When grants and contracts are awarded, researchers and grant administrators say they often feel either a sense of excitement, satisfaction – or relief. But when the work actually begins, it’s not uncommon for things to be in a bit of upheaval for a period of time.
David McDaniel, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, experienced that with a particularly large government contract. Points of contact for the grant changed multiple times after it was awarded, and administrative delays ensued.
Those changes could have seriously de-railed McDaniel’s work, he says, but Kim Hazelwood, program manager II in Mechanical Engineering, expertly maintained consistency with the contract and kept everything moving along without any problems — even while on maternity leave. In fact, the multi-year contract grew during its first three years to include 100 percent funding for two research faculty members and one staff member. Additionally, the contract includes a number of options exercised in the past year to take advantage of additional expertise in the department.
“All requests for information from the government were immediately handled by Kim, and it’s resulted in nothing but praise from government colleagues,” McDaniel says. “Myself and the other faculty and staff members who rely on this contract for funding are very, very fortunate to have Kim’s knowledge, expertise and work ethic in our corner.”
Because of her consistent level of professionalism and efficiency and how she regularly comes to the aid of her colleagues, Hazelwood has been named January’s Employee of the Month.
“I’m fortunate that I get to work with great people; they make my job easy,” Hazelwood says.
Co-workers often express that same sentiment about Hazelwood.
Roy Koomullil, Ph.D., associate professor of Mechanical Engineering, has worked with Hazelwood on multiple fronts for almost eight years. He says she has been instrumental in assisting him with research proposal submissions and project and human resource management.
Hazelwood also aided Koomullil in his role as graduate program director for the Mechanical Engineering graduate program from 2009 to 2011 and in his current role as undergraduate program director. Her responsibilities have included reviewing student applications, aiding in course scheduling, advising, tracking student progress, preparing the course catalogue and updating information on various database systems.
“Ms. Hazelwood is very methodical and organized in her work and has thorough knowledge of the policies and procedures,” Koomullil says. “She also has a very pleasant personality, is very dependable and willing to help and is friendly and professional with the students. Ms. Hazelwood is a very valuable asset to the Mechanical Engineering Department and UAB — a good source of information, a very personable colleague and a good team player.”
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This was especially true during the ABET review of undergraduate programs in the School of Engineering this past fall. The designation as an ABET-accredited program is critical for engineering programs, and Hazelwood assisted with development of the mechanical engineering program’s final self-study document used for the actual review. All undergraduate programs in the School of Engineering received ABET reaccreditation.
“I think our final document turned out to be several hundred pages long,” Hazelwood says. “It described our undergraduate program and the resources available and provided detail on each of the different criteria that ABET uses to assess programs. It was a thorough and extensive review. Our faculty are the ones that went through and assessed student work product and provided a lot of the information. We gathered that information, put it in a written format and, fortunately, had no issues at all. It was a great accreditation.”
Hazelwood’s organizational skills have been a strength of the Mechanical Engineering department since she joined it as a business officer in 2005, says Bharat Soni, Ph.D., professor and chair of Mechanical Engineering.
Soni says Hazelwood’s overall performance, professionalism and efficient administrative, mentoring, advising and financial management skills have been exemplary.
“Within the first six months, Kim was able to streamline the budgetary process and financial record keeping in a most efficient way,” Soni says. “She also took ownership and leadership of our front office operation and recruited highly competent administrative staff. In just one year, our front office operation and support to faculty, research and laboratory staff, students, UAB and engineering administration, alumni, collaborators, industry and other constituencies were in tip-top shape. She’s continued to excel and was promoted in 2010 to program manager II — a position with increased responsibilities, including academic, business and service functions of the department.”
Hazelwood appreciates the thoughts of her co-workers, but she says the assistance provided by her office runs deeper than just one person.
“Heather Creel, our financial officer, and Sherrye Watson, our office services specialist II, really make my job easier,” Hazelwood says. “They are always willing to help and go above and beyond. If I did not have them, my job would be tremendously more difficult.”