NHDES 2020 Employee of the Year and David S. Chase Award Winners
NHDES Senior Leadership presented its annual awards to staff in mid-December, the most high-profile of those being the Employee of the Year and David S. Chase Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Science. Below is a brief description of the award winners, as well as a list of our Service Time Award earners and recent retirees.
2020 Employee of the Year – Kelsey Marquez
In addition to Kelsey’s ongoing and outstanding contributions to the productivity of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) and its staff via his role as Facility Services Manager, Kelsey Marquez has been perhaps our most consistent in-house presence at NHDES’ Concord offices. He makes a positive daily impact on the activities and operations within NHDES and all of the State agencies with which we work. In a position where every member of the NHDES staff is his “customer” (in addition to his other “customers” from the Departments of Health and Human Services, Information Technology, and Safety, parcel delivery services, etc.), Kelsey works with little direction and has weathered the stress of a pandemic by applying all of the changes in COVID-19 protocols, guidance and protective measures developed by the in-house Continuity of Operations (COOP) COVID-19 Planning Team (of which he has served as a valued member). Kelsey has consistently anticipated potential problems and found ways to work through them.
In addition to working cooperatively with the NHDES internal COOP-COVID Planning Team, he continues to receive and distribute agency mail, maintains the NHDES vehicle fleet, continuously provides staff with vehicle reservations, stays ahead of the curve with managing personal protective equipment supplies, including hand sanitizer stations, masks and signage. He implemented common sense changes that saved time and expense to the agency, operated under conditions that have limited purchasing options and just in general been his usual helpful self by providing clear and practical direction and answers to all NHDES staff.
Kelsey is also a member of FAST (the First Aid Stabilization Team) and while, fortunately, there have been few call outs of the team this year, he has been the sole “boots on the ground” NHDES person since March to respond to emergencies.
Kelsey has been at the office almost every day; a highly essential staff member with an ongoing presence whenever we needed assistance with room layouts, measurements, access to office rooms and storage areas, making suggestions based on reality and experience, and whatever else was needed. Kelsey has served us all as an excellent manager of Facility Services for NHDES and has had a remarkable year at a time when we’ve all needed his contributions the most.
Kelsey does a remarkable job daily even when there is not a pandemic. He has his hands into many areas of the department and ensures services are provided seamlessly so much so that staff forget the many tasks he does daily to ensure the smooth running of our Hazen Drive facility as well as our other facilities and daily activities. He is part of the Safety Committee and ensures any maintenance needed is done in the building. He does shipping and receiving to ensure that all orders received are delivered to staff the same day. He also ensures that computer orders are delivered safely to IT staff, which helps keep deployments of new computers and other IT equipment moving. He ensures sample shipments go out so items can be analyzed and NHDES staff can keep their datasets current. He ensures that Governor and Council packages are delivered downtown in time for cutoffs so contracts and other items get on the soonest agenda. He works with staff to keep storage rooms clean and usable and to ensure that staff have space available. He cleans off NHDES vehicles whenever there are storms and coordinates with other vehicle managers to ensure the job gets done quickly and efficiently, so staff can get out in the field to perform their inspections and other duties. One of the biggest unseen tasks that Kelsey does is providing language interpreter services for staff not only at NHDES but multiple departments across the state. This skill is especially helpful for assisting contracted vendors to have instructions and communications that are easily understood. Congratulations, Kelsey!
David S. Chase Award for Extraordinary Achievements in Science – Ken Kessler
In his most recent 10 years here at NHDES, Ken Kessler has served as the Supervisor of the Operations Section of the Wastewater Engineering Bureau.
Ken is a scientist to his core; it is what defines him, and why he is so well respected throughout the state’s wastewater community. He strives to find answers and solutions to New Hampshire’s most difficult wastewater questions and issues. If a facility is experiencing an issue, Ken does not hesitate to perform a site visit, investigate and study the issue until a solution is determined and achieved. Ken is often seen at the microscope station looking at bacteria and other microorganisms trying to figure out what little creature may be wreaking havoc on the biological process under investigation.
Through the years, wastewater treatment has become increasingly challenging. Ken has taken on these challenges over the years, and become a highly respected technical expert to his industry peers. Most recently, Ken and his staff have been working on achieving biological phosphorous removal at a New Hampshire facility, potentially eliminating the need for the use of chemicals to achieve phosphorous removal.
Ken understands the importance of his program and its positive effects on the environment. He is a tremendous steward of the environment, and the overall mission of the Wastewater Engineering Bureau and NHDES. Congratulations, Ken!
The David S. Chase Memorial Award for Extraordinary Achievements in Science is presented to a deserving NHDES scientist who possesses the special skills and dedication necessary to continue the pursuit of scientific discovery at the agency. The award is named in honor of the late Dr. David S. Chase, who served as the Radon Program Manager at NHDES and the Department of Health and Human Services for 16 years. His devotion to his work made a significant impact on our understanding of radon, and how the public can mitigate the risks associated with this compound. After Dr. Chase’s passing, this award was established to recognize other NHDES employees who have made important accomplishments in the field of science.
Service Time Awards
The following NHDES employees celebrated a milestone in years of service to the State of New Hampshire in 2020. Congratulations!
Mary Ann Tilton