Thursday, May 4, 2017

Rittenhouse, Kimata win UVA recognition

With spring comes awards season at UVA, and two impressive UVAFinance Team members are among those who have recently received recognition.

Stacey Rittenhouse, Winner of the Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award

Outstanding contribution to the overall mission of the University.  Contributions that have enhanced internal or public regard for the services provided by the University.  Service that has affected students, management, employees, or the community.

Upon reviewing the above selection criteria for the Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award, Lorie Strother, SWaM Contract Administrator, had a candidate in mind immediately:  Stacey Rittenhouse. 
Stacey Rittenhouse receiving notification
of her award, along with flowers and

“Every time I leave Stacey, I feel like a boss,” Strother said.

“She always has a big smile, is totally attentive, and will even step away from her desk and come with me, so I can show her what I need.  I know that she cares about my concerns, that she’s listening carefully to that concern, and that she will follow up.”

Stacey Rittenhouse’s official title is “Business Manager,” but many know her as “Mayor of Carruthers,” an unofficial (and voluntary) position she’s held for nearly as long as her 30-year tenure at UVA.  

In her official role, Rittenhouse is in charge of a plethora of administrative duties, including procurement, reconciliations, and all matters regarding the facility.  Unofficially, she is one of those people who seems to know everything and can help with virtually any question.  During the Carruthers Hall renovation, Rittenhouse, a consummate juggler of disparate tasks, took on even more responsibilities, and kept the entire building in the loop during the construction process, as the physical surroundings changed nearly every day.

“Stacey is everywhere, doing everything,” said Elizabeth Feola, Employee Recognition Specialist.  Feola adds that out of 39 nominations from all over Grounds, only Rittenhouse and four others were chosen as winners.

Strother said it wasn’t difficult to find several colleagues who were willing to add their support to Rittenhouse’s nomination. 

“My experience with Stacey isn’t isolated, it’s universal,” said Strother.

“She isn’t just making me feel good about working with her, she’s making everyone’s experience great.”

Rittenhouse will be honored at the Service Awards Dinner this June, and will also be invited to lunch with the Board of Visitors, receive an engraved gift, and be nominated for a Governor’s Award.

Steve Kimata, Winner of the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award

The University of Virginia Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award is given annually by the association to a classified employee who has exhibited leadership qualities that serve as an inspiring example to his or her colleagues, and whose service involves direct contact with UVA students, faculty, and alumni.

This past April, this recognition was awarded to Steve Kimata, the Assistant Vice President for Student Financial Services (and Interim University Controller), in UVAFinance. 

Kimata has a long history with finance, having also served as the bursar and the controller in the past.   An alum of UVA, a 35 year employee, and the parent of a UVA second-year student, he was imminently qualified for the award, and his nomination, initiated by Disha Venkatesan of UVAFinance, immediately garnered much support from those who have worked with him.

“I admire Steve’s management ability,” said Venkatesan. 

“He is a transformational leader who puts his employees and customers first.”

Supporters of his nomination noted the way Kimata motivates his team every day to do what they can do to change the lives of UVA students, especially those who are in financial need. They cited his strength at relationship-building, and how he challenges his staff to understand the story behind the financial aid application, the tuition bill, and the unpaid notice.  They recounted the way he advises students and parents, helping them understand their part in creating the best possible way for the student to succeed. 

“Even during the tough situations, Steve has a calming presence,” said one SFS staff member.

Kimata was honored at an Awards Luncheon at Alumni Hall on April 21.  In her remarks for the occasion, Vice President of Finance Melody Bianchetto cited many of the kudos for Kimata that poured in to support his nomination, but as she pointed out, one particular comment sums him up most aptly:

“There is one final note about Steve that everyone needs to know.  As he’s sitting here today, he will disagree with the idea that he is the person who makes these things happen.  He will say that it’s all the people who have helped him along the way, and the people who he works with on a daily basis that make things work so well.  And that’s Steve.  And that’s exactly the reason he deserves to be given the Alumni Distinguished Service Award.”

A note about nominating

Your deserving colleagues only win awards if someone like you nominates them. 

In the words of Lorie Strother, who not only nominated Stacey Rittenhouse, but also one of last year’s Sandridge winners, Connie Alexander, “There are so many amazing people here at the University.  I’m glad we have these types of opportunities to recognize them.  We just need to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Consider how you can help the amazing people you work with get some recognition.  In addition to the awards mentioned, you can also consider Organizational Excellence’s Spotlight on Excellence
 or even a shoutout on the UVAFinance Collaboration board.

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