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

(photos: Jackie Shapiro, Ancillary Services)


For the sixth year, and following a year’s hiatus, Operations & Real Estate Partnerships team members gathered for the OREP Thank BBQ & Awards event, one day later than originally scheduled due to nature’s fickle plans. Over 470 staff members had rsvpd with alacrity to enjoy delicious food – supplied by our very own Food Services culinary team – to the sounds of our Faculty of Music’s student steel pan band, in a socially distanced, EAT-guided and EHS-approved event.

This is our opportunity to celebrate our entire team, and to honour our often unsung heroes for the great work they do in creatively, efficiently and dedicatedly furthering our mission through our three levels of OREP Awards. The Varsity Stadium jumbotron was used to great effect to not only remind people about social distancing rules, but also to feature and celebrate every single one of our 15 Outstanding Individual Award winners, 6 Distinguished Service Award winners and the 93 members from the 11 Outstanding Staff Teams.

Our thanks to KPE and to Varsity Stadium staff for allowing us to use their venue to host our staff!

Congratulations to all…read more about your colleagues (and yourselves!) below and on our website!


Operations & Real Estate Partnerships Annual Staff Achievement Awards Program

The Vice-President Operations & Real Estate Partnerships has established the annual Staff Achievement Awards Program in order to recognize exceptional staff contributions to the success of their particular unit, the University Operations portfolio and the University.

The program provides Operations & Real Estate Partnerships with an opportunity to thank staff for the valuable work performed throughout the year.


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.

This year’s winners:

  • Praveen Narayanaswamy, EASI, ITS
  • Jelena Vulovic-Basic, Facilities & Services
  • Karolina Grujic, Design & Engineering, UPDC
  • Robin Wilcoxen, Information Security, ITS
  • Susan Shen, Food Service, Ancillary Services
  • Russell Smith, Ancillary Services
  • Kristina Kazandjian, Trademark Licensing, Ancillary Services
  • Brooke Gregoire, Food Services, Ancillary Services
  • Liza (Lai-shan) Wong,  Ancillary Services
  • Michael Jeronimo, Food Services, Ancillary Services
  • Alim Alarakhia, Graduate House, Ancillary Services
  • Song (Sirichai) Limpanapongpan, Student Family Housing, Ancillary Services
  • Katie Muir OREP Human Resources
  • Patsy Rampersad, Caretaking, Facilities & Services
  • Silvestre Amaral, Caretaking, Facilities & Services


Distinguished Service Award

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.

This year’s winners:

  • Roy Voogel, Trades Services, Facilities & Services
  • Eugenia Romero, Caretaking Services, Facilities & Services
  • Albert Hastings Campus Safety, Facilities & Services
  • Glen Pirie, Facilities & Services
  • Al Lecointe Planning & Budget
  • Michael (Mike) Ryall, EASI/PGAC, ITS


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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