Story by Anselma Lopez
Several Colorado State University employees have received the Everyday Hero Award, a special program sponsored by the Classified Personnel Council that recognizes outstanding CSU staff.
Debra Sell has worked in Facilities Management for 11 years, and for the last five years has been supervising and leading staff in her department. Sell appreciates the training that CSU provides to help her and her employees move up and grow in their positions. One of the things she likes most about her job is being able to provide great customer service to building occupants and students by ensuring that their needs and expectations are met.
Sell was nominated for the Everyday Hero Award by Shaun Case, who works in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Case wrote, “I work at the Foothills Campus, and Debra is one of the facilities supervisors on this remote campus area. When we experience any difficulties, Debra is only an email away and very responsive. She works very hard to maintain buildings, and with a staff that is constantly rotating through the buildings, Debra makes sure the custodians are educated on the differences between the buildings or any special needs.”
Sell not only positively affects her customers at work, but also connects and engages with others in the community. She owns a corgi and has participated in the Fort Collins Tour de Corgi since its inception nearly five years ago. She is also an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hiking, fishing and camping in the summer. And as for being nominated for this award, Sell said she was surprised, but added that providing great customer service comes easy because she strives to always treat others as she wants to be treated.
Dan Banuelos has worked at CSU for nearly 28 years in the Access Center.
“Throughout his time at CSU, he has served and engaged with his program, community, division and University,” said nominator Jordan Weig. “He inspires first-generation and low-income students to pursue postsecondary education and seek fulfilling careers. His positive attitude, adventurous spirit, creative thinking, and caring heart makes him an incredible supervisor and innovator. Specifically, he deserves the Everyday Hero award because he has joyfully served students in six additional schools in the Talent Search program (on top of his normal workload), allowing the program to not only survive, but to thrive in the midst of being short-staffed.
“Even with the multiplied responsibilities, he is consistently brainstorming ways to bring new and innovative workshops to students,” Weig continued. “For example, he brought a virtual reality ‘Occulus’ for students to use and encouraged them to ‘visualize their futures.’ Outside of work, he seeks opportunities to serve the community. Whether it is making tamales for student fundraisers, serving on the Administrative Professional Council, or continuing to foster relationships between staff and students, Dan is an everyday hero to many people.”
Banuelos is a positive beacon and constantly aspires to innovate, sharing his light and enthusiasm with others. He believes in the work he does with TRIO and appreciates seeing it work in tandem with CSU’s land-grant mission. He believes that everyone has an ability/gift to tap into, and he wants to help that come to fruition by helping them discover and grow their talents.
Karen has been in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences for 12 years and has been at the University for 14 years. She currently serves as an Admin Assistant III. In addition to administrative duties, Allison works with students, both undergraduate and graduate, from admissions all the way to graduation, and is one of the Agronomy Club advisors.
Being able to connect with students and follow their journey at CSU is what Allison enjoys most about her work, and it shows. She was nominated by Academic Success Coordinator Ty NcNamee for the Everyday Hero award, not only for the work she does in the department but for going above and beyond to welcome him to campus and make sure he felt comfortable with and could be successful in his position.
“Whether it’s putting together files of student information, keeping records of all students in our major, or tracking graduate student applications, she truly cares about ensuring that all students and their information is taken care of,” McNamee said. “And, as if that didn’t keep her busy enough, she often takes time out of her busy schedule to meet with students and help with whatever they may need. Even more impressive, she organizes an Adopt-A-Family event and celebratory luncheon for graduates, both in the fall and the spring, so that they get recognition for all their hard work. Her tracking, meeting with, and celebrating students not only helps me immensely as an academic success coordinator, it shows the students that we are always here for them.”
In her “free” time Karen can be found riding the perimeter of Horsetooth Reservoir, training for her seventh Ride the Rockies bike tour, and soon after she has accomplished that feat, she will begin training for the Wild West Relay.