Archie Nesbitt Named June 2010 Employee of the Month

Posted: June 1, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: May 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm

By Ethan Vaughan

Archie Nesbitt. Photo by Evan Cantwell

Archie Nesbitt, Mason landscape grounds supervisor, has been named Employee of the Month for June, the Employee of the Month Committee announced.

“The committee reviews all nominations and makes a decision based on… initiative, job knowledge, customer service, communication skills and professionalism,” says committee chair Judy Morton. “Archie was selected for all of the above.”

Nesbitt, a 22-year veteran of Facilities Management, was praised specifically for his handling of the December and February snowstorms that crippled Northern Virginia and left Mason closed for four days in mid-February.

“It takes an army to handle this much snow for a university as large as Mason,” says Larry Spaine, director of Facilities Management. “The job that Archie Nesbitt did in coordinating the workforce and clearing activities for both [blizzards] deserves special recognition.”

Nesbitt was tasked in the fall with a leading role in handling snow removal on campus.

“His direct supervisor left in September, and we went to him and said, ‘You need to take a more predominant role in ensuring that snow management occurs this year in a successful manner,’” says Roy Christian, assistant director for operations in Facilities Management.  “He agreed.”

Christian praises Nesbitt’s “methodical” examination of snow-removal equipment and techniques, recalling that the grounds supervisor undertook a detailed inventory to ensure that the university was fully prepared for a winter storm.

“When you want to give special acknowledgement, you look at who goes above and beyond, doing more than what is necessary, inconveniencing their life to give something to George Mason,” Christian explains.  “Archie epitomizes it.”

He adds that Nesbitt learned well on his feet.

Nesbitt on the job. Photo courtesy of Archie Nesbitt

“Archie took [the December snowstorm] and went back to the staff to work on lessons learned and to tweak the system so they could respond better,” Christian says. “That was actually able to prepare us for the February snowstorm of 30-plus inches of snow. He was here and worked 18 hours straight in December. During the second event I was working 15-hour days and he was working longer than me.”

Nesbitt downplays his role in the safe reopening of campus.

“A lot of people made a lot of sacrifices, and I don’t want to make it seem like I did everything, because that wouldn’t be true or fair,” Nesbitt says.

“As a supervisor, I may get credit for planting a big tree, but no, I actually didn’t plant it. I gave instructions to other people to plant it, and I might have helped, but I didn’t do it alone. A lot of the stuff I do is not just by myself, and I can’t take total and complete credit.”

Nesbitt has been named Employee of the Month four times since joining the Mason community in 1988, twice for Facilities Management and twice for the university as a whole.

He puts an emphasis on how people perceive the campus.

“Several years ago, President [Alan] Merten invited me to a Board of Visitors meeting,” Nesbitt remembers.

“He told a very interesting story about breakfast meetings he’d been having with incoming students. When asked why they were coming to George Mason, one coed said she’d chosen this school because she liked the way it looked. The landscaping is the first impression a person gets of a place. It’s like curbside appeal for a house. If it looks good on the outside, you guess there’s toilet paper in the bathrooms and that the doors work.”

Nesbitt says that the best part of his job is the simple moments.

“When everybody’s got their work done, I go out to one of the big fields and pattern mow, just me and my machine,” he says. “I’m confident that my guys are doing what I’ve given them to do, and then I’m just a grounds guy doing a grounds job.”

As for winning Employee of the Month?

“I’m happy about it,” he says. “It’s nice to be given recognition, but a lot of times you get credit for stuff that a lot of people helped you with.”

Do you know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to your office or the overall Mason community? Administrative/professional faculty members, and classified and wage employees who have been with the university for one year and who are in good standing are eligible to be nominated as Employee of the Month. For details and a nomination form, see the Human Resources and Payroll Reward and Recognition page.

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