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Excellence at COM/UMA

Employee of the Year honored

The Department of Medicine honored its Employee of the Year, Gerry Garza, at a celebration Aug. 18. Garza, an MUSC employee since 1977, has worked in the Department of Medicine since 1993. He was selected from a group of 18 Department of Medicine employees who had previously been selected as Employees of the Quarter during fiscal year 2009. 
Below is the  text from the nominations submitted:
Department of Medicine's Dr. John Feussner, right, presents Gerry Garza with Employee of Year Aug. 18.

“This fiscal quarter was extremely demanding for the Department of Medicine (DOM) chairman’s Office Research Administration Unit. One employee resigned from her position and our highly productive grants administrator was out on three months maternity leave for the entire quarter. Consequently, Gerry had to manage almost all grant management activities of DOM: grant submission processing, grant finances, and other miscellaneous grants-related administrative duties. As if not challenging enough, the workload was increased even further due to the myriad of new NIH ARRA Stimulus initiatives. For DOM, this included additional department submissions for lab equipment grants, supplements, a renovation grant and other off-cycle, one-time grant opportunities. I watched as he simply put his head down and worked...meeting all deadlines, assisting faculty and division staff, providing reports to the department chairman on short notice, etc. Yet he endured this increased stress and workload by simply using a positive attitude and commitment to the tasks. The only change I saw he made was to increase his work hours to meet the demand. He worked so hard and accomplished so much for this department this quarter. I know of no one more deserving of this award than him.”
The second nomination read: “Honor, integrity, loyalty. These are words that describe, Gerry Garza. He began his MUSC career in the Department of Pharmacology where he served 16 years as the departmental business manager. In 1993, he was recruited to the Department of Medicine. The previous department administrator/vice chair-man once told me ‘to be the best, then you have to hire the best.’ He referenced Gerry in this statement. When this previous vice chairman arrived at MUSC, he asked colleagues who is the best grants administrator. The answer was Gerry Garza. In 1993, DOM had approximately $12M in extramural funding. Today, our research funding exceeds $45M. This is certainly representative of the department’s investment in new faculty; however, I believe it’s also a reflection to Gerry Garza and his commitment to Medicine’s success. During his 16 plus years in medicine, Gerry has given so much to the department, college, and university.  In fiscal year 2009, he served under a heavy workload and pressure as his research team of four was reduced to two. During this time, he administered the submission of $26M in stimulus grants single handily. He is seen by this institution as a grants management resource. I like to think of him as a human grants encyclopedia. Under pressure as well as facing adversity, he maintains a calm, professional demeanor. I honestly believe Gerry Garza is one of medicine’s best assets, and he is a definite contributor to our success.”

Friday, Sept. 18, 2009

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