InsideODU: News for Faculty and Staff
Monday, December 19, 2011

Grounds Department's Howard Wyle Named Customer Relations Employee of the Year

His co-workers and other colleagues know of Howard Wyle's positive attitude, can-do approach to work and commitment to public service, but there's also a family of young ducks at the Gornto Center pond that is thankful for his efforts.

Wyle, named Old Dominion's Customer Relations Employee of the Year at the Department of Human Resources Annual Recognition Program on Wednesday, volunteered for an unusual assignment last spring after students, PETA and others asked the grounds department to create a sanctuary for the ducks to give them a place to escape the often-cold water of the pond. Despite layers of feathers that insulate them and a natural heat exchange mechanism in their feet, it turns out that ducks can still get cold if they stay in the water too long.

An equipment repair technician for the grounds department since 2007, Wyle designed and built a floating dock, complete with a camouflage roof and non-slip ramp, which sits in the water beneath the bridge.

That's just one example of Wyle's commitment to excellence and application of knowledge that makes him an outstanding employee, according to his supervisor, Chad Peevy, who nominated Wyle for the Customer Relations award.

Working out of an office tucked away at the back of the Facilities Management complex, Wyle performs much of his work behind the scenes, or with fellow employees in the grounds department as they troubleshoot and work on broken or damaged equipment. But he's also called upon now and then to lend a hand for other departments.

It's not unusual for Wyle, who was in the auto repair industry before coming to ODU, to be asked for his help on certain vehicles at the motor pool, and on occasion he has even performed custom welding for a truck from the Moving and Special Events fleet. He exhibits, says Peevy, a genuine desire to help.

"Many times this year, Howard took charge of the motor pool department for a few days when regular staff were not available," Peevy said. "Howard performed all of their frontline customer service and took care of client needs without exception. He never fails to put his best foot forward, wear a smile, be quick with a joke and have a positive attitude that complements the grounds department's commitment to excellence in customer service."

In his nomination form, Peevy also noted Wyle's demonstration of courtesy and professionalism "through his calm approach to every situation," and lauded him for going above and beyond expectations, such as when he volunteered to work extra hours during Hurricane Irene.

As a supervisor, Peevy said he couldn't ask for a better employee. "He thinks of his co-workers like family and comes to me regularly with morale-boosting ideas. It may be plans for a picnic or it may be an idea for a safety meeting topic that includes the entire shop in a hands-on demonstration."

Clients or co-workers who have dealings with Wyle invariably leave with a good feeling, Peevy added.

"Howard listens to people something that's overlooked all too often in customer service these days," he said. "He really listens, not simply waiting for a moment to interject. This enhances customer relations because one walks away from Howard feeling like their concerns have been heard and knowing that their business will be addressed."

As winner of the Customer Relations Employee of the Year Award, Wyle will receive $500 extra in his paycheck this week, three days of annual leave and a plaque.

The following ODU employees were also nominated for the award:

Linda Baker, Military Science

Lynette Bolden, Institutional Equity and Diversity

Keitha Boone, Police

Harry Boucicaut, Distance Learning - Teletechnet

Vinecia Bunch-Goodman, Political Science and Geography

Richard Downing, Facilities Management

Gregory Everett, Facilities Management

Tawana Hardy, Research

Marla Harvey, Biological Sciences

Sheila Hegwood, Mathematics and Statistics

Jennifer Hudson, Distance Learning - Teletechnet

Marilynn Jackson, Housing and Residence Life

Lynette Johnson, Distance Learning - Teletechnet

Anita Jones, Finance Office

Ardena Jordan, Auxiliary Services

Marilyn Knutson, OCCS

Kasie Liles, International Student and Scholar Services

Saysha Malbon, Counseling and Human Services

Joslyn McElvy, Learn and Earn Advantage Program

Elizabeth Newberry, Human Resources

Bridget Prince, Programs for Continued Learning

Kevin Sariri, Distance Learning Academic TV Services

Lois Staton, Police

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