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K-State Today

March 29, 2019

2019 K-State University Support Staff Award of Excellence winners

Submitted by Human Capital Services

Kansas State University is recognizing three university support staff professionals for their job performance with the university's 2019 University Support Staff Award of Excellence.

The award recognizes exemplary performance and contributions of staff members who consistently excel in their positions and demonstrate integrity and a strong commitment to the mission and values of K-State.

Recipients are:

  • Chandra Ruthstrom, program/project coordinator, Center for Engagement and Community Development, in the Office and Clerical category. 
  • Juan Ceja, electrician, K-State Facilities building maintenance, in the Service and Maintenance/Skilled Crafts category.
  • Joyce Nietfeld, program/project assistant, Veterinary Health Center Dispensary, in the Technical and Professional category.

Ruthstrom serves as the assistant to the director and finance and HR liaison for the Center for Engagement and Community Development and manages a diversity of other tasks as well. She is the digital and social media coordinator, serving as an important liaison between the center and both on and off-campus stakeholders. As the special projects coordinator, she organizes all the advisory board meetings and the campuswide task forces. Most significantly, Ruthstrom organizes and coordinates the biennial National Rural Grocery Summit. Ruthstrom's role is invaluable. She is the first point of contact identifying and securing a meeting venue and ensuring all amenities associated with the summit. She coordinates presummit marketing, helps identify summit sponsors and coordinates their vendor booths while maintaining close communication with all summit keynoters and individual presenters. Ruthstrom assists in creating and finalizing the summit agenda and is an ever-present presence at the summit greeting attendees and helping address any concerns they may have. She's the first to arrive at the summit and the last to leave. The National Rural Grocery Summit has received numerous national awards and much of this success is due to Ruthstrom's work.

Ceja has been heavily involved with a campuswide electrical project that requires shutdowns on weekends and off-schedule type hours. Ceja has worked long hours on weekends and late nights. His knowledge base is very sound, and he can explain what a problem is in a way that nonelectricians can understand. Facilities has been split into six zones since Ceja has started working at K-State which means that each zone takes care of a certain part of campus. When emergencies happen on campus, Ceja shows up to help, regardless of which zone the emergency has occurred. Ceja's commitment to customers and his willingness to go the extra mile to rectify problems has left a lasting impression on those he has helped. Ceja, by his daily demeanor and professionalism, is an excellent representative of the Division of Facilities.

Nietfeld's service branches out to other colleges within the university, which make her an asset to the entire university. In the past year, Nietfeld used her extensive knowledge and years of experience in her position to help think about workflows, needs, etc. of the unit during a time of great change. Nietfeld went above and beyond to run the Dispensary and was willing to pick up scheduling for the unit while assuming the managing, supervising and training functions of the unit. One of the major projects she helped roll out this year was an overhaul on our syringe-labels. This project required attention to detail and many hours to hand draw out and enter all the information for the vendor. She finished the project in record time. This year was a monumental year, but Nietfeld continuously looks for ways to make processes and workflows more efficient. She is a problem detector and a problem-solver for the unit.

Please join the Division of Human Capital Services in congratulating the 2019 award recipients. All award winners receive $1,000 for their contributions to the K-State community.

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