Employee of the Month: May

After Town Hall in May, when Tom Bessey was awarded Employee of the Month, I told him that it’s always nice to see good people get recognized for their hard work. I think he might’ve thought that I was kidding around with him, because Tom and I often kid around when he stops by Room 114. But I wasn’t.

That’s a pretty textbook example of Tom’s modesty. He didn’t even realize he was the winner of the award until his name was mentioned. “I thought maybe they were talking about someone at another building,” he said.

He’s an unsung hero of Goodwill (until now, of course), doing the jobs that we all depend on but typically take for granted.

Tom makes coffee each morning, mops the floors, keeps the restrooms in order, takes out the trash and applies ice melt in the winter. He also provides a friendly face and genuine kindness to Goodwill customers and his fellow employees.

But Tom is known to go above and beyond his regular job duties to provide great customer service. He has let people know when they’ve left their car lights on and helped customers to their car. And he was extremely vigilant this past winter in making sure the entryway was cleared and safe.

Tom said it’s nice to be recognized with the award. “It means people appreciate me being here doing my job, and that they can count on me and call me when they need assistance,” he said. “I’m there for them.”

Tom has been with Goodwill for almost a year. He said he enjoys working here because everyone is friendly and people here care about each other.

He is grateful to his son-in-law, George Coleman, who told him about the job opening.

“If it wasn’t for George, team lead for floor care, I wouldn’t even know this job existed,” Tom said. “I have to give him credit.”

Tom and wife Judy have been married for 36 years. They have two children, Rose and Thomas, and one grandchild, Jonathan.

In his spare time, Tom plays softball in an over-50 league, fishes, camps and plays bingo. “I never win,” he said.

Congratulations, Tom, and thanks for all you do for Goodwill!

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Looking back on the 2010 Goodwill Golf Classic

The morning started out like a scene from the Wizard of Oz. High winds, dark clouds, and pounding rains. The only thing missing was the tornado. Then, around 10 a.m. the skies opened up. The sun came out, and the weather heated up. All in time for tee-off for the 12th Annual Goodwill Golf Classic. The course may have been a bit wet at Shadow Ridge Golf Course, but that didn’t stop nearly 150 golfers from swinging their clubs and hitting that little white ball for Goodwill.

There was an array of sponsors who supported this event, including Kiewit Building Group who donated golf gloves to each golfer, and Woodmen of the World who served as the Publicity Sponsor providing an array of golf shirts and hats. Many thanks to the businesses who supported this event as a Corporate Gold, Food & Beverage and Hole Sponsor. Lastly, let us not forget about the countless local businesses who donated gift certificates and golf apparel. Thanks to you all for helping make this event the success it has become!

The proceeds raised from the Goodwill Golf Classic will go directly into the agency’s Employment and Training programs. Thanks to all Goodwill employees who helped at the event, and thanks to those of you who stayed behind in the offices to make sure our daily operations continued to run smoothly.

Planning will begin soon for our 2011 event. If you have any comments or thoughts, please contact one of us in the Marketing Department with your feedback. We strive to make this event better each year and your ideas are what make that happen.

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Ribbon cutting at the ROC

This morning was the ribbon cutting at our new Retail Operations Center (ROC) at 72nd & F. It threatened to get off to a rough start as a big storm moved into the area…

But it passed quickly and turned into a beautiful morning. Goodwill board members and executive staff gathered in front of the WearHouse entrance for the ribbon cutting. To let you in on a little ribbon-cutting secret, Retail Operations Director Shirley Hall used a pair of standard scissors to discreetly cut the ribbon while Board President Dick Frandeen manned the ceremonial giant scissors.


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Manager of the Quarter: Q1 2010

Melissa Pagitt doesn’t just manage employees, she works with them. And that is why she is Manager of the Quarter.

An employee says Melissa is “not only willing to get down and dirty when my job requires it, but she is along for the ride and she is a great supervisor. She is always considerate to others and always proudly expresses working for our company. She loves working with those willing to better themselves and I see our department going far with her on our team.”

Melissa would encourage all managers to stop what they are doing and work with their staff and see what their job is really about.
Since being hired at Goodwill in 2006, Melissa has worked as a YouthBuild Construction Trainer, Grounds Maintenance Worker, Operations Supervisor, and now serves as an Operations Manager.

Outside of work, Melissa’s newest hobby is to ride her new motorcycle around town with her wife and friends. She also works on Habitat for Humanity’s women build house.

When asked about herself, Melissa said “I am who I am and I am blessed to be the person that God has made me to be.”

As for the future, Melissa plans on helping more people find work, winning the millions, and taking a road trip. If you see Melissa cruising past on her motorcycle, make sure to congratulate her on being the first Manager of the Quarter for 2010.

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Employee of the Month: April

At Goodwill, we decribe our case managers as “experts in their field.” We are able to say things like that because of people like Kristin Koopman, our April Employee of the Month winner.

Kristin came to Goodwill six years ago, as a fresh-faced graduate from Creighton University. Her first position involved helping individuals transfer off of welfare. In that time, Kristin learned her trade as a service provider. She was quickly recognized for her ability to connect with clients, while holding them accountable to their employment goals.

In 2006, Kristin took her skills to the Partnership program, and began helping young people with their employment goals. She later progressed to Business Outreach Specialist – her current position. In the field of Employment Services, Kristin has done just about everything, and done it well. She exemplifies the expertise that Goodwill has to offer.

Her supervisor, Christine Aguilar, believes Kristin’s success lies in her ability to care for people, “Kristin truly cares about the success of our youth and the well-being of her coworkers.”

In her current position, Kristin is in charge of the Partnership’s Work Experience program, a key element to the Partnership’s services. She pairs young people with local businesses for short term employment. Kristin excels at this. She is a gifted communicator who effectively meets the needs of both Partnership participants and prospective employers.

When she’s not sharing her social work expertise with the world, Kristin can be found at her new home. She recently purchased a fixer-upper, and has spent the last few months refurbishing it.

“It helps to have friends,” says Kristin. “I have been fortunate. There’s been a lot of help along the way.”

Considering all the assistance Kristin has offered Goodwill’s participants in the last six years, it seems fitting that she would receive a little help of her own from time to time.

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Mr. Parker goes to Washington

by Shane Pekny

Forget about Wall Street and Main Street for a few minutes. Let’s talk about life on Fontenelle Boulevard.

That’s what members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation heard April 28 during Goodwill’s annual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Christopher Parker, a participant in Goodwill’s Partnership for Youth Development, interrupted the typical flow of high-powered lobbyists with his story – filled with all the mistakes, challenges, discoveries and love experienced by young people today.

Chris couldn’t have been telling his story at a more critical time. Congress is considering changes to the Workforce Investment Act and other laws designed to help young people transition to work. Furthermore, as the country slowly climbs out of the recession, young people are often the last hired, as they must compete against more experienced workers who have been laid off.

Despite these odds, Chris’s story is one of success, achieved through his own drive – and assistance from Goodwill.

As a teenager, Chris lived for the day, giving little thought to his responsibilities, his future, or even his safety. His mother had passed away, and most of his friends seemed destined for jail – or worse.

“I was in a bad place,” he deadpanned.
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