Creating a program for local high school students to learn about court interpreting. Improving safety for our solid waste workers. Tackling lifeguard recruitment challenges with innovative incentives. Those are just some of the ways employees made Scottsdale even better in 2022.
The city honored 42 employees at the 2022 Employee Awards Program. The winners were among 186 nominated in several categories.
Here’s a summary of those honored and their contributions:
HERBERT R. DRINKWATER AWARD – Mayor David D. Ortega selects this recipient: Kris Cano, forensic services director.
Herb Drinkwater combined an infectious smile and easy manner with foresight and a dedication to carrying out big ideas for the benefit of the community. The Drinkwater Award recognizes an employee who also makes a big impact in service to the community.
Kris acts as technical advisor concerning all forensic matters within the Police Department. She is also an active member and participant in the forensic community. She has and is currently participating in organizations that are developing standards for forensic science.
Her community involvement and volunteer endeavors are numerous. Kris has served on the Scottsdale Leadership Board of Directors and Core Program Committee. She has also been involved with the Special Olympics and Scottsdale’s Charitable Choice Campaign. Kris is currently a member of The Women’s Collective – a group that focuses on encouraging and inspiring women leaders. She also serves on the One N Ten board and is the Chairperson on the governance subcommittee.
Kris’s life-long commitment and passion for community service and her selfless dedication to helping those in need shines through in everything she does.
She is the embodiment of what Herb Drinkwater believed about giving back to the community.
BILL DONALDSON AWARD – City Manager Jim Thompson selects this recipient: Bill Hylen.
This award is named for the city manager who served from 1965-1971. In less than a decade, Donaldson was credited with transforming the culture of city government and fostering a spirit of innovation that still holds true today.
Like Mr. Donaldson, Bill’s work for the city – especially as Acting Human Resources Director – is admirable. For several months, Bill performed two difficult and high-level jobs simultaneously. Despite those challenges, his dedication and hard work allowed for an easier transition. While serving in this role, he implemented improvements to the HR process, which benefit the entire city.
Bill established a new mandatory online training that prepares new and existing supervisors to better understand their responsibilities and available resources.
He surpassed all expectations when our HR department needed him most – when they were already stretched thin with two other management positions vacant.
We appreciate Bill’s willingness to step outside of his comfort zone to enhance our organization.
VOLUNTEER IMPACT: Janet Orlandi, volunteer.
Janet’s work as a Scottsdale volunteer is exemplary work. For the past six years, every first and third Thursday of the month, you can find Janet at the Granite Reef Senior Center. She is there bright and early and ready to prepare and distribute more than 200 brown bags for our Scottsdale seniors. And if needed, she will gladly help them to their car. Our seniors are always happy to see her and know they can count on her.
THANKS TO YOU – Scottsdale City Council members select this recipient: David Diaz, code inspector.
David was conducting routine inspections when he found a woman lying on the sidewalk unable to get up. She had fallen and told David she had been on the ground for almost 30 minutes, and no one had stopped to help her. David called 911 to get her emergency medical care.
Following her recovery, she called him to say, “It was an amazing job that you did, David and I love you for it. Thank you.”
We thank David for everything he does to serve our residents and make Scottsdale a great place.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE – Peers select this recipient: Jennifer Murphy, human services center supervisor.
Co-workers recognized Jennifer for her endless dedication to her profession in social work. Due to heavy workloads and challenging financial and residential difficulties experienced by many Scottsdale seniors and disabled adults, her tasks as supervisor are numerous. With a team composed of four caseworkers working at two city facilities covering all of Scottsdale, Jennifer's team must keep up with the increasing demand of assisting the most vulnerable of our residents.
Jennifer often takes on the more difficult cases and is usually the first to come to work and the last to leave. Rather than over tasking one of her caseworkers on a busy day, she will jump-in to help resolve cases. She is organized, determined, efficient and always leading by example.
The following awards reflect Scottsdale’s six Employee Values.
DEDICATED SERVICE: Diana Imperial, crisis intervention specialist and Cheryl Kerivan, human services case worker.
This team showed their dedication by helping an elderly person in a time of need. Diana and Cheryl worked with the individual, a prior victim of violence, for more than six months. The pair ultimately involved several additional social service agencies to provide the man with emotional support, financial assistance and home maintenance.
THOUGHTFUL INNOVATION (two winners):
Lifeguard Staffing Team – John Bunnell, Kristen Clark, Ryan Downing, Marina Gandy, Kayla Greene, Kyu Bin Hyun, Peter Jensen, Ruth Johnson, Thomas McDaniel, Elijah McMullen, Nick Molinari, Bill Murphy, Matthew Osterhold, Kira Peters, Jamie Vasquez and Mary Waelde.
Workforce shortages are not a new challenge by any means, but this group took some innovative steps to tackle lifeguard recruitment. This team came up with some innovative incentives that included reimbursement for lifeguard training classes and a Peak Season Pay Program. To get the word out, the group developed a robust marketing campaign to share these perks. Due to these initiatives, Scottsdale was able to offer full aquatic programming for June and July at all four city aquatic centers for the first time since 2019.
Anthony Floyd, senior building consultant.
Anthony has committed his career to Scottsdale’s Green Building Program. He established the first national LEED Gold Building Standard Program for civic buildings adopted by the City Council in 1995. Anthony is currently working to adopt the International Green Construction Code as a mandatory code for all commercial construction in Scottsdale.
COLLABORATIVE TEAMWORK (two winners):
Solid Waste Safety Team – Saul Anaya, Kevin Cullens, Gabriel Fragoso, Bill Kohn, Tommy McMinn and George Woods.
Our Solid Waste service workers rank among the top five most dangerous jobs in the U.S. That’s why this year’s winning team came together to make the Solid Waste Department safer. The team identified key areas of concern and worked on solutions to eliminate and reduce accidents. As a result, Solid Waste has seen a decrease in both work-related injuries, and auto claims over the past year.
Teen Court Interpreting Program - Jennifer Ilten, executive secretary and Zuhaila Trejo-Tate, court interpreter.
Jennifer and Zuhaila teamed up to create a program for local high school students to learn about court interpreting and practice their Spanish speaking skills.
VALUE DIVERSITY: Scottsdale Senior Centers - Christina Garcia, Cheryl Kerivan, Usha Ramachandran and Loren Watts.
This diverse team of caseworkers from Scottsdale’s senior centers are from different cultures and generations – baby boomers, Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Z. They found a creative solution to strengthen their team and work together despite differing experience levels, personalities and temperaments.
ACCOUNTABLE INTEGRITY: Douglas Jann and Natalie La Porte, assistant city prosecutors.
Through the city's specialty Domestic Violence Court, this specialized prosecution team holds offenders accountable and works with both victims and defendants to resolve trauma to end the cycle of domestic violence.
CONTINUOUS LEARNING: Forensic Services Team - Lori Abbott, Phillip Brooke, Erika Canonico, Allan Kosecki and Mindy Raines.
This group of employees offers a wide variety of services that touch many parts of the organization and assist in the investigation of crimes. They have made outstanding contributions to forensic science nationally through their daily work and additional research, resulting in 8 published articles in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.