Employee of the Month
Justin Barner began working with Aztec Recreation in April 2016. He lifeguarded in high school, so he felt that working at the Aquaplex would be a good fit for him. “I also knew I would actually enjoy going to work every day and could have a positive impact on Aztec Recreation,” he says.
The atmosphere of the Aquaplex is makes working there fun and inviting for Justin. “My favorite part about my job is everyone on the Aquaplex staff. We all get along really well and it makes working there extremely enjoyable.” He says that to succeed at his job, it’s necessary to come into work with a positive attitude, regardless of whether or not you’re having a bad day. “Even if you’re having a bad day, being thankful about having a job you like can really put things into perspective,” he explains.
“Justin is an excellent team player,” says Jake Siegfried, Aquaplex Manager. “He is dedicated to his position and works hard to help participants and fellow staff. He never misses a beat by coming prepared for every shift and goes straight to getting operations set for the day which include testing pool water chemistry and setting the deck. He is very knowledgeable about aquatics and on multiple occasions has offered creative and effective solutions to solving facility problems and/or issues.”
Justin is pursuing a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Public Administration. After graduating, he is considering either the military or a career in law enforcement. He believes his job at the Aquaplex prepares him for these potential careers by helping advance his communication skills, being highly trained in rescue situations and interacting with the diverse participants every day. The motto he tries to live by is “work hard, play hard,” and that definitely shows through his work ethic. Congratulations, Justin! We appreciate your hard work and positivity!
Article by: Asha Bailey
December 2016 - Jake Hartford Intramural Sports
Jake began his journey with Aztec Recreation in 2013, where he worked as an Intramural Sports Official. “After participating in a number of Intramural Sports during the 2012-2013 school year, I saw an opportunity to partake in a more interesting side of sports,” he explained. “The way the officials carried themselves and the way they acted made me really respect the program and eventually lead to me applying for the position.”
Jake describes his experience working with the ARC as challenging but rewarding and fun. His favorite part about working with Intramural Sports is his opportunity to meet and get to know people from all over the United States and around the world. He also loves the relationship he has with his coworkers. “My coworkers are like a family to me,” he says. “We all work hard to support each other both at work and outside of work and we always have each other’s back.” The environment and relationships he’s built with his coworkers and players make Jake’s job enjoyable and makes him continue to work hard every shift.
Jake’s advice to people wondering how to succeed at his job is simple: enjoy what you do. “I have loved working at Aztec Recreation and that’s why I stayed for as many years as I have. Find a job that is not a 9-5, but a job that you want to go to and be excited about no matter the hours. You can find happiness in work but you have to be willing to pursue it.”
Congratulations Jake! You deserve it!
Article by: Asha Bailey
November 2016 - Joshua Holmes Aztec Recreation Marketing
Aztec Recreation Marketing
Congratulations to Josh Holmes for being selected as Aztec Recreation’s employee of the month! Josh has been with Aztec Recreation since Fall 2012. He applied for the job of Intramural Official at that time because he felt that the atmosphere would fit his personality best, which turned out to be true. “I’ve had an amazing experience working in Aztec Rec,” he says. “I’ve been able to move up in the organization and work in fields related to my future career. I have dozens of strong relationships with coworkers that I’ve known since 2012.”
Josh is double majoring in Psychology and Journalism & Media Studies, plus a minor in Marketing. After he graduates next spring, he plans to work for an advertising agency, creating digital ads. His job at the ARC prepares him for his future career by giving him “strong logistical, strategic, data mining and creative skills necessary to work as a social media and digital advertising specialist.”
“Josh Holmes is a tremendous asset to Aztec Recreation,” says Amy Schiller, Marketing Coordinator. “He has been able to assist with important communications on social media and has developed our post boosting and social media advertising programming. He has both strategic and technical skills in the platforms.” He appreciates the fact that the environment he works in is diverse and relaxed, and that his coworkers are also his friends outside of work. His advice to other coworkers on how to succeed at his job would consist of asking questions early and often, and do what’s within your power to find the answer.
“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Thanks for constantly hustling for Aztec Recreation, Josh! We appreciate you!
Article by: Asha Bailey
October 2016 - Kelly Kortright Aztec Aquaplex Lead
Aztec Aquaplex Lead
This month we are congratulating Kelly Kortright on being Aztec Recreation’s October Employee of the Month! Kelly started working at the Aquaplex 10 months ago as a lifeguard and aquatic instructor. She had a solid foundation in aquatics, but has grown in her position by applying her organizational and supervisory skills. Within the first six months Kelly was promoted to the role of Aquaplex Lead.
An average day for Kelly doesn’t exist. She explained, "There really is no such thing as "an average day." Every day is different and presents new experiences and challenges." When asked what advice she could extend to anyone thinking about applying for an Aquaplex position, she replied, "Don’t let anyone drown." On a serious note, she said that the most important thing is to be nice and remain respectful, even in potentially heated situations. She loves her job because of the environment the Aquaplex creates for her and her coworkers. To Kelly working at the Aquaplex is more like a family community than a workplace.
Jake Siegfried, Aquaplex Supervisor, said, "Kelly’s enthusiasm and connection with the staff and Aquaplex participants is apparent and contagious. She is always looking out for her co-workers and tries to make every experience with our guests memorable through her positivity and focus on providing excellent customer service."
Kelly’s personal motto is, "Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple." Well, the answer is clear and simple that you definitely deserve to be October’s Employee of the Month! Congratulations, Kelly!
Article by: Asha Bailey
September 2016 - James Baluyut Mission Bay Aquatic Center Paddle Instructor/Dockmaster
Mission Bay Aquatic Center Paddle Instructor/Dockmaster
James Baluyut began working for the Mission Bay Aquatic Center during the summer of 2014. As a member of the men’s crew team he was hired on as a dockmaster and rowing instructor. He found a passion for paddling and is now a leader in the paddling program.
MBAC Instructional Supervisor, Jamie Eubanks nominated James because he is an exceptional employee who is professional, conscientiousand a team player. His hard work and dedication have helped him develop his sense for the subtleties involved in group management, learning processes, and safety. Jamie stated, “James is a leader and his calm and deliberate demeanor fosters an environment in which he earned the respect of his coworkers, set standards, and inspired them to develop as instructors.”
For James, helping his coworkers comes naturally because he loves the people he works with and he says that’s why working at MBAC is one of the best jobs out there. James thoroughly enjoys spending his summers teaching kids at The Watersports Camp how to kayak and paddle.
James lives by the motto, “Do it the right way, the first time” and is always working to improve himself. James says, “Don’t worry when you make a mistake, it’s an opportunity to learn something about yourself and an opportunity to get better at what you do.”
Congratulations, James, on being selected as the September Employee of the Month!
Article by: Asha Bailey
August 2016 - Sergio Montes Aztec Recreation Member Services
Aztec Recreation Member Services
This month we are celebrating Employee of the Month, Sergio Montes!
Sergio began his journey with Aztec Recreation as a member, working out in his free time as often as he could. In May 2015, he decided that he wanted to apply to work at the ARC, so he did and got a position behind the Member Services desk. Sergio’s favorite part about his job is the fact that there’s no such thing as “an average day.” He says, “There’s always new challenges and experiences every day. Every day is different and exciting in its own way.”
Sergio loves the social aspect of his job, which allows him to meet and interact with new people daily. He’s made deep connections and friendships with his coworkers and loves the atmosphere of the ARC. His favorite memory was the first day of employee training. He loved how exciting it was and how everyone got the chance to get out of their comfort zone and make great first impressions with their peers.
“Hard work pays off.” This is the motto that Sergio lives by and incorporates into his daily life. He is majoring in Civil Engineering and looks forward to taking his first vacation after he graduates college. Congratulations, Sergio!
Article by: Asha Bailey
July 2016 - Magda Aguirre Aztec Recreation Graphic Artist
Aztec Recreation Graphic Artist
Congratulations to Magda Aguirre for being named Aztec Recreation’s Employee of the Month! Magda has been Aztec Recreation’s Graphic Artist since May 2015, has designed much of the artwork you see around the ARC, and may have even taken your photo if you’ve participated in any of Aztec Recreation’s photoshoots!
Magda’s favorite part about working at Aztec Recreation is the environment. She loves the coworkers that surround her and make her work day fun and exciting. She takes pride in all of the projects she completes for Aztec Recreation and has done design work for the ARC ’til DARK, the Aztec Recreation annual report and Live Well Late Night events. Magda is a perfectionist when it comes to even the smallest details She refuses to turn in a project unless she is convinced that she has made it the best it can be.
Magda lives by the quote, "Strong people don’t put others down, they lift them up." She incorporates this into her daily life by respecting others’ lifestyle choices and opinions, and strives to create a peaceful environment for everyone around her.
Amy Schiller, the Aztec Recreation Marketing Coordinator, recognizes Magda and her amazing dedication and work ethic. She says, "Magda has a great demeanor and is very welcoming to peers, photo models, and other staff who need graphic work done. She goes above and beyond for delivering projects." Congratulations again to our much deserving Aztec Recreation employee, Magda Aguirre!
Article by: Asha Bailey
June 2016 - Madelyn White Aztec Recreation Member Services
Aztec Recreation Member Services
This month we are congratulating an employee that has been with us since she started attending San Diego State in 2014. Madelyn White began her journey with Aztec Recreation as a freshman, originally utilizing the membership included in residential living. She worked out a lot, and loved the facilities, the staff, and the overall atmosphere at the various Aztec Recreation locations.
When she saw a job opportunity at the ARC, she jumped online and filled out an application right away and now Madelyn works at the Member Services desk, ensuring that Aztec Recreation members always have their questions answered and resolved. Her favorite part about the work is that every day is a new opportunity to meet a new member and reconnect with the regulars. She loves the diversity of the gym, and the wide variety of members she gets to meet and interact with daily. Her job relies so heavily on interacting with coworkers and members; Madelyn says it usually doesn’t even seem like work.
She says the key to being successful at her job is to maintain a positive attitude and SMILE! “Smiling makes a huge difference, both on the members’ day and your own,” she explained. Madelyn’s motto is “You get out what you put in.” It’s applicable to both her job at the ARC, with school, where Madelyn is studying Kinesiology, and just with life in general. She believes that the effort you put into your work is what you will get out of it. That must be why she’s so successful at the ARC: she works hard! Congratulations Madelyn, you deserve it!
Article by: Asha Bailey
May 2016 - Allie Leduc Aquaplex Facilities Representative
Aquaplex Facilities Representative
This month we are celebrating Employee of the Month Allie Leduc, Aquaplex Facilities Representative! Allie has been an Aztec Recreation employee for two years. Allie originally sought work in Aztec Recreation as a way to get more involved on campus but she quickly fell in love with her job for many more reasons. She loves how the fun the work environment is and how she’s constantly meeting new people and building relationships with the regular Aquaplex participants.
Allie’s life motto is "Positive mind, positive vibes, positive life.” She believes that the most important part of her job is staying positive throughout the day, no matter the situation. “The members can sense the second you start to get upset or irritated, so it’s important to keep smiling and stay positive; it makes everyone’s day better including your own.”
When Allie started her job at the Aquaplex she was shy and quiet. Her responsibilities at the Aquaplex quickly helped her come out of her shell and become a more outgoing and assertive person. She’s now more comfortable dealing with different and more difficult situations and believes she can take that skill with her to any job she holds in the future. The Aquaplex lead, Natalie Parker, says “Allie consistently works to make sure that patrons have an overall positive experience and consistently delivers great customer service.” We are lucky to have Allie working with us! Congratulations!
Article by: Asha Bailey
April 2016 - Eric Barbret Aztec Adventures Equipment Maintenance Tech / Outings Lead
Aztec Adventures Equipment Maintenance Tech / Outings Lead
Congratulations to Eric Barbret for being named Aztec Recreation’s Employee of the Month! Eric has worked with Aztec Recreation as an Aztec Adventures Equipment Maintenance Tech and an Outings Lead for three years. He first found out about Aztec Adventures when he was living in Illinois, preparing to attend SDSU as a freshman. He says he was hooked from the beginning, and now, as a senior preparing to graduate with a major in Biology, Eric says that his job is everything he wants to do in life.
The whole reason he chose to move to California was to experience firsthand the beautiful outdoors the west coast had to offer. Aztec Adventures allows him to trek through California’s awesome landscapes and meet new people along the way. Eric goes on every trip he can, and gets the opportunity to meet new, interesting people that he wouldn’t ordinarily get to meet. He’s made lasting friendships with both his coworkers and the individuals who join the trips and has learned valuable leadership skills that he utilizes for each excursion, and that he can take out into the workforce after he graduates.
Ben Raemaker, the Aztec Adventures Coordinator, praises Eric and his work ethic. He says, “Eric is a very charismatic leader who comforts people within our trips by his approach towards teaching new skills to individuals on our programs. He makes an effort to connect with each person he encounters throughout his daily work.” Eric loves the community of people he is surrounded by through being a part of Aztec Adventures, and cherishes the fact that he has had the opportunity to grow and build skills with everyone he works with. Congratulations again to our much deserving Aztec Recreation employee, Eric Barbret!
February 2016 - Sean Vessey Aquatic Instructor & Lifeguard
Aquatic Instructor & Lifeguard
This month we are congratulating a very deserving Aquaplex employee, Sean Vessey! Sean has been working at the Aquaplex since October of last year, and it was a very fitting position for him since he is an experienced swim instructor and lifeguard. The new job was easy for him to adapt to; having come from an aquatics family, three of Sean’s sisters had played on the Women’s Water Polo team for SDSU before him! Sean says that the best part of his job is getting to work with people that are also SDSU students because it makes it more fun and feel less like a typical job.
“In his short time at the Aztec Aquaplex, Sean has already demonstrated his dedication to Aztec Recreation and modeled the department values of wellness, integrity, safety, service, professionalism, excellence and respect. Sean has become a leader amongst his peers and has been respectful in all of his interactions with members and staff,” says Margaret Ramaeker, Aquaplex Coordinator, “He focuses on wellness not only in his personal life, but does his best to help keep the Aquaplex a positive, safe and clean environment for our members and guests to ensure they also have the opportunity to experience wellness at our facility.” Sean says he is incredibly thankful for the opportunities that he has received since working at the Aquaplex, such as being offered the opportunity to train others in lifeguarding skills. He is also happy that the atmosphere he works in is preparing him for work beyond SDSU and Aztec Recreation. Sean says, “It’s a team-driven environment where there’s always a manager around, and we are encouraged to communicate with a supervisor if we are concerned that a potential problem will arise.” Sean believes that positivity and optimism are the keys to success, and lives by the quote “Every day my goal is to go to sleep at night a better person than I was when I woke up in the morning.” Congratulations again Sean, you deserve it!
Article by: Asha Bailey
January 2016 - Tatianna Frausto Aztec Lanes Attendant
Aztec Lanes Attendant
This month we are congratulating Tatianna Frausto on being awarded Aztec Recreation’s Employee of the Month! Tatianna has been working in the Aztec Lanes for the last year. When asked why she loves working in the Lanes, she didn’t even have to think about her response: "I love working in the Aztec Lanes because I love the social aspect and the environment that the members and my coworkers create.” She loves meeting the new people that come in every day, and when asked what a typical day on the job is like, she explained how no two days are the same because of the drastic contrast of the daytime energy of the Lanes compared to the nightlife. She loves interacting with the regular members and having the opportunity to joke around and build new friendships. “Overall,” says Jamie Spector, Aztec Lanes Coordinator, “Tatianna exceeds the expectations of Aztec Recreation and Associated Students. Her actions mirror the mission and values of our organization and promotes positive change. She is flexible with other staff members’ schedules and arrives to every shift on time and ready, with a positive, professional attitude.”
Tatiana is a sophomore this year at SDSU and is majoring in Kinesiology, specifically focusing on Athletic Training. After college, she plans to be an athletic trainer for a professional football team, or maybe even for SDSU Athletics.
Tatianna describes herself as a smiley, clumsy, and very social person. She believes her job at Aztec Lanes is a perfect fit for her fun, outgoing and social personality. Her favorite quote and life motto is “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.” She explains how she’s never regretted anything she’s ever done out of bravery or courage, and she encourages everyone to step out of their comfort zones every once in a while. Tatianna wakes up every morning with the intention of making at least one person smile, and she succeeds. Congratulations Tatianna!
Article by: Asha Bailey
November 2015 - Juliana Spina Intramural Sports Supervisor, Official, Office Assistant
Intramural Sports Supervisor, Official, Office Assistant
Congratulations to Juliana Spina for being named Aztec Recreation’s Employee of the Month! Juliana began working in Aztec Recreation three years ago as a referee for the Intramural soccer team. In the summer of 2013, she was promoted to the Intramural Sports Supervisor and Office Assistant. On top of that, Juliana is a Sports Marketing intern for the SDSU Athletic Department, focusing on her goal of becoming a Sports Marketer for a professional sports team. Her major at SDSU is also in line with that goal: Juliana is majoring in Advertising and minoring in Personality and Social Psychology.
When asked if she likes her job, Juliana replied with “I love my job, and I love coming into work every day. It doesn’t even feel like a job because I love what I do and I love the people I work with.” Andrew Lutz, the Supervisor of Intramural Sports, says “Juliana’s personality and positive attitude makes her a pleasure to work with and gives the rest of the staff a wonderful example to look up to. It doesn’t matter what the task is, Juliana approaches it with the same excitement and energy.”
Juliana’s motto is “Work hard, play hard.” She strives to wake up every morning with an optimistic outlook on life and says that her life goal is to make a positive impact on as many people as she can. She explains that her job allows her to work closely with others and gives her the opportunity every day to positively affect someone’s day, and she takes full advantage of that. Congratulations, Juliana! You deserve it!
October 2015 - Alexa D’Orazio Group Fitness Instructor
Group Fitness Instructor
Alexa D’Orazio is a student who teaches other students yoga. The connection to other students, their positive attitude and open-mindedness, is her favorite part about being an Aztec Recreation Group Fitness yoga instructor. Originally hailing from Vancouver British Columbia, Alexa found herself starting college at the University of Mississippi. Yoga was just gaining popularity in the South at that time and, as a participant in the rec programs at Ole Miss, Alexa found an opportunity to begin training with one of the instructors there. She took to it immediately, got her certification and was teaching by the following semester. Her classes at Ole Miss were suddenly hugely popular, in part due to Alexa’s calming demeanor, but also because she was a relatable – a fellow student at the university. After two years at Ole Miss, Alexa moved to San Diego to continue her nutritional sciences studies here at SDSU.
“Alexa is a very skilled yoga instructor and she is an incredible asset to the program ,” says Brett Kehler, Aztec Recreation Fitness, Wellness & Instructional Class Coordinator. “She substitutes for others often and has been guest instructor for several of our special events. Alexa is consistent and she creates a welcoming and comfortable environment for every class that she teaches; her demeanor helps participants get a mental escape for one hour of their day. She has a considerable amount of energy, and exudes positivity and enthusiasm that the participants to pick up on. Alexa is open-minded employee and is continuously working to improve herself; she frequently asks for feedback and works to continually improve her teaching.”
If you are interested in trying yoga, Alexa’s advice is, “Erase all stereotypes about it. You don’t have to be skinny or vegan. You could have an artificial hip and be able to do it. Yoga is a practice of mental focus.”
During her high school years Alexa was a Cross Country ski racer and has competed in numerous races including a 26 kilometer race in Alaska. “Cross Country ski racing and yoga have a lot in common,” says D’Orazio, “It’s a lot about body form and technique. If you don’t have the proper skiing form, you are not going to go very fast.”
Having grown up on the pacific west coast of Canada, Alexa finds the constant sunshine in San Diego inspiring. She is very supportive of the new yoga club who practice outdoors on campus and she loves to challenge herself to try new outdoor activities such as seeking out hiking trials and doing watersports. Taking a paddleboard yoga class with fellow yoga instructor, Daniel Dominguez, is on her bucket list!
Alexa’s approach when things are not going perfect is kindness and acceptance. Her quote she lives by is simply: “Be Positive.”
September 2015 - Kassey Smith Aquaplex Lifeguard
As an Aquaplex Lifeguard, Kassey Smith is a model employee. She is being recognized this month for outstanding performance and exceeding expectations in both safety and customer service. Kassey most enjoys working as an Aquaplex lifeguard and instructor because she enjoys getting to know our members and guests and helping make their time at the pool a positive experience. She is an instructor who is adored by those she teaches and she provides excellent service at each and every lesson and lifeguard shift.
“Kassey is a great team member here at the Aquaplex,” says Jake Siegfried, Aquaplex Manager, “She is appreciated by all the other staff at the Aquaplex in part because of her steady, positive attitude, but also because she makes every effort to cover shifts for her coworkers.”
When it comes to walking the talk Kassey lives the Aztec Recreation “Experience It” lifestyle. When she is not at the Aquaplex on the lifeguard stand or teaching private swim lessons, you can find her taking one of our Aztec Recreation ENS classes such as beginning bowling, beginning kayaking, river canoeing, camping, or self-defense for women. As a current food & nutrition major with a minor in psychology, Kassey is dedicated to working with people and passionate about helping others improve their overall quality of life.
“If you’re not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you’re determined to learn no one can stop you”. Is a quote that inspires Kassey to always put forth her best efforts and go above and beyond to provide the best possible service.
August 2015 - Alyssa Romero ARC Member Services
ARC Member Services
A much deserving praise to Alyssa Romero for being named August’s Employee of the Month!
Alyssa Romero has been working for Aztec Recreation for a little more than eight months. In her time she has learned all aspects of her position incredibly fast in the Member Services. Alyssa demonstrates all aspects of the Aztec Recreation core values and continues to bring positive attributes to the team.
Alyssa says working at the ARC has been an incredible experience so far. She loves being challenged and put in stressful situations because once they are over, she has the opportunity to learn a lot and enjoys solving the problem. Romero says, “I think working at the ARC is one of the best on-campus jobs. While working you are surrounded by people who are willing to help you and you learn a lot of valuable lessons that can be applied to everyday life.”
Member Services Supervisor Aimee J. Orozco says, “Alyssa is a hard worker. She always stays on task and is great with members. In her short time she’s handled a lot of difficult situations and every time she has impressed me with her knowledge of our facility and policies as well as her ability to stay calm.”
When it comes to Alyssa’s favorite part about her job she says, “It would definitely be working the floor because it gives me an opportunity to talk to members and get to know them while keeping everybody in the facility safe.” Along with being friendly, Alyssa is proactive; she finds things that need to get done before she is asked. She always has a smile on her face and is always sweet and welcoming to everyone. Orozco says, “She is constantly on task and never needs to be reminded about what to do.”
We would like to thank Alyssa for picking up co-workers shifts when needed. Recently, Alyssa joined the special events staff and has added tremendously to that team. She says, “There’s never a dull moment working at the ARC. One thing I quickly learned is that although no two days are ever the same, by the end of every shift you will have interacted or spoke to at least 20 members regarding anything and everything.”
Being a Kinesiology Pre-Physical Therapy major, Alyssa is in the perfect environment to get her foot in the door. After her four years at SDSU, she plans on attending Chiropractic school to obtain her Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. She believes that the ARC is helping her prepare for her future career by teaching how to remain calm while responding to emergency situations as well as teaching her how to engage in conversations to provide excellent customer service.
A motto that Alyssa strives to live by is, “Great things never come from comfort zones.”
Article by: Reyanne Mustafa
- July 2015 - Cory Dela Cruz Member Services
- May 2015 - Austin Rhatigan Aztec Aquaplex
- April 2015 - Sam Halliburton Member Services
- March 2015 - Kendra Sin Aztec Recreation
- January 2015 - Daniel Koble Aztec Lanes
- December 2014 - Neely Waiche Group Fitness
- November 2014 - Lauren Vollrath Aztec Adventures
- October 2014 - Jesse Cabral Aztec Aquaplex
- September 2014 - Hanna Leong Aztec Recreation
- June 2014 - Mafer Arce Aztec Recreation
- May 2014 - Sarah Smiley Aztec Recreation
- April 2014 - Katie Hecker Aztec Adventures
- February 2014 - Amanda Whiteley ARC
- December 2013 - Corry Vogel ARC
- November 2013 - Allie Raimondo MBAC