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May 13, 2015

MSU staff members to be recognized June 1

Six staff employees will receive the 38th annual Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award and one staff employee will receive the sixth annual Ruth Jameyson "Above and Beyond" Award June 1.

This year's reception is scheduled to take place from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Jack Breslin Student Events Center Auxiliary Gym.

Following is a list of awardees.

Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award

Zach Constan 

Zach Constan is an outreach coordinator for the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, where he communicates about research performed at NSCL and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. Constan educates a wide variety of audiences about science and nuclear physics and their applications.

Since 2006, Constan has given more than 1,000 tours of NSCL/FRIB to groups as diverse as elementary school students to donors to congressional staffers, totaling more than 25,000 visitors. He is also heavily involved in outreach activities of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, a multi-institutional center funded by the National Science Foundation. Constan collaborates with universities partners who are members of the center, in particular Notre Dame.

Constan serves on several committees on campus, including the Pre-College Committee (founding member), the Science Festival Advisory Committee and the Informal Learning Network (founding member). He helped found the Michigan Pre-College and Youth Outreach Conference at MSU in 2008 and spearheaded the 2012 conference at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.

Lisa Frugé 

Lisa Frugé has been an editorial assistant in the MSU African Studies Center since 1996. As editor of the center’s newsletter, Frugé has modernized it over time, creating a digital newsletter and leveraging social media including Facebook and Twitter to promote the center. By adopting new technologies, she has broadened the reach of the center. In addition, Frugé has assisted with the livestreaming of a weekly lecture series and oversaw a major renovation.

Frugé is actively involved with the African community at MSU as well as in the Lansing region. She assists student groups, including the African Student Union and African Student Leadership Association, with event planning and regularly attends their functions. Frugé has also assisted greater Lansing community groups including Afrika Together and ZIM-MSU.

Frugé is the public face of the center, lending a helping hand to all who enter. She is a natural when it comes to interpersonal relationships and has a reputation of being inclusive, accessible and friendly.

Michael Gardner

After 42 years of service to MSU Culinary Services, Michael Gardener retired in January 2015, most recently working as a dining services complex manager, Rivertrail Neighborhood Residential Dining. Gardner managed the operational and financial activities of a multi-unit residential dining facility and a retail location. Gardner was a key leader and change agent during the renovation of Shaw Dining Hall, which has created the unique dining experience at The Vista at Shaw.

Prior to The Vista, Gardner was instrumental in the operation, renovation and reopening of Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall. As a manager, Gardner does not have rules, he has expectations. If you do not meet his expectations, than he trains you to exceed them. It is with this positive leadership style that Gardner was recognized in 2014 with the Outstanding Supervisor Award, established by the MSU Family Resource Center.

In addition to his role with Culinary Services, Gardner has managed program sales on Spartan game days for MSU Athletics for more than 30 years.

Donald McCue

Donald McCue is a stockhandler for MSU Culinary Services, South Neighborhood Residential Dining. He is responsible for unloading approximately 25 palettes of stock in a timely manner at South Pointe at Case and Wilson Dining Hall, as well as cleaning and organizing storerooms and coolers at both halls.

McCue has worked on campus for 29 years and is always willing to lend a helping hand. If he sees someone struggling in their duties, he is the first one to step in. A former cook for Culinary Services, McCue often assists cooks with production or helps in the dish room.

For the last 12 years, McCue has volunteered as the AFSCME Local 1585 union steward for South Neighborhood Residential Dining, where he attends meetings and offers guidance to protect the union’s members within South Neighborhood at MSU. 

Sean O’Connor

Sean O’Connor is a grounds maintenance manager for Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Landscape Services. O’Connor has served the university for more than 45 years most recently as superintendent of Forest Akers Golf Course.

In his role as grounds maintenance manager, O’Connor plans, directs and manages the financial, operational and personnel activities of IPF Landscape Services.

O'Connor took over leadership of IPF Landscape Services when the department was experiencing low morale and financial struggles. Using participatory management, O’Connor began his leadership by observing and listening, making a complete analysis before proceeding with change. He has since directed the department with a clear mission and assembled a leadership team to develop a strategic plan.

Linda (Lynn) Vecziedins

Linda (Lynn) Vecziedins is an administrative assistant II/s for MSU Extension where she performs a variety of administrative tasks necessary to keep the 10 MSU Extension county offices in Districts 7 and 8 running smoothly and efficiently.

Vecziedins has been instrumental in training MSUE supervisory staff in her districts to use a new attendance system, has trained MSUE staff to use the Enterprise Business System and has also functioned as a liaison with MSUE business office staff to relay local questions and concerns to their attention.

In the past five years, MSUE underwent significant transitions in structure, operations and business functions. Throughout the MSUE restructure, Vecziedins was instrumental in communicating procedural changes and helping the team to better understand changes. Vecziedins makes it a point to familiarize herself with the policies and procedures of the university so she is able to communicate information correctly to external and internal clients.

Ruth Jameyson "Above and Beyond" Award

Kevin Turner

Kevin Turner is the manager of the Swine Farm in the Department of Animal Science. With nine years of service, Turner’s goal for the farm is to provide an exemplary experience for faculty, staff and students, including research and teaching projects. Much of his work with students and stakeholders occurs during evenings and on weekends.

Turner completed his course work and research for his master's degree in animal science this month and is now in the process of submitting his manuscripts to the Journal of Animal Science for peer review.

His passion for mentoring students was featured in the September 2104 issue of Michigan Pork magazine where one student quoted in the article stated, “I didn’t have much pig production experience when I first started, but the lessons I learned working with Kevin gave me the skills, confidence and encouragement to go to graduate school.”

Turner is well-respected by his peers in the department. He was elected to serve as the Animal Science staff representative to the Animal Science Department’s Advisory Council which advises the chairperson on departmental governance. He received the 2014 Outstanding Staff Award for the Department of Animal Science. He has been involved with many outreach activities where he has helped Extension educators with their programs including demonstrations at both the farm and the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education.

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