UAB is a big, big place, as Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) Officer Jereme Logan quickly found out when he began his employment at the university in January.
|Tracy Sims’ patience, understanding and efficiency make her an integral part of the OSP and a deserving recipient of May’s Employee of the Month award.|
When Logan started, he needed every-thing — a Blazer ID, a place to park, office supplies — and to quickly to grasp the department’s administrative procedures.
Tracy Sims was there to help.
“She handled getting me up to speed and really made me feel like part of the UAB family — all while juggling her own work responsibilities,” Logan says. “My observations have been that everyone in our department understands that if a task needs to be done well, Tracy is a reliable, consistent person to have it taken care of quickly, efficiently and accurately.”
Sims’ patience, understanding and efficiency make her an integral part of the OSP and a deserving recipient of May’s Employee of the Month award.
Sims’ official title is data processing specialist, but she also serves as a jack-of-all-trades within the department.
Whether it is getting an event scheduled, teaching someone data-entry procedures, updating the complicated clinical trial-monitoring spreadsheet each week, moving furniture, ordering supplies or maintaining the calendar for OSP Director Lynn Stedman, Sims is the go-to person.
“Tracy is an outstanding person, always stepping in when needed,” says DeBorrah Noland, OSP data processing supervisor. “She has recently taken on the role and tasks of keeping the office running by assuming the administrative duties in our office. And she’s done this while keeping up with her present job duties as data processing specialist.
“There has been nothing that I have asked that she has not done promptly and with a wonderful attitude.”
Sims says she is thankful and happy her colleagues nominated her for the award, showing her thanks with her well-known humor.
“I’ve worked here now for six years, and I know everybody’s attitude and demeanor, and they know mine,” she says. “I’m fortunate to work with a great group of people who care about their jobs and each other. We’re like anyone else; we’ll fuss and break up and maybe divorce for a week or two, but we’ll come back together. I love all of them.”
That is something that shows in her work, colleagues say.
Tina Ayer, associate director of Clinical Billing Review (CBR), says Sims was instrumental to the success of the recent integration and move of CBR into the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).
“Tracy collaborated with CBR personnel with a natural ability to mitigate the most burdensome tasks and make them less stressful for all,” Ayer says. “Thanks to Tracy’s work ethic and attitude, OSP is a better place to work. And because of her contributions and support, OSP is better able to serve the needs of the UAB community.”
Numerous co-workers say Sims’ level of commitment, flexibility and willingness to help on a daily basis are unparalleled, and they laud her infectious and pleasant attitude, traits Sims says came from her grandmother Ella Mae Norris.
“She always told me to keep a smile on my face,” Sims says. “Even when things aren’t going so well, I always try to do that.”
She tries to bring that good cheer to others, too. She organized her floor’s participation in the Administration Building’s annual Homecoming skit competition a few years ago. Only a few employees took part in that inaugural skit, but the group came in second place. Now, many employees across the 11th floor are involved each year — and they’re winning the contest.
“The 11th floor is No. 1 in the Admin Building, and everybody knows when it comes to Homecoming,” Sims says with a laugh.
With Stedman’s blessing, Sims also started a once-a-month lunch event for the office. Employees gather during their lunch hour one day a month for chips and dip and play games or participate in CD or DVD swaps. Karaoke is on tap for their next lunch gathering.
“It’s just something to get us together and hopefully build morale a little bit,” Sims says.
Fellow employees notice and appreciate Sims’ devotion to them as more than just co-workers. They see someone who cares for them and wants them to succeed and have fun while they work to further UAB’s mission.
“It’s obvious that the overall success of OSP is important to Tracy,” says Treva McAboy, OSP officer. “This office is fast paced and it can be very stressful at times. Everyone who attends the lunch get-together comments that the little break makes a big difference in the rest of their day. Those thoughtful, small things make Tracy exceptional.”