Distinguished Employee Award

PACE Distinguished Employee Awards

Full-time and part-time employees of Utah Valley University are recognized for exceptional performance through the PACE Distinguished Employee Award program. Through these awards, exceptional UVU employees are acknowledged by their peers to be outstanding in their professions and to embody exemplary character traits and work ethics.  Award winners are recognized on the PACE Recognition Wall in the foyer of the Grand Ballroom.


Candidates for this prestigious award are recognized to possess one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Contribute to advancing the core values of UVU which are Exceptional Care, Exceptional Accountability, and Exceptional Results, which support our mission and action commitments of Include, Engage, Achieve, which leads to Student Success.
  • A tendency to contribute new ideas or processes.
  • An ability to create goodwill for UVU in the community and within their own departments.
  • Must include specific, concrete, and well-written examples for each of the three focus areas
  • Nominate somone for the PACE Distinguished Employee Award - 2020-2021

Award Criteria

Each year, up to eight full-time PACE employees are selected as Distinguished Employees of the Year and are awarded $1,750 each. Additionally, up to four part-time employees in non-student positions are selected and awarded $1000 each.

Recipients of this award:

  • must have been employed full-time for three years or part-time for one year;
  • cannot have received the award in the previous five years;
  • have been chosen by the following process:

Voting Procedure

  • Peers complete the PACE nomination form and submit to the Chair of the PACE Employee Recognition Committee.
  • Nominees' names are then forwarded to the PACE Distinguished Employee Award Committee.
  • Upon submission to the Committee, nominees are all considered equal regardless of the number of nominations received.
  • The Committee evaluates candidates through nomination statements, supervisor comments, and conversations with associates of the candidates.
  • The Committee then recommends up to eight full-time and up to four part-time (non-student position) candidates to the PACE Executive Board for final approval. The awards are presented by the PACE President, the President-Elect, and the Distinguished Employee Award Committee Members.

2019-2020 Full Time Distinguished Employee Winners

Portrait of Brett

Brett McKeachnie

director, IT project management office

Brett is the Interim AVP/CIO of the Information Technology department.  Brett brings a diplomatic touch to what he does.  He's willing to hear various ways of dealing with a situation before jumping to a preconceived solution and he's always shown a great deal of respect towards other employees.

Portrait of Niles

Niles Wimber

application administrator, it Desktop Support

Niles Wimber is an Application Administrator in IT Desktop Support. He led the project for Adobe Creative Cloud access to all students and employees. He has worked this past year with Gear Up to help modernize their West High School office and connect it to the UVU network. This was not his primary job, but he saw a problem at UVU and went to work to get it fixed.

Portrait of Andrea

Andrea Calaway

academic advisor, school of business

Andrea Calaway is an Academic Advisor in the School of Business.  Andrea provides exceptional service, truly enjoys her job, and everyone around her can feel her enthusiasm.  Andrea is a team player who thoroughly follows through with all assignments and responsibilities, and she regularly volunteers and willingly takes on additional assignments.

Portrait of Christie

Christie Snyder

manager of employment, human resources

Christie Snyder is the Manager of Employment in Human Resources.  Her high caliber of character and extensive experience at UVU positions her well above others as an example of the core themes associated with UVU’s central mission.  Christie produces a high volume of work while consistently maintaining high standards for quality and accuracy while treating everyone with the utmost courtesy and respect.

Portrait of Christine Peterson

Christine Peterson

Administrative Support iv, human resources

Christine Peterson is the Admin Support IV in Human Resources.  What makes Christine stand out is her ability to collaborate with any person at any level of experience in any part of the University. She has a natural ability to bring together a disparate group of people and help them achieve their best. She is inclusive by nature and goes the extra mile to get everyone’s input.

Portrait of Giovana

Giovana Alisa

Counselor, gear up

Giovana Alisa is a Counselor with the Gear Up Project with six high schools in the Alpine School District.  She is inclusive in her efforts in all of her schools and leaves no stone unturned in providing opportunities for success.  She is willing to schedule training, tutoring and teaching on a Saturday if it will better meet a student's needs. 

Portrait of Kim Reynolds

Kim Reynolds

program director, outdoor adventure center

Kim Reynolds is the Program Director for the Outdoor Adventure Center.  She created a Student Leadership Program known as the Adventure Trip Leader (ATL).  ATL’s are dedicated, passionate about the outdoors, and committed to education. This is a scholarship position to provide hands-on engaged learning.

Portrait of Sandra

Sandra Ozuna

Coordinator, Concurrent Enrollment

Sandra Ozuna is a Coordinator in Concurrent Enrollment.  She developed an Add/Drop system for concurrent enrollment students, modeled after the university’s system.  She also works with the high schools to make sure the course listings are accurate and up to date.  The exceptional results are self-evident with 12,000+ students accurately registered for classes this past fall.

2019-2020 Part Time Distinguished Employee Winners

Portrait of Ana

Ana Munoz

admin support ii, gear up

Ana Munoz is the Admin Support II in Gear Up.  Ana is constantly engaged, not only in her own work but to help our students succeed.  Even though it is not in her job description, Ana has helped us translate for students, their families, and counselors.  She also continues to go above and beyond by making sure to connect students and their families to resources on campus to further build their support networks by literally walking them around campus and introducing them to support staff.   

Portrait of Austin

Austin Skinner

assistant manager, rock wall / outdoor adventure center

Austin Skinner is the SLWS Climbing Wall Lead.  He has served in each capacity at the Outdoor Adventure Center (trip leader, climbing wall staff, OAC Assistant Manager). He consistently goes above and beyond to show genuine care of our employees and to promote entry level events at the climbing wall that emphasize inclusiveness.

Portrait of Douglas

Douglas Nielson

research analyst, irr department

Douglas Nielson is a Research Analyst in the IRR department. 

He works frequently with academic departments and has been especially helpful with a major server being retired. He is also in charge of the Program Review dashboards, and has been instrumental in transitioning these dashboards to an automated model, allowing them to automatically refresh.

Portrait of Nicholas

Nicholas Lawyer

Roots of knowledge curator, fulton library

Nicholas Lawyer is a Roots of Knowledge Curator in the Fulton Library.  Nick has worked to make Roots of Knowledge more accessible to students and visitors by remapping each window image and verifying that all information portrayed is accurately explained. This was a tedious but important process that took almost two years to complete. This project will provide guests and students using the virtual tour on the website with a way to study the information in depth and fulfills the university’s mission of serious and engaged.