This week we celebrated the March 2022 #TeamCity Awards. It is now a #TeamCity tradition to celebrate a group of outstanding employees every two months, nominated by their colleagues. The work ethic, commitment, community service, and drive of City employees is inspiring. We also celebrated some teams that have had a big impact in our community. These teams represent the #TeamCity spirit as most of them are comprised of multiple departments working towards the same goal.

Individual Award Winners

The #TeamCity Administration Award goes to Sherry Severson. Sherry is an Occupational & Accommodations Specialist at HR. Her duties revolve around advocating for employee needs and making sure our organizations are compliant with state, federal, and local requirements. She researches best practices and ideas related to ADA and employee accommodations. Sherry bridges the needs of staff with and without disabilities to help them get their work done. Her creativity has been especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sherry found employees temporary work stations and did her best to ensure everyone felt as safe as possible through these difficult times. Unfortunately for us, Sherry is getting ready to retire. It will be a great loss for the City, but we wish you the best. Sherry was nominated by Labor Relations Specialists – Emaan Abdel-Halim and Erin Hillson, Human Resource Analyst – Tory Larson, and HR Director – Harper Donahue.

The #TeamCity Community Service & Support Award goes to Mary Fahndrich. Mary is a Librarian at the Central Library and is in charge of the Home Service Program. As libraries were closed, Mary partnered with Union Cab to provide delivery of library materials to home bound patrons during the pandemic. This proved to be a difficult and time consuming project. Mary has always been willing to help out not just the public, but also coworkers and even other departments using her experience. Her coworkers describe her as someone who is dependable, well-organized, cheerful, generous with her time and expertise, and “unfailingly professional”. Through this program she has helped the City further its mission, vision, and values. Mary was nominated by Librarian – Kathy Wolkoff, and Library Assistant – Emily Wilcox.

The #TeamCity Public Health & Safety Award goes to NicoleMarie Hall. NicoleMarie is an Administrative Services Manager at the Fire Department. In her role, she is Fire’s lead financial person in charge of Fire’s budget, purchasing, and payroll. In her teammates’ words, “if it has to do with money, things, or people, she handles it”. Through the pandemic, NicoleMarie has shown leadership and stewardship. Fire suffered through some staffing shortages, so she agreed to take on extra work. Her commitment led her to work during her maternity leave, which her colleagues greatly appreciated.  Despite the tough circumstances, NicoleMarie made sure that all 400+ employees got their pay on time and received the necessary tools to continue keeping the City safe. Thank you for your hard work, NicoleMarie. NicoleMarie was nominated by Administrative Assistant, Denise DeSerio.

The #TeamCity Public Works & Land Use Award goes to Dallas Huebner. Dallas is an Operator at Streets. On a regular day you’ll find Dallas either driving one of the City’s recycling trucks or at a waste drop-off site assisting residents. Both duties are crucial. While assisting residents at the waste drop-off site, he always shows a kind and helpful manner. Yet there will be times when customers become unruly. Through these encounters, Dallas has always remained calm and offered as much information and assistance as possible. Furthermore, Dallas is very proactive, making sure that the drop-off site always remains clean and manageable. Through the temporary fill-ins during the pandemic, Dallas was always kind and respectful to the Parking Utility crew that was assigned to the same drop-off site. Dallas was nominated by Customer Service Ambassador, Kimberly Suskey.

The #TeamCity Mayor’s Choice Award goes to Terri Strong. Terri is a Child Care Specialist at Community Development. Through her 25 years as a Child Care Specialist for the City of Madison, Terri has been responsible for assessing and accrediting early childcare and school-age programming and assisting programs in their continuous quality improvement. Her tireless advocacy for children and families has positively impacted countless teachers, child care administrators, and families. When determining how to best assist, she not only focuses on providing resources and services but also on listening to people who could benefit the most from additional support. Terri also volunteers many hours as a collaborative community member of the Launching into Literacy and Math committee. This committee aims to provide training for area providers on quality literacy and match practices. Her commitment towards our community is unparalleled. Terri was nominated by the Child Care Unit.

Team Award Winners

We also wanted to recognize 5 outstanding teams that work towards the better of our community; a true embodiment of what #TeamCity stands for.

The #TeamCity Administration Team Award goes to the Redistricting Team. These employees offered their service and support in the Ad-Hoc Redistricting Committee. Collectively, they were able to adjust and swivel to support the demands of the committee, all while keeping community members’ voices in mind. This work can be very stressful during a time where an increased amount of pressure was applied by individuals about their respective districts. Together, the employees rose to the occasion. They listened to everyone’s valid concerns and accepted constructive feedback, all while remaining focused on their committee work. The Redistricting Team was nominated by Chair of the Ad-Hoc Redistricting Committee, Justice Castañeda.

The #TeamCity Community Service & Support Team Award goes to the SBER Grant Team. The SBER Grant team was composed of members of Economic Development, Office of Real Estate Services, Library, Finance, and Metro, all being volunteers. They all had to review and process the grant applications for the City’s Small Business Equity and Recovery Grant Program. Approximately 200 applications were expected. However, they received close to 600 applications. First, they had to learn how to do grant reviews from scratch.  They all exceeded expectations and were able to assist Economic Development and small businesses in the City. Thank you all for stepping up to the challenge and helping our valuable small businesses. The SBER Grant Team was nominated by Business Development Specialist, Ruth Rohlich.

The #TeamCity Public Health & Safety Team Award goes to the Black Officers Coalition. The Black Officers Coalition is composed of a group of black police officers within Madison Police Department. As a coalition, they are committed to bridging the gap between the Black Community and Madison Police Department. Recent years have been more stressful then others, especially affecting officers of color. This coalition supports the MPD Training Team to improve recruitment and retention of officers of color within the department. Additionally, they have collaborated with other organizations, such as 100 Black Men, to continue community outreach. Not to mention the hundreds of meals they have delivered to families in the area during the pandemic. Thank you for your working towards promoting equity in our community. The Black Officers Coalition was nominated by Officer Charles Pratt.

The #TeamCity Public Works & Land Use Team Award goes to the Watershed Study Team. This team’s main responsibility is to identify causes of flooding, design solutions, and create models to prioritize flood mitigation projects. As some of you may recall, in late summer of 2018, the City of Madison was hit with a once-in-a-lifetime rain event. This resulted in lake flooding affecting many residents. To avoid this from happening again, this team is creating a very specific model that will help rate and rank projects across the City. The project is so large, that it is expected to take 8 years to complete even with the aid of consultants. Although this sounds like something every city does, this work is groundbreaking not only for the City but for the entire state. With their hard work, the City’s flood resilience will keep getting better, and we will be ready for the next flood if it’s needed. The Watershed Study Team was nominated by City Engineer, Rob Phillips.

The #TeamCity Mayor’s Choice Team Award goes to the Dairy Drive Urban Campground Team. The Urban Campground team was developed to address the rising homeless population. With the joint effort of multiple agencies across the City and countless employees, the open field on Dairy Drive got converted into an urban campground for 30 people. In record-time, the team was able to set up underground storm water management, electrical, converting donated buildings into restrooms, showers and office space, construction of 30 pallet shelter cabins, grading the property, adding fencing, lighting, gates, and security, and more. Furthermore, all of these constructions had to comply with all state and local code requirements for the health and safety of residents. Numerous individuals that were housed here have been connected to housing because of the stability they were given. This campground has made such a large impact on the lives of many guests at the campground. The Dairy Drive Urban Campground Team was nominated by Chief of Staff – Mary Bottari, and Deputy Mayor – Dr. Linda Vakunta.

Congratulations to all teams and employees for their great efforts. They are helping make our community a great place to live and to visit. I am honored to be part of this outstanding #TeamCity.

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