Home/Awards, News, Updates/Congratulations to our VPOREP Annual Award Winners 2021!

Varsity Stadium with a sign saying welcome to OREP's thank you BBQ and awards.

(Photo: Jackie Shapiro, Ancillary Services)

Read more about our award winners below:

Outstanding Individual Employee Award

Presented to an individual staff member (regardless of length of service) involved in any area of staff work who has made outstanding contributions that go beyond the ordinary fulfillment of the position’s duties.

 

Praveen Narayanaswamy (ITS)

As an SAP Solutions Architect, Praveen has amassed a series of successfully accomplished, high profile, and complex projects for our institution and its various lines of business. He has demonstrated thoughtful and methodic approaches to organization, planning, execution and support, helping us transform our business systems, during the S/4Hana project. Praveen has the ability to remember vast complexities of details in his head, and a natural talent to lead and inspire by bringing structure to our work, with clear goals, and an ability for finding common language that serves everybody

 

Jelena Vulovic-Basic (F&S)

Over the past year Jelena has been a foundational force in the University’s pandemic response – rigorously researching and investigating all ventilation aspects of COVID-19 and becoming the resident go-to for all ventilation queries concerning COVID-19. Alongside her team, Jelena has also supported the execution of preventive ventilation measures including the installation of the MERV-13 filtration and enhancement of classroom ventilation with standalone units to enable the return to in-person classes in September. It is Jelena’s need for detailed and thorough understanding that enables others to move forward with confidence to implement these measures throughout the uncertainties and changes of the pandemic.

 

Karolina Grujic (UPDC)

Karolina consistently show initiative; works collaboratively; models exceptional service orientation; and has a strong work ethic. However, today Karolina is being recognized specifically for her mentoring of more junior staff as a significant extra contribution that exceeds the requirements of her position to the benefit of both the individual and the team. She assigns responsibility so that staff can work independently but makes herself available when needed, offering suggestions and advice. She explains the logic behind the design she intends to achieve so that expectations are clear and staff can work independently towards that goal. Finally, Karolina actively shares knowledge and best practices, ensuring that each member of the team can achieve their best results.

 

Robin Wilcoxen (ITS)

The pandemic year was the year we learned how much we rely on each other, and the importance of every individual in our teams. Even in a year of like this the contributions made by Robin to Information Security, to IT@UofT and to the U of T as a whole stand out – she is truly a stellar performer who has furthered the strategic goals of Information Security within the greater community and has improved how we work within the team. As an individual, she has reached out to so many other individuals, personalizing why we are ALL responsible for securing data at this institution.

 

Susan Shen (Ancillary Services)

Susan has excelled in her role as the Financial Administrator while taking on additional Business Officer tasks during the pandemic. Susan liaised with partners across the St. George Campus, including the Food Service leadership team, various residence life administrative groups and the TCard+ office at UTSC -often fostering positive and new partnerships along the way. Susan is always considerate of the needs of the wider campus community and was an integral part in the development and successful launch of the mobile payment app. She is customer service driven to provide a one-of-a-kind level of support and service. Leading with initiative, and perseverance, Susan has often displayed willingness to pivot and accept diversity in her role. Her immeasurable skills provide significant value to the extended Food Services team.

 

Russell Smith (Ancillary Services)

Russell has been with Ancillary Services less than 2 years, and has already established himself as an invaluable resource for the management and business officer team. He is a dedicated and engaged supervisor of his team of accounting staff, and has been a reliable administrative presence during the pandemic, coming to the office several times a week to support the back office functions of essential in-person work across the campus. Russell did outstanding work this year on the first annual report and consolidated budget for the new UDCS business ancillary, and on the University Family Housing budget consolidation and new business area.

 

Kristina Kazandjian (Ancillary Services)

Kristina is a service-focused dynamo with a vision and passion for ethically-sourced, branded University of Toronto merchandise and the role it plays – helping enhance the University’s values and visibility, and providing a tangible keepsake for students. This year, her exceptional achievements included a ground-breaking merchandise collaboration with Drake, support of the institution’s Insulin 100 commemoration, and work with the Temerty faculty of medicine on their new branding. She also remains an enthusiastic and engaged supporter of departmental initiatives, and is always among the first to volunteer for special administrative projects to support Ancillary Services. Her hard work, commitment, creativity and good humour are irreplaceable.

 

Brooke Gregoire (Ancillary Services)

Brooke’s personable and professional approach is a stabilizing influence on those around her. Her ability to think “outside the box”, natural ability to work hard, and infectious can-do approach are a few of the exemplary qualities she has demonstrated during her three years with the University. Striving for excellence in everything she does, she produces outstanding results while taking on additional roles and responsibilities, none more so witnessed during the pandemic when she willingly shifted and excelled in a different role in support of the wider campus community and extended Food Services team. An integral member of the Food Services Recovery team, she led the work with several diverse groups from across Food Services to revise Operating Procedures and develop Covid-19 General Assessment Tools.

 

Liza Wong (Ancillary Services)

Over the past year while the pandemic affected Ancillary Services’ on-site office presence, Lisa has not skipped a beat when processes moved on-line for the Charles Street Residences.  Being proactive and organized with excellent knowledge of tasks and deadlines, she has provided suggestions to maximize the impact and efficiency of on-site work. Lisa is not only a diligent accounting clerk, but also keeps the wellbeing of student families in mind, working with them to quickly resolve payment issues.  Lisa is a strong, skilled and conscientious staff member who gets things done, and regularly comes up with new and improved ways to work.

 

Michael Jeronimo (Ancillary Services)

Michael took on multiple roles during the pandemic in addition to leading the residence and retail food service operations and their respective teams. From financial stewardship, tutoring and mentoring administrative staff to manage the day-to-day processing of financial transactions, preparing financial reports and audits, to supporting peers and managers within the wider food services group he never shirked from stepping up and accepting greater responsibility. Michael was the lead on developing Food Services’ mobile pre order and payment app, enabling the safe and convenient provision of food and beverages, and providing flexibility to all on campus and an enhanced student experience. He was able to do this within weeks, versus the 12+ month industry standard. While taking on responsibilities outside of his comfort zone, Michael provided an invaluable high level of support and leadership.

 

Alim Alarakhia (Ancillary Services)

As the Service Coordinator, Alim is the face of Graduate House. In March of 2020, Alim supported in the mass move out of students, working many days past midnight to support students concerned about their housing and how they could get home to family. This past April, upon being informed of results from the COVID wastewater initiative. Alim was one of three individuals that spent the next 48 hours going door-to-door to drop off and collect COVID testing kits and explain the process to students. He readily contributes no matter the circumstances and provides excellent service and support to his team and the Graduate House community. There is no doubt that Graduate House wouldn’t have been as successful navigating the pandemic without the tireless work of Alim.

 

Song (Sirichai) Limpanapongpan (Ancillary Services)

Song is the Children’s Drop-in Centre Supervisor at University Family Housing. He is loved by staff, parents, and children for his wonderful programs, welcoming personality and the genuine concern and compassion he has for everyone. Over the past 18 months, Song successfully adapted the in-person children’s programmes to virtual and online platforms by creating and producing his own Face Book ‘live’ programs, Song’s Daily Drop-in, taught staff how to write and make their own children’s books as well as supporting a “Music and Movement Program’ on Zoom and a ‘Literacy Wednesdays’ reading programme for children and their families at the Charles Community. Thank you Song for your creativity and commitment!

 

Katie Muir (OREP HR)

Katie’s willingness to embrace new opportunities and complete all tasks with enthusiasm and dedication makes her a valuable member of the team. In addition to all her regular duties, Katie joined the Job Description Xpert (JDX) team three days a week in order to focus on completing consistent job descriptions for the OREP HR client groups. It is important to note that despite taking on this significant, extra task, Katie continued each and every one of her day to day responsibilities, juggling multiple priorities. Katie has also demonstrated leadership and commitment during COVID supporting Ancillary Services and other groups with challenging HR responsibilities. Thank you Katie for everything.

 

Patsy Rampersad

Patsy is a dependable, extremely efficient, and highly professional worker. She is always prepared to take on new tasks and responsibilities and will go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction. Patsy started at the University of Toronto over 9 years ago as a Service Worker Through her hard work and dedication, Patsy was promoted to Caretaking Lead Hand. Patsy is currently leading the group on the annual lab cleaning. On behalf of Caretaking Department, Facility & Services, we would like to thank Patsy for her exceptional efforts throughout her many years of service.

 

Silvestre Amaral

Silvestre started at the University of Toronto 25 years ago as a Service Worker. Silvestre has worked mostly in the Medical Sciences Building as a Lead Hand. Silvestre is doing an extraordinary job leading and motivating the group. Silvestre has assisted on multiple projects and tasks, including the installation of peak serve paper towel dispensers throughout the campus. He is determined to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all members of the University Community. On behalf of Caretaking Department, Facility & Services, we would like to thank Silvestre for his exceptional efforts throughout his many years of service.

 

Distinguished Service Award Winners 2021

Presented to an employee with more than 15 years of service at the University who has made outstanding contributions that go beyond the ordinary fulfillment of the position’s duties.

 

Roy Voogel (F&S)

Roy has been employed with the University of Toronto since 1988. He has developed positive working relationships with internal and external stakeholders to find solutions to problems. Roy provides support, key insights, ideas and direction. During the pandemic response, Roy led his group in installing the Plexiglas shields at food prep stations at residences, designing and building them to suit various work stations around campus as required. He also led his group in installing Certainty Wipes and Purell Stations. Roy is also dedicated to the success of capital projects, across a number of dimensions, including safety and cost-effectiveness.

 

Eugenia Romero (F&S)

Eugenia started at the University of Toronto in 1996 as a Service Worker in the Caretaking department. Over her 25 years of service, Eugenia has taken care of various buildings on campus. Eugenia has always taken great pride in her work and is dedicated to her customers, doing everything with a smile. She models great respect for everyone around her. Eugenia anticipates potential issues and tries to resolve them before they happen. She takes on extra work when caretaking is short staffed to keep operations running smoothly. She is determined to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all members of the University Community.

 

Al Hastings (F&S)

Albert has been a valued and respected member of the Campus Police Service for over 33 years. He has been a Platoon Manager for the past twenty years with a focus on training new officers and overseeing Community Policing initiatives. Albert has volunteered in numerous capacities such as being the Campus Police liaison to the University of Toronto Remembrance Day Services, a lead volunteer for the World Special Olympics Youth Games and volunteering with the Toronto Police Service serving as a member of the Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) with a focus on being proactive in community relations, crime prevention, education, mobilization and communications.

 

Glen Pirie (F&S)

Glen has been literally leaving his mark on campus for the last 39 years. Anyone who has been inside the university’s many high voltage substations has seen the “Glen’s Notes” posted across the rooms and equipment, his presence is felt in every single substation. He has accumulated a wealth of knowledge on the inner working of the campus’ electrical distribution system, which is quite complex. Glen is always willing to impart his knowledge to anyone who wishes to gain in, making him a great team player and the ‘go to’ source for any information.

 

Al Lecointe (Planning & Budget)

Since 2005, Al has been a valued member of the P&B team. He manages the complex task of allocating the $3.1B operating revenue among divisions each year. His commitment to innovation ensures that the University can quickly and seamlessly respond to changes in funding, such as the shift to performance-based funding in 2019, and make revenue data easily available to divisions for planning and decision making. Al has a relentlessly positive attitude, a deeply professional work ethic, and is generous with his time and knowledge. He exemplifies P&B values with attention to detail, integrity, collaboration, and timely service to colleagues.

 

Mike Ryall (ITS)

Mike has been a key resource in the onboarding and support process of ITS staff and  the 2500 Digital Workplace clients, for over 24 years. Throughout these years, he has diligently set up and supported many thousands of employee computers, always with a friendly smile, an easy-going attitude and a helping hand. Mike has been one of those staff happy to assist with anything – whether it’s muscle to help move a heavy item, an extra set of hands to prepare a meeting room for a large event, or a quick server setup to move files around. During the pandemic, Mike selflessly volunteered to work on site each day to ensure we had someone for our staff onboarding and offboarding processes, and for deliveries and hardware issues. He has always been there for us, regardless of the need.

 

Outstanding Staff Team Award

Presented to two or more staff members who function as a team and who have taken on a time-limited project.

 

Edge Firewall Migration Project ITS)

Three impactful cyber security attacks targeting the University of Toronto (U of T) on Dec. 9 2020 were the impetus to accelerate a next-generation firewall (NGFW) migration.  Although there were significant risks in rushing the project and doing it during exams, agility, collaboration, communication, and engagement across the entire IT @UofT community lead to a successful and unheralded 24 hr implementation and we had a uneventful conclusion to exams and the term.  Solid and professional preparation by the team over the fall played a significant role in their success.

The Team

  • Joe Bate
  • Carl Chan
  • John Calvin
  • Jason Chan
  • Kevin Wong
  • Sean Despres

 

Proactive Disinfection Team (F&S)

The “Proactive Disinfection Team” was assembled to establish and execute COVID-19 disinfection protocols to ensure the ongoing safety of our facilities and community.

This team coordinated 300 disinfections – almost one a day – across the St. George campus. Each disinfection protocol involves timely communication to the community, closure of space, immediate mobilization and dispatching of cleaning personnel, and ensuring the safety of staff conducting disinfection. The team has demonstrated its commitment to safety and communication, with disinfections occurring daily

In addition, the team coordinated the purchase and installation of 3,000+ hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipe stations, and established operational procedures to inspect and refill them.

The Team

  • Mark Simpson
  • Ronald Atkins
  • Tony Peixoto
  • Fatima Costa
  • Rodney Gensell
  • Grant Harvey

 

Switchboard & Reception in the Time of COVID (F&S)

 With a collective tenure of 65+ years of service at the University of Toronto, Sandy and Joanne supported the reception activities of a department with a largely essential workforce and have contributed to University-wide pandemic efforts.

They created a safe new process for accepting deliveries and supported uninterrupted vaccine clinic operations.

They took on the role of distributing of masks and face shields to all staff on the St. George campus. They counted, distributed and coordinated the collection of thousands of non-medical masks and face shields.

Joanne and Sandy supported the finance staff who worked remotely. This was pivotal to successfully concluding two consecutive fiscal year-ends.

The Team

  • Joanne Dedes
  • Sandy Levere

 

Property Managers and Vaccine Clinic In the Time of COVID (F&S)

Romy, Adam, Lucy and Christine from Facilities & Services mobilized to act quickly to help prepare and open the St. George vaccine clinic in just two weeks’ time.

This team demonstrated tremendous team work by leaning on each other to get this done quickly and effectively. Their mutual experience and expertise was critical to the success of the initiative. All four contributed many hours, hard work and dedication to the details to not only open the vaccine clinic but to reorganize operations outside of the clinic space, rearrange facilities (such as signage, parking and elevators) and re-route all deliveries and traffic to ensure the safety of patients.

The Team

  • Romy Thomas
  • Adam Lucas
  • Christine Davidson
  • Lucy Sullivan

 

Community Policing Initiatives (F&S)

 Holiday Toy Drive

In November 2020, Special Constables Lauren Weidmark, Monique Altmann, Jenna Glen & John Bongers embarked on a Community Policing initiative to ensure under privileged children received a gift on Christmas morning.

Teaming up with staff from St. Michael’s College and the Society of Saint Vincent Depaul, they collected gift cards totalling $2620.00.

Spring Sock Drive

In March 2021, Special Constables Maria Cunha and Matt Kerr began a Sock Drive for the homeless. They distributed posters around the St. George Campus and engaged university stakeholders.

Upon hearing the news, Nancy Dempsey, Blair Mochrie, and Anna Kulikov assisted with promotion and setting up donations bins within several key locations. 1200 pairs of socks were donated.

The Team

  • John Bongers
  • Jenna Glen
  • Monique Altmann
  • Lauren Weidmark
  • Maria Cunha
  • Matt Kerr
  • Nancy Dempsey
  • Blair Mochrie

 

Campus Events switch to virtual (Ancillary Services)

During the pandemic, the Campus Events team repeatedly pivoted and leveraged their strengths and experience to master new skills and systems such as MS Live to develop educational and operational resources.

The exceptional services offered have enabled Campus Events to facilitate more than 300 virtual activities to date. These have included virtual orientation events, Fall Campus Week recruitment events, virtual spring and fall Convocation viewing parties, departmental meetings and events of high profile. These activities have elevated the profile of the University while engaging tens of thousands of international participants from various time zones around the world.

Given that physical spaces are in high demand, this extensive expertise around virtual and hybrid events continues to be a critical asset to the wider Campus community.

The Team

  • Sarah Reid
  • Arielle Berube
  • Jennifer Vance
  • David Koufis
  • David Carinci
  • Clare Eno

 

Academic Pathways and Degree Completion Team (Planning & Budget)

The IRDG team provides data to analyze and answer foundational questions about the University’s programs and services. Over the last year, the team developed an innovative approach to mapping the academic pathways students take as they start, make progress, and complete their programs. The team worked alongside subject matter experts to understand the needs of Deans, Registrars, and Program Offices and designed data structures and dashboards to visualize students’ academic journeys. The data provides a foundation for identifying program pathways, fostering student success, and delivering tools to support future generations of UofT students as they navigate their degrees.

The Team

  • Amandeep Sharma
  • Yuliya Cherevko
  • Louise Tardif
  • Jeff Waldman
  • David Wang

 

UCheck implementation team (cross portfolio)

By now most of us know about UCheck.  Behind the scenes a cross portfolio team at , the University of Toronto responded quickly and efficiently to evolving public health guidance to roll out our on-line symptom screening for individuals coming to campus, contact tracing options for EHS, and management of rapid testing sites. When things work we sometimes take it for granted and don’t realize how challenging they are to develop and execute., requiring a skilled, and multi-disciplinary team across Information technology and key business areas.

In the “spirit of UTogether”, members of ITS, Human Resources, EHS, Facilities and Services, and the Provost’s office worked under very tight deadlines and evolving requirements to make this new and important application available to the community, by:

The Team

  • Farah Ally                  ITS
  • Brian Galvis               ITS
  • Kelly Gao                   ITS
  • Rodney Branch         ITS
  • Sue McGlashan        ITS
  • Carrie Schmidt         ITS
  • Rachel Tennant        Facilities & Services
  • Anna Kulikov            Facilities & Services
  • Hayley Fuller            People Strategy, Equity & Culture
  • Joan Griffin               People Strategy, Equity & Culture
  • Andrea Foster           People Strategy, Equity & Culture
  • Cherilyn Nobleza     People Strategy, Equity & Culture
  • Rachael Ferenbok    People Strategy, Equity & Culture
  • Phil Harper                People Strategy, Equity & Culture
  • Meredith Strong       Office of the Vice-Provost, Students
  • Kay Kelly                    University of Toronto Communications
  • Raphael Eskenazi     Office of the Governing Council
  • Gina Trubiani            Environmental Health & Safety
  • Genalyn Lo                 Environmental Health & Safety
  • Sinisa Markovic        Enrolment Services

 

Quarantine Housing Program (cross portfolio)

Since August of 2020 – an enthusiastic and dedicated team with representatives from multiple divisions across U of T has worked hard to develop, manage, and maintain a program that has been recognized as best in its class by external partners. The Hotel Quarantine Program was developed to meet tri-level government requirements that established U of T as a Designated Learning Institution with a rigorous COVID-19 readiness plan in place that would support international students for a safe entry to Canada.

While the plan also included a program of support for students quarantining at home, the Hotel Quarantine Program is the signature program, designed to be a “one stop shop” for the incoming or returning international student (as well as Canadian students returning from abroad).

The Team

  • Edward Lo                Food Services
  • Jaco Lokker              Food Services
  • Olivia Boutilier          Food Services
  • Jonathan Phillips      Food Services
  • Dariusz Jaczynski     Food Services
  • Tyler Watson             Food Services
  • Rob Grieve                Food Services
  • Aaron Tsang              Residence Life
  • Julia Goudreau         Residence Life
  • Alexandra Jamieson Residence Life
  • Paige Julian                Residence Life
  • David Kim                   Residence Life
  • Clayon Levy               Housing Services
  • Don Sison                  Housing Services
  • Arlene Clement        Housing Services
  • Katherine Beaumont         Centre for International Experience
  • Rachael Ferenbok              People Strategy, Equity & Culture
  • Brigid McNulty          Vice-Provost, Students
  • Meredith Strong       Vice-Provost, Students
  • Owen McCartney     Real Estate
  • Josh Mitchell             Real Estate
  • Janine Robb              Health and Wellness Centre
  • Susan Camm             Health and Wellness Centre
  • Loretta Mak               Health and Wellness Centre
  • Serena Persaud       Office of the CAO, Student Life

 

Chestnut Residence pre-order and pickup mobile payment app (Ancillary Services)

A mobile pre order and payment app was developed and launched within the Chestnut Residence as a response to the dining hall capacity limits during the pandemic. This provided students greater accessibility to menu options, and flexibility in accommodating schedules around online learning. Approximately 80% of all students in residence downloaded the app, up to 49% of transactions were conducted via the app during peak meal periods- providing a convenient and safe alternative to the dining hall for students, especially at the supper period.  An overall satisfaction rate of 95% was achieved between app launch and the end of the school year. A collaborative team effort was required between a group of key individuals across food services.

The Team

  • Jaco Lokker
  • Michael Jeronimo
  • Susan Shen
  • Edward Lo
  • Olivia Boutilier
  • Dariusz Jaczynski
  • Tyler Watson

 

Food Services HR during the Time of COVID (OREP HR)

The Human Resources team actively supported the Food Services leadership team the moment the pandemic began to impact the business in March 2020. Overnight, the retail, catering and conference business evaporated, and tough decisions needed to be made. This HR team ensured FS had all the tools and information required to enable key decision making and the delivery of such decisions to impacted individuals. On every occasion they provided enhanced levels of support with each iteration of the process. Examples include assisting with the dozens of Covid-19 General Assessment Tools, auditing U-Check, and facilitating the collaboration with others such as caretaking and EHS. The team continually provided unprecedented support with a service level that was exceptional and truly second to none.

The Team

  • Lori-Anne Hill
  • Ashley Jordan
  • Katie Muir

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