Johnson ‘is a beacon of light’ for Facilities division

sharon johnson streamSharon Johnson is UAB's Employee of the Month for May.From keeping the Campus Green immaculately manicured to planting some of UAB’s 4,000-plus trees, the UAB Facilities Division plays a large role in UAB’s appealing aesthetic presentation. For 15 years, Sharon Johnson has contributed directly to that — first as an irrigation specialist and now as an outside construction supervisor.

During that time, Johnson has seen UAB’s modern campus take shape. As older buildings were razed to make room for newer ones, Johnson and her group have been behind the scenes every step of the way — working on outdoor construction, operating heavy equipment, landscaping or planting or removing trees. They also assist other groups on campus, such as Recycling, Hospital Maintenance, Campus Maintenance and Sustainability and academic units such as the departments of Art and Art History, Engineering and Biology.

“Just about anything that nobody else knows who to call for, they call us,” Johnson said.

Her co-workers said there is nothing that can’t be asked of Johnson, and that she always performs above and beyond the call of duty, no matter the task.

“Johnson is an outstanding supervisor,” said James Williams, director of Facilities Support Services. “We consistently receive compliments on the services that are requested for her department.”

Lindsey Best, a Campus Services and Grounds group leader tasked with maintaining the Woodward House estate — where President Ray Watts resides — said that between March and April, she had to coordinate with Johnson and her department to move large plant containers, cut down dead or fallen trees and water newly planted trees, all of which involved much planning and often the use of heavy equipment.

“Our department just functions more efficiently and more happily when Sharon is involved,” Best said.

Her efficiency in her role as outside construction supervisor earned her the title of Employee of the Month — but her praiseworthy qualities range even further.

“Our department just functions more efficiently and more happily when Sharon is involved.”

Tim Sullivan, manager of Campus Services and Grounds, said Johnson is “incredibly responsible,” often prioritizing her work duties even during difficult personal times.

“She has contacted me concerning her duties at some of the most difficult times in her life,” Sullivan said. “She is always thinking of her duties, always thinking of others.”

Part of that “thinking of others” extends to Johnson’s co-workers. Sullivan said that Campus Maintenance employees have her on speed-dial. Johnson, though, sings a different tune, saying that without her team, she could not be nearly as efficient or successful.

“My team is really good,” Johnson said. “I can let them loose on whatever we need to do. Everyone pitches in and works together — it’s not just me. If another group needs help, we’ll all pitch in to do that. I’m not doing anything that everyone else isn’t doing.”

Each month, UAB recognizes an outstanding employee for their dedication, hard work and contributions to the university's success. If you know of a great employee, you can learn how to nominate them for this recognition at uab.edu/humanresources.

One of the biggest projects Johnson and her team have spearheaded was the removal of 15th Street to make way for what is now the Campus Green, developed between 2000 and 2007 to be the centerpiece of UAB’s academic campus.

“We played a big part in removing the street and making way for the construction of the Green,” Johnson said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes since I’ve been here, and it’s neat to see all the new buildings and improvements and the way the whole campus is changing. I love it.”