Through the SHCS Outstanding Contribution Awards, we recognize employees in our unit who make extraordinary contributions at UBC and beyond.

This year we received many wonderful nominations. Thank you to everyone who nominated one of their incredible colleagues. While it was challenging to select from all of the outstanding nominees, we are pleased to announce the following nine recipients of this year’s Outstanding Contribution Awards.

Outstanding Contribution Award

Michael Chow
Assignment Coordinator, Residence Life and Administration

Nominated by Natalie Tole and Alfredo Napuri

“Congratulations Michael! Your commitment and support make you a pillar of our assignments team. Your selflessness and guidance inspire us all. We’re incredibly fortunate to have you on our team. Thank you for your hard work and dedication!” — Lakshmi Sangaranarayanan, Director, Student Residence

Congratulations Michael; your work in SHCS is amazing!

From Michael's Nomination

Michael not only embodies the vision and mission of UBC but elevates our workplace to new heights through his positive attitude, exceptional work ethic, and genuine care for his colleagues. Michael doesn’t just meet expectations—he consistently exceeds them.

“His collaborative spirit is evident in his immediate response to volunteer for tasks that benefit the team, such as offering to drive teammates during snowy weather or the recent transit strike, offering to switch days off to ensure a teammate’s happiness, or going the extra mile to support someone’s attendance at a special event. By taking immense pride in his work and encouraging others to do the same, Michael contributes to the overall efficiency and sustainability of the services provided by SHCS. 

“Michael has earned a reputation as a reliable and supportive colleague, and his influence extends across Residence Life and Administration. His willingness to go the extra mile for his colleagues has not only strengthened professional relationships but has also contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of the team’s operations. Beyond his professional contributions, it is widely known throughout the department how much he cares. This sentiment is particularly evident during busy periods when he takes proactive steps to promote a positive atmosphere. His early morning baking sessions at 5 am, where he prepares treats for his colleagues, showcase his commitment to creating a supportive and uplifting work environment. This thoughtful gesture not only boosts morale but also reflects Michael’s genuine care for the wellbeing and happiness of his team.

“Michael’s impactful everyday contributions, coupled with his extraordinary dedication and collaborative spirit, make him a true champion of SHCS.”  — Natalie Tole and Alfredo Napuri

Charlotte Sander
Communications and Marketing Specialist, Marketing and Communications

Nominated by Mike McGhee

“Charlotte brings a collaborative spirit, positive energy, and commitment to get things done to every project she works on. This award is so well deserved. Congratulations!” — Lisa Fisher, Director, Marketing and Communications

Congratulations Charlotte; your work in SHCS is extraordinary!

From Charlotte's Nomination

“Charlotte brings a positive, vibrant and enthusiastic energy to her daily work, our team environment and any project in which she is involved. She is highly collaborative with other team members and our many stakeholders, and her drive and determination help ensure that projects are completed on schedule and at the quality that our stakeholders and audience expect of us.

“This past year, we revamped our residence orientation, moving away from print materials delivered on move in day to a more contemporary digital orientation experience that stretches from offer acceptance to post-move-in. Charlotte was instrumental in bringing this project to fruition, producing two new major web pages—a Winter Session Residence Guide and a Year Round Residence Guide—for incoming residents, which provide valuable information and links throughout the year. Then, for incoming first year residents, we also launched a summer digital campaign (emails and social media) to send out bite-sized content to students from early in the summer through to mid-September (after move in). These projects involved a massive amount of thoughtful work by Charlotte, involving extensive co-ordination with Residence Life and collaboration within the Marcom team, plus plenty of great writing, visual asset curation and a strong understanding of the needs of our incoming residents.

“Charlotte has contributed so much to our collective work in such a short amount of time, and continues to do so. Her efforts make a big difference toward bringing the SHCS Vision to life, especially in the areas of cultivating community and enriching lives—but inspiring wellbeing isn’t too far behind.” — Mike McGhee

Paul Trites
Sub-Head Mechanical, Facilities and Building Services

Nominated by Kate Allan and Claudia Popa

“Paul was quick, efficient and empathetic toward resolving the issue for impacted families who call Acadia Park home. Thank you to Paul and congratulations on your recognition!” — Johanna Webber, Associate Director, Building Services

Congratulations Paul; your work in SHCS is extraordinary!

From Paul's Nomination

“Paul is an exceptional co-worker and leader. His willingness to share his knowledge and jump in to help makes him stand out. He is detail oriented, focuses on quality, and takes the time to communicate with stakeholders and residents, ensuring that everyone impacted is aware of the steps required to resolve the issue.

“There is no better example than our recent floods in Acadia Park. Paul responded to each flood, helping to address the problems with burst pipes and stopped any further impact.

“During the January arctic freeze, pipes burst in 18 units over a course of 48 hours. Paul was the first to respond to these callouts and worked over 36 hours in two days to fix the burst pipes and stop any further impact. Paul was quick, efficient, and empathetic toward resolving the issue for impacted families. He responded to each call with grace and a willingness to help. We are lucky to have a plumber like Paul on our staff.” — Kate Allan and Claudia Popa

Ken Wong
Systems Manager, IT

Nominated by Alexa Evely and Steve Alb

“I am thrilled to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Ken Wong on becoming a successful recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award. This honor is a testament to Ken’s unwavering dedication, integrity, and remarkable attitude towards making a difference within the Bookstore and the UBC community at large. Ken’s passion for making meaningful contributions is truly commendable and serves as a shining example for others to follow.Shane Gopaulsingh, Store Manager, Bookstore

Congratulations Ken; your work in SHCS is extraordinary!

From Ken's Nomination

“Ken is extremely dedicated to his work and the overall wellbeing of the Bookstore. He consistently goes well above and beyond the requirements of his job and is arguably the UBC Bookstore’s most dedicated employee. He is well known as the McGyver of the Bookstore.

“Regardless of how busy he might be (see: always), Ken still goes out of his way to take the time to listen to people’s needs and ensure that every staff member is well equipped and has everything they need—including making sure the staff have home-baked goods or fresh vegetables from his garden! He is dedicated, efficient and meticulous in his work.

“Ken has navigated significant change in recent years, adapting new technology to bookstore processes while supporting and guiding staff to deal with it and improve overall service levels along the way.

“He was instrumental in ensuring the office moves in the Bookstore happened seamlessly for all involved. He responded to each individual’s specific needs to have their workstation set up properly and in a timely manner during the busiest time of the year.

“Ken is also extremely dedicated to supporting students and customers through providing excellent service, advocating for processes that protect their needs, and ensuring that the UBC Bookstore upholds the stringent data privacy standards set forth by the university. He is solution-focused, an adept problem-solver and community-minded.” — Alexa Evely and Steve Alb

Outstanding Contribution Award in Sustainability

Karmjit Dhindsa
Assistant Housekeeping Supervisor, Facilities and Building Services

Nominated by Jennifer Gunn, Building Service Manager, Facilities and Building Services

“Congratulations to Karmjit on this well-deserved recognition! Karmjit is an invaluable member of the team and we are grateful for your contributions towards sustainability at Exchange Residence. Karmjit takes pride in taking care of her residents and her residence.” — Johanna Webber, Associate Director, Building Services

Congratulations Karmjit; your work in SHCS is remarkable!

From Karmjit's Nomination

“Karmjit is a dedicated employee who has worked in building services for almost 20 years. As a natural leader, she worked hard to obtain her current role as Assistant Housekeeping Supervisor. Karmjit makes valuable decisions each day and is always thinking ahead and keeping sustainability in mind.

“Through organization and focus, Karmjit worked to streamline some of the waste processes at Exchange residence. With new and existing signage, she re-vamped the Exchange waste room, which increased awareness of recycling and waste practices among residents. This resulted in an improved diversion rate at Exchange. Because of its success, the same signage system was applied to Saltwater’s new waste rooms, and this system has now become best practice for the department.”  — Jennifer Gunn, Building Service Manager, Facilities and Building Services

Paula McCready
Purchasing Manager, SHCS

Nominated by Billie Sandhu, Procurement Officer, SHCS

“Paula is deeply dedicated to advancing sustainable practices and zero waste initiatives within SHCS.  Paula made significant contributions to the Seeds Research Project and actively participates in various sustainability committees and working groups including Zero Waste Action Plan Committee, Indigenous Procurement Plan, Feed BC, and the Fairtrade Committee.” Brian Heathcote, Chief Financial Officer, SHCS

Congratulations Paula; your work in SHCS is remarkable!

From Paula's Nomination

“Paula is deeply dedicated to advancing sustainable practices and zero waste within SHCS as exemplified by several initiatives and involvement with committees throughout the university. Many of these engagements occur outside of her official job responsibilities, reflecting her commitment and dedication to sustainability and social justice initiatives.

“Paula’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond the workplace where she lives and breaths eco-conscious habits. Through her actions, Paula not only educates and inspires others but also effectively diverts waste from landfills and reduces energy consumption.

“Working alongside Paula is truly a pleasure. She stands out as a leader among her peers and is an indispensable member of the SHCS procurement team. Paula’s depth of knowledge, proactive approach, and willingness to offer advice and guidance make her a go-to resource for colleagues. She is supportive, inquisitive, and always willing to go above and beyond as needed.

“Moreover, Paula is passionate about educating and empowering others, including family, friends, and colleagues, to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. She readily shares her own experiences and insights, fostering a culture of sustainability and personal growth.” — Billie Sandhu, Procurement Officer, SHCS

David Speight
Executive Chef and Culinary Director, Food Services

Nominated by Colin Moore, Director, Food Services

“David changed the trajectory of UBC Food Services almost 10 years ago when he authored our Food Values. Since then everything we do is guided by those principles and it is paying dividends for the planet and the community!” — Colin Moore, Director, Food Services

David; your work in SHCS is remarkable!

From David's Nomination

“David embodies the vision, mission and values of SHCS by embedding a culture of wellbeing, inclusivity, transparency, Indigeneity and sustainability in everything he does.

“David has transformed the culinary team and food business at UBC since he started almost 10 years ago all through the lens of sustainability. He established our first Food Values plan in 2016, which guides everything we do in Food Services even to this day.

“This year David established a new development program for his team that is focused on creating programs and projects that will advance specific food values. Each chef completes a project focused on one food value. As you can imagine menu engineering is a very complex task at UBC, specifically in residence dining, and David puts a sustainability lens on this enormous task.

“He is also involved in several programs, councils and committees including the Vancouver Food Policy Council, UBC Food Committee, SHCS Sustainability Committee, and Growing Chefs program to name a few.

“David supports his team development in a variety of ways such as volunteering at the UBC Farm, participating in culinary events and challenges like UMASS Flavors of Canada and various culinary competitions like CCUFSA, Chowder chowdown, and many more.

“Outside of work, David volunteers and he takes transit or bikes to work daily.”  — Colin Moore, Director, Food Services

Outstanding Contribution Award in Community Leadership

Tom Higuchi

Front Desk Service Coordinator, Residence Life and Administration

Nominated by Naomi Nyakoah and Almeera Shariff

There are too few words to say so much….Tom is patient, hardworking, calm, professional, positive, great at communicating and helps whenever needed. Simply put, Tom is amazing!” — Carol Young, Associate Director, Service Development and Operations

Congratulations Tom; your work in SHCS is incredible!

From Tom's Nomination

“Tom is patient, hardworking, calm, professional, positive, great at communicating and helps whenever needed. He goes above and beyond to make the front desk environment stress free. He is quick to assist when people are overwhelmed or sick, and finds quick solutions when problems arise. Tom is a dedicated leader who has fostered an environment of honesty and openness. His consistent encouragement makes the team feel like they can accomplish anything.

“No matter what issues arise, Tom is quick to come up with solutions and makes sure everyone has a task. He guides the team to work efficiently which results in problems being solved quickly. He is quick to support staff and has excellent customer service.

“Tom makes a point to ensure all staff can participate in events and initiatives that are outside of the day-to-day, including driving colleagues to events so that they can feel part of the SHCS community.” — Naomi Nyakoah and Almeera Shariff

Sylvia Tuason

Digital Communications Manager, Marketing and Communications.

Nominated by Jennifer Dowdeswell, Associate Director, Organizational Development and Learning

“Sylvia’s kindness and empathy shines through in both her work and her support of her colleagues. She has made such a positive impact on SHCS in just the short time she has been with us.” — Lisa Fisher, Director, Marketing and Communications

Congratulations Sylvia; your work in SHCS is incredible!

From Sylvia's Nomination

“Whether it’s for the United Way Bake-Off or Not Myself Today, Sylvia’s contributions to community initiatives go above and beyond. She willingly takes on extra tasks outside of her role to make sure events are a success. Her enthusiasm and energy help increase the number of attendees and her welcoming approach helps with the overall experience. Without her expertise, we would not have had such success with the Not Myself Today program.

“Sylvia joined the Coaching Conversations course shortly after she joined UBC, and her participation on the online sessions were extremely helpful. She volunteered to participate first, pre-read all the materials (this was not required), and then really engaged with the sessions, which helped create a warm atmosphere. When one participant was having technical issues, she popped over to their office to assist them so that everyone could continue in the course.

“These small gestures and actions have gone a long way and make Sylvia an important part of our SHCS team.” — Jen Dowdeswell, Associate Director, Organizational Development and Learning