Strickland Awardees


Nivia Franco

Nivia started with Facilities and Services in 2005 as an Assistant Project Manager and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Ciudad Juarez. Nivia recently provided project oversight for the Zuhl Addition, and she manages the preparation of documents for the triage project assignment process. There is no one in FS who has worked harder on self-improvement than Nivia. She is a regular at
Toastmasters and is always asking how to improve her skills.

Garrey Carruthers

The FS leadership wanted to bestow this award on Chancellor Garrey Carruthers for all he has done to support us both as Dean and as Chancellor. When we needed an endorsement for the APPA Award for Excellence, he was there. The site visitation team was mpressed that “not only does your Chancellor know the names of the FS Leadership, he knows what they do and what their accomplishments are.”
He helped with making the award video: HTTPS://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=N8BKCMNCC3U
When we asked for a keynote speaker for the CAPPA Annual Conference in 2014, he joined us at the podium. At groundbreakings, he makes sure he knows the project manager’s name and thanks them.


Richard Bana
Energy Management

Richard Bana started with NMSU HVAC shop in November of 2006. In 2010 he was provided the opportunity to work with the then Energy Manager, Pat Chavez, on the building automation system, Niagara. Richard quickly excelled at learning about the building automation system and how to integrate the cooling/heating systems of campus buildings into the Niagara system as a tool used for troubleshooting. In 2015 Richard was re‐classed to an Instrumentation and Controls Tech, which better describes the duties he’s responsible for.  Richard continues to expand his knowledge of building automation systems and expands that with Niagara integration of such things as water tank level notifications, tunnel high‐water alarms and utility meters. His willingness to always go above and beyond is unmatched as is the pride he takes in each task he completes. He is always willing to share his knowledge with me or his co‐workers.  As I stated in my nomination, I find this to be a valuable trait of a good employee – he isn’t afraid that someone will take his job if they learn his job. NMSU is lucky to have a dedicated, hard‐working, unselfish employee such as Richard and it’s my pleasure to serve as his supervisor and to have been able to nominate for him for a very deserving recognition. – Lorraine Silva

David L. Shearer
Environmental Health & Safety

David Shearer is nominated for the Strickland award in recognition for the occupational safety program that he has worked to create throughout his career at NMSU. Some may ask, what is an occupational safety program? Well, it has many components ‐ some facets are training, inspection, worksite reviews, personal protective equipment, and facility improvements. All of these promote safe work and the goal is injury prevention. I am very happy to report that under David’s lead, our injury cases have decreased by 50%.  There are many components to occupational safety – this describes just one that David has worked very hard to create, which is a comprehensive Safety Training program. I believe safety training has made a major impact on safety outcomes at NMSU.  David started the first centralized safety training when he joined NMSU 18 years ago. In addition to development of many courses, David created and obtained buy in for the Facilities Safety Training Blitz, which is taught annually as a 4 hour safety refresher. David’s role has been both as instructor and training coordinator and he is quick to respond to new training needs. We now offer 40 different courses and some of the heavy equipment training includes hands‐on skills training. These courses are very impactful.   Through education, there has been a long lasting positive change in the NMSU safety culture. Thank you, David, for your consistent contributions and focus on a safe workplace at NMSU. – Katrina Doolittle

Isaac C. Paz
Structural Maintenance

Isaac Paz has progressed through the ranks of Facilities and Services, starting as a Painter in 2001, moving to lead and eventually into his current role of Supervisor of the Structural Maintenance shop just over 5 years ago.  He has taken his responsibilities seriously, and has shown the fruits of his motivated effort of improving himself as a supervisor, and of those that he leads. He has transformed the shop in this fiscal environment to remain sustainable for the future. The Structural Maintenance shop was composed of specialty silos, where our employees were specialized in their areas.    However, our new work environment required a shop that was dynamic in their work skills, and with big opportunities on the table, such as flooring and modular furniture installations, he lead his employees to gather the necessary training and resources to be successful. He has demonstrated that through hard work, listening and communicating with customers can lead to success. We would like to recognize this effort through this award, as a means to celebrate his successes, and a motivation to continue to improve every day from here on out ‐ and as a means to say Thank You for believing in our organization to improve and transform the shop for the future of our organization. – Al Flores

Luis M. Rubio
Alarm Services

Luis Rubio started his journey at NMSU in 2004, working as an Alarm Technician for ICT. When alarms were transferred to Facilities and Services, he was relied upon to make this transition successful. This not only involved the sustaining our current systems, but making the transition to new and technical systems that required additional training so that they can support the systems.  He has been a leader for our alarms group within the Electrical Shop, with our group relying on his technical expertise and knowledge of our current systems. These are our life safety systems, a responsibility that he has never shied away from.  He continues to mentor our new technicians, understanding that we have to have a knowledgeable group that has such a major responsibility throughout our campus.  He is organized in his approach, and keeps our customers informed of their work.  This a means to say Thank You in working to make the transition into Facilities and Services successful, and in working on the continuously improving the alarm division into a sustainable part of not only the Electric Shop, but of the overall organization. – Al Flores


Orlando Flores
Groundskeeper Supervisor
FS Grounds

Not only does he oversee zone 4 (Agriculture portion of campus), he has become a Certified Compost operator and has also attained his NMDA Ornamentals and Turf spray license. Orlando also plays a large role in designing and installation of xeriscaping throughout campus. Orlando has worked with many of the Horticulture classes and overseen class projects where the students design and install campus landscapes. I can always count on Orlando to be available to help out other supervisors within ours or other shops – Bud Jones, NMSU Grounds Manager.


Louis Huber
Deputy Fire Chief
NMSU Fire Department

As the Deputy Fire Chief at NMSU, Louis’ primary responsibility is administration and enforcement of fire and building codes. Louis’ efforts have paved the way to improved processes on our fire safety inspections. We now have the ability to create, store and share information electronically. These improvements not only make us more efficient, but it has reduced the amount of paper and copies we relied on in the past. Louis was instrumental in developing compliance standards on testing for NMSU’s fire detection, suppression systems, and building inspection program. Deputy Chief Huber exhibits loyalty, commitment, and leadership that have helped develop and mentor our firefighters and career staff. He works closely and effectively with the Fire Chief to ensure the goals and objectives are clear and the mission is achieved. What makes Louis so effective is that he truly believes in the mission and wants to make a difference. That is why Louis is a great choice for the 2015 Strickland Award – Johnny Carrillo, NMSU Fire Chief.


Joaquin Gonzalez
Preventive Maintenance Coordinator/Operator Data Support
FS Accounting

Joaquin is a respected and essential member of our FS staff.  He is always ready and willing to provide excellent customer service.  His skills and professionalism are top notch.  I cannot say enough about how much we appreciate his positive “can do” attitude! –  Patty Hartell, Executive Director of FS Administration.


Jack Kirby
Assistant Director
Environmental Health and Safety

Jack quietly winds his way through a mired of complex regulations to ensure compliance with five high profile environmental programs. Because of his engineering background, he is very methodical and approaches each one step by step. He works to make the complicated as simple as possible.  I think Jack can flow chart just about anything. Seriously, Jack’s areas of oversight are of high importance for us all. One example of phenomenal teamwork within Facilities and Services involved Jack along with several others as they worked to develop and implement new requirements for monitoring our drinking water system. There was a very short timeline and an exceptional amount of work performed by the team. Jack jumped in and did his part without hesitation. Even with an overflowing plate, Jack is kind, thoughtful and considerate of others – Katrina Doolittle, Ph.D., Executive Director of FS Environmental Health and Safety.


Orasa Vaught
Project Manager
Project Development and Engineering

Project Development and Engineering would like to recommend Orasa Vaught as this year’s Charles Strickland Award recipient. Orasa has managed over $23 million in projects within the last year and a half including 10 projects on the NMSU-Alamogordo campus. In addition to her typical work load she is managing the Jett Hall Renovation Project including 12 multiple spin-off projects to relocate two engineering departments into suitable accommodations so that they can continue to operate during the renovation process. Her ability to work independently and track the progress on multiple projects makes her a natural candidate for this award – Enrique Espalin, Assistant Director, Project Development and Engineering.


Steve Moates
Environmental Health & Safety

Executive Director Katrina Doolittle says this about Steve: “Steve Moates is a very effective promoter for Environmental Health & Safety. He is always helpful and goes the extra mile, no matter who needs the support. Steve has a strong sense of safety and protection to our campus and environment. His recent discovery of abandoned drums at the old state police station is a perfect example. He regularly identifies environmental concerns that need to be addressed and escalates the matter immediately to his supervisor. He also notices safety concerns that are outside of his hazardous waste world and he reports those to the EH&S managers for their follow up actions. We are also very impressed with Steve’s involvement in April Ulery’s HAZWOPER Class. He takes an active involvement with the students to teach them about the ins and outs of incident command and spill response. He obviously loves to participate, which is awesome. On the resource side of things, Steve is extremely effective at finding good homes for good equipment and lab furnishings. Many different departments have benefited by the flammable storage cabinets, lab benches, specialized emergency response equipment and property redistribution. And yes, he completes all the associated paperwork to ensure we track these changes. He took extra steps to photograph all items in storage to assist managers and others in sorting and clearing out inventory that was no longer being used and found the best disposition where it could be a new resource for others. Overall, Steve has a very positive approach to his work, is ready to assist where ever he can and is considerate of others needs and promotes sustainable practices as part of the daily process. We wish to thank Steve for all that he does to make this a better place to work and his great smile and contagious laugh adds to that greatly.”

Paul Crouch
Vehicle Mechanics

Executive Director of Operations Tim Dobson writes, “On February 16, 2012 Facilities and Services had the opportunity to bring on Paul Crouch as our Automotive Services Supervisor. I was initially impressed with Paul’s enthusiasm, communication skills and professional demeanor when we hired him two and a half years ago. The same can still be said of Paul today. Paul is reliable, dedicated, and eternally upbeat. He has the ability to calm frustrated customers and it is because of this trait that Paul does such a great job in mentoring his employees. Paul came to us with 20 plus years of private industry for automotive services. It is my pleasure to nominate Paul for the 2014 Strickland Award.”

Sabino Ramirez
Mechanical Shop

Mechanical Shop supervisor Fernando Ortega tells me that: “I am very happy that Sabino is being recognized. He is one of the most respectful and hardworking
individuals at Facilities and Services.”

David Root
Electric Shop

Electric Shop Supervisor Mike Luchau writes, “Dave Root started out in the Electric Shop as a Temporary Employee, however he quickly proved a valuable employee and when a permanent position opened up he applied and was hired. Dave started out as the shops lighting retrofit expert and completed lighting upgrades in many buildings long before the ESCO project was envisioned. Some of the buildings that he completed were Guthrie Hall, Clara Belle Williams Hall, Speech, Walden and Thomas& Brown. Dave is one of our “go to” employees and can always be counted on to start and complete almost any task that is assigned to him with a minimum of supervision. He is always the first to volunteer for extra duty or overtime when it is required.”


2013_Strickland_Awardee_1cRose Melendrez
Records Technician
Environmental Health and Safety

Rose is a records technician for Environmental Health and Safety and is an expert on inputting data. She is responsible for defensive driving and safety training records as well as evaluating employee performance on training exams. Rose started working at NMSU for Environmental Health & Safety in 2008, and plans to pursue an Associate’s degree in Business.


2013_Strickland_Awardee_2cJose Loera
Project Manager
Project Development and Engineering

Jose Loera is the epitome of professionalism and is always the first to volunteer for challenges big or small.  Jose is a silent leader who is always willing to roll up his sleeves and lead by example, and is easily the most well organized person in Facilities.



2013_Strickland_Awardee_3cOlga Holguin
Administrative Assistant
Fire Department

Olga’s accomplishments include:  the 2012 and 2013 Annual Fire Report, representing the Fire Department at several fire safety booths, serving on “the Voice” and “Pride” committees, and development and maintenance of the Fire Department website.  The development of the website was an extremely difficult and time consuming.  Olga greets everyone with respect and helps them to the best of her ability.



2013_Strickland_Awardee_4cEsther Amezquita
Administrative Assistant

Esther started as a clerk part time in 1999 and in 2002 she became a full time employee as a Records Specialist for Facilities and Services. Esther’s past work has included managing the Heavy Equipment section of Facilities daily operations. Esther supports the department in many capacities; she serves on the Administrative and Finance Pride and Voice Committee and also on the Facilities Internal Advisory Committee. Esther also oversees the Facility and Services Inventory, staff uniforms, safety wear, radios and the vehicle inventory.


2013_Strickland_Awardee_5aFlorarine Jones
Assistant Director
Business Administration

Florarine Jones has used her experience and unique skills to step into a shorthanded office and make transitions look seamless.  Florarine strives to make the office better today than it was yesterday and supports numerous customers with excellent and stellar service.


Johnny Carrillo
Jose Gamon
Andres “Andy Lopez”
Jon Padilla
Karen Tufts
Jessie Vargas


Stan Dyer
Omar Moreno
Matt Ochoa
Greg Vogel


Maria Gover
Drew Kaczmarek
Ray Perez
Paul Ponce