KU announces June Employees of the Month

Tue, 08/22/2017

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced the June 2017 Employees of the Month. They are as follows:


Name: Whitney Fox
Title: Catering coordinator, KU Memorial Union

What that means: Fox is responsible for ensuring all dining orders on campus are fully captured and the information formulated for seamless fulfillment. The challenges of ensuring alcohol orders are fully vetted for propriety and legal issues also rest on her shoulders. 

Notable: Fox works adeptly with all campus constituents — students, faculty, staff, alumni, guests and visitors. The job demands food service expertise, an understanding of departmental needs and insight into campus complexities. Her work ranges from Chancellors Club dinners and KU Endowment soirees to managing doughnut requests and cultural food exceptions.

Catering coordinator is a highly demanding job given the complexities of the work, the heightened expectations of clients and the high profile of most events. Fox maintains equilibrium and balance in charged situations to get the best possible results. She also works to understand needs and tailor solutions for every requirement. It takes patience, skill, human insight, humor and endless goodwill to succeed — all of which Fox generously provides.

Fox has proven a constant in a tough job in which her clients continuously change. She is always there to provide context and assistance for the novice and the veterans. Her frequent clients describe Fox as organized, responsive, incredibly reliable, efficient and diplomatic. Fox is adept at listening to the needs of people, knowing what she and KU Catering can offer, and suggests alternatives that her clients may not have considered. She is very savvy and has great intuition about what should be served at various functions. 

Catered events are an ephemeral affair — they have to occur to exacting requirements and at the right moment or they are lost. This requires accuracy, dedication, follow-up, finesse and decisiveness to achieve that result. Fox not only preps the front-end arrangements, she also follows up on events to ensure fulfillment. She also has to manage the disappointments if Catering fails to execute. Ultimately, Fox sets the table for the experiences in which Jayhawks entertain, exchange and endeavor at KU events.

Name: Aaron Paden
Title: Assistant researcher, Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets

What that means: Paden assists with the design, fabrication and assembly of different mechanical parts required for the radars and other systems. 

Notable: Since his arrival to CReSIS, Paden has literally transformed the machine shop where he works. There, he has fabricated numerous pieces of hardware for different radar systems. He has likewise implemented many improvements to make the day-to-day operation of the shop productive and cost-effective. Many projects that CReSIS could not complete before have been made possible because of Paden’s commitment. He provides a seamless interaction between the electronic design team and the computer-aided manufacturing facility operated by him. He also leads, trains and supervises undergraduate students.

Paden works extended hours (weekends and nights included) whenever needed, especially when preparing for deployment. For example, in 2016 CReSIS completed at least four major deployments to the Arctic and Antarctic and two sets of test flights in Germany. Paden worked side-by-side with his team to prepare for all of them, always exceeding expectations and putting in titanic efforts to meet aggressive deadlines while keeping an amazing attention to detail. 

Moreover, while CReSIS was preparing for the 2017 spring mission of NASA Operation IceBridge, Paden produced a remarkable amount of machined pieces (all custom-made); particularly needed for a new radar system that is being developed. On a different project, he was able to miniaturize a radar by taking it from 40 pounds to six pounds, meeting the grant requirements. Another example of his outstanding production capabilities was his ability to design a sensor mount overnight, based only on a verbal description. This sensor-mount design allowed KU to receive an extra grant. His fabrication skills have also attracted the attention of people outside CReSIS and opened avenues for external collaborations.

Paden is extremely capable as a machinist, designer and shop manager. His productivity is outstanding. Without Paden’s talented work, CReSIS would be forced to outsource much of the manufacturing. He is a fantastic team player. 



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