Top Techsan Awards

Recognized as individuals who exemplify team spirit and extraordinary work proficiency, four individuals will be honored at the Texas Tech Alumni Association's 2014 Top Techsan Luncheon in October. This year’s recipients are Christi Felton, Event Coordinator, International Cultural Center; Amy Heard, Associate Athletics Director, Athletics; Kym Ruiz, Event Planning Manager of Top Tier Catering; and Adolfo Varela, Senior Safety Officer, Environmental Health and Safety, Office of Vice President for Research.

Each winner was nominated by fellow Texas Tech faculty, students or staff. Selections are made based on nominations of individuals, emphasizing work ethic and attitude within the Texas Tech family. Letters of support, examples of the employee exceeding expectations, and reports of outstanding customer service or creating an environment of improved efficiency and productivity are part of the committee’s evaluation of a candidate’s overall nomination packet.

To be a candidate for the award, the nominee must have two or more years of service with the university and are accepted from current faculty, staff or students. Awardees will be honored at the Top Techsan Luncheon on Friday, Oct. 17, and will receive a plaque and $500 during the presentation. Tickets to attend the luncheon are $15 each. Get yours today!

2014 Recipients

Christi Felton, Event Coordinator, International Cultural Center. Felton has worked at Texas Tech since 2009, booking and supervising events, programs and receptions at the International Cultural Center. She oversees the staff and coordinates with Physical Plant, Grounds Maintenance, Security and other departments to assure that clients have optimal experiences at the ICC. She maintains a strong relationship with caterers and vendors. Christi earned her RHIM degree in 2005 and will receive her Master’s degree this fall. She is described as cheerful, efficient and dependable.

Amy M. Heard, Associate Athletics Director, Athletics. Heard is a third generation Red Raider, earning an undergraduate, Master’s and ultimately, a Doctoral degree in Higher Education in 2012. She initially began as an intern with the Red Raider Club and through tireless work, dedication and loyalty to the institution, became an inspiring and strong leader of athletics. Amy has been a member of the Texas Tech family since 2002.

Kym H. Ruiz, Event Planning Manager of Top Tier Catering. Ruiz has worked for Texas Tech University for 11 years. She presents a high visibility “front door” to Texas Tech, as the manager of bookings at the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center, the Frazier Alumni Pavilion and the Hance Chapel. She extends a warm welcome to customers, evidence of her passion to organize flawless events that exemplify the true Texas Tech spirit.

Adolfo Varela, Senior Safety Officer, Environmental Health and Safety. Varela has been employed with Texas Tech University for 13 years. His devotion and expertise are evident as he wears many hats to support the Environmental Health and Safety department. Varela is directly involved with the city of Lubbock and the state regarding the required detailed Storm Water permit for the university. He has received the City’s Cost Saving Suggestion Award, among others.

2013 Recipients

Kristina Woods Butler, Associate Director for Research & Academic Communications, Office of Vice President for Research. Butler has worked for Texas Tech since 2007 and is a “master at taking complicated, less-than-effective websites and turning them into attractive, simple, user-friendly sites.” She founded and is managing editor of Texas Tech Discoveries, an online magazine geared toward telling Texas Tech’s research story to more than 100,000 readers around the globe.

Dale Ganus, Assistant Managing Director of Texas Tech University Systems Information Technology. Ganus is a Texas Tech alumnus, has been a Texas Tech employee for 17 years and is described as a “role model for exhibiting outstanding customer service. He cares deeply about our students and their experiences at Texas Tech.” Ganus continually works on enhancing the Texas Tech processes to find more efficient ways to meet students’ needs and improve accuracy of student record keeping.

Jeff Livingston, Senior Superintendent for the National Wind Institute Research Facilities at Reese Technology Center. Livingston attended Texas Tech as a civil engineering student and is involved with the multimillion dollar testing facility at the National Wind Institute. Livingston is “compassionate, kind and modest and plays an important role (although frequently unrecognized) in research for which the NWI has become world-renowned.” Livingston leads efforts to maintain all facilities at Reese, including a 67-acre field site.

Jo Lynne Stark, Senior Business Assistant at the TECHniques Center. Stark is not only a Texas Tech student who works at the TECHniques Center, she is a also a student who keeps her grades high enough to make the Dean’s List. Stark is described as “the backbone that keeps the TECHniques Center strong.” She gives quality customer service and is a constant support and comforting presence to students, teachers and counselors. She goes above and beyond her administrative duties and is the heart of the TECHniques Center.

2012 Top Techsan Award Recipients

Katherine “Kathy” Austin Beltz, Ph.D., assistant vice president of the Information Technology Division. Beltz is recognized as a “true ‘Top Techsan’ who has given her heart, passion and impeccable work ethic to Texas Tech for the last 20-plus years.” She is known for communicating complex technical information in an easy-to-understand way.

Margaret “Margie” Ceja, academic adviser in the Edward E. Whitacre College of Engineering’s Department of Construction Engineering. Ceja is recognized for exhibiting outstanding customer service skills by serving students with “dedication, concern and empathy.” She has worked at Texas Tech for more than 10 years and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree.

Beccy Hambright, Ph.D., program manager in the Edward E. Whitacre College of Engineering’s T-STEM Center. She is recognized for possessing strong leadership skills and is known to “finish the job right the first time,” and to have a “can-do attitude.” Hambright is also lauded for putting first the educational experiences of students and schools involved in the T-STEM program. She has worked for Texas Tech since 1991.

Shannon Hutchison, unit manager in the Edward E. Whitacre College of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Texas Tech Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Transportation. He is recognized for going above and beyond his daily responsibilities, allowing students to contact him after hours and on weekends. He is known for treating everyone with respect, whether they are faculty, staff, student or service personnel. He has worked at Texas Tech for 11 years.