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Pat on the Back Awards 2023-24

The Ferris State University Pride Committee continues to recognize and reward the small ways that we show our Ferris Pride. The Pat-on-the-Back Award is a quick, easy, fun way to let someone know that they did a good thing and someone noticed.

This award is an easy and excellent way to thank a Ferris employee or student for exhibiting pride and doing something good for others through their actions.

To nominate someone, email [email protected] with your name and address, the nominee's name and address, and the reason you have chosen this faculty, staff or student for a Pat-on-the-Back Award.

Thank you for the great participation for this fun and important award.

Congratulations to the following individuals for receiving a Pat-on-the-Back recognition. Each candidate will receive a Pat-on-the-Back certificate.

Awardees for April 2024

I would like to nominate Debbie Roberts and Ally Bennett for a Pat-on-the-Back award.  Debbie and Ally both work extra hard at their jobs as assistant manager and family support specialist. Our manager retired in March and Debbie and Ally have been working on budgets, staffing, family engagements, cooking, enrollment, marketing, accounting and practicum students, along with other duties that need to be met to operate the Early Learning Center. We feel that these incredible women are more than deserving of this award and recognition.

Awardees for March 2024

I nominate David McCall for all the hard work and dedication they put into helping First Gen students here at Ferris. They go above and beyond to assure connections are made and needs get addressed.  

I nominate Pat Frebes for a Pat on the Back.  I had several Webfocus reports that needed to be modified or created, and Pat has been working hard on them to allow Student Financial Services to get the data we need.  She has been so easy to work with!  It’s because of people like Pat that Ferris can continue to have an impact on the lives of students!

I nominate Charlie Weaver, Todd Richardson and Scott Claerhout for a pat on the back award. During a meeting to discuss the need for one electronic form, Todd Richardson demonstrated the capabilities of Dynamic Forms software. The end result is that a few short weeks later, Ferris students will now have the ability to submit their financial aid forms electronically. This is a long-overdue concept that we have not been able to provide to our students in the past, because of budgetary restrictions. Kudos to Charlie Weaver for his insight and out of the box thinking, as well as to Todd and Scott for their talents and willingness to serve!

I nominate the following individuals for a Pat-on-the-Back Award. Devon Willis, Noah Vandepanne, Clay Johansen, Ken McCumber, Jonah Shepard, Kevin Wilson, Ethan Hamilton.  Their hard work setting up and breaking down the tables and chairs for the Career & Internship is greatly appreciated. Thank you and keep up the hard work.

The Career & Professional Success Office would like to recognize the following individuals from the University’s moving crew for their great work in setting up and tearing down 150 tables and 300 chairs for the Spring Career & Internship Fair in the Student Recreation Center. Their hard work and positive attitudes set the pace for a very successful event. Jay Bush, Devon Willis, Clay Johansen, Ken McCumber, Noah VandePanne, Ethan Hamilton, Kevin Wilson, and Jonah Shepard.

Thank you, Emily Beard and Dave Schrock, for the helpful Student how-to videos you’ve created (and continue to create) on the Ferris Advising YouTube channel. I’ve already used them several times this week when giving students directions on how to look up certain courses and fill out privacy waivers. It’s saved me so much time already and students appreciate having short to-do clips at their fingertips.

I would like to give a huge Pat-On-The-Back to our athletics broadcast team of Rob Bentley and Sandy Gholston (Sunny 97.3 FM). They are awesome at what they do! Great job during our championship games these last few weeks. I felt like I was there! Thank you! 

Awardees for February 2024

I would like to nominate Luke Hedman for a pat on the back award. I am the nursing lab coordinator and in the nursing lab we use simulated biopatches to help nursing students learn how to care for patients with central lines. Biopatches are small circular foam-like discs that protect the insertion site from infection. Each simulated biopatch costs around $3.50. I reached out to Luke to see if the Makerspace lab would be able to make something similar for a lower cost. Luke helped me with a much cheaper solution, and we were able to create 540 biopatches for a total of $7 (the cost of the craft foam sheets we used). This saved the nursing program $1,920!!

I’d like to nominate Susan Witte, Library Assistant, for going over and above to assist a student who did not yet have a textbook for a class to secure the required text through interlibrary loan – for no cost!   Susan reached out to the student multiple times to make sure they understood how to request the text.  Way to go Susan!

I would like to nominate Catherine Belkowski and Kara Eagle for their help applying for and being granted a gift from the Triumph Group for the Ferris ITM program.

I would like to nominate Shari Chamberlain and Ashley Campau for quickly and efficiently helping to solve a student problem.  Their dedication to Ferris and our students is remarkable!

I would like to nominate Airk Eastling for a Pat on the Back award.  He has been a consistent and valuable resource for IT troubleshooting and assisting departments with computer needs.  I placed a work order for set up on a new employee and he verifies information and employee computer needs before setting up the accounts which is very much appreciated as our college has many software programs that are unique to campus.  While he is here, we ask for help with other troubleshooting issues on printers, computers, etc.  and he is always happy to help.  His communication is excellent, his service is outstanding and his commitment to problem solving is fantastic!  Thanks Arik, we appreciate you!

Awardees for January 2024

We would like to nominate a group from Facilities Management for the Pat-on-the-Back Award. We recently hosted two different accreditation groups, each for a two-day visit in our Victor F. Spathelf Building. These visitors met with deans, department chairs, faculty, staff, and students as well, from two different program areas. Needless to say, we wanted to make sure our building was in tip-top shape for these reviewers. We called Tom Potrykus and Jeff Warner into action regarding a few weather-related issues we have been experiencing in the building. They came and met with us and reassured us that they would have the custodial staff be extra vigilant for these visits. Our building is typically well taken care of, but when there are retirements or turnover, it can be a challenge for the custodians that remain. We were so happy with the attention they gave our building! We can’t thank the group enough. We can list some of the names, but want to point out that we do not have all the names here, but we are sure they know who they are!  So, THANK YOU – Torri Fry, Jeff Hand, Kevin Jackson, Jeff Warner, and Tom Potrykus, as well as any others who had a part … we truly appreciate the hard work!

I would like to nominate Tyler Lawton for a Pat on the Back Award. Tyler is a student employee for the Athletic Department and is frequently seen during basketball, hockey, and football games handling multiple roles including mopping the court, managing lighting, managing equipment during warm-ups, and even promotions. I can tell he takes so much pride in his work and I want him to know that several of us notice his hard work and dedication to his job at various sporting events! Keep up the good work, Tyler!!

I just had a call from a customer which I feel warrants a Pat on the Back for one of our employees: A customer called this morning to express how thankful she was that Bill Quigley was helped her get the materials done for her upcoming wedding.  He’s been patient and kind in her in-person visits and on the phone in helping her understand how best to get the materials for her wedding produced properly.  A wedding can be stressful to plan and Bill’s assistance and patience have helped her with her project while feeling confident that she can get her materials done as needed.  Good job Bill exhibiting great customer service for our valued community!

I would like to nominate Angie Mishler for a Pat on the Back Award. Angie has been instrumental in helping me navigate CET and my roles as ITM Program Coordinator and Advisor and has been a tether for me to main campus.  Thank you for your dedication to Ferris, Angie and for your support!

I would like to nominate Geena Nowitzke for a Pat on the Back Award. Geena helps to keep the CET Dean’s office running smoothly and is there to help put out fires. She cheerfully helps in all requests large and small. She also helps to keep me in the loop with main campus!

I would like to nominate Kate O’Connor for a Pat on the Back Award for a successful fall semester as Interim Dean of CET.  Kate handles everything with grace and positive energy all while getting important work done!  I know she will have a successful spring semester as well!

I would like to nominate Nate Cierlak, Lori Compagner, and Alicia Schaub for their curriculum work, and instruction of the successful pilot of the wintermester, experimental course: APPS 390 Basic Production Skills. I’d also like to nominate Gary Wendlowsky for his direction and support of APPS 390. This small yet mighty team pulled together a quality workforce development training program and modified it to pilot to students, for credit, all in a short amount of time. Student feedback of the course was overwhelmingly positive! Way to go, team!

I would like to nominate Bill Fisher, Randy Shanks, and Scott Claerhout - all of whom have greatly assisted FLITE with technical upgrades and hurdles in the recent past. Their support is greatly appreciated.

Awardees for December 2023

I would like to nominate Josh Olszewski for a Pat-On-The-Back award. In his short tenure here, Josh has brought a positive force of energy! Josh is already a wealth of knowledge for our RSO’s and Greek life. He is working meticulously to stream-line our processes in Bulldog Connect. We are fortunate to have him!!

I would like to nominate Ben Avery for a Pat-on-the-Back award. Ben spends countless hours bringing fun and entertainment to campus – whether it’s preparing and executing contracts, setting up sound systems or feeding reindeer! We appreciate his ability to work funky hours and be here for Open Mic Nights, comedians, large and small music events and GROCERY BINGO! We appreciate you Ben!!

Awardees for November 2023

 I would like to nominate Jon Bomar, coordinator of Registrar Processes, for a Pat-on-the-Back Award.  Jon went over and above by coming in on his day off to assist and trouble shoot for students who were having issues accessing the new registration system on their first day of registration.  Way to go Jon!  Thanks!

The office of Career & Professional Success extends a heartfelt thank you to the following staff members and faculty who supported students, employers, and one another during the Fall 2023 Career and Internship Fair! Without the help and support from these exceptional individuals, managing two career and internship fairs on the same day would not have been possible. Furthermore, because of this team effort, many Ferris State University students were able to explore careers, practice their skills, and obtain terrific internships and employment! We appreciate you: Michele Albright, Angela Roman, Okai Strickland, Justin Harden, Val Wells, Stoney Hart, Teresa Havens, Brittany Taylor, Noelle Woodbury, Rebecca Bogardus, Lo Waters, Angie Hollister, Maggie Walcott, Lina Blair, Nicholas Campau, Christy Bourdlais, Nicole Dekraker, Angie Buys, Lori Armstrong, Dave Schrock, Mary Holmes, Sharon George, Becca Brumels, Jennifer Njenga, Karen Royster James, Andy Slater, Zack Kipfmiller, Josh Olszewski and Jody Gardei.  

I would like to nominate Karen Royster James for the Pat on the Back Award; she did an amazing job of organizing a Thanksgiving Feast for our students!!  The turnout was phenomenal and the students were extremely appreciative.  The food was amazingly delicious and provided a sense of Ferris family and pride.  Great job Karen!!!!

Awardees for October 2023

I would like to submit the following Ferris employees for a Pat-on-the-Back Award: Katie Kalata, Computer Science; John Cowles, Allied Health; Molly Cooper, Information Security and Intelligence; Jeff Bean, Education; Tim Cassady, Criminal Justice; Tom Van Pernis, Engineering; William Koepf, Engineering; Tim Powers, Graphic Design and Marketing; Angela Dow, KCAD-Graphic Design; Tyrell Austin, Admissions; Deedee Stakley, Dual Enrollment. I put together a “Ferris Day” at the Bay Area ISD Career Center in Bay City, Michigan. This was an event where we met with upwards of 375 students throughout the day, highlighting Ferris admissions, statewide options, scholarships and dual enrollment. There were also breakout sessions where our program area experts presented in Career Center Program-specific classrooms and tables where students could speak to program experts throughout the day. It was an all-day affair, and our Ferris people showed up and showed OUT. We left with rave reviews from the Career Center and were asked to commit to an even bigger event next year. I couldn’t have made it nearly a 10th of what it was without the energy and Ferris passion our people brought to the Great Lakes Bay Region.

I would like to nominate Brenda White in the Financial Aid Office for this award. Brenda is always willing to help with anything that is asked of her. Brenda always goes the extra mile, whether it is helping a student and/or parent or a fellow staff member that needs assistance with a project. She is a very valuable member of our team and is very deserving of this award.

I would like to nominate Ken Lenahan from Print Services for printing the student research posters and event displays. He did a lot of the printing and helped to deliver the large batch of posters on that day.

I would like to nominate the following: Catherine Belkowski and Janelle Hemingway for their help with the Industrial Technology & Management Advisory Board Meeting on the east side of the state. Catherine Belkowski, Janelle Hemingway, Jen Amlotte, Brandi Behrenwald, Allie Royce and Michelle Selimi for their help with the Ferris Connect: An Industrial Technology and Management Networking Night on Oct. 4. The event was a huge success and we hope to have more in the future. Dr. Yiqun Liu for submitting abstracts to the Industrial Engineering and Operations Management Society’s conference and for the creation of two presentations: “Simulations of Electric Vehicle Driving Range and Battery Aging Using Experimental Data” and “Advanced Battery Production and Testing Facility Strengthen Skills of Engineering Students in Vehicle Electrification.” Dr. Liu also did a phenomenal job of presenting the “Simulations of Electric Vehicle Driving Range and Battery Aging Using Experimental Data” presentation at the conference and supported me while I gave the presentation on “Advanced Battery Production and Testing Facility Strengthen Skills of Engineering Students in Vehicle Electrification.”

Thank you for considering Ashley Florian for a Pat-on-the-Back Award. Ashley Florian is a second-year student in the Dental Hygiene Program. Here is a copy of what I have sent to our Assistant Dean and to the Program Coordinator of the Dental program:  I want to reach out to you and let you know what a GREAT job Ashley Florian did with her patient in last night’s clinic. Her patient has special needs and Ashley took the time to sit in the waiting room with her patient because the patient asked her to until the Guardian arrived back here to pick up the patient. Ashley talked with the patient about everything from her favorite food to her favorite pets. Ashley was OUTSTANDING with her patient putting her at ease. Way to go, Ashley, you were SPECTACULAR.

Awardees for September 2023

I would like to nominate Marty Brockschmidt, Melissa Dohnal, Jerome Forbes and Rob Wagner on the Enrollment Technical Team for the awesome job they do every day, each term, each year to provide so many at Ferris with the best in programming for hundreds of reports and requests. They are the foundation and the behind-the-scenes strength, grit and knowledge for so many of the data requirements and needs at Ferris.  Kudos to them – beyond appreciate and grateful for their work and dedication.

I would like to nominate Aleane Taylor, for a “Pat on the Back” award, for her AMAZING attitude, customer service skills, and professionalism. I called, really just looking for information in trying to solve a problem, but she dropped everything she was doing in that moment and dove right in to help. I so appreciated her knowledge, patience, and listening skills. There was some complexity to the student’s situation, but she knew exactly where to look and put together a communication plan to get it resolved. We are so fortunate to have Aleane working with us, and for her outstanding service, deserves to be recognized. Thank you for all you do Aleane!

I would like to nominate Nikki Lofquist in Payroll for a Pat on the Back award.  The beginning of the semester is very busy getting everybody in the system and paid on time.  We thank Nikki for all that she does to make sure payroll processing is accurate and timely.

I would like to nominate the following people for a Pat-on-the-Back award: Ray Banuelos, Catherine Belkowski, Don Brecken, Nate Cierlak, Janelle Hemingway, Bill Koepf, Julius Moses, Geena Nowitzke, Kate O’Connor, Mark Rusco and Alicia Schaub.These Bulldogs were instrumental in helping me submit my first APR as Program Coordinator of the Industrial Technology and Management degree.  Thank you for your guidance, support and help! 

I would like to nominate Scott Claerhout for a Pat-on-the-Back Award. During the rollout of Ferris 360, it was more complicated than expected to get the Faculty Success platform back online. The delays were a concern given that faculty need it this time of year to create their reappointment and tenure portfolios, which have an imminent deadline. Scott went above and beyond, testing it and working with Watermark well after normal work hours. We appreciate his dedication and support, which will make a huge difference to non-tenured faculty especially.

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs would like to nominate the following individuals and departments for Pat-on-the-Back awards for their assistance in helping to make the Annual Celebration of Student Research and Creative Activities a success.

  • Melinda Arnson, Christina Bregg and Matt Miller from Print Services for printing the student research posters and event displays.

  • Shana Beisiegel, Tom Morris Nicolas Campau and the staff at the David L. Eisler Center for all their work setting up the rooms and posters.

  • Catering for setting up the delicious food and drinks.

  • Kenneth Draves, Zack Kipfmiller and Russ Mishler for all the IT assistance both before and during the event to keep things running smoothly.

  • Nate Clark, Cassidy Cobb and Eric Hazen for their work with creating our awesome marketing displays.

Awardees for August 2023

I would like to nominate the entire Ferris Grounds crew for a Pat-on-the-Back award. The campus has never looked more beautiful. The addition of flower pots and hanging baskets have made a wonderful addition to our campus. I had the privilege of working with new students and their families during new student orientation, and many of them specifically mentioned the flowers and how beautiful this campus is. Thank you, Nick Battle, Josh Bonham, John Brockway, Brian Cady, Brad Charron, Richard Coby, Gordy Graham, Lionel MacKenzie, Paul Mulder, Marcus Todd, Scott Wilcox, Daryl Young and Chuck Zimmerman for making our campus a showplace.

I would like to nominate Brenda White in the Financial Aid office for a Pat on the Back award. While Brenda has always done a wonderful job in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, for the past couple of years, Brenda has done an amazing job of keeping the Student Employment office afloat, during numerous staff changes. Brenda’s organizational skills and professionalism have provided stability and direction to the entire university. Great job Brenda. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for our students and departments across campus.

The second floor of ASC would like to nominate Marlin Allen, custodian, for the awesome job that he does every day. Thanks for making our offices and hallways look so great. 

I nominate Kim Kleeves and her team of Student Workers, as well as Deb Buck, Denise Moulter, and Richard Ison, in the Dean’s office of the College of Health Professions for their kind and generous help throughout the Central Michigan Recovery and Education Network grant project. The CMREN Team is forever grateful for their support.

Awardees for July 2023

We are nominating Amy Truong in Mathematics for the Pat-on-the-Back award for her dedication and hard work in helping place our new students in the correct math classes. Amy is truly dedicated to student success, and we appreciate her hard work for our College of Health Professions students.

We would like to nominate Lori Jenema in the College of Health Professions for a Pat-on-the-Back award for her support with onboarding our new students this summer. With her assistance, getting new students scheduled and registered for Fall 2023 has gone efficiently. Lori coordinated outreach, monitored student scheduling and helped maintain information on 300-plus CHP students since March. We appreciate all your work and dedication to ensure CHP students are beginning their time at Ferris on the right foot.

I would like to nominate Missy Holihan for the Pat-on-the-Back Award. She recently took over the Administrative tasks for the Student Intent Employment web application, which is a massive application! Unfortunately, this pre-semester, we had quite a few quirky things happen within the application, but she stuck with it and helped resolve these quirks, amongst all the other work she does in HR. It is wonderful to have someone as dedicated as Missy on our Ferris team.

Awardees for June 2023

I would like to nominate the Early Learning Center team, and particularly Ally BennettLori Johnson and Debbie Roberts, for the work that they put into Kids Fest 2023 in downtown Big Rapids. With only four months and a limited budget, the ELC team took on planning and coordinating an event that was attended by hundreds of local families and community members. Not only did they do an exemplary job — they put Ferris’ name front and center in the Big Rapids community in a meaningful and positive way. An extra special thanks to Ally for taking the lead on this and the many hours and sleepless nights she put into making it a great event. It is a pleasure to work with these people.

I would like to give a Pat-on-the-Back Award to the grounds crew supervisor and staff. Our campus is really looking beautiful and welcoming. Our new entranceway is amazing with the addition of the flowerpots, and the hanging baskets are an added beautiful touch. Keep up the great work. It’s noticeable. Thank you.

I would like to nominate Greg Eichenberg, coordinator of Housing Facilities, for all his dedication making the halls run smoothly. Not only can one rely on Greg to be there when something needs attention, but he goes above and beyond to make the students feel welcome. Greg will get into costume to go along with different themes and hand out goodies to the students in the Halls. Greg is always looking for new ways to make the halls and the SSA/CA/RAs jobs run more efficiently. He is a great team player.

If you would like to nominate someone for the Pat-on-the Back Award, please send your nomination to [email protected]. Recognitions are made monthly.