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Poole College Announces Nominees and Recipients of 2022 Staff Awards

Spring blooms line the walkway to the Talley student center. Photo by Becky Kirkland.

The NC State Poole College of Management recognized extraordinary staff with the college’s as well as university awards.

NC State Awards for Excellence

The NC State Awards for Excellence is one of the most prestigious honors given to non-faculty employees nominated in the following categories: customer service, efficiency and innovation, human relations, outstanding state government service, public service, safety and heroism and the spirit of North Carolina.


Jonathan Hennessy, Operations Manager, Office of Business Services

Customer Service
“Jonathan has made outstanding improvements to Poole’s operations, both with physical spaces and documented processes. His commitment to exceptional customer service has made it possible for all Poole College of Management employees to work more productively… Jonathan is always willing to jump in and help solve problems. He is extremely receptive to feedback and shows a willingness to support every member of the college.”

Nichole Miller, Assistant Dean, Jenkins MBA Program

Efficiency and Innovation, Human Relations
“Nichole is often touted as one of the best “team players” in the college and that is by no mistake… She is humble enough to recognize when she is wrong and works to find solutions as quickly as possible to remedy any solution. I never get tired of working with Nichole as I know she will be fair, she will work hard and she will support the people around her. She does all of this while also keeping a great sense of humor. When you think of the type of leaders who you want to create environments where people thrive, Nichole Miller does that and more. Poole College is just simply a better place because of people like Nichole.”


“Allison is an exceptional colleague who has served the students of Master of Management, Marketing Analytics concentration with great dedication. All of the students in the program have had a wonderful time interacting with her as she works hard to ensure they have a great experience in the program and that their concerns are taken care of in a timely manner.”

“Jen leads by empowering and enabling her team, which she accomplishes primarily via operational innovation and efficiencies. During a time that we are all being asked to do more with shrinking resources, Jen has managed to meet enrollment targets, stay within budget and motivate and retain her team.”

“Sarah does a phenomenal job working with prospective students throughout the admissions process and provides outstanding service along the way. She has strong communication skills and is always quick to respond and give prospects the feedback and encouragement they need.”

“Michael has continued to impress me each day with his can-do attitude, kind demeanor, enthusiasm, and collaborative nature. He is well liked by the entire team and is respected for his expertise and his willingness to learn and try new things.”

“Susan continues to wow me with her incredible work ethic, stamina, innovation, and follow through. Because of Susan’s efforts, we have been able to implement new efficiencies like Lead Scoring. This was a huge team project and Susan played a big role in its completion.”


“Julie provides unwavering support, leadership and service to her team, the students, our larger MBA team as well as faculty and staff within the college. She provides a level of professionalism, empathy, humor and care that are second to none. Julie exemplifies an unwavering commitment to excellence and support to everyone and in everything that she does which is why I am thrilled to nominate her for the Human Relations award.”

“Jenny is an amazing individual to work with and exemplifies the qualities we seek in all of our employees of being curious to continuously grow and develop, displaying compassion and care for the health and success of our people, and executing her responsibilities to the best of her abilities with a positive attitude. She truly exemplifies the “think and do” spirit of NC State and Poole College.”

“Candise Lewis is simply outstanding. She not only completes every project and event she takes on with efficiency and professionalism, but she takes everything she does to a higher level. She is constantly looking for ways to improve, innovate, and excel in every task she takes on.”

“Maggie is truly a pleasure to work with and is always looking for ways that she and her group can improve the services provided by the office of business services. We are fortunate to have Maggie as our colleague and friend.”

“While her principle job responsibilities are to oversee the development of online classes in the Jenkins MAC Program, her impact is far greater. She is one of the first to raise her hand to volunteer to help anyone complete a task. Sometimes she even volunteers for a task I am not aware needs to be performed.”

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Chandra for over 3 years in two different roles in the college. In both roles she has always displayed enthusiasm, diligence and efficiency all while providing a huge smile.”

“It has never been more evident that our student worker staff appreciate their roles and think very highly of their supervisor. They clearly enjoy the time they spend at work, and the byproduct of their efforts enhance the public image of our department, college, and university. That is all thanks to Allison.”

“Adam is always professional and respectful to all parties. He has received a lot of positive feedback about his work and relationships he has built. I always feel like Adam will represent MarCom very well both internally and externally.”

“Deborah provides high-touch advising for all of her students. She is the person who asks about each student’s goals and helps them plan their program accordingly. She listens to students when they encounter difficulties in their personal, professional, or academic lives.”

Poole Organizational Excellence Award

The Organization Excellence Awards recognize staff members who have demonstrated excellence in these categories, making extraordinary contributions to their department, student service unit, or any other college operations during the academic year.


Jonathan Hennessy, Operations Manager, Office of Business Services*

“Jonathan has led several efforts to improve operations in Nelson Hall, including adopting ServiceNow for the Office of Business Services team to improve their responsiveness and refurbishing the carpets in the classrooms. He also helped standardize and streamline many processes for the college, such as hiring course support staff for faculty.”

Julie Lawson, Director of Academic Advising, Office of Undergraduate Programs*

“One of Julie’s top CliftonStrengths is harmony and she leans into that with every decision for our team… She empowers us to think outside of the box, to consider all alternatives and then allows the entire team to be a part of the planning, implementation and evaluation stages. She has created a safe environment, where our team feels valued, heard and respected and we trust her, even when faced with big challenges.”


“Ayo frequently asks our team “why”, and “how does this help us meet our goals” … questions that would often otherwise go unasked. He keeps us focused on improving our advising practices and figuring out how we can better serve students.”

“Brian helped us institute a multi-year scholarship award from a company that engages with the business analytics practicum projects. He helped us figure out how to set up the multi-year commitment within guidelines for such awards. It’s wonderful that this company is now back at the table again with scholarship money at Poole College.”

“This academic year, Tuesday took over the hiring of course support personnel for online courses. This was a big task that took a lot of my time in the previous years. Tuesday did an amazing job taking this over, ensuring that faculty received the support they needed in a timely fashion and that there were good candidates for the positions.”

“Susan Ebbs has been instrumental in the development, enhancement, and management of the MBA Program’s customer relationship management (CRM) and application software – Slate. She excels at thinking ahead and using a solution-focused approach to create reports, queries, workflows, and forms to conquer data bottlenecks and process issues.”

“What I love most about Asia is I can count on her to get things done. She wants to look at innovative ways to help our customers and processors to be efficient, effective, all while keeping us out of the N&O.”

Morgan is always looking for new and creative ideas to enhance and support the MBA program. She has taken the initiative on many projects this year growing and improving the content that goes out for the program.”

“She is always willing to stop what she is doing to help a colleague and be a support system. Simply put, she is the reason OBS is where it is today. We still have a long ways to go, but I have no doubt we will get there under her leadership.”

“Troy has consistently managed a host of different strategic activities within the SCRC, and has been actively managing our group of 15 partner companies during a very difficult time over COVID.”

Maria is an amazing leader. She demonstrates organizational excellence on a daily basis. She is always looking for ways to enhance our marketing and communications efforts. She keeps the team organized, has a strategic mindset and makes data-driven decisions. She is constantly striving for greatness – which in turn benefits the whole organization!”

“I think Chandra’s greatest contribution to a culture of constant improvement is her refreshingly pleasant attitude and always cheerful demeanor. I especially love her email greeting, whether it’s: “Happy Monday!” “Happy Friday!” or any happy day in between.”

“She continuously helps to come up with creative and innovative solutions to issues at hand. Beth has made preparing all my online courses a 1,000 times more efficient.” 

“Allison has embodied service, collaboration, and teamwork this year as she straddled both OBS and OUP responsibilities in her position. By creating, hiring, training, and mobilizing a team of student workers at the front desk, she addressed multiple issues and concerns in our unit including staffing in a resource-constrained environment”

“Tedd has done an excellent job all around in moving OUP forward. Tedd has done an excellent job in leading OUP and working with the curriculum committee and DEI committees that I also serve on.”

“Brian is always extremely fast and efficient with answering questions and solving problems. He knows his job very well, and when there are curve balls, he does the background work to find correct and complete answers. One never has to question his sincerity or completeness.”

Poole Innovation Award

The Innovation Award is in keeping with the college mission statement: The Poole College of Management at NC State University actively engages with industry and academia to create an innovative and collaborative intellectual environment that fosters learning, scholarship and service.


Tayah Butler, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dean’s Office*

“She is a visionary and approaches DEI from a mindful and holistic perspective. She worked diligently to create the physical DEI space, the online presence and more importantly the permeating ideas of DEI throughout our courses, classrooms, and workshops.”

Megan Van Hook, Academic Advisor, Office of Undergraduate Programs*

Megan’s creative thinking and collaboration with Poole faculty and staff across multiple units and communication with the students created an opportunity for these transfer Accounting students to learn more about the field, connect with authorities and peers, and ultimately increased their sense of belonging in the program before they ever started their first accounting class at NC State.”


“He is always looking for the next innovative improvement to streamline the work and make it better for all of our college partners. I appreciate his consistent innovative and inquisitive approach to how we can make our systems better.”

“The creative vision that Jacob had to get this series off the ground and the work that he continues to do innovate with additional entrepreneurship stories will only continue to help grow the brand of the college.”

“Jenny created and has lead the establishment of the Poole Thought Leadership and Poole Podcast as part of our Poole Thought Leadership. Since the launch of the Poole Thought Leadership and Poole Podcast the college has experienced a significant increase in web site traffic and more faculty are being cited in the business press.”

Poole Student Success

The student success award should be awarded to a staff member who demonstrated excellence in attracting, educating, supporting, or preparing students to work in a global environment.


Janet Rakes, Assistant Director and Career Coach, Office of Undergraduate Programs*

Janet is a compassionate student-focused career advisor who demonstrates in many ways her desire to help students succeed. She works with students in a way that makes it her responsibility to ensure the students are successful. She is concerned about their well-being, their future income potential to support themselves and their overall success. She epitomizes the criteria of the award that says “going above and beyond to empower students for a lifetime of success and impact... In addition to the compassion outlined above, Janet is also very concerned about students’ access to food and affordable housing… She has engaged colleagues, conducted research, and searched for resources to support students who face food and housing insecurities.”

Melusian Wright, Assistant Director of Academic Advising, Office of Undergraduate Programs*

“Through Melusian’s care for Poole’s struggling undergraduate students, advisors have a clear plan when meeting with students who are on academic warning… Her innovation in enhancing support given to these students has included an emphasis on connecting to individual students and assisting them in recognizing what led to their academic struggles as well as strategies for overcoming these issues. Melusian’s leadership of our initiatives have impacted hundreds of students and assisted each of them in their journey through the Poole College of Management.”


“Christina cares deeply about the career development of students, overseeing their career development just as if their development was the career development of her own children. She makes sure that every minute she works with students is 60 seconds worth of quality career guidance.”

“Connie is laser focused on serving students. She initiated and invite me to a meeting that I attended with alumni relations career services to explore practices to bring back to Poole and to build a connection.” 

“Jennifer is devoted and compassionate in her work with and support of students. She meets students where they are, brings her whole genuine self and encourages students to do the same, challenges and supports the advising team to better serve students, and keeps us all focused on student support and student success.”

“In her advising style, she also asks the hard questions that are sometimes difficult to navigate. She challenges students to find their ‘Why’ not just their ‘What’ and once they understand their ‘Why’, she can help them with the ‘How’. As a graduate of the Poole College of Management, she has unique perspective on the student experience which she brings into her advising style every day.”

“There are many ways in which Tedd’s untiring passion for helping our students is demonstrated.  But the one that comes to mind is the initiative done during the pandemic to help students with mental health problems. This deep caring and empathy is what is needed in the world.”

Poole 3-E Service Award

The 3E Service Award represents the pinnacle of customer service whether to students, faculty, staff, or external constituents. The 3 E’s are exceptional, efficient, and effective service. Nominees should represent the highest levels of service in all three categories.


Jonathan Hennessy, Operations Manager, Office of Business Services*

“Jonathan is the epitome of the 3E service award. Everything he does, every day, embodies the values of this award. Jonathan consistently goes above and beyond to ensure exceptional customer service in all that he does. As our operations manager, Jonathan is well known in the college for his “get it done” attitude and someone will always look for an answer or solution. Jonathan constantly asks how we can do things better. His search for efficient and effective solutions is relentless. Jonathan works tirelessly to maintain exceptional working relationships across our college and boosts the morale of the entire team. His adaptability is unparalleled.”

Kimberly Whitfield, Executive Assistant, Dean’s Office*

“Kimberly manages many tasks at any given time, some more pressing than others. However, if you need her, she will stop what she is doing to make sure you are heard and your needs are addressed. She is thorough and carries special attention to detail in everything she does. Not to mention she does all of this with a “can do” attitude and smile. It’s clear she takes great pride in her work and she always wants to leave Poole in the best light. We are lucky to have Kimberly as our true Ambassador for exceptional, efficient and effective customer service in Poole College.”


“He assists with identifying external grant opportunities, developing and revising proposals, and submitting proposals. He helps with budgeting and grant administration. And he facilitates access to data. Brian is an invaluable resource to me and an excellent staff member.”

“Adam goes above and beyond in everything he does. He was responsible for the marketing involved with starting two new graduate programs. With little to start with he has done an amazing job.”