All 2020 Orem HEROES Awards

The employees who won Orem HEROES Awards make the Avengers look like amateurs.

There wasn’t enough room on the certificates or enough time in our digital employee appreciation party to read the full nominations for our Orem HEROES so we’ve posted them here on Walter in their full glory.

Congratulations to these exemplary employees!

Ampelia Lopez

I would like to nominate Dispatcher Ampelia Lopez for the Beyond the Call of Duty Award.

Our dispatch center has been significantly understaffed over the past year, and part of our process to get back to staffing levels is to train new people. We have a 6 month training program and with all our new trainees it can be extremely difficult to place them with trainers as we only have a limited amount of trainers available. That is where Ampelia’s willingness and flexibility have come in.

Ampelia is not required to be a trainer, but when asked if she would be willing to temporarily serve as one, she readily agreed. Training others is one of the hardest tasks a dispatcher will have, yet Ampelia has done so without complaint. She always comes to work with a smile on her face, she is easy to get along with and gets along well with everyone and does not create or get involved with drama. As a trainer she has a great attitude and is happy to help her trainee succeed, offering constructive feedback and and providing instruction and information as needed.

Ampelia is also an asset to our center as she is one of only a few Spanish speakers. Not only does this help us tremendously when we encounter Spanish callers, but Ampelia readily takes these calls and is happy to assist with Spanish speakers in any way that she can, often quickly switching the position that she is working so that she can be of further help.

We are so appreciative that Ampelia will go out of her way to help fellow dispatchers, employees, trainees and the public. She truly goes Beyond the Call of Duty to ensure that our dispatch center runs more smoothly and efficiently and that it is a more enjoyable place to work.

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CJ Jones

Colleen Jones (CJ we call her) has been with the Orem Police Department for over 25 years plus, working first as a dispatcher and now as a CSS, Customer Service Specialist, in the Police Records Department. Most recent that CJ has been working on is changing from UCR’s to NIBRS, which are to show the statistics in different areas of calls the police go on every day. When CJ
found out out the FBI was changing from UCR(Uniform Crime Reporting) to the NIBRS(National Incident-Based Reporting System) program, which was over a year ago or more, she took upon herself to learn as much about NIBRS as she could before she even started going to the different trainings that have been offered. She has been waiting and waiting to be able to train the officers and supervisors on this new program and the time has finally come that she will have two trainings in August to train the officers. She has been working diligently on a power point presentation to help teach this new program easily and efficiently. She handles all the citations, GRAMA requests, arrests packets when I’m gone and other duties. When NIBRS gets in full effect in September, she will have to give up doing the citations and let another co-worker take over since NIBRS will be taking up a lot of her work day. I am so grateful for an employee that is so conscientious to go to such great lengths to learn a program over a year or more before it even starts to get launched. CJ has always exhibited this type of hard-working skills and I feel she deserves the Service to Fellow Employees award since she works very closely with the
officers to get their stats done correctly and helps them do this so our stats will be correct for our agency.

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Heath Stevenson

In the words of Willie Shakespeare, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.” With an unprecedented global pandemic and the massive fallout that has ensued, Heath has reason to the occasion and guided the City of Orem through some very deep and dark water. He has been working day and night to adjust, adapt, and react to a situation that has seemed to change drastically with each passing day. Heath has proven how important his position as Emergency Manager is to the well-being of our organization. He has handled the pressure of this pandemic like with the strength and calmness of a samurai master crossed with a Buddist monk. He has been a vast resource of information and wisdom and a great reserve of common sense and good judgment in a critical time for our local
government. I sleep better at night knowing that Heath is on our side.

Being an emergency manager is a difficult job, even when times are good. Imagine being the emergency manager for an entire city, and suddenly a global pandemic hits. There have been shortages in grocery stores for basic needs. People are told to stay home and avoid contact even with extended family. Everyone is stressed, scared and unsure of the future. While trying to deal with the viral pandemic outbreak, imagine an earthquake rocks the state and can be felt through the city. People are more worried than before, and nothing seems to be getting better. Add to that protests and civil unrest over divisive issues including some involving city employees. Now throw in ever-changing data and direction from state leadership and medical experts, new and complicated problems to be solved with city buildings, amenities, and services… and that basically sums up Heath Stevenson’s last few months. This year has knocked us all down, and Heath has spent hundreds of hours picking us up, making sure that we are able to keep the city going for our residents and feel safe doing so.

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Jason Adamson

An old English proverb says, “No job is too big or too small, only thinking makes it so.” Our Risk Manager Jason Adamson is the embodiment of that mindset; if Jason sees a need, he steps in without having to be asked and works until the job is done. Jason does not feel he is “above” any task and has been seen vacuuming conference rooms and emptying garbage, serving food and busing tables at city functions, laying asphalt or crack seal with streets crews, teaching leadership courses for supervisors, shoveling snow at the City Center, trimming broken tree branches, and much more. On top of being a wonderful employee who embraces his “other duties as assigned”, Jason does his job well. He has worked his way up and re-energized his position, dedicating his time and effort to improving the city.

Despite his large, potentially intimidating stature, Jason’s big smile, natural warmth, and welcoming demeanor puts people immediately at ease. In the past people groaned at the very idea of having to meet with the risk manager, but since Jason has taken on this role it no longer feel like a sit-down with the risk manager is some kind of punishment. Jason truly listens, and is understanding and empathetic – a friend and confidante to all. He takes the time to get to know fellow employees, and is genuinely interested in finding ways to improve their work environment and their lives. When a firefighter was seriously injured on the job, Jason made sure to visit him in the hospital more than once, not to check the status of an injury claim, but to see a friend and make sure he was getting the physical and mental health treatments that would help him through his recovery.

Jason is such an asset to the City, and a great way to recognize his tremendous effort would be awarding him Employee of the Year. These examples don’t even begin to cover all that Jason does to keep us all moving forward, and we’re incredibly lucky to work with him!

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Kristie Snyder - Employee of the Year

Kristie Snyder has worked for the City of Orem for over 25 years and is an integral part of the City’s success. Her years of service have made her a database of institutional knowledge; you can ask Kristie about practically any person, place, or program within the city and she can give you the information you need, as well as point you in the right direction for more. She is organized and thorough in her work, which is a wide array of intense clerical, administrative, and supervisory responsibilities. Just for fun I made a list of all the things I know Kristie does… it was 3 full pages long and I know I didn’t even cover it all! And mind you, she’s doing this as a one-man band. On top of all her day-to-day work Kristie is tasked with being a kind of good will ambassador for the mayor, city council, and city administrators. She’s usually the first point of contact for employees, the public, and representatives from other agencies that wish to speak with or meet with city officials, a role she handles with charm and good humor even when it is not returned. Kristie always goes above and beyond in her own duties and in helping fellow employees, often catching a ball someone else was about to drop and solving problems before they even arise. She could be called a “Swiss Army employee” – she has several tools in her arsenal and she uses them creatively to get the job done. She has saved my bacon more times than I can count, and I’m sure many of you can relate to that. Kristie is soon approaching her retirement and I wanted a chance to recognize her for the fine work and countless hours she has given to Orem before she goes. Kristie could honestly be nominated in every category every year and totally deserve it, and that is why I am nominating her for Employee of the Year.

I would like to nominate Kristie Snyder for Employee of the Year. Over the many years that she has worked for the City, Kristie has been and remains a dedicated employee and someone that can be counted upon to help out her fellow employees. Kristie is always willing to help me with my requests and needs. She does so with a cheerful attitude. Over the last number of years of working closely with her, she has helped me on a number of projects and issues that weren’t necessarily her responsibility. I’ve also watched her implement and carryout successful events on an annual basis such as the Memorial Day program and the City Cleanup. Her efforts have led to improvements and much success. Kristie is not just an Administrative Assistant or Secretary. Many employees may not realize the number of duties that fall upon her shoulders outside of typical day to day duties. She is a true team player and a great example to others.

Kristie has worked for the City of Orem for over 25 years and is nearing her retirement in the next year or so. She has worked in several departments through the years, including the court, HR, the attorney’s office, and running the City’s CDBG program. In her current position in the CM office, she does more than she did in those other positions combined. Her workload is enormous, and varied, and she’s doing it all alone. Kristie is in charge of or involved with so many additional committees, events, and programs yet still gets all of her day-to-day work done – I don’t know how she gets through it all. She goes above and beyond in everything she does. She’s organized, knowledgeable, and can always be counted on to get the job done. It will be a huge loss for the City when she retires; I truly wonder how the City will function without her.

Kristie is an amazing employee. She never turns down an assignment and is always so willing to help with whatever tasks she assigned (regardless of how random it might seem). If an issue comes up and nobody knows what to do with it, Kristie usually gets the assignment. This is understandable because she has worked in so many different departments w/in the City and has such a breadth of knowledge and understanding of how the City functions. In addition to her years or service and professional acumen, she is a really fun, kind, patient, understanding and caring person. She takes time to listen to employees, elected officials and the public. Her patience and level-headedness in potentially confrontational situations is impressive. She is oftentimes the  public’s first contact with the City, and she is an outstanding ambassador. She absolutely deserves to be recognized as Orem’s Employee of the Year.

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Luis Durand

I would like to recognize the hard work and dedication of Custodial Supervisor Luis Durand. Without the efforts of him and his staff, it is quite possible that Covid would have an even greater chance of spreading throughout our city.

Often seen tirelessly cleaning Orem’s facilities, Luis can be found hard at work to ensure that our public work spaces are properly cleaned and maintained. Cleaning is not an easy job on a normal day, but when you throw in all the extra work that Covid has entailed, it’s an even greater responsibility. I often see him, and his staff, going above and beyond to make sure our center is not only properly cleaned, but also that the trash is emptied, surfaces are wiped down and floors are vacuumed or mopped.

Luis is friendly and polite and always respectful about entering a workspace. He consistently wears a mask and takes extra effort to properly disinfect and wipe down surfaces. Recently he volunteered to help us with a small problem we were having in our kitchen even though it was not among his job duties.

Luis and his staff offer a service to all of us that can very easily be taken for granted, and quite frankly we probably wouldn’t notice his work unless he stopped doing it. That is why I would like to recognize his service day in and day out to each and every one of us that work or visit the City of Orem.

Thank you Luis for all that you do to help keep this city clean, safe and protected!

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Matt Kammerer

Matt Kammerer is a wonderful employee at the Orem Public Library. Not only does he excel at his job, but he is also dedicated to serving his fellow coworkers. Matt is always willing to help out other departments. He uses his talents to create film and audio materials for programs at the library and is ready to assist with set up and take down whenever he is available. During this pandemic, Matt consistently protects his fellow coworkers by wearing a mask and following safety guidelines and regulations. Matt is ready to give advice to anyone working on remodeling their homes, helping coworkers navigate potential pitfalls and DIY projects. He organized a service project for a fellow employee in need and consistently dedicates time and resources to employee baby showers, retirement parties, birthday cards, etc. He greets fellow employees with their name and a smile. He is absolutely deserving of this award and I am honored to be able to nominate him.

Matt is a huge asset to the library and city. Not only does he possess an amazing array of creative skills, like film and audio editing, composing, and a great eye for art, he’s kind, funny, and always there if you need a hand. Matt was instrumental in the creation of the library makerspace, a creative lab where community members have access to creative tools like 3D printers, computers, and camera equipment. Under his direction, the Makerspace has become a warm and inviting space where anyone can come and learn. He’s a huge help to library patrons, but just as frequently Matt uses his skills to help others in the city. This summer the library was faced with huge challenges due to Covid. Publicity needed to be created. Programs had to go online. We needed to find creative ways to interact with library patrons at home. Matt was there through it all. He responded to numerous calls for help and filmed and edited videos, helped us put the Shakespeare for Kids program online, as well as making the soundtrack for the summer reading finale. This summer was by no means an anomaly. Matt is a key member of the library family, and other staff members know that he’s always there to help. Several years ago when a staff member’s basement flooded, he organized a relief fund. When another staff member was battling terminal cancer, Matt stood by her and her family, and helped organize a last trip to Disneyland. Many staff members at the library have felt his kindness in the form of a note or treat on a bad day, or special help with a work project. The city of Orem is a better place because Matt and his service to other staff members.

Matt created the Walter logo. Without his expertise, we wouldn’t have such a successful intranet launch.

Matt’s work can be seen in nearly every department of the city. He designed Walter and has created accessories for him. He has been busy creating and putting up vinyl lettering all over the city center. He organized a fundraiser to help a terminally ill fellow employee go to Disneyland with her family. He is a whiz at filming and editing. He made library story times possible during the covid closure, by making them viewable from home. He has made numerous summer reading program movies, edited playlists for various library programs, made movies for Great American Read, the art carnival, all while doing his “regular” job of managing the Makerspace. Matt is always first in line when someone needs help with a project, including painting, lifting, climbing, and laying sod, and teaching staff the hula. He even came to my house on his own  time wearing his Batman suit to give my little grandsons some excitement for Halloween. When it comes to kindness and generosity, they don’t come better than Matt.

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Scott Swift

I would like to recognize Scott Swift for all that he has done to help us through the dispatch hiring process by supporting our endeavors to hold a dispatch education night and by adjusting his schedule to accommodate our needs.

As many in the city may know, dispatch has a high failure rate for new hires due to many aspects including failure to adjust to the schedule, inability to handle the stress of the job and lack of performance in completing the rigorous training. Over 60% of new trainees do not make it through our training program. We have been endeavoring to change that and Scott has taken an active role in helping us adjust our testing methods so that we can hopefully have better success. Scott has been open minded to trying new methods and also has helped to explore new ways of doing things. One such thing that helped us immensely was HR taking over the role of administering and grading tests that are given. Scott has been at the forefront of this and this, in turn, has saved us a lot of time and effort that was spent in the initial testing process. We also wanted to hold a job preview night for those who were interested in the job in the hopes that we could potentially weed out certain candidates who may not really know what the job truly entailed. Scott has willingly adjusted his schedule to create opportunities for us to have this presentation, which so far has already boosted our hiring success rates. He has stayed later into the evening to oversee the testing process and also provides a brief presentation  explaining the many benefits the city provides new hires. It has been extremely helpful having him there to monitor the process and also to provide input and answer questions that arise. This is certainly something that he didn’t need to get involved in as heavily as he did and we are very appreciative of his efforts.

Thank you Scott for going above and beyond to try and help our new dispatch hires become a success!

I am very appreciative of all that HR has done to help us try and better retain employees and Scott especially has gone above and beyond to help us with our initial testing and hiring process.

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Shauna Mundinger

Orem Public library has its own innovation hero. Her name is Shauna Mundinger and she keeps things hopping and happy in the Children’s section of the library.

Since Shauna has arrived at the Orem Library she has implemented programs that enrich and expand the minds of children and their families. Here are just a few of the programs that Shauna has introduced to the littlest library patrons.

Shauna’s expertise is in early education/ special needs has always been a strong point in spearheading the cause of kids and reading. Patrons always ask for her specifically when they have children that are just learning how to read. She’s divided the Beginning reader section to First readers and parent have come to rely on her collection to help their children to read. (Especially now in these covid19 times where parents are taking an even greater role in teaching).

Shauna started a new program called, “Learning through Play” and parents/caregivers come to learn and play and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere in our story wing. This was also a great time for parents and caregivers to meet other families and patrons with the same age children. (the program had to be stopped for a while…but not forgotten…we’ll start again).

1000 Books before Kindergarten. The time and effort that Shauna has put into this program is amazing. Parent and Caregivers and encourage to develop a child’s love for reading just as soon as they can. From Birth until kindergarten they are enrolled in a program where they check off the books they read with their child in 100 book sheets. Each time a new sheet is turned into the children’s desk, we make sure to go a bit wild and cheer the little reader on.

Book Bundles is the newest program Shauna has put into place and it’s been a real hit with all our patrons. Clerks were asked to put together a group of 5 books on similar topics in bundles. Changing the status of the books and putting them in a special location where parent/children and caregivers can see them. Patrons are constantly praising the program. With the library open for quick retrieval of books…(we’re more like “In and Out” without the burgers…) Patrons are grateful to have a number of the best children’s books grouped together for easy access.

These are just a few of the innovations that Shauna has introduced to the Children’s library. She is truly an unsung hero of the Children’s section and we’d love to have her recognized for her dedicated work. As a supervisor, she has a staff that is grateful for her insight and sensitivity to the needs of our patrons and her staff, at these times. She makes sure the Children’s section of the library is pleasing and inviting to all its patrons, no matter the age or situation and a safe and joyful place to work.

Thank you for your consideration,
The Children’s staff,
Marianne St. Jeor
Cheryl Swenson
Molly Cluff
Mark Pulham (I was elected by the group to write the nomination…any spelling error or grammatical mistakes are mine… oops! Thanks)

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Thayne Carter

Thayne Carter has been really good at what he does as the fleet manager. I have worked with him hand and hand at the warehouse. He has been really good with trying to eliminate waste and organizing with us and with his guys needs in the fleet shop. He has worked with us getting vendors to do more bids and getting items that is needed for the city fleet. I have talked with Thayne about the Volks Wagon settlement that we were just awarded. It was around 1.1 million dollars that the city got from Thayne’s hard work. It took about 2 years of paper work after paper work to see if the City could qualify for the settlement money. So the city got a new fire truck and then some with the hard work he put in getting the money. That is a lot of money the citizens saved from his efforts. Especially with the economic times we are facing today. That has saved the tax paying citizens a lot off money that can go to something more important. And if anyone has been to Thayne’s office on a regular basis you would see how busy he can be. There are times Thayne will be out helping out with mechanic issues when he is short guys. I have noticed Thayne takes ownership in what he does and gives the citizens 100% all the time. And I really appreciate that as a coworker and Orem citizen. When the warehouse is short a guy and needs help he always offers us help when needed. Thayne has also started using a different auctioning system that has been getting the city more money than expected with some of the old fleet equipment. The older system took lots more of his guys manpower to get rid of things. Now the online auction he does the people come get the items they buy instead of having his guys getting things ready to ship. I could go on more but I just want to say thank you Thayne for your dedicated work at Orem City. Keep up the good work!!!

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