ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Government’s 2021 Employee Awards Program honorees were named today in a virtual presentation. For the annual program, employees nominated the best of their co-workers in several categories and a selection committee of fellow employees representing a range of county departments chose the final awardees. This is the second year in a row that awards were presented in a county-wide video instead of in-person for COVID-19 safety reasons.
Courtney Barkley, a Human Services Specialist in the Department of Community Resources and Services was named the County’s “2021 Employee of the Year” for her vital and tireless efforts ensuring that no senior resident went without a meal during the pandemic. She created efficient distribution methods, encouraged culturally sensitive meals and established partnerships with local restaurants in order to address food needs throughout the county in a variety of responsive ways.
During the past year, even amid a pandemic, our employees have remained dedicated and resilient, adapting to remote working and evolving COVID procedures and still ensuring no lapse in service to making Howard County the best place to live, work, play, and grow. I am so grateful for the spirit and perseverance of our staff in Howard County. My sincere congratulations to our Employee of the Year, Courtney Barkley, for her vital work this year ensuring our seniors had warm, healthy meals. These awardees and all those employees nominated are just some of the examples of the stellar work that goes into keeping services available and serving our community.
The annual awards program recognizes outstanding employees in the following categories:
Contingent of the Year – The 2021 awardee is Sharee Campbell in the Department of Community Resources and Services, Office of Community Partnerships. She was honored as an extreme asset to the department for her work as a Census Outreach Coordinator, a frontline responder to secure hotel rooms for homeless and other dislocated COVID patients, and now as a coordinator of school supplies, food and other needs at the county’s Multi-Service Center.
Great Idea Award – The First Place idea for 2021 went to Matthew English, Mark Ford, and Glenn Manning in the Department of Technology and Communication Services. When the pandemic led to hybrid learning for the Howard County Public School System, it became obvious that the schools needed greater internet bandwidth to support being “online” all day. With a handful of innovative technical adjustments, this team more than doubled the county bandwidth to each of the 77 public schools to ensure reliable connectivity.
In 2nd Place, Tae Jung in the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Facilities was honored for his innovative plans to use in-house software to standardize the Bureau’s tracking of project’s costs and timelines. This homegrown solution was better than any software purchase being considered and saved significant costs and time to improve the Bureau’s reporting.
Unsung Hero Award – The 2021 1st Place Unsung Hero is Eddy Carrera, a Regulations Inspector in the Bureau of Environmental Services. He was conducting routine curbside collection inspections when he found himself jumping in to help save a driver for one of the county’s haulers from being crushed by his own truck. Due to Eddy’s swift action, the driver suffered only minor injuries.
The Unsung Hero 2nd Place award recognized Courtney Barkley in the Department of Community Resources and Services. As the Health and Wellness Division in the Office on Aging and Independence expanded and took on greater responsibility through the pandemic, Courtney learned about ongoing needs and closely mentored staff in new aspects of the division, such as the Nutrition Program, and helped transition the Senior Health Insurance Program to remote counseling.
Green Initiative Award – 1st Place is awarded to Glenn Lovelace in the Department of Technology and Communication Services. The County needed to process thousands of document signatures when many employees were at home. Glenn established the DocuSign eSignature service to address this need, which not only solved an immediate problem but led to ongoing savings of paper, time and effort to complete this paperwork.
This year’s 2nd Place Green Initiative Award went to Dean Hof, Office of Procurement and Contract Administration. He is credited with coordinating complex purchasing needs on environmental projects related to the new Circuit Courthouse and the Solar Power Purchase Agreement. This green solar agreement will soon provide more than half of the county’s energy needs and is equal to taking almost 7,000 cars off the road.
Mentoring Award – Assistant State’s Attorney Bradley Bloodworth was nominated by his fellow lawyers in the State’s Attorney’s Office for his extreme generosity with his time and professional advice to develop trial strategy and legal arguments.
Leadership Award – The 2021 recognition went to Katie Peet, Director of the Robinson Nature Center. Rather than shut the doors of this recreation facility during the health crisis, Katie led and motivated her team to find new ways to serve the community as an emergency childcare facility and to transition to safe, outdoor programming.
Customer Service Awards –
- Eytan Gess, Department of Technology and Communication Services (1st Place – Internal)
- Yong Yi, Department of Technology and Communication Services (2nd Place – Internal)
- Ofelia Ross Ott, Department of Community Resources and Services (1st Place – Public)
- Candace Ball, Department of Community Resources and Services (2nd Place – Public)
Customer Service Team Awards –
- Internal: The Service Desk Team in the Department of Technology and Communication Services consisted of Adrienne Aultmon, Gil Blackman, Waverly Edmondson, Sean Howley, Deepak Mangal, Elizabeth Nwadiuko George Obiozor, Arthur Odemene, Randolph Pack, Peggy Sampson, Charles Tunstall, and David Tutko.
- Public: The Food Access Team from the Department of Community Resources and Services Office on Aging and Independence, Local Children’s Board and the Multi-Service Center consisted of Courtney Barkley, Benjamin Barnwell, Ellen Brown, Lashawn Cager-Brown, Cheryl Campbell, Triston Cooper, Minjung Engle, Jill Kamenetz, Emily Leclercq, Valerie Mathis, Meridy McCague, Christopher Moore, Cynthia Saathoff, Barbara Scher, Donna Tugwell, and Tene Young.
In addition to the above awards, 25 county employees were also recognized for 30 or more milestone years of service to Howard County Government across several departments.