People's Choice Awards

Work-From-Home Heroes

Recognizing our People's Choice Award winners for 2020
GWW Staff

GWW Opinion

GWW Staff

December 29, 2020

For the seventh time running, our People’s Choice Awards recognized the employees who went the extra mile over the course of the year. The top three employees with the most votes from their peers were awarded plaques and gift cards for Best Kept Secret, Grace Under Pressure, and Most Valuable Player. And new this year, an award was added for the Work-From-Home Hero.

Many employees received kudos from peers during the voting process, but these four employees stood out for their contributions in 2020. Drum roll, please….

1. Best Kept Secret: Evan Rosenfield

This awards goes to the person who stands out for consistent delivery of value to the organization, but who may not always be in the spotlight. There couldn’t be a much more apt description of Evan. He is constantly working behind the scenes writing proposals for new business RFPs and making partnering arrangements.

“Evan flies below most people’s radar,” says one fellow employee. “He’s a work horse and one of the best wordsmiths I’ve ever met. Without his efforts, there would be far fewer projects to work on.”

His tasks include reviewing RFPs on Deltek and working with the Business Development team to determine which projects are a good fit. He then researches and writes proposals which can take a number of weeks to complete.

“Evan works tirelessly on proposals day-in, day-out and never seems to get frustrated by the process or outcomes,” says another peer. “He’s always looking to the next opportunity with strategy and measured optimism.”

Not only that, he loves his work, as noted by another: “He spends all day writing really in-depth documents and enjoys it!”

A few of the projects Evan helped bring in this year include:

  • Florida Department of Transportation – Florida Turnpike Centralized Customer Service Platform project
  • Maryland Judiciary – Usability Study project
  • Missouri IT Services – Missouri Statewide Drupal Services contract renewal
  • North Dakota Information Technology – Digital Innovation Services selected vendor list
  • Massachusetts Department of Children and Families – platform modernization support

2. Grace Under Pressure: Jim Lochran

This is the employee who is best known to be unflappable, and who demonstrates tact, consistent productivity, and exceptional grace when under pressure. As a project manager overseeing multiple projects and client needs, Jim fits this award to a T. “Jim reminds me of a ship captain weathering the stormy 2020 seas,” says a co-worker. “Despite the storminess, and the multitude of ships he was required to captain, he always brings the ships safely home.”

Many employees agreed that Jim is very good at keeping his cool. “Jim is incredibly consistent,” says one. “Despite whatever is thrown on his plate, he is cool as a cucumber and is the type of guy that makes you think, ‘He’s got this.'”

With requirements that are always changing and expanding, Jim works carefully with his teams to determine which requirements are needed to make sure projects get done without going out of scope.

“Jim has the confidence to lead projects and make tough decisions,” says a peer. “But it is his compassion to listen to the needs of others and his ability to provide equality in actions taken that sets him apart.”

Projects Jim has managed this year include:

  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – Childcare
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – Child Support
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – Employment and Training
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – Medicaid
  • Live Better Idaho – CiviServ development
  • Maine Animal Welfare
  • Sappi eCommerce

3. Most Valuable Player: Kevin Ferguson

The MVP goes to the employee who has been most essential to the company’s mission over the past year. This award is not Kevin’s first rodeo. As a former People’s Choice Award winner, Kevin is consistently recognized as a role model of diligence and commitment.

“Kevin is always juggling numerous development projects, as well as a young child, the Kaizen self improvement series, and blog posts, but he never seems to miss a beat and always gets everything done even if it means working odd hours,” says a co-worker.

As a software developer, Kevin’s attention to detail and calm perseverance assure that his work is impeccably delivered.

“Kevin has worked above and beyond this year, tirelessly, to get projects done on time and on budget,” says a fellow employee. “He is dedicated to an open form of communication with all team members and even has time to run Kaizen sessions. On top of that, he is active and engaged daily, and committed to quality as well as adherence to budget.”

Says another: “Adapting was the name of the game this past year and when it comes to adaptation Kevin is a chameleon. Don’t mistake his ability to blend in with any project for blending into the background.”

Some of the projects Kevin developed include:

  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – Employment and Training
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – Department portal
  • Florida Department of Transportation – Florida Turnpike Centralized Customer Service Platform
  • Minnesota DEED – CareerForce
  • Maine Animal Welfare
  • Sappi eCommerce
  • United Ways of Maine – 211 Maine Search tool

4. Work-From-Home Hero: Diane Bienkowski

One of the challenges this year was becoming a distributed team due to Covid-19 lockdowns. Overnight in March, the company shifted to working entirely from home, and has continued to do so through the end of the year. While there were many who rose to the occasion and embraced the new normal, the Work-From-Home Hero made an art of it.

Not only did Diane shine at the weekly Zoom happy hours, and make efforts to plan other Zoom events, but she maintained her trademark humorous demeanor against all odds.

“Even from home, Diane is still our ring leader and cheerleader,” says one peer. “She is constantly looking for ways to keep the social thread alive by taking action on things like happy hours and secret Santa gifts. In times of remote work and social isolation, Diane’s joyful attitude is greatly appreciated!”

“Diane always has a smile and a nice word online,” says another co-worker. “Even though she doesn’t like the isolation, she has made the best of things and puts in the effort to connect with people and share humor.”

As a quality assurance engineer, Diane works hard to maintain the high quality of many projects, employing her distinct blend of diplomacy and humor.

“Diane is the epitome of the phrase ‘still waters run deep,'” another employee notes. “She cuts to the important conversations and makes it all feel simple and organized.”

Some projects that have benefited from Diane’s keen eye for detail include:

  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – Child Support
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – Employment and Training
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – IBES
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare – Medicaid
  • Maine Animal Welfare
  • Sappi eCommerce
  • United Ways of Maine – 211 Maine Search tool

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