Pictured is Dr. Jeffrey Dean (center), Assistant Provost and Campus Director for UGA Griffin with the 2024 Classified Employee Award recipients, Daniel Nordstrom (left) of Field Research Services and Kenny Corley (right) of Facilities Management Division.

The University of Georgia Griffin campus recently named Kenny Corley and Daniel Nordstrom as the 2024 Classified Employees of the Year. The designation was made at the 35th Annual Employee Recognition Ceremony held on April 3 at UGA Griffin.

The Employee of the Year award is presented to classified personnel who have made the most significant impact on the programs at the UGA Griffin Campus. This is reflected through their superior job knowledge and performance, work attitude, initiative, dependability, and time management. To become a nominee, each individual is selected by his or her unit and must have been a full-time employee on campus for three consecutive years. After all nominations are submitted, the award recipients are determined by a committee of their peers.

This year, 10 employees of UGA Griffin were nominated for the Classified Employee of the Year Award- Donna Brown, Finance and Administration; Brett Byous, Entomology; Kenny Corley, Facilities Management Division; Lei Dunn, Horticulture; Tracy Gauge, Northwest District Extension; Elizabeth Laney, Office of the Assistant Provost and Campus Director; Angie Lewis, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit; Ben Lopez, Crop and Soil Science; David Mann, Center for Food Safety; and Daniel Nordstrom, Field Research Services.

Kenny Corley

Kenny Corley is the Carpenter for the Facilities Management Division, a position he has held for the past 8 years. He shines in his traditional duties of more typical carpentry skills and is a tremendous asset to the entire campus. Corley works behind the scenes to repair a multitude of items including ceilings, trim, cabinetry, flooring, doors and much more and he takes great pride in performing these tasks at a high level.

 In addition to his position, he has never shied away from taking on a task outside his regular duties and is frequently found lending a helping hand to others. He helps out with electrical work, HVAC repair, set up and break down for events, and has taken over the key shop for campus just to name a few. Dale Hess, Superintendent of Plant Operations, praised Corley for being an exemplary employee, “Kenny is recognized as a hard-working team member who can get the job done and done as it should be. With Kenny’s hard work and commitment, the Griffin campus is a much more pleasant place to work.”

Daniel Nordstrom

Daniel Nordstrom is an Agricultural Specialist for Field Research Services at UGA Griffin. In his position, he oversees the 33 plus acres of turfgrass on the main campus where his duties require him to maintain the area, apply pesticides, schedule irrigation and assist researchers and technicians with their projects. Since beginning this position, he has made several positive changes, one being the development of a mapping system for the turfgrass research plots. Prior to this, the plots were referred to by a name only the researcher and technicians were familiar with and now with the mapping system anyone can easily find a research plot.

Nordstrom is described as someone who has great technical skills, but is also very personable, friendly and goes beyond his line of duty to help others. David Jespersen, Associate Professor of Crop and Soil Sciences, stated Nordstrom is a critical team member who has a skillset that is not easily found. “Daniel is a dependable employee who without, we would not be able to do the work we do.”

In addition to the awards, the ceremony featured a Program Highlight, which showcases a different area of research or extension on campus each year. This year the turfgrass program in Crop and Soil Sciences was featured. Paul Raymer, Professor of Crop and Soil Sciences, along with his research technician, Lewayne White, spoke to the crowd. Together they presented a history of how turfgrass and landscaped lawns came to be prevalent and spotlighted the research done in Raymer’s lab.

Jeffrey Dean, Assistant Provost and Campus Director for UGA Griffin, congratulated all the honorees on their nominations and noted the importance of hosting the annual awards.

“We are lucky to have many hard-working and dedicated employees who support the UGA Griffin campus operations in many different capacities, so it is important that we recognize and celebrate the exceptional contributions of this particular group who has set a new standard for performance in the future.”

The same sentiments were echoed by the keynote speaker, Irvin Clark, President of Southern Crescent Technical College. Clark noted he was inspired by a quote from Helen Keller which states, “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much,” and felt that described the campus atmosphere at UGA Griffin. He added it takes everyone on campus working together to make it a successful place for both research and academics and the group of nominees are an outstanding example of that fact.

Finally, the ceremony also recognized those receiving their Meritorious Service Awards. The awards were presented to faculty and staff who have served the campus for 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years.

The following people were recognized for their years of service.

10 Years

  • Tyler Brannon, Field Research Services
  • John Cruickshank, Library
  • Ben Fields, Field Research Services
  • Viktor Tishchenko, Crop and Soil Sciences

15 Years

  • Kimberly Allen, Center for Urban Agriculture
  • Stephanie Harker, Horticulture
  • Beth Horne, Center for Urban Agriculture
  • Stephanie Moore, Business Office
  • Kevin Peeples, Facilities Management Division

20 Years

  • Ghensheng Zhang, Crop and Soil Sciences

25 Years

  • Jinru Chen, Food Science and Technology

30 Years

  • Jye-Yin Liao, Center for Food Safety
Pictured are the 2024 UGA Griffin Classified Employee Award nominees (l-r): Lei Dunn (Horticulture), Ben Lopez (Crop and Soil Sciences), Angie Lewis (PGRCU), Daniel Nordstrom (Field Research Services), Kenny Corley (Facilities Management Division), Dr. Jeff Dean, Donna Brown (Finance and Administration), Brett Byous (Entomology), Tracy Gauge (NW District Extension), and Elizabeth Laney (Office of the Assistant Provost and Campus Director). Not pictured is David Mann (Center for Food Safety).

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