to provide new insights and perspectives, renew motivation and/or enhance skills applicable to their current responsibilities.

Bartley was hired in the Office of Human Resources in 2008. To further enhance her event management skills and to learn about industry best practices, she plans to attend the 2012 Academic Event Planner and The Special Event conferences in January. In her application for the award, she noted that by attending the conference, "I will be able to be more of an asset to the Office of Human Resources and to my colleagues throughout Princeton who also manage events across campus.”

has been a staff member in the University's residential college system since 2003. She will use the award to attend the Bryn Mawr Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education in June. In her application, she wrote, "The Bryn Mawr Institute would allow me to step back, consider the work I do from a distance, enhancing my understanding of Princeton, my work and allowing me to make a more meaningful contribution to the University."