Staff Recognition and Achievement

Natasha Gaddy and her mother Pat Gaddy, both wearing masks. Pat has her arm on Natasha's shoulder.
First shot! Natasha Gaddy (left) and her mother Pat Gaddy of OIT Communication Technologies are photographed moments after Natasha receives the first COVID-19 vaccine at NC State’s on-campus clinic. Photo courtesy of NC State University News.

OIT Division Award for Excellence Winners

photos of Taylor Lundy, Kevin Ficker (pictured with Mr Wuf), and Eric Poirier
OIT Award for Excellence winners from left are Taylor Lundy, Kevin Ficker and Eric Poirier.

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) announced its 2021 Awards for Excellence winners on April 27 in a virtual ceremony. Established in 1996, the University Awards for Excellence is the most prestigious honor bestowed upon non-faculty employees and recognizes their outstanding accomplishments and contributions in seven categories.

OIT presented awards to two SHRA employees and one OIT non-faculty EHRA employee: 

SHRA Awards

Taylor Lundy of Business Services and Kevin Ficker of ClassTech received the award for SHRA employees.

  • Nominated in the category of customer service, Lundy went beyond his normal job functions to help OIT solve major challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. He acquired sanitation materials for employees, kept the ComTech warehouse staffed and running smoothly, and helped remote employees troubleshoot their connectivity issues, while keeping safety and health a top priority at all times.
  • Nominated in the category of efficiency and innovation, Ficker played a vital role in assisting OIT ClassTech and DELTA prepare classrooms and lecture spaces for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. His rigorous approach to testing and validating software and hardware ensured the Classroom Capture Initiative was successful.

EHRA Award 

Eric Poirier of Enterprise Application Services received the award for EHRA employees.

Nominated in the category of customer service, Poirier’s consistent dedication, positive demeanor and team-oriented approach are vital to the success of the document management services that he and his team provide to others. Poirier’s recent and notable efforts include implementation of a strategic secure document and file sharing service to protect NC State’s ultra-sensitive (purple) and HIPAA data; development of business process design and automation to support COVID-19 remote work activities; and the implementation of new document management services for the eRA project.

Each winner received a plaque, $250 and eight hours of paid time-off. They will also vie at the university level for an Award for Excellence. Nine OIT employees were nominated for this division award.

Pride of the WolfPack Award

The 2020-21 Pride of the WolfPack Award winners were Ron Bradley, Randall Greenly, Jessie Moore, Joseph Perry, Brennan Watson, and Kathy Weiss. 

The award honors staff members who make significant contributions to improving the services, systems and experiences of OIT, as well as the university community.

T.O.A.S.T. Award

The 2020-21 recipients for the Totally Outstanding Attitude, Service and Talent Awards are: 

  • Andrew Behnke
  • Adam Bernot
  • Antoine Carlet (2)
  • April Jones
  • Caffie Darden (2)
  • Matt Deal
  • Chris Deaton
  • Brian DeConinck (2)
  • Julian Denton (2)
  • Lauren Etheridge (2)
  • Larry Evans
  • Darren Fallis
  • Rhonda Greene
  • Dan Grigg
  • Lee Hargis
  • Marie Hotaling
  • Jamie Hufnagel
  • Joseph Hurst
  • Debra Ireland
  • Tarasa Jackson
  • Ryan Lowell (2)
  • Kevin McDonald
  • Bill McKelvey
  • Robin McKinney (2)
  • Patty Mercer
  • Todd Miller
  • Stephen Neal
  • Sherry O’Neal
  • Trish Palmer
  • Balaji Parthasarathy
  • Q Peiffer
  • Jill Phipps
  • Lee Pipkin
  • JJ Sangvacharakul
  • Don Schmidt
  • Chadwick Seagraves
  • Jackie Shaffer
  • Elizabeth Shealy (2)
  • Logan Skeehan
  • Leo Tuenker (2)
  • David Wagner

Service Awards

This fiscal year, NC State recognized 40 employees who reached five-year milestones in their university service.

40 Years of Service

  • Caffie Darden

35 Years of Service

  • Mardecia Bell
  • Richard Brown

30 Years of Service

  • Brandon Hill
  • Dana Strickland

25 Years of Service

  • Rhonda Greene
  • Kevin McDonald
  • Cheri Pipkin
  • Jesse Raynor

20 Years of Service

  • BJ Attarian
  • Iris Bonapart
  • Kenneth McEntire Jr. 
  • Yessenia Mendoza-Tate
  • Greg Sparks

15 Years of Service

  • Theo Earl
  • Jennifer McFarland
  • Laverne Petit-Frere

10 Years of Service

  • Jessica Anderson
  • Michele Byrum
  • Jianwei Dian
  • Chen-Fu Liu
  • William McKelvey
  • William Perry
  • Daniel Waller
  • Brennan Watson

5 Years of Service

  • Damon Armour
  • Kristopher Boone
  • Antoine Carlet
  • David Conn
  • Nik Davlantis
  • Chris Deaton
  • Robert Eisele
  • Ryan Gallagher
  • Brandon Garrett
  • Matthew Hawkins
  • Andrew Kotynski
  • Michael Luzi
  • Narasimha Narayankhedkar
  • Balaji Parthasarathy
  • Brian Williams

IT Community Awards

The IT Community Awards recognize teams and individuals who have made a significant collaborative impact at NC State. The recipients for 2020 Second Annual IT Community Awards are: 

Extraordinary Team Impact Award recognizes a high-functioning team that has facilitated, promoted or advanced the university mission, vision and values through its collaborative efforts. The recipient of this award was the ClassTech & DELTA Lecture Capture team, comprised of the following team members:

  • Christine Belledin
  • Leisa Bolles
  • Damian Boyce
  • Ronald Bradley
  • Antoine Carlet
  • Shawn Colvin
  • Dan Copher
  • Julian Denton
  • Brian Dyer
  • Larry Evans
  • Kevin Ficker
  • Tim Hinds
  • Krishna Patharkar
  • Tony Pearson
  • Bob Pence
  • Brandon Pope
  • Alex Stacy
  • Brennan Watson
  • Peter Watson
  • Bob Wilkerson

Team Player Award recognizes an individual who has taken the initiative to foster collaboration, communication and cooperation with units or individuals outside their respective department. The recipient of this award was Kevin Ficker of ClassTech for his expert and extensive troubleshooting under intense time pressure while serving as a member of the joint OIT & DELTA classroom capture team. 

Rising Star Award recognizes a newer employee who has made significant collaborative contributions to their department or university community. Robin McKinney of Design & Web Services was the recipient of this award for having innovative ideas and volunteering to assist when and where needed, all while demonstrating a record of improvement, excellent customer service, cooperation, and motivation.

Major Appointments

  • Danny Davis was selected as the assistant vice chancellor for Technology Support Services.
  • John Constantelos was selected as the director of Client Solutions.

Professional Activities

  • Damon Armour, Mardecia Bell, Deborah Booth, Lavanya Sridharan and Elizabeth Cole-Walker are members of the Information Systems Audit and Control (ISACA).
  • Damon Armour, Mardecia Bell, Deborah Booth, Rennie Bidgood, Elizabeth Cole-Walker, and Andy Kotynski are members of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA).  Cole-Walker is also an appointed member of the ISSA career services board and Infosecon volunteer. 
  • Damon Armour, Deborah Booth, Andy Raynor, and Andy Kotynski are members of the International Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2). 
  • Mardecia Bell, Elizabeth Cole-Walker and Andy Kotynski are members of the FBI’s InfraGard. 
  • Mardecia Bell serves as a member of the UNC Information Security Council. She also continues to serve on the steering team for the Women In Technology (WIT) Interest Group.
  • Rennie Bidgood is also a member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and College News Association of the Carolinas (CNAC). She also initiated a partnership with the university assistant director of the Academic Success Center to establish best practices for hiring and managing technical writing interns.
  • Gregory Boyd completed training in Dell EMC Isilon administration. 
  • Ron Bradley and Jen McFarland served on the UNC CAUSE Board and the 2021 Conference Planning Team.
  • Carrie Brown, Jeremy Meeler, Eric Silberberg, Shawn McIntosh, Aaron Peeler, and Gregory Boyd completed VMware training. 
  • Carrie Brown, Mike Jennings, Josh Thompson, and Aaron Peeler completed Cloud technologies training through
  • Antoine Carlet is now an Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association Certified Technology Specialist (AVIXA CTS).
  • Ralph Castanza, David Conn, Joshua Snapp, and Tony Copeland completed SANS training. 
  • Bryce Clodfelter and Danny Davis served as NC State Staff senators for District 51.
  • Elizabeth Cole-Walker graduated from the Bridges Academic Leadership for Women Program. She continues to provide support to the North Carolina Military Business Center, including lecturing at the Defense Contractor Academy. She was also interviewed for a WRAL technology article as a subject matter expert on how new cybersecurity requirements will affect businesses working with the federal government. 
  • Nik Davlantis completed Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) 4 Managing Professional training and certification.
  • Mike Donathan renewed his ServiceNow Certified System Administrator certification.
  • Darren Fallis and Elizabeth Cole-Walker continue to serve as representatives to the Institutional Review Board that provides oversight of human subjects research. They both work with research faculty and staff to address data security issues and concerns.
  • Pat Gaddy served as NC State Staff Senate chair.
  • Rhonda Greene was selected to serve as a delegate on the North Carolina Public Relations Society of America’s board of directors and served on the national PRSA Technology Section executive committee. She also serves as a member of the NC State Staff Senate’s Computer Loan Program Committee. 
  • Dan Grigg is a volunteer on the North Carolina Project Management Institute (NCPMI) communications team where he is in charge of the monthly newsletter; he was also an election committee member for the 2020 board elections. 
  • Dan Grigg and Stan North Martin volunteer with the NC State chapter of the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI), an organization driven to improve the campus culture of diversity by building a fully inclusive environment and providing teaching techniques capable of shifting prejudicial attitudes. Dan also developed and implemented an application that the NC State NCBI team leveraged to capture, plan and track workshop requests. 
  • Dan Grigg, Andy Kotynski, Kevin Mcdonald and Lavanya Sridharan are members of the Project Management Institute (PMI).
  • Mark Harben won the 2020 NC State University Awards for Excellence for his outstanding work on the Adobe enterprise licensing project.
  • Andy Kotynski is a co-chair of the Technical Advisory Board for the Town of Wake Forest.
  • Verna Little completed the EDUCAUSE Institute New IT Manager Program and the Executive Education Women in Technology Program. She also serves as vice chair for the NC State African American Faculty & Staff Organization (AAFSO).
  • Lisa Lowe received an EPA contract for the role of principal investigator in Mathematical Modeling and High-Performance Computer Support within the EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Center for Computational Toxicology & Exposure and Great Lakes Toxicology & Ecology Division with high-performance computing, mathematical modeling, and optimization to develop and improve models of the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, and other coastal systems. Lowe co-authored two publications this year titled Contiguous Low Oxygen Waters between the Continental Shelf Hypoxia Zone and Nearshore Coastal Waters of Louisiana, USA: Interpreting 30 Years of Profiling Data and Three-Dimensional Ecosystem Modeling and Deep Learning for Daily Precipitation and Temperature Downscaling. She was a co-author of a conference paper and poster for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2020. 
  • Lisa Lowe is an Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) Campus Champion and an Extended Collaborative Support Services (ECSS) Affiliate. Lowe also received her IBM AI Engineering Professional Certificate. 
  • Kim McAllister served as an NC State Staff senator for District 51. She also served as chair for the NC Staff Senate’s External Affairs subcommittee.
  • Jen McFarland completed ITIL v4 certification.
  • Jeremy Meeler participated in Dell EMC beta programs.
  • Aaron Peeler, Mike Jennings, and Josh Thompson contributed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-171 and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) communities.
  • Jill Phipps represents NC State on the Cooperating Raleigh Colleges’ Staff Professional Development Planning Committee. She also serves as an NC State Staff Senator. 
  • Matt Pollard assisted with Windows in the Higher Ed conference. 
  • Susie Rambeaut, Michael Luzi, and Brandon Hill completed SAS Visual Analytics training. 
  • Connie Reitfort and Krishnan Iyer were invited to represent NC State at the Oracle Customer Advisory Board meeting. 
  • Chadwick Seagraves assumed leadership of the UNC System CPI Working Group.
  • Many OIT staff presented sessions for their university colleagues at the 2020 NC State IT Community Event.
  • Eric Sills assisted with the SC20 conference.
  • Joe Wells, Gene Morse, Mike Jennings, Josh Thompson, and Aaron Peeler participated in the weekly Azure Windows Virtual Desktop hour. 
  • The OIT Managed Desktop team recertified as Dell Tech Direct technicians.
  • Sarah Noell, Chris Deaton and Marc Hoit serve on the Google Higher Education Customer Advisory Board.
  • Stan North Martin completed his term as co-chair of the EDUCAUSE IT Communications Community Group. He continues to serve on the group’s cabinet. 
  • Walt Turner received his ServiceNow Administrator certification.
  • Louise Flinn won a 2021 SIGUCCS award for Best of Category: long promotional video for the 2020 New Student and Family orientation video.
  • Everette Allen presented at the virtual JNUC 2020 and virtual UNC CAUSE 2020 conferences on experience and best practices for Apple device deployment in the switch to remote learning during the pandemic. 
  • BJ Attarian was nominated Program Director of the Year for his and his team’s work with WolfBytes Radio by New Music Weekly.


Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The events of the year both on and off campus created a stark reminder of the need for continued collective efforts to make the university and OIT a workplace that is welcoming and inclusive for all.

The OIT Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team continued to meet virtually throughout the academic year. A highlight included hosting a webinar session (recording password: &9bTAB*1) with Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson who shared his experience as a Tuskegee Airman and prisoner of war in World War II, including the discrimination he faced. 

Ten staff took part in the CUPA-HR 21-day racial equity habit building challenge. One of the outcomes was a series of resources the DEI Team is sharing with OIT staff, with plans to launch discussion groups around the resources. 

In April, OIT’s leadership cabinet and seven other staff members participated in the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), hosted by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity’s Adrienne Davis and Dave Johnson. The inventory assesses intercultural competence — the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities. The group has met to get the overall group results and members of that group will be using these along with individual results to plan strategies with the DEI Team that can be implemented to help the division increase its intercultural acceptance. 



OIT’s diverse workforce currently consists of 204 men and 86 women ranging in age from their 20s to 80s. See related charts regarding our work culture:

IT Staff (as of June 30)

FY 2020-21

FY 2019-20

American Indian / Alaska Native



African American









White / American Indian / Alaska Native



White / Asian



White / Black / African American



White / Hispanic / Latino



White / Hispanic / Latino / Native Hawaiian / Other / Pacific Islander






No report






Age Group

Number of Employees

Percentage of Workforce