Spotlight: Three Staff Members Receive North Carolina’s Highest Award

Spotlight: Three Staff Members Receive North Carolina’s Highest Award

Date Published:
Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Governor’s Award for Excellence is the highest honor bestowed a state employee, and having one recipient at a single state agency or university is noteworthy. Having three in the same year is virtually impossible – but it’s a reality at UNC Charlotte in 2012.

Staff members Jo Ann Fernald, Jerry Lecomte and Connie Martin were honored Tuesday, Nov. 27, during a special ceremony at the Museum of History in Raleigh for their contributions to the citizens of North Carolina.

The Governor's Awards for Excellence Program is designed to acknowledge and express appreciation for outstanding accomplishments that do not fall entirely within the scope of normal duties, but are in the nature of a major contribution reflecting credit on the person and state service. The meritorious service or accomplishment is so singularly outstanding that special recognition is justified. The honor is presented during Excellence in State Government Week.

The Governor’s Award for Excellence is the highest honor bestowed a state employee, and having one recipient at a single state agency or university is noteworthy. Having three in the same year is virtually impossible – but it’s a reality at UNC Charlotte in 2012.

Fernald, director of disability services, was recognized for outstanding state government service. A UNC Charlotte alumna with undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology, she joined the University in 2003. In the nomination packet, Fernald was cited for displaying an unselfish devotion to duty that balanced the competing demands of "providing for student’s needs for services while conserving University resources; supporting faculty expectations for academic excellence while accommodating the genuine needs of disabled but otherwise qualified students; and protecting the University against disability lawsuits while serving the other needs of the entire University community."

Lecomte, a member of the Police and Public Safety Department, received his award in the category of public service. On the job since September 2007, Lecomte was named the community-oriented policing coordinator for the Police and Public Safety Department last year. Since undertaking this role, he revamped the department’s Community-oriented Policing (COP) Division, dramatically increasing the number of COP presentations for students, faculty and staff. To make the department more accessible to the campus community, Lecomte spends time at the Student Union Information Desk to maximize contact with students.

Martin, executive director of extended academic programs, was honored in the category of innovation. A veteran state employee with 18 years of service, Martin undertook the challenge to develop and implement innovative, new continuing education initiatives for displaced workers in the Charlotte region impacted by the "Great Recession." Martin, who has 32 years of professional experience in the field, reached out nationally to fellow colleagues and discovered that project training leading to a Project Management Professional certificate offered successful career options. She and her unit designed an accelerated project management certificate targeting displaced workers. By September 2009, the program was up and running.

More information about each recipient and his / her contribution to the campus community is available online.