InsideODU: News for Faculty and Staff
Monday, January 14, 2013


Mike Ashley and President John Broderick
Plant Health Care Technician Mike Ashley Honored as Employee of the Month

Maintaining the green, green grass of home is one thing; being responsible for multiple acres of green space on the Old Dominion campus is quite another.

But Mike Ashley, the plant health care technician for the grounds department, is clearly up to the task. He was honored Dec. 18 as ODU's Employee of the Month.

Ashley's routine duties involve caring for the plants and turf throughout the campus. Soil management, pest management and caring for the tall trees that populate ODU's landscape also fall under his purview. From Kaufman Mall, to the Williamsburg Lawn to the Runte Quad, his work is there for all to see year-round.

Grounds department manager Chad Peevy, who nominated Ashley for the monthly award, calls him the "resident 'doctor' of ODU's green space."

"While many of us do very good work behind the scenes, or work that is only viewed by a select few, Mike's work is on display for everyone at all times," Peevy said.

In addition to the manual labor aspect of his job, Ashley puts in many hours performing calculations and calibrations, which are also required in lawn maintenance on such a large scale.

"Most of this work is done solo, unless you count Mike's tractor as a teammate," Peevy joked. Even so, he noted that Ashley leads by example and has helped train the next generation in plant health care.

Ashley, who joined the grounds staff in 1995, is known for his customer service and has gained the respect of co-workers throughout his time at the university.

In the early fall, when Peevy submitted his letter of nomination, he wrote that Ashley's recent efforts would once again ensure that the turf grass makes it through another winter to emerge fresh, lush and green next spring.

"This month has been one of the busiest for Mike," Peevy wrote in October. "He has seen the culmination of a long and awkward growing season begin to close. Early autumn brings with it the final touches and the new beginnings of seasonal lawn care. As the season tapers away, Mike's work does not. He can be seen right now at one of ODU's signature lawns, seeding, fertilizing and aerating."

While Peevy prizes both Ashley's expertise and hard work, there is another aspect to his contributions that has made a lasting impression on him.

"What I appreciate about him the most is his positive and proactive attitude toward the sheer volume of work within his charge," Peevy said in his nomination letter. "We can all thank him for that. ODU is a beautiful place of teeming green lawns, vibrant landscapes, natural shorelines and living urban thoroughfares. Not a portion of it is left untouched by Mike Ashley's commitment to provide us with a livable and useable green space to enjoy each day."


The University Employee of the Month Selection Committee encourages employees to nominate their outstanding, "go the extra mile" colleagues and employees. This program is designed to acknowledge and reward employees whose accomplishments and/or demeanor exemplify excellence, quality service and commitment to ODU. Classified and AP faculty employees receive a framed certificate from the president, $175 and one day of leave. Hourly winners get $250, since they are not eligible to receive recognition leave.

Note: The selection committee needs specific examples that relate to each applicable criterion in order to select a nominee for the award. Nominations remain active for six months from date of submission and nominators may submit additional documentation to support a nominee during the active six months.

The criteria used to nominate an employee include the following:

• An outstanding accomplishment that benefited the department/students.

• Extraordinary service to internal and/or external customers.

• Inspiring initiative/leadership.

• Enthusiasm/energy given to assigned work.

• Teamwork.

• Exemplary efforts to nurture a climate of care, concern and civility.

• Creative innovations to service, process or work tools.

For more information contact Tony Belk at

or 3-3046, or go to

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