Employee of the Month
April 2014 Employee of the Month
Katie Hecker – Aztec Adventures
Aztec Adventures Katie Hecker is the perfect example of what a true leader is all about. Katie started working for Aztec Adventures in fall 2010. She got involved because her RA in the SDSU res hall took a trip and brought Katie to a meeting. She then took the ENS138 Adventure Leadership course and discovered that she had a passion for outdoor leadership. The rest is history.
Katie has done it all from leading trips, to cleaning the vans, working in the back shop (the place that the gear is kept), and facilitating programs for Team Challenge. Since Thanksgiving, Katie has lead four trips (as the Primary Leader) consisting of 21 wonderful nights outdoors. This included a week-long backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon and an eight day canoeing staff training to the Black canyon on the Colorado River. In addition, she has also facilitated three key Team Challenge programs that generated at total of $7,100.00.
When asked why she loves working for Aztec Adventures she explains, “The reason I love coming into work is my coworkers. Aztec Adventures is truly a family. When you are having a bad day or need help with something someone is always there and willing to pick up the slack. The best part is coming in knowing you have a lot of work to do and realizing that someone has already beat you to it.”
One thing that makes Katie such a great leader is the constant mindset that trip members come first. She always makes sure her group is comfortable in the outdoors. Her first goal is safety, which is followed closely by fun, relationship building, and good food. She strives to make the trips she leads have lasting memories and have the trip members grow into family by the end. Aztec Adventures supervisor Jim Lustig illustrates why Katie is such a role model to others, “Hecker consistently takes complete "ownership" of the entire Aztec Adventures Outdoor Program. She is always striving to improve her skill sets and leadership abilities and in doing so is a great role model for all of our staff, but especially the many young women involved our program. Hecker aspires to a career in outdoor recreation and views her time with Aztec Adventures as the best part of her SDSU education.”
Being that her major is Recreation and Tourism Management with an emphasis in Outdoor Systems Management she is in the right field. Jim also stated that, ” Her knowledge and experience with the majority of our trips, plus her mastery of our back shop and all the logistics allows her to share new ideas that most staff cannot even conceive of--and that includes myself at times.” When we asked Katie how being involved helped her she claimed, “Aztec Adventures has prepared me for a variety of challenges to come in my professional and personal life. I welcome those challenges with open arms. I could not be more thankful.”
Katie’s personal motto is, “At the end of your weak all you have left is your strong.” Along with her extraordinary leadership skills, her humbleness is what also stands out. When asked what she loved about the program she diverted it to the people involved. She was constantly thanking all of those who had helped her along the way. When asked what she was most excited about, she referred to her coworkers promotions. She is such a beautiful person inside and out. Along with Aztec Recreation, SDSU is excited to see what she has in store for the future!
By: Reyanne Mustafa
February 2014 Employee of the Month
Amanda Whiteley – ARC
ARC Sales Rep Amanda Whiteley has been absolutely crushing it with sales during her year working here. Whiteley started her job at the ARC in September 2012 during her first semester of college because she loved the energy of this work environment.
She explained how working at the ARC has been such a great and useful experience because she has learned about, "marketing and working with a team that values creativity, efficiency and personal connections with customers." Whiteley’s position requires her to table and promote ARC membership around campus, which she describes as her favorite part of the job not only because she gets to be outdoors soaking up the sunshine, but also because she gets to talk with a variety of individuals which allows her to get a sense of what they are looking for in an ideal gym. Along with interacting with students and members while tabling, Whiteley’s average day on the job consists of checking emails, following up on sales, and providing excellent customer service while advertising the ARC.
ARC Marketing lead Blake Pinsker illustrated why Whiteley was selected as employee of the month, "Amanda Whitely exemplifies the ARC Experience, and has been shining bright in the ARC marketing and sales department for over a year now. This semester Amanda shattered her semester sales quota half way through the semester, and finished the month atop the department in sales."
As a Psychology major with a counseling and social change minor (CSP), Whiteley certainly understands the importance of personal interactions and connections with ARC members. She explained how she enjoys chatting with customers and making sure they have a good experience because every interaction counts. When asked if she had any advice for her coworkers she suggested to, "always be friendly to customers and try to be as helpful as possible because even if people do not sign up for a membership with you at that time they will come back and talk to you or send their friends to speak with you if they had a good experience."
Pinsker went on to praise Whiteley’s efforts and commitment to the ARC, "her hard work and initiative have gone a long way in helping produce the ARC Express/Aztec Lanes binders, developing new sales techniques, and maintaining great member relationships."
After graduating from SDSU, Whiteley plans on attending graduate school to receive her doctorates at the University of Hawaii or a school in California. With her doctorates she will become a clinical psychologist and will treat patients. She feels that her current job here at the ARC will benefit her for the future because, "I am learning how to interact with a variety of people through customer service, I am learning about marketing, I am learning how to be more productive in an office setting, and I am learning to interact with a team."
Working with the sales team is another of her favorite aspects of her position, because she has gotten to know everyone so well. Some of her favorite memories from her job include creating the ARC Express binder with Jared Kleber, the ARC videographer and hanging up blow up animals with the sales team while decorating for the ARC ‘til Dark.
Whiteley’s personal motto is, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain." She has certainly learned to dance and succeed at the ARC, and we are positive that she will continue to find great success in her future. Congratulations Amanda!
By: Kayla Heaviside
December 2013 Employee of the Month
Corry Vogel – ARC
Big congratulations are in order for our December employee of the month, Corry Vogel! Vogel began working at the ARC in August 2012 in an attempt to become more involved on campus. She was the perfect fit for her position as sports club lead because she is extremely hard-working and maintains a positive attitude, and she has been involved in and around sports her entire life!
As sports club lead, Vogel is responsible for keeping the team sign-in sheets up to date and printing them off for practice each day, checking to ensure that each player has an active ARC membership, and processing travel forms for teams that have upcoming events. The beginning of the fall semester is the busiest time of the year for Vogel because she gets a large influx of player paperwork that must get processed and sent to the athletic trainer before it is filed into the system. As that busy works tapers down, she then turns her focus to organizing and scanning in all of the paperwork she received for the 400+ sports clubs athletes.
Her time here at the ARC has shown her that no matter what department you may work for, everyone here is part of one big community where everyone is friendly and willing to help each other out. Vogel says that her "favorite part of the job is getting to work with my co-workers." She is particularly fond of Jenn Hayes, who she shares a cubicle with. Some of Vogel’s favorite memories from her time as the ARC sports lead are from the full-time and lead staff retreats, as well as the sport clubs retreats. These retreats have granted her the opportunity to both learn about the different aspects of operations around the ARC while building friendships with other lead staff that work at the Aquaplex, MBAC and for Aztec Adventures. She said, "I also enjoyed getting to know the athletes that went to the sport club retreat; it really helps keep operations moving smoothly when I get to know the athletes on a more personal level, which allows for better communication throughout the year."
Vogel describes her attitude on the job as being motivated. "I’m happy to see all the new faces that come through Sports Clubs signing up for a team, whether they’re learning a new sport or getting to know their new teams I am always happy to help the new athlete get registered and cleared to play so they can enjoy the new year of sports, fun, and life long memories," she stated.
Her supervisor, DeJuan Benford, the Intramural Sports and Sports Club Coordinator further emphasized Vogel’s awesome attitude. He commented, "Corry is well respected within the Aztec Recreation Program and has proven to be a hardworking, determined, and dedicated individual. She always has a positive attitude and her strengths are found in her team building, motivation, initiative, and excellent organizational skills."
As a Kinesiology student studying pre-physical therapy, Vogel plans to attend a doctorate program after graduating from SDSU with a B.S. degree. Her end goal is to have a career working with infants, children or athletes in the physical therapy field. Her position as sports club lead is the first real job she has ever had, so she feels that the experience alone is going to help her tremendously when applying for jobs in her career field later in life. When describing the benefits of her current job she stated, "I have learned many useful skills, some of the most prominent being, multi-tasking, customer service, and organization."
Vogel is being recognized for all of her hard-work as sports club lead. She always stays positive, no matter what the situation, which is extremely important in her current position and her future career field. We also value her extreme attention to detail, which she explains is so important because, "one mess up can mean an athlete has to sit out of practice, and no one is going to be happy with that."
Benford went on to brag about Vogel’s excellence on the job when he said, "She is always eager and willing to go the extra mile to ensure new staff members are well trained for the Sports Club Department and continually provides suggestions on how to improve the program. As an employee and a participant, she has the ability to quickly develop friendly relationships with diverse groups and aids in their growth and the advancement of the Sport Club program."
We have no doubt that Vogel will find great success in her future endeavors due to her diligence and awesome attitude and outlook on life! She said that she has been benefitted lately by her positive thinking, and explained it as, "when something goes wrong I simply say "plot twist!" And move on. There is nothing I can do to change the past I just have to learn from in, move on, and do better in the future."
Congratulations once again, Corry! And don’t forget your favorite motto, even if the sun is turned off, you’re still gonna shine!
By: Kayla Heaviside
November 2013 Employee of the Month
Allie Raimondo – MBAC
Aztec Recreation is proud to congratulate our November employee of the month Allie Raimondo. Raimondo began working at the front desk of the Mission Bay Aquatic Center in May of this year, and has loved every minute of it!
Her position requires her to assist customers with enrolling in MBAC classes such as surfing or wakeboarding, renting out equipment, and answering general questions about the facility as well as the available equipment and classes. Raimondo said, "If you call our phone number or email us, there is also a good chance I'm the one who will answer! One of my favorite things about the job is hearing how much fun our customers have had out on the water, especially first-timers!"
Raimondo’s hard work and upbeat and positive attitude are essential for her job at MBAC, especially in the busy season when things get extra hectic around there with all of the extra summer programs they offer. No matter how crazy things get at work, Raimondo is always smiling and happy to help customers. Amanda Burgess, her supervisor at MBAC, had only the best things to say about her employee of the month, "Allie consistently offers outstanding customer service. She has a very friendly voice and personality and does a great job of answering customers’ questions and guiding them to find what they want plus additional options. Allie goes out of her way to make sure that all interactions with customers make the customer feel special and listened to."
Raimondo is a Health Science-Public Health major with a Psychology minor. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, her goal is to return to SDSU for graduate school. She hopes to use her degree to work somewhere in the realm of health promotion and education. "As long as I'm working hands on with people and helping them live healthy lives, I'll be happy," Raimondo commented. Her job at MBAC will benefit her in the future because she says it has helped her improve both her multitasking and communication skills, which are imperative for nearly any job.
Along with improving these essential skills, Raimondo has perfected her customer service while working at MBAC. Burgess described her as being both friendly and reliable, "She makes customers feel welcome by showing a lot of personality in her interactions."
Raimondo explained that besides her awesome co-workers who she frequently goes surfing with before and after work, her favorite part of her job is watching all of the kids in action during their summer watersports camp. MBAC accommodates campers with special needs and also offers "camperships" for those who cannot afford the program. Raimondo is understandably proud of MBAC for these awesome efforts to help kids learn new skills on the water. "Seeing kids who have never done any kind of water-sport and were almost afraid of the water leave so happy, reminded me what an awesome facility we have and I felt proud to be a part of it," she said. We are extremely proud of Allie and wish to thank her for all her hard work at the Aquatic Center. Friendly as always, when asked if there was anything else she would like to share with us, she exclaimed, "For anyone who has not yet visited the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, I hope to see you soon!"
By: Kayla Heaviside
July 2013 Employee of the Month
Daniel Kersten began working for Intramural Sports in February, 2011. Starting as a referee and transitioning into a Supervisor, Daniel has made great contributions to the Intramural Sports program. His skill, dedication, flexibility and ability to take shifts on short notice have helped the program tremendously. Kersten spent the spring 2012 semester studying abroad in Australia, but came back in the fall and fell right into his groove. Kersten helps lead staff trainings, volunteers for Intramural Sports promotional opportunities and special events, and is a mentor for the younger staff members.
As a business management major with a minor in social psychology, Kersten’s plans after college include traveling to Europe and Mexico before starting his own business. His current position in Intramural Sports is preparing him for his future because it has helped him develop a thick skin. He said, "No job is going to be as strenuous as having players yell at me for 40 minutes straight during a basketball game!"
Kersten completed an internship project in the spring 2013 semester that will benefit Intramural Sports at SDSU. He researched different Intramural Sports programs at various Universities in the San Diego area including UCSD, USD and Point Loma. Kersten conducted interviews with their program Directors to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth within their program. He compiled reports with this information and included possible changes that can be made to enhance the services offered by Intramural Sports at SDSU. These fresh ideas may prove to be very beneficial for Intramural Sports at SDSU and help us offer better programming for the SDSU community.
By Andrew Reddish and Kayla Heaviside
June 2013 Employee of the Month
This month, the Aztec Recreation Center would like to recognize racquetball lead Shai Lee for her outstanding efforts and commitment to excellence in her position. Lee began working at the ARC for the facilities department a little over a year ago, in April 2012 before she became the racquetball supervisor in spring 2013. Her favorite saying is "always do your best, even when no one is watching", which she certainly does here at the ARC!
Lee has accumulated a variety of great memories from her time as an ARC employee, but said that her favorite is finally being elected as employee of the month! Her favorite part of her job is "mingling with the members (you never know who you will meet), witnessing member transformations and helping out people in need." She also loves working alongside the two facilities leads, Sarah Smiley and Phylicia Barron.
Lee described an average day at work as consisting of "enforcing ARC policies, reading and updating the daily reports and events schedules, cleaning, checking to make sure that all equipment is up to par, and speaking with Ron Cortell [ARC Assistant Director] to stay up to date with everything going on around the ARC."
As a Public Health major with minors in both Spanish and American Sign Language, Lee’s position at the ARC is helping prepare her for her future career as a Doctor of Sexual Medicine. She hopes to work in clinics to counsel teenage girls before starting an organization where victims of sex crimes can find a safe haven. While describing her future career, Lee said, "Hopefully, I will be able to secure a position within the FBI counseling victims of sex crimes. While pursuing my doctorate in public health, I would love to work as a medical translator. While all this is great, I also just want to be a mom."
Her previous position in the facilities department and her current title of Racquetball Supervisor have both given her more insight into working in the health field and dealing with pressure situations. Lee commented, "I’ve handled a lot of injuries and seen a lot of crazy and odd things at the ARC that helped me develop a tougher skin."
Lee has been successful in her time here at the ARC because she always keeps a positive attitude while working. She says, "I try to remain very open, personable, and cheery at all times. I like to seem very approachable not only to members, but to other ARC staff as well. I always try to keep a smile!" Her suggestion for her co-workers to find the same success that she has is to do their jobs and stay busy – the ARC can never be too clean!
Not only is Lee an outstanding ARC employee, but she is an amazing SDSU student as well! She is extremely involved on campus as an SDSU Ambassador, the SDSU Volleyball team manager, a member of the Good Neighbor Program and the Pacific Islander Student Association, and is on the Community Service and Leadership Board. This statement shows just how great Lee is, "Overall, the ARC provides me with the satisfaction that I am helping people and I really just like to help. I would like to make a small difference in this world and for me it starts with just helping."
By Kayla Heaviside
May Employee of the Month
May Employee of the Month After a year of working diligently at the Aztec Aquaplex, Joel Newbold has been nominated as Aztec Recreation’s employee of the Month for May!
Newbold loves working at the Aquaplex because of his awesome co-workers and the great patrons and members he sees on a daily basis. "I really enjoy how much customers appreciate what we do, and they never hesitate to let us know," commented Newbold.
He always has a positive attitude and a good time at work because his co-workers have become some of his closest friends, which makes spending time on the clock a lot more fun! He explains an average day at work, "sometimes I get jealous watching our patrons have fun in the sun while I sit behind my desk, but we stay busy and have a good time either way."
Newbold is majoring in Management Information Systems and plans to work in the field for a few years after graduation to gain valuable hands-on experience. He then hopes to attend graduate school at a top university after seeing where his career takes him. He has gained valuable customer service skills through his position at the Aquaplex that he will put to good use in his future endeavors.
Newbold was elected employee of the month for Aztec Recreation because of his commitment to customer service and his work ethic. His advice for his co-workers is to learn how to multi-task and to have a good awareness of everything that is going on around you. He uses these skills to empathize with our wide range of members and makes each one feel welcome. He described his approach to customer service, "I try to treat each customer in a unique way that I feel will satisfy them the most. I always keep it real and uphold the facility rules respectfully and consistently."
When asked about his favorite memory as an Aquaplex employee, he said "being a college student, naturally all of my happiness involves getting free food. Gotta love that! And it seems to happen a lot here."
Newbold adheres to an infamous quote from the movie Talladega Nights as his personal motto. Ricky Bobby’s one liner is, "if you ain’t first, you’re last." With such a strong work ethic and positive attitude, we are certain you’ll never finish last wherever life takes you Joel!
By Kayla Heaviside
April Employee of the Month
Our April employee of the month is our evening facility lead, Gebriele Kubrom. Kubrom began working at the ARC in January 2012. He was a perfect fit for the job because he had plenty of free time and was already a consistent ARC member. Kubrom was elected employee of the month for a variety of reasons, but one that stands out was his efforts to stop and catch a thief while on the clock! While performing a routine security check of the ARC facility, he noticed some suspicious noises coming from the closed Shake Smart facility. He notified his co-workers and watched the area. Minutes later, a male emerged from the tent carrying stolen whey protein containers. Kubrom confronted the thief and retrieved the stolen goods. He also detained him until police arrived and arrested the suspect. While we don't suggest anyone to interfere in such dangerous activities, we appreciate Kubrom's miraculous efforts to stop the thefts that had been occurring at Shake Smart for months now. His heroic efforts follow his words of advice for his co-workers, "always remain confident and never be afraid to ask for help!"
His favorite memory from his time as an ARC employee was getting a promotion and becoming the evening facility lead alongside his co-worker Sean Ha. Kubrom is an excellent ARC employee because he forms good relationships not only with his co-workers, but with ARC members as well. He has excellent customer service skills and is always asking members how their morning is going and wishing them a great workout. An average day on the job as the evening facilities lead consists of folding towels, assisting members with their accounts, re-racking weights in the fitness and weight rooms, writing up occasional injury reports, recording occurrences throughout the ARC, answering phone calls, and folding a lot more towels.
Kubrom is currently pursuing a degree in Kinesiology and is considering doubling majoring or minoring in Public Health. After earning his degree from SDSU, he wants to travel the world before going back to school to get his master's degree. His position at the ARC has taught him the importance of communication amongst fellow co-workers and how to properly treat and talk to customers in any work environment. He has also gained insight on the professional world and how to act in a variety of situations, as well as the importance of punctuality. He describes his time as an ARC employee as a great experience that "has allowed me to grow and mature as an individual."
We are grateful for Kubrom's heroic efforts and his exceptional customer service skills. We are confident that he will be successful in life and will continue to amaze us all by following his favorite quote by Jerry Rice, "today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."
By Kayla Heaviside
March Employee of the Month
ARC Facilities Lead Sarah Smiley is being recognized as the employee of the month for March for her dedication and commitment to both her position and ARC members. Smiley applied for the position to get more involved on campus and was hired in December 2011. She loves working at the ARC because "interacting with members is always fun and interesting, and the staff is the best to work and hangout with!"
Smiley has a plethora of great memories from her time working at the ARC and loves that every day on the job is different than the one before it. An average day at work for Smiley is filled with staff relations with the facility/operations crew, reviewing daily reports of the happenings within the ARC, and giving top priority to customer service with members and guests. Smiley loves the aspect of customer service that comes with her position. "I enjoy interacting with members and answering all the questions, comments or concerns they have," she stated.
ARC Assistant Director Ron Cortell nominated Smiley for employee of the month because he feels that she is, "open minded and a natural leader who continues to learn."
Smiley flourishes in her leadership role at the ARC because she has taken advantage of all the experiences and opportunities her position has offered her. She attributes her success to, "taking the big/small, bad/good situations at hand with a positive attitude while working with the staff and members to find the best solution."
Cortell is proud of his employee for doing all of the little things required to be a good leader, including her commitment to ARC members. On the subject of customer service, Smiley commented, "customer service for me is being a good listener, being friendly, and trying to do whatever it takes to put a smile on the member's face."
Smiley is a biology major who plans to go to medical school after graduating from SDSU. She wants to specialize in Pediatrics. Her position at the ARC is preparing her for medical school because it requires her to be both assertive and empathetic at the same time. Her position as facilities lead also requires her to be the first responder to any injuries members sustain within the ARC, which gives her a glimpse into the world of medicine and first aid. Smiley is sure to be successful in her future because she does well in school, volunteers, and knows that her hard work and passion will fill out the rest.
By Kayla Heaviside
February Employee of the Month
Our February employee of the month is the ARC's Videographer, CJ Capes. Capes was originally hired in June 2010 as a graphic artist, but his title was changed to videographer once his true talents of making videos were realized. Capes has followed Confucius's advice to, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." He describes his position as a combination between his favorite hobby and a part-time job.
A typical day for our videographer consists of first checking emails and opening the current project he is working on before its "coffee time." Capes explains this important part of his daily routine, "I enjoy having a personal (only because I'm the only one that uses it) coffee maker available in the office, and it gets a lot of use. My go-to-blend is a Guatemalan Huehuetenango, but I like to mix it up." Capes also spends his day testing out equipment, posting his completed work to the ARC's Facebook and Twitter pages, researching various editing techniques or camera equipment, and editing projects. He adds, "I love being able to apply creative energy to my projects and have a hands on learning experience." Capes' favorite project while on the job was the Aztec Adventures Joshua Tree Rock Climbing Outing. Capes was able to travel with the Aztec Adventures crew to Joshua Tree to document their weekend trip.
Although Capes describes his office as, "a small cavern located in the back of the Recreation Sports Office" where he doesn't encounter many members or customers, he is still able to help answer any questions that may arise for the racquetball staff. Capes is being recognized as employee of the month not only for his outstanding videos, but also for his positive and helpful attitude. "Even though I don't spend that much time interacting with customers, any time that I do I'm always very respectful, and attentive. I always try to keep a positive attitude while working, not that that's hard to do when you like what you're doing," said Capes.
For his fellow employees, Capes wants them to remember that, "a lot of what you learn in video production just comes from experience, trial and error, and doing things right the first time around." Capes has worked at the ARC for almost three years and has seen a lot of the staff come and go, but he describes a consistent strong relationship between all of his coworkers. He admits that he has subjected many of them to countless critiques of his current projects, and has bounced numerous ideas off of them. "Whether it be the racquetball staff that I share office space with, or fellow marketing team members, I've always enjoyed the company and cohesion of my fellow employees," Capes stated.
Capes is majoring in Television, Film and Media Production and minoring in Spanish. He hopes to work in the sports television industry upon his graduation this spring. He has sent out a few applications for internships that he is waiting to hear back on, but he is keeping a positive and open mind because he is well aware of the competitive nature of the television and film industry. In order to break into the industry, Capes stated that he is "building as many relationships as possible with fellow students, promoting my work, and basically just getting my name out there."
Capes' position as videographer has prepared him for future jobs because it has given him a platform that has enabled him to develop many of the essential skills necessary for the professional world. "As a student television and film major, I couldn't have asked for a better job," comments Capes.
Capes added, "If anyone would like to view my work, or contact me for any reason, my website is cjcapes.com and I encourage people to check it out."
By Kayla Heaviside
December 2012 Employee of the Month
Jana Tokunaga was selected as the Aztec Recreation Employee of the Month for December 2012. Jana was nominated by her supervisor, Amanda Burgess, for her outstanding critical thinking and exceptional customer service skills. While off the clock, Jana was informed of a possible theft of a stand up paddleboard. She informed her supervisor immediately and sought out the potential thief. Once realizing that the board was in fact our property, she was able to keep the suspect in sight while informing proper authorities. Due to her attentiveness and persistence, the aquatic center was able to recover the stolen stand up paddleboard. "Every day Jana takes initiative around the front desk and it was especially outstanding when she took initiative to help us get out stand up paddleboard back," said her supervisor.
Jana Tokunaga began working at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center in May 2009 as a youth summer camp counselor while she pursued her degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in pre-Physical Therapy. After completing two summers as a camp counselor, Jana chose to apply to be a front desk assistant. Her leadership and critical thinking skills that she displayed as a camp counselor helped her gain her current position as a front desk assistant.
Jana has also played a large role in training newer front desk staff. She sets a prime example of exceptional customer service and because she has taken many classes and worked as a camp counselor, she is very knowledgeable of all MBAC programs and offerings. Jana is extremely helpful and courteous with all customer and co-worker interactions. Amanda states that, "Jana has a passion for watersports and spends a lot of time around the aquatic center even when she is not working. Her passion for watersports and the aquatic center shows in her enthusiasm with customers and willingness to get them excited about all that we have to offer."
Jana's interest in working at the aquatic center began when she took an ENS surfing class in spring 2009. Through the class she learned the fundamentals of surfing and attended multiple classes per week to accomplish her dream to become a great surfer. Three years later, she has become an outstanding surfer who loves to surf her 5'8" swallowtail JS or 6'6" twin-fin fish frequently in various Pacific Beach surf spots. Jana says that her favorite part of working at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center is working with great people every day. She also states, "I like promoting an active lifestyle to others and being a part of it."
By Kayla Heaviside
November 2012 Employee of the Month
Micah Ninteman began working for the ARC towards the end of the spring semester in 2011. During his time working Membership for the ARC, Ninteman has perfected his customer service skills in such a way that can only be rewarded with the title of employee of the month.
Ninteman is being recognized for his outstanding attitude and willingness to do whatever is necessary to ensure that members are happy. Because of this, Daniella Lavezzo, the member services supervisor, considers Ninteman to be a "jack of all trades." Lavezzo says of her employee, "He has handled injuries on the floor this past month and has proved that he is an excellent Membership employee. Micah is very professional and courteous to all of the members. He is a leader for the Membership team." His duties include greeting members, signing up new clients and answering any general questions that people have. He explains that the key to great customer service is that "you always have to be happy and ready to cheerfully help any type of customer, anytime."
Enjoying his time working behind the member services desk further strengthens Ninteman's positive attitude. Of his time working at the ARC, he says that is has been nothing less than amazing. "The people I have met and the experiences I have gained have not only bettered my college career, but me as a person as well," stated Ninteman. He considers all of his co-workers to be good friends, and describes how their friendships go farther than the membership desk. They are all involved in each other's lives – through work, sports, social events and even school.
Ninteman is studying Kinesiology and plans on becoming a personal trainer after he graduates. He is considering using his knowledge of kinesiology and his vast customer service skills to eventually open up a new gym with his older brother. Through his own advice to "work hard and never complain," we are certain that he will be successful in whatever path the future takes him on.
One of his most favorable memories from working at the ARC was during the huge black out last fall. He stayed on shift in the dark and empty ARC and picked up the phone each time someone called to ask whether the power was out at the ARC as well. His perseverance to his job and his effort to follow his personal motto, "Hakuna Matata," has ensured him the title of employee of the month.
Ninteman would like to make a "shout out to the Jamaican Hopscotch Mafia! Soon to be three time defending champions in intramural outdoor soccer!" Best of luck to both you and your team!
By Kayla Heaviside
October 2012 Employee of the Month
Our October employee of the month comes from the ARC's Intramural Sports Program. Nick Paulsen has worked for the ARC for one year now and describes it as an "awesome experience," thanks to the exciting games and his fantastic co-workers that he has built strong relationships with over the past year.
Paulsen states, "I love being surrounded in its competitive atmosphere and I enjoy watching and being involved with the intramural games." Even with all of the exciting games he has refereed, his favorite memory of his job was getting promoted to supervisor last week. To achieve success on the job, Paulsen suggests to his co-workers to "be aware of your surroundings, always be looking for members who look like they need assistance or information. Give your best effort and be confident in your calls."
An average day for Paulsen consists of checking in, setting up the proper sports equipment, refereeing and supervising the games, and then breaking down the equipment when the games are finished. Paulsen is the ideal ARC employee because he continually does more than the standards required of his position and is always looking to lend a helping hand. "While on the job, I make the effort to be friendly and sociable to the ARC members. I'm always looking around for anyone who appears to be in need of assistance," he commented.
Paulsen is studying Business Management with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. After receiving his diploma from SDSU, he plans on attending graduate school. His ultimate goal for the future is to become the General Manager of a professional sports franchise, preferably baseball. His supervisor position at the ARC is preparing him for his future career because he is gaining valuable experience in managing employees, customers, and the sporting events themselves. With a major in business management, being a supervisor in the Intramural department at the ARC is a perfect preliminary job for my future endeavors.
Dejuan Benford, the Intramural Sports and Sports Club Coordinator and Andrew Reddish, the Intramural Sports and Sports Club Supervisor both nominated Paulsen for employee of the month for going above and beyond his required duties, including his efforts during the ARC's Break-a-World-Record night last month. "He displayed great dedication by helping the Recreation staff prepare for our Twister Break-a-World-Record event on August 31st. He has also been tabling for Intramural Sports and helping to promote the program," said Reddish.
Reddish not only appreciates all of Paulsen's hard efforts, but another one of his staff that have been recently promoted to a supervisor position as well. Zach Hernandez is a sophomore at SDSU and has also been a sports official for the Intramural Program for one year. Reddish wishes to thank Hernandez for his endless dedication to the success of the Intramural Program. "He has been a big help for us getting ready for this new school year and deserves recognition as well," stated Reddish.
Paulsen has found much of his success due to his adherence to follow his dreams. He quotes, "Don't ever let somebody tell you that you can't do something. If you've got a dream, you've got to protect it. When people can't do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can't do it. If you want something, go get it. Period."
Reddish and the rest of the staff at the Aztec Recreation Center "appreciate Nick's dedication and devotion to the various programs that we run and look forward to continue working with Nick in the future."
By Kayla Heaviside
September 2012 Employee of the Month
Jacob Williams, one of our many talented Aquaplex lifeguards, has always been positively affiliated with water. He swam competitively for ten years, played water polo for four, and was a participant in the LA county Junior Lifeguard program for six summers. Ever since he can remember, the water has always played a very important role in his life, leading him to be our September employee of the month!
"I absolutely love my job, having the opportunity to work outside every day, relishing in the serene, sunny and warm weather that San Diego is best known for" Williams stated. He also appreciates the convenient location of the Aquaplex since he lives on campus, which makes his commute to work both sustainable and practical. One of William's favorite parts about working as a lifeguard for the Aquaplex is, "having the opportunity to swim laps in the competition pool every day and stay in great physical condition." Williams considers swimming to be his "get-away zone", or his "happy place" that he can resort to even in the most difficult of times and situations.
Williams began working for the Aquaplex last spring after hearing about a job opening from one of his fraternity brothers. When he isn't lifeguarding, he teaches swim lessons to people of all ages at the Aquaplex. "Whether I'm preventing injury and saving lives, teaching kids how to swim for the very first time, or improving the hydrodynamic s of their stroke, my job is extremely worthwhile and I take it very seriously," said Williams. This outlook on his job is one of the many reasons Williams was selected to be our employee of the month. He also has an excellent attitude and great customer service skills that are noticed by his co-workers and ARC members alike. Williams considers a good lifeguard to be responsible, prepared, alert and spontaneous. Aquaplex coordinator Jake Siegfried has taken note of William's professional and congenial attitude while on the job and we wish to congratulate him on his outstanding efforts!
Williams manages to successfully balance his job at the Aquaplex with his studies here at SDSU. He is majoring in Recreation and Tourism Management with an emphasis in Sustainable Tourism. He would like to become a full-time lifeguard upon graduation. His other future career plans are to become an activities director for a resort or cruise line, with the hopes of eventually owning his own snorkeling booze-cruise company. Being a lifeguard at the Aquaplex is benefitting him for future jobs because being able to put a recreation-affiliated job on his resume is a mandatory requirement for anyone in the Recreation and Tourism Management field.
By "starting the day optimistically and ending the day optimistically" Williams has ensured his success on the job. He describes every day at the Aquaplex as an adventure, and his most memorable work moments deal with the kids he teaches swim lessons to. Williams attributes his success to all of the traits and skills he acquired while participating in a semester long internship for the Disney College Program in Anaheim, CA. This 12-unit, paid internship gave him the opportunity to succeed on being an effective, fun, and efficient swim teacher. He derives many of his favorite swim lesson techniques and activities from working on the World Famous Jungle Cruise. Williams is a favorite swim instructor to many children because he is constantly mixing jokes and games into his lessons that keep children alert and excited. One of his favorite jokes is, "Why is there no poker playing in the jungle? Cause it's full of cheetahs, and they keep on lion!" William's fun demeanor is another trait needed to be a successful employee, which is yet another reason he is being awarded employee of the month!
While working at the Aquaplex, Williams has met a plethora of diverse individuals. He describes his co-workers as being down to earth, easy going, and great to get along with. Although they come from different backgrounds, Williams loves working alongside them because they all share one unique and concrete bond that ties them together – they are all San Diego State Aztecs!
Williams describes working at the Aquaplex this past summer as an adventure, and he is excited to continue working as a lifeguard this upcoming school year. We are confident he will be successful in whatever endeavors he undertakes, thanks not only to his excellent attitude, but his personal motto as well: "Live life to the greatest extent! Don't do something you don't love to do. Give expecting nothing thereof."
By Kayla Heaviside
August 2012 Employee of the Month
Kyle Reed, a fourth year graphic design major, is being recognized as employee of the month for his outstanding efforts as the Graphic Artist for the Aztec Recreation Center. Reed began doing graphic design for the ARC in May 2011. His day-to-day work entails drafting promotional items, printing collateral, and other ARC-related ephemera. Reed ensures his success and productivity by "keeping close relations with department heads to coordinate deadlines for deliverables."
Reed is glad to have formed strong friendships out of his work experience at the ARC. "Former sales representative Peter Cohen and have enjoyed hiking together, while CJ Capes [the ARC Videographer] and I have formed a bond over a shared interest in movies and music," said Reed.
One of Reed's favorite memories from his time working at the ARC was during an Aztec Adventures team-building exercise. "I really enjoyed spending time with my colleagues on the high ropes course out in Julian, CA, last September," described Reed.
Reed portrays the qualities found in an employee of month through keeping a constant high level of energy while on the job. "Staying attentive and positive and ensuring that all posted materials are relevant and free from any inaccurate or offensive content," certify Reed's status as employee of the month.
After college he plans to land either a paid internship or a full-time design position. Although Reed feels that the saying "simplicity reigns supreme" best describes him as a person, he has a variety of graphic design talents that he hopes to put to use in the future. He is interested in working in print, publication, or packaging, or for a type foundry. The highly motivated Reed has already begun planning and preparing to achieve his future goals. He stated, "In the next few months, aside from completing my portfolio work, I will need to write a thick stack of letters to be sent out." A few of the companies Reed plans on applying to include Nike, National Forest, Esquire, Quiksilver, Depot Creative and Turner Duckworth, among others.
Reed's tips for success in the graphic design industry are to stay inspired, to remember that "no man is an island" and to "look good, design better".
Along with compiling his portfolio, Reed is also preparing himself for future jobs through his current position at the ARC. As the ARC's only graphic artist for the summer, he is often challenged to tackle multiple projects at any given time. "At the ARC, I often find myself engaged in meetings with different coordinators and program leads in order to fulfill project needs," described Reed. These challenges will build Reed's talents for the future because it is not uncommon for a designer to be juggling several clients and projects at once.
"Working with a group to create a unified goal in visual communication that reflects a greater entity is probably the most valuable thing I will take away from this job when I enter the design field," Reed said.
Some of Reed's success can be attributed to his constant enthusiasm for his job and the ARC. He stated, "I just want to give a big thanks to everyone at the Aztec Recreation Center. It has been so good to me both as a patron and as an employee!""
Congratulations on being our August employee of the month and best of luck with your portfolio! There is no doubt you will be doing big things in the future and we can't wait to see what your talents and success bring!
By Kayla Heaviside
July 2012 Employee of the Month
Daniel Dominguez, the ARC's July employee of the month, has been a member of the San Diego State University ARC since the building was first opened in July 1997. He began regularly practicing yoga at the ARC in 1999, and got his Yoga Teacher Certification ten years later. Dominguez felt that getting one of his first jobs as a yoga teacher at the ARC was not only a natural progression, but a very comfortable transition as well since he felt "at home." Dominguez was then invited to participate in the Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Yoga Program that the Mission Bay Aquatic Center was starting in the spring of 2011. He quickly became involved in the program because he "loved the challenge and the opportunity of learning a new sport that would allow [him] to practice yoga outside and on the water!"
It's because of Daniel's passion for SUP that he was selected as the July employee of the month. Dominguez helped to launch the ENS SUP Yoga class in spring 2012, so now, SDSU students can get a college credit unit for taking SUP Yoga classes! In addition Daniel taught SUP basic training throughout the semester long classes. "It's great to see the progress of the students from the first day of class, hardly standing on the paddle board for the first time, to the second or third SUP Yoga class with the program where they manage to balance on their arms doing the "crow" pose on the board!"
"Being happy with what you do reflects in your work, in your natural attitude, and it's contagious…or at least sets an example," said Dominguez.
He obtained a PhD in Psychology in 1996 in his homeland of Argentina before he came to America for post-doc training. Dominguez then spent twelve years working for the SDSU Research Foundation, where he transitioned from a Research Assistant at the Psychology Department to the Principle Investigator managing his own NIH grant.
Dominguez strives to live by Mahatma Gandhi's infamous quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Inspired by this, he found new goals for himself and his life in 2008 and obtained certifications as both a Massage Therapist and a Yoga Instructor. Today he owns his own small business that offers yoga instruction and bodywork.
He does not measure his success on economic achievements or social recognition. His advice for his coworkers is to love your job, to respect and take care of your body and mind, and to help others achieve their goals. These simple things will make each day a success, and Dominguez feels that with love and respect, anyone can be successful. He has certainly shown how these traits can lead to a fulfilling and successful career and life! Congratulations on being July's employee of the month Daniel!
By Kayla Heaviside
June 2012 Employees of the Month
Ryan Schuler worked as an intramural sports referee for a year before accepting a position at the Aztec Aquaplex. Schuler was nominated for employee of the month by Jake Siegfried, the Aquaplex coordinator, who described him as, "a dedicated employee who provides excellent customer service to patrons and members on a daily basis."
Some of Schuler's favorite memories working for the ARC consist of hanging out with his fellow employees outside of work and joking around with his colleagues.
"I love working at the Aquaplex. I've made some great friendships while I've been here. Everyone is so nice and we all know each other so well, so it makes work fun," said Schuler.
His average day at work consists of signing community members up for swim lessons, selling day-passes, handling the phones and filing paperwork. His advice to his co-workers on being successful in this job is to, "pay attention to details and don't be afraid to ask your lead any questions if you don't remember how to do something."
Schuler, who is majoring in journalism and minoring in political science, hopes to travel to Australia after graduation. Upon his return to America, he plans to write for a newspaper or a magazine. Schuler feels that his position at the Aztec Aquaplex is preparing him for his future career since his job allows him to interact with a variety of different people each day.
"I would describe my attitude and customer service as patient and understanding. We get a wide variety of people at the Aquaplex, so it's important to make sure you are patient with everyone," said Schuler.
Siegfried nominated Schuler because of his ability to "troubleshoot problems and take steps to ensure that information and services provided meet the standards that we ask all employees to adhere to."
Schuler strives to live by Derek Jeter's motto, "There may be people that have more talent than you do, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do." Schuler's hard work has clearly paid off and can be witnessed through his outstanding achievements at the Aquaplex.
Kole Wiese began working for the Aquaplex in August 2011 and was selected as the Employee of the month for June for his dedicated efforts.
"Recently Kole has been more involved with the building services department at the Aquaplex, ensuring that work schedules and work orders are being completed correctly," said Aquaplex Coordinator Jake Siegfried. "He has taken on new assignments and duties as needed and worked to make sure that facility issues are being solved quickly."
One of Wiese's main responsibilities is to respond to first aid accidents on the pool deck, as well as maintaining a patient and understanding attitude with all patrons.
"My favorite part of this job would have to be that A.S. is really good about making sure that school comes first and I like that they work around our school schedule," said Wiese.
Currently, Wiese is majoring in Kinesiology with an emphasis in physical therapy and hopes to become a physical therapist for the San Diego Chargers or the San Diego Padres. Wiese plans on achieving these goals by getting the best grades possible and being involved within the school and community.
Wiese considers his positive attitude to be a key component to his success; therefore, he does his best to adhere to the saying "be the best that you can be and don't let anyone bring down your confidence." We wish to congratulate and recognize Wiese for his outstanding achievements as an AS employee!
By Kayla Heaviside
May 2012 Employee of the Month
David Robbins has used his humor, leadership and integrity to exemplify why he is a stand-out employee here at the ARC. Robbins is currently a facilities supervisor, but he has been working at the ARC since his freshman year of college.
"The flamboyant fanny packs drew me in at first glance, then came the honor of protecting and becoming an employee of the ARC," joked Robbins. "This was not just a dream but a vision. From that point on I knew I had a date with destiny and that the ARC was to be my new-found home."
Not surprisingly, Robbins has made some of his closest friends while on the job and through his use of brilliant analogies, he is able to explain how deep of a bond he has made with fellow coworkers.
"The thought of putting smiles on every member's face gives me the utmost satisfaction, like a gladiator earning his freedom in the midst of battle," said Robbins. "Let's just say for the sake of argument that the relationships I have built here were forged stronger than that of dwarven metal. Like the bond Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee once had (think Lord of the Rings), I too have made the equivalent connection to the staff here."
If you can't tell already, Robbins is quite the comedian and with a major in communications, it would not surprise me if he became a stand-up comedian or a writer who specializes in satire! On a more serious note, Robbins makes a legitimate effort to improve the mood of both the staff and ARC members.
"I love working with people and love being around them to cheer up their day. I make it my mission to go out of my way to introduce myself and make great connections," said Robbins. "I am empathetic towards the needs of members, but at the same time assertive to enforce what needs to be enforced."
Robbins has truly been an irreplaceable employee here at the ARC and we are confident that not only will he be successful in whatever he chooses to do, but that he will be making others laugh and smile along the way!
By Leila Seed
April 2012 Employee of the Month
Kristin Harries was hired as a membership services representative less than a year ago, yet she has already managed to stand out and receive recognition from her supervisor and peers.
"We nominated Kristin this month because of how helpful she was at the beginning of the semester," said the membership services supervisor Dani Lavezzo. "She was trained in different aspects of membership that leads are only trained in to help us process our vast amount of paperwork. Kristin always goes above and beyond every shift she works."
Working at the ARC has been an amazing experience for Kristin because she is able to interact with people from all different backgrounds, which relates to her goals and plans for the future.
"I am currently majoring in sociology and minoring in psychology," said Kristin. "I would love to work for a non-profit after college that works to help people in need. In order to achieve this, I am going to work at as many customer-service oriented jobs as I can, so that I can gain experience dealing with a variety of people."
While on the job, Kristin always does her best to maintain a positive attitude when working with customers and guests of the ARC.
"I always try to remember that every problem, big or small, has a solution that works for everyone," said Kristin. "Remembering this helps me to remain calm and collected when something comes up and really keeps me going at my most efficient pace."
Kristin has clearly demonstrated that she is very deserving of employee of the month. We appreciate all of her hard work and her unique contribution to the membership services team!
By Leila Seed
March 2012 Employee of the Month
Tyler Torrez has been with the Intramural Sports program for almost two years now, and you can see him supervise and sometimes referee just about every sport the program has to offer.
"I thoroughly enjoy working at the ARC, it has been nothing but a great experience," said Torrez. "Every shift I work on, I typically meet someone new and that is easily my favorite part about my job. I always think if I had not been hired on, I would have never met so many great people who are now not only coworkers but close friends."
Torrez has been described by fellow coworkers as professional, helpful and someone who keeps the work environment enjoyable. According to the Intramural and Sports Club Supervisor Andrew Reddish, "Tyler's work ethic goes above and beyond. He has worked in extreme conditions, such as coming into work after experiencing food poisoning and covering last minute shifts for his coworkers."
When Torrez is at work, he signs in participants and keeps score for whichever game is being played while simultaneously overseeing everything to ensure the safety of the players. Work hard, have a good attitude and be reliable are some words of advice that Torrez would give to anyone on the job. Although Torrez enjoys working as an Intramural Sports Supervisor, he is also passionate about his education.
"Right now I am majoring in finance and currently pursuing a banking job," said Torrez. "I plan to become a teller as soon as possible, and then use my degree to move up within the company. Eventually I would like to be a financial analyst, financial adviser or something along those lines."
The ARC would like to wish Torrez the best with his future plans, as well as congratulate him on achieving employee of the month for March. We appreciate his hard work and contribution to the Intramural Sports program.
By Leila Seed
February 2012 Employee of the Month
Drew Haines is our February employee of the month because of his ability to satisfy each customer while maintaining and abiding by the ARC's policies.
"The customer is always right," said Drew. "Unless that customer is breaking the rules."
Drew started working at the Aztec Recreation Center a year and a half ago and has greatly contributed to our friendly environment.
"My favorite part about working at the ARC is the people," said Drew. "I have made so many friends and built relationships with co-workers, as well as members."
Drew is currently in the process of switching his major to electrical engineering, and feels his position at the ARC will help prepare him for future jobs by teaching him management skills through hands-on experience.
"After college I plan to work for an engineering company," said Drew. "Once I have more experience and money, I plan to start my own business. I will achieve this by keeping my grades up, grabbing internships and working on my extracurricular studies."
The ARC would like to congratulate and thank Drew Haines for his exemplary work ethic!
January 2012 Employee of the Month
Nicholas Holeman began working for the ARC during the Spring 2011 semester after he had heard about the job opening through a brother in Delta Sigma Pi. Nick was nominated in January for employee of the month because of his desire to go above and beyond expectations.
"Nick took it upon himself to speak Spanish on two different occasions when members were unable to converse in English," said Daniella Lavezzo, the membership services supervisor. "This is impressive because Nick does not speak Spanish and was only using what he has learned in class. His hard work and drive to make every member feel like they are the most important makes him very deserving of employee of the month."
"Working at the ARC has been an amazing experience, I love everybody I have met; membership, floor and full-time staff," said Nick. "I have made more than just coworkers, I have made friends. We hang out on the weekends, go to football games together and our monthly meetings are always a blast." One of Nick's all-time favorite memories was the end of semester camping trip. According to Nick, the weekend was full of flag football on the beach and late night adventures.
Nick feels his work experience at the ARC has helped to prepare him for a professional future by teaching him how to deal with all types of people. For instance, working with the foreign exchange students has encouraged Nick to be more patient. Adopting these qualities will allow Nick to succeed in both school and his future career. Nick is currently majoring in International Business with an emphasis in Finance and he hopes to travel the world as a financial advisor.
"Despite my love for San Diego, I can't imagine never experiencing other cultures and cities," said Nick. This semester Nick will have the time of his life studying abroad in Spain. The membership services team, as well as the ARC would like to thank Nick for all his hard work!
Written by: Leila Seed
December 2011 Employee of the Month
During fall 2009, Jennifer applied for a job in the Sports Club program because she has always been a sports fan and felt working on campus would be a great fit for her.
When Jennifer is at work, she helps the student athletes with their paperwork to ensure their eligibility and weekly travel to competitions. Jennifer also assists her supervisors by overseeing all of the administrative aspects of the program.
"Right now being the lead for Sports Club, I oversee 18 teams with over 500 student athletes which can become overwhelming when a deadline is approaching," said Jennifer. "I make a point to stay motivated and power through the challenging times because I know each teams works very hard at what they do. If the athletes are making a strong and successful name for SDSU Sports Club, I do not mind doing the same at the office."
Jennifer's heavy workload is complimented by her friendly work environment and the great company provided by her coworkers. Jennifer and her coworkers are all dedicated to improving an integral part of Associated Students and campus recreation.
Although Jennifer is a driven and hard worker, she also feels it is important to keep a balance in her life and not let one aspect consume it. She quotes the Dalai Lama in order to explain her life philosophy, "Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."
Jennifer's ability to be present in both her job and her life outside of Sports Club has enabled her to effectively manage her time, resulting in her accomplishment of being nominated as the ARC's December employee of the month!
Written by: Leila Seed
November 2011 Employee of the Month
Cuyla Coogan was hired as a floor supervisor in June, 2010 and exemplified amazing work ethic during the University Towers evacuation at the beginning of the semester.
"Cuyla handled 250+ displaced UT residents who slept in the ARC when their dorm was shut down for the weekend," said the facility supervisor Travis McCauley. "She worked with ARC staff, American Red Cross and Elite Security to make sure ARC operations ran smoothly and that the displaced residents were as comfortable as possible."
On top of everything else Coogan was dealing with, there was a huge line out the door of the ARC because incoming freshman were signing up for their gym memberships.
"I had to continuously check-in with membership services and assist them at the front desk in order to keep the line moving and prevent people from blocking the entry way," said Coogan. "The most challenging aspect of that shift was the constant multi-tasking because I had to document everything that was going on throughout the facility."
Coogan says she is known for being meticulous because she takes pride in being thorough and working hard in everything she does.
"She is highly attentive to the broad range of details, which must be noted on a daily basis here at the ARC," said McCauley. "She also does a phenomenal job working with the members and is not afraid to get her hands dirty and get down to business cleaning, racking weights and generally managing all situations that occur in the ARC."
Coogan applied for the floor supervisor position because she wanted to gain valuable managerial experience in a large, fitness facility. She is majoring in kinesiology and minoring in management because of her passion for health. Coogan, who graduates in December, plans to apply to graduate school programs in order to further pursue a managerial career in the fitness, wellness or sports industry.
October 2011 Employee of the Month
Daniel Frausto, MBAC SUP Instructor
Daniel Frausto was hired by the Mission Bay Aquatic Center in April 2011 as a stand-up paddle instructor, dock master and camp counselor.
"One of the more interesting days at the MBAC consisted of me working as a camp counselor in the morning, teaching a stand-up paddle class in the afternoon and closing as a dock master," said Frausto. "I really enjoy days as the one mentioned above because I get to interact with a wide spectrum of individuals, as well as learn different tasks around the MBAC."
Working in such a positive environment compliments Frausto's work ethic because he believes that smiling and being friendly to customers and staff really goes a long way.
"It didn't take long for me to feel comfortable at the MBAC due to an awesome staff," said Frausto. "I really have to give it up to my friendly and helpful coworkers."
Frausto began working for the MBAC a few months after he graduated from SDSU in December 2010. He received his degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in fitness, health and nutrition. Frausto hopes his education will allow him the opportunity to be self-employed and eventually own a private, personal-training business.
by Leila Seed
September 2011 Employee of the Month
Jordan Mojica, ARC Facility Supervisor
Jordan Mojica is a great facility supervisor at the ARC. At his job he is responsible as first responder to injuries as well as ensuring the rules are adhered to. In his calm demeanor he says, "I don't get rattled to easily and I think clearly during stressful situations." His favorite part of his job is talking to members every day. He says it doesn't feel like work.
Jordan is a kinesiology major at SDSU entering his senior year. He was a football player since age 12 and also currently holds an internship with Aztec Athletics working with student athletes on their strength and conditioning. He works out just about every day at the ARC. You can find him weight training, taking a Spinning® class and playing basketball any day of the week.
August 2011 Employees of the Month
Staci Benak, Aquaplex Lead Lifeguard
Staci Benak is an important part of operations and safety at the Aztec Aquaplex. Her effective work and dedication has won her recognition as August employee of the month. Staci started working as a lifeguard in February 2008 and was promoted to Lead Lifeguard in April 2010. While good at almost any assignment, Staci says she like the administrative side of the operation. She says that it's the feeling of closeness and "family" that helps the staff maintain an excellent safety record.
As a math major at SDSU, Staci's long-term goal is the administration of schools - she hopes to be a school principal one day. To help her reach the goal, she is part of a program in conjunction with schools: Math for America. Staci is an avid runner and has completed three marathons as well as numerous half marathons. She runs for an hour every morning before heading to work and school here at SDSU.
Veronica Velazquez, Aquaplex Office Lead
Veronica Velazquez is a student employee that has been integral in business operations of the Aztec Aquaplex since December 2008. Veronica was promoted to Office Lead in May 2010 where she became supervisor over other student employees working at the front desk, among other responsibilities. Veronica says that one of the reasons she likes working at the Aquaplex is that she finds the students there have "similar personalities and work ethic."
Veronica graduated in May 2011 from SDSU as a Kinesiology Fitness Specialist. Her intention is to work full-time during the upcoming year and return to graduate school to study Physical Therapy. Her favorite ARC programs are the Saturday morning Power Yoga class as well as Intramural softball.
June 2011 Employee of the Month
Selam Woldemariam, ARC Member Services Representative
by Leila Seed
Selam Woldemariam began working for the Aztec Recreation Center back in January and has quickly become an important asset to the member services team.
"It was apparent by his first interview that Selam had the energy and excitement we were looking for in a member services representative," said Daniella Lavezzo, Member Services Supervisor. "As a grad student in the health and fitness field, we immediately knew he would encourage and excite our students and surrounding community to work out and have fun while doing it."
Selam is currently in the process of getting his masters in kinesiology from San Diego State. He hopes to receive his PHD in methodology from Boston College and plans to use his education to reduce the rate of Americans suffering from obesity.
"My favorite part about my job is spending time with my coworkers," said Selam. "We are all becoming very good friends and we hang out a lot outside of the ARC. My coworkers help me out whenever I need it and I feel like I have known them for much longer than a semester."
Selam describes himself as an open book and a team player. If a coworker needs to take a breather, he has no problem working a little bit harder to give someone else a break. One time a coworker was not able to make it to their shift on time, so Selam stayed an extra hour so that employee would not be considered late.
When asked how Selam stands out as a star employee, Lavezzo said, "The high level of work ethic he displays is noticed everyday by his supervisors. The energy Selam has multi-tasking is where he shines. Whether it is two towel runs per shift, answering phones, helping members, folding and filing, Selam takes it all on and does it with ease."
Selam tries to live his life by the phrase "always be loyal." Not only is Selam loyal to his family and friends, but he has proven himself to be a loyal and valuable employee to the ARC in a short amount of time. The ARC is lucky to have Selam as an employee and is proud to announce him as the June employee of the month.
May 2011 Employee of the Month
Shawnda Numan, ARC Facility Supervisor
by Leila Seed
Shawnda Numan was hired to fill the floor supervisor position at the Aztec Recreation Center back in September 2009. Since then, she has been promoted to facility supervisor for her excellent work ethic as well as her leadership abilities as a positive role model for her peers.
When asked why Numan is such a valuable employee, Facility Lead Carlyn Peterson said, "Shawnda has a very unique ability to remain calm and think quickly on her feet during the most stressful situations. She has handled a variety of situations whether being operational or injury related that have really tested her ability to show this quality. She is friendly, confident and incredibly customer-service oriented. If there are questions she cannot initially answer, she will find answers to them. She sticks to her training and has the ability to make others feel comfortable when interacting with her."
Numan enjoys working at the ARC because she is able to meet new people and help members feel comfortable when working out.
"Sometimes the members make my day by being thankful when I go out of my way to help them," said Numan. "They'll tell me good job, thank you so much. The appreciation gives my job purpose."
In regard to her work ethic, "[Numan] has great time-management skills, she knows how to properly delegate tasks when necessary and she is an excellent team player by taking-on shifts nobody else wants," Peterson said.
Numan is majoring in child development and will graduate in the spring of 2012. She hopes to teach sometime in the near future, as well as work for child protective services to help kids who live in bad home situations. Numan believes that the skills she has learned while working at the ARC will help her succeed in future jobs.
April 2011 Employee of the Month
Dennis Avery, ARC Evening Facility Supervisor
by Leila Seed
Five nights a week, Dennis Avery works as an Evening Facility Supervisor from 11p.m.-7 a.m. at the Aztec Recreation Center. His position allows the facility to be open 24 hours during the week. Due to the odd hours, most people would not be interested in this position. On the contrary, Avery finds the hours appealing because they do not take time out of his day
"I don't like the idea of sleeping through the day," said Avery. "I usually take a nap before work and sleep only three or four hours a day." Following his work shift, Avery makes a point to complete an intense workout routine before leaving the ARC every day.
Avery was hired to fill an emergency position almost two years ago, and he has been working overnight at the ARC ever since. Avery was a SDSU student when he was hired, but he graduated last summer with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.
One of Avery's favorite memories on the job was witnessing all of the students camp out for the basketball games this season. He allowed the tired campers to use the ARC's restroom facilities. Avery found it very exciting to see so much school spirit.
According to his Supervisor Don Truntna, "Avery is prompt, dependable and a great representative for the ARC's staff. He goes out of his way to ensure all members and visitors are comfortable, as well as assist them with any questions they may have about ARC programs." Avery has received an outstanding commendation from the Secret Shopper Program for his efforts in greeting and acknowledging members when they enter the ARC.
I try to empathize with members, regardless of how big or small the problem is. Because of the late hours some people can be short, but I manage to stay calm and never raise my voice," said Avery. When asked to give other employees advice on how to succeed, Avery replied, "Help people out when they need it, do your job well, be punctual and excel on customer service!"
March 2011 Employees of the Month
Renee Payne, Payroll Assistant & Eric Fehrs, MBAC Maintenance Lead
by Brittani Libring
Renee Payne, Payroll Assistant
Nominated for her great work ethic and drive to take initiative, Renee Payne has earned the title of Employee of the Month. Renee has been working at the ARC since February 2008, but recently became the Aztec Recreation's Payroll Assistant in July 2010. She is responsible for all new hire and separation paperwork.
"She really seems to know the ins and outs of our department," said the ARC's Administrative Supervisor Julia Green.
Green, Renee's Supervisor, believes Renee stands out from other employees because she takes the initiative to work on projects without being asked. During the absence of the Office Supervisor, Renee took on extra hours to ensure all the responsibilities of the Office Supervisor position were completed, as well as her own. Renee kept the ARC's payroll precise and made sure everyone was paid on time.
"What don't I like about the job – it's flexible, a casual environment and friendly staff," said Payne.
Renee recently returned from Singapore, Thailand, Bali, Hong Kong and five other countries where she was traveling with an SDSU Study Abroad program. She has also been running since her freshman year in high school, which is located in San Jose; and, running competitive events in San Diego since starting college. Renee will be instructing the Recreational Running rec class and racing the goal marathon in La Jolla this April.
As an upcoming graduate with a bachelor's degree in Psychology, Renee has no plans of leaving the beautiful campus for Grad school.
Eric Fehrs, MBAC Maintenance Lead
"Eric is an outstanding employee and great asset to the aquatic center; we greatly appreciate his hard work ethic and dedication," said Kevin Straw, the Instructional Manager at MBAC.
Since May 2009, Eric Fehrs has been working at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. He began as a camp counselor and now works as the Maintenance Lead. His duties consist of handling maintenance issues in order to keep the equipment in working condition. This includes: 8 wakeboarding boats, 4 jet-skis, 50 sailboats, 100 surfboards, 25 windsurf boards, 90 kayaks and 25 rowing shells.
Eric exemplified his dedication to the MBAC during this past winter break. In the absence of a full-time maintenance supervisor, Eric took the initiative to put in some long days to ensure all priorities and tasks were accomplished.
"Each and every day, Eric comes to the Aquatic Center ready to work with a great attitude," Straw said.
Eric was on the SDSU Waterski Team for 2 ½ years and enjoys filling his free time with wakeboarding, surfing, sailing, camping, hiking and snowboarding.
"Pretty much everything I like to do, I get to do at work," says Fehrs.
Fehrs graduated in December but will be walking in May with a degree in criminal justice. He transferred here about two years ago from Mount San Jacinto College. He hopes to work for the Department of Fish and Game to aid in protecting California's natural resources.
February 2011 Employee of the Month
by Brittani Libring
Our Employee of the Month is Adriana Chavez. She is a senior maintaining a 3.5 GPA in the SDSU Nursing Program while working hard as a front desk cashier in the Bowling & Games Center. Adriana was nominated not only for her fun-loving personality and customer-service skills on the job, but according to her supervisor, Jim Mitchell, "Adrianna is an excellent example of a model AS employee."
Aside from recently receiving a perfect score on her "secret shop", she is attentive on a daily basis to when supplies are in need of re-stocking and other necessary duties. Adriana has worked at the Bowling & Games Center for three years and she said the worst injury she has encountered has only been a sprained finger. But, her favorite part: "I have gotten to meet a lot of new people through the bowling classes we have here." She also gets involved in the ARC in the Intramurals year after year, maybe you recognize her from the basketball courts.
Aside from school, work and Intramurals, Adriana is fully dedicated to becoming a traveling nurse. She finds time to volunteer her services at the Veterans Hospital while also working as a student nurse at Alvarado Hospital. "I guess I would consider myself hard-working and determined," Adriana said. She will be studying abroad in Africa next summer to set up clinics and help people in the villages and she plans to hopefully do the same in Honduras next winter break.
Adriana has definitely earned this recognition due to her hard work, dedication and overall example of what a model employee is. We wish her luck in the future, and are happy to have had her on staff in Aztec Recreation.
December 2010 Employee of the Month
Duane Esquier, Facility Supervisor
by Brittani Libring
Duane is currently a senior in the Recreation and Tourism Management major at San Diego State, with plans of graduating this coming spring. For almost two years, he has worked at the Aztec Recreation Center in multiple departments as Floor Supervisor, Facility Supervisor, and Building Services assistant.
When asked what he enjoys most about the working at the ARC, Duane responded, "My co-workers are cool and laid-back; plus, it is convenient because I get to enjoy the employee benefits like any free rec classes."
His supervisor, Travis McCauley, has nothing but good things to say about Duane. "When Duane is on-duty he can be counted on to be observant, courteous, and tactful." His responsible, yet upbeat, attitude is what sets him apart in his customer service. Most recently, Duane's crisis handling skills were launched into effect when a water pipe in the Aztec Adventures Back Shop ruptured and began flooding the area. According to McCauley, Duane took charge calling all the right senior staff members, redirected the water into drains, coordinated his Floor Supervisor for assistance, and ultimately shut down the flow of water. "Duane truly is an exemplary Facility Supervisor and an asset to all of Associated Students and Aztec Recreation," said McCauley.
After graduation, Duane aspires to become a firefighter, as well as, dabble in some real estate investments. He really just enjoys being spontaneous and trying new things. "I take surfing classes and the Mission Bay Aquatic Center and I want to learn wakeboarding. Basically, it's stuff I would not be doing back in my hometown of Los Angeles," said Duane.
November 2010 Employee of the Month
Joe Griffith, Aztec Aquaplex
by Brittani Libring
Since the summer of 2008, the Aquaplex has had the pleasure of employing an irreplaceable employee – Joe Griffith. Over the last two years, Joe's knowledge of the Aquaplex and experience at the front desk has helped him to achieve the Employee of the Month for November.
"Joe's knowledge has allowed him to answer any questions asked of him, and even earned him a perfect score from a secret shopper," said Veronica Velazquez, Aquaplex Office Lead.
In crucial times at the Aquaplex with a rush of patrons and families, Joe has shown he is able to balance his responsibilities while going above and beyond the call of duty.
"In a recent situation, he was able to calm a worrisome mother whose child was having an allergic reaction, as well as tend to the members needs," Velazquez said.
Joe's spunky personality always resonates with patrons and co-workers making him a wonderful addition to the Aquaplex team. Thanks you Joe for all of your hard work!
October 2010 Employee of the Month
By Brittani Libring
Julia Greenfield, MBAC
It was Julia Greenfields first year back at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center and her outstanding work ethic has earned her the title of Employee of the Month for October. She worked long hours over a busy summer as a camp coordinator but always maintained an affable attitude and a friendly management style that was appreciated by all.
"Her superb organizational skills helped ensure each camper had the best experience possible," said Kevin Waldick, programs manager for the Mission Bay Aquatic Center.
Julia has worked multiple positions at MBAC from assistant administrative coordinator to special events coordinator to photographer. "I got to play a part in all the different areas that MBAC offers," said Greenfield. "Every day was different; I loved every single part and every single person at MBAC."
She has just transferred here to the Aztec Recreation Center from MBAC and is looking forward to exciting new opportunities here at the ARC. She says she had many good times at MBAC and will continue to maintain contacts and relationships with even though she is at the ARC currently.
Greenfield is no stranger to SDSU. As a 2003 SDSU alumnus, Julia has worked at the MBAC since 2001 and was on the rowing team while still in school. She moved away to the Caribbean for two years in 2006 with her husband but has recently returned back to the city she calls home.
Rae Sours, Aztec Aquaplex
For over a year now, Rae Sours has been a vital member of the Aquaplex Guest Services team. She is being recognized this month for her willingness to help others in every way. Whether it is her co-workers or fellow students, Rae offers her aid even when not directly asked.
Rae has received a perfect score from the secret shopper program we enforce at Aztec Recreation, which exemplifies her exceptional customer service skills. "When a patron walks through the door, Rae is always ready to assist them," said Veronica Velazquez, Aquaplex Lead. "She is not only a fantastic worker, but she makes our days that much more fun when she is working." Some of Rae's daily tasks include membership registration, swim lesson registration and answering member's calls and questions.
What sets her apart? Her easygoing personality and focused work ethic is what makes her shine above the rest. "My favorite part about the job is the laid back atmosphere that comes with working at the pool since most people there are relaxed themselves," said Sours.
Something that people wouldn't know about Rae just by looking at her, she is a great artist. She enjoys mainly acrylics and has mastered it to say the least. Rae is a senior here at San Diego State in the psychology program. She is from Sonoma, which is up north a ways, but Rae moved far away for a change and to experience new things.
September 2010 Employee of the Month
Danielle Voral, Aquaplex Lifeguard and Youth Swim Instructor
Danielle Voral is a lifeguard and aquatics swim instructor at the Aquaplex. "Danielle has exceeded expectations," according to lead lifeguard Staci Benak. She teaches lessons to kids, usually four every morning, while also lifeguarding in the afternoons. Attentive to all patrons when on stand, Danielle consistently attends to all needs in a timely and professional manner.
Her upbeat personality and willingness to help others is what sets her apart. Danielle is always the first to volunteer to cover a friend's shift when needed. Parents and co-workers have given her positive feedback regarding her teaching methods since she was hired at the Aquaplex back in May 2010. Keep up the good work, Danielle!
Before then, Danielle worked as a Floor Supervisor at the ARC for five months. She says she really enjoyed working at the ARC, but she couldn't say no to working outside with such beautiful San Diego weather. "The landscape and surroundings at the Aquaplex is just so wonderful, especially during summer," she said.
Danielle, a soon-to-be senior at SDSU, is from the small town of Escalon in northern California. As a liberal studies major specializing in science, she looks forward to teaching elementary school kids someday. Her favorite workouts at the ARC include anything high-energy: spinning, running and cardio-kickboxing. She is friendly, outgoing and always smiling—making her a pleasure to be around on any day of the week.
August 2010 Employee of the Month
Jennifer Parker, Facility Supervisor
For almost a year Jennifer Parker has worked as an ARC Facility Supervisor and has shown herself to be a model employee. You can't miss her friendly smile when walking the halls, clipboard in hand. "While working she is professional, courteous, motivate and above all hard-working," said Facility Supervisor Travis McCauley. Jen consistently makes an effort to ensure that the ARC is a safe environment by enforcing policies, and always answering members' questions. As a senior member of the Facility Staff, she was able to assist with training of Floor Supervisor new hire trainings and Facility Supervisor promotion interviews. During the spring 2010 semester she was also involved in our Peer Health Education program during spring semester and was more than happy to deliver a presentation about healthy eating to her co-workers at a Facility Staff meeting. Most recently Jen has left the ARC to take an internship that is full-time. We miss Jen and her hard work, but wish her well in her new endeavors.
July 2010 Employee of the Month
Nominated for her enthusiasm and professionalism with each assigned task Lauren Womak has earned the honor of Employee of the Month. As a soon-to-be sophomore and new addition to the ARC Building Services staff, Lauren has quickly learned to drive the genie lift and use many of the tools needed to maintain the building and equipment inside.
As one of the few female staff members, her services are greatly appreciated when completing assignments like single handedly changing all of the soap dispensers in the ladies locker room. THANKS! Building Services Engineer Nick Busacco said, "Lauren is not only a dedicated team player, she is a team builder; helping others with day-to-day tasks assigned to the group." She always completes her assignments in a safe and timely manner, and can always be counted on to have a positive attitude. When she isn't working, Lauren enjoys traveling! She has gone on mission trips to Belize, Costa Rica and the Czech Republic. Ultra-friendly and easy to be around are only a few characteristics that make Lauren a delight to work and joy to work with. Keep up the good work!
June 2010 Employee of the Month
Kayli Dalton has worked at Member Services for two years. In August 2009 she was promoted to a Member Services Lead position. Positive, outgoing and motivated, she is our customer service extraordinaire! Kayli's vibrant smile can't be missed when entering the ARC. She is a reliable, and a dedicated ARC employee who strives for perfection.
Her determination to excel is visible academically as well. Despite undergoing spinal fusion back surgery only months ago, she has kept with her four-year plan and is a May 2010 graduate. Not only has she been a dedicated student to her own studies, but she has also been a committed Peer Health Educator for Student Health Services. If anyone is an example of perseverance, it's Kayli! Recently accepted into the SDSU Masters Program, Kayli will continue her education here beginning fall 2010.
When not working or studying, Kayli enjoys spending time with friends and her cat, Bagheera! She loves the outdoors, and any fitness-related adventure. "When I exercise I prefer functional training," said Kayli. "I like to workout with my own body weight and the medicine ball to prepare myself for activities in everyday life." Kayli loves to incorporate the outdoors in her everyday life, and hiking at Blacks Beach in La Jolla is one of her favorite activities. It's easy to see that Kayli is a pleasure to be around, a hard worker and an overall role model to those around her.
Congratulations Kayli, and thank you for your dedication and