NTPUD proudly presents 2020 employee awards to Thomas Payne, Ryan Wenz, and the Parks and Facilities Team

February 26, 2021

The NTPUD celebrated its 2020 annual employee awards on Thursday, February 25, 2021. Although it wasn’t the traditional evening dinner ceremony and we couldn’t gather everyone together, the spirit of the moment was alive and well. Thank you to all of the NTPUD employees for their incredible dedication and continued service to our North Shore communities.

Congratulations to the following 2020 NTPUD Employee Award Winners!

2020 Employee of the Year – Thomas Payne, Utility Operations Maintenance Technician III

The Employee of the Year shows dedication to the job, loyalty, perseverance, attitude, customer service, safety, and self-improvement. He/She is supportive of coworkers, innovative, task-oriented, demonstrates initiative, a problem solver, communicates ideas, and represents the spirit of the North Tahoe Public Utility District.

Thomas Payne - 2020 employee of the year

Thomas Payne started with the District in 2013 as a Maintenance Worker I and within six months he was promoted to a Maintenance Technician I. In 2016, he was promoted to a Maintenance Technician II, and in November 2019, he was promoted into a newly created Maintenance Technician III position with a focus on the District’s SCADA and telemetry systems.

We weren’t sure exactly how this position would work initially and even Thomas was apprehensive about the expectations.  The decision to promote Thomas has proven to be a slam dunk! In his first year, he has exceeded every expectation for how quickly he would come up to speed and what could be accomplished. Not only just in the first year of his new position, but in any year, never mind a year fraught with the endless challenges of a viral pandemic.

Thomas has methodically completed a long list of deferred priorities and necessary tasks in our system controls, radio communications, software, and hardware. The District's SCADA system has never been more stable or reliable. His steady, calm, workman-like approach to his job, free of pretense and attitude, is what makes Thomas so well respected by his teammates. His crew lead calls him a “sturdy rock,” whose judgement, technical skills, and reliability create trust without reservation.

Thomas demonstrates every single one of the qualities listed in the description of the District's Employee of the Year. He does so with good humor and without drama, even when things get tough.

Congratulations to Thomas Payne on being the District’s 2020 Employee of the Year!

2020 General Manager's Award – Ryan Wenz, Customer Service Team Leader

The General Manager’s Award is given annually to an employee that performs his/her duties promptly and with attention to detail, represents the unsung employee who does not seek notoriety, shows extraordinary care for their work and the community, is unselfish, a self-starter, enjoys their work, and often goes unrecognized in the performance of their duties. 

Ryan Wenz, Customer Service Team Leader

Ryan Wenz has shown dedication to the District and his work throughout this very unique and challenging year, consistently going beyond what his job description entails. During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan persevered to get us needed PPE in a timely manner and was constantly seeking out vendors for supplies that were unavailable through traditional channels. Anyway he could, Ryan got it done to ensure a safe work environment for his co-workers. During the first shelter-in-place period, Ryan was on-site every day to ensure calls were routed, deliveries were received, and the lights at the NTPUD Base facility stayed on.

Ryan displays the true spirit of customer service at the NTPUD daily, in his interactions with his co-workers as well as with our customers. He consistently takes the customer service approach with his colleagues, and with our customers, looking for the win-win or the chance to turn a negative into a positive opportunity. He consistently discusses ideas to improve and make daily workflow more efficient, he steps up to provide coverage as needed, and he often identifies needs and volunteers to help before they are brought to his attention.

Ryan exemplifies the “Unsung Hero” that works behind the scenes supporting the District and staff in achieving our goals. Ryan is someone who can be relied upon, someone who willingly takes on the challenge, and someone who does so without complaint and without expectation of reward.

Thank you and congratulations to Ryan Wenz on being the District’s 2020 General Manager’s Award Winner.

2020 Safety Award – The District's entire Parks and Facilities Team

Loren Holt (Administrative Manager), Tripp Walker (Maintenance Lead), Josh Ramey (Maintenance Lead), Michael Henn (Maintenance Worker II), Doug Carbonari (Maintenance Worker II), Cathy Becker (North Tahoe Event Center Manager), Eric Sachse (Maintenance Worker II), Jake Torquemada, (Maintenance Worker I), and Pauletta Erickson.

The NTPUD Safety Award recognizes the individual who has no injuries, accidents, adheres to all safety procedures and policies, attends all tail gates and safety trainings, notifies the District of potential safety issues, coaches other employees on safety practices, reports all incidents/accidents promptly, and creates a cooperative and safe work environment for the District and Community.

Loren Holt (Administrative Manager), Tripp Walker (Maintenance Lead), Josh Ramey (Maintenance Lead), Michael Henn (Maintenance Worker II), Doug Carbonari (Maintenance Worker II), Cathy Becker (North Tahoe Event Center Manager), Eric Sachse (Maintenance Worker II), Jake Torquemada, (Maintenance Worker I), and Pauletta Erickson.
2020 was a unique and challenging year with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and the additional safety requirements put in place to protect District staff and provide a safe environment for the public to enjoy our facilities. 

The NTPUD Parks and Facilities Team stepped up to the challenge in 2020 and this year's Safety Award was given to the entire team!

Throughout the pandemic the NTPUD had essential workers in the Base facility, which necessitated a new suite of sanitation practices. Common surfaces (elevator, handrails, light switches, door handles, countertops, etc.) had to be sanitized three times daily, from the start of the pandemic and continuing through today. Hand sanitizer stations were installed and new work areas were set-up. The common areas around the Base facility and the North Tahoe Events Center (NTEC) also needed to be maintained and required snow removal and ice melt throughout the winter to help facilitate safe access to the facilities.

The Parks and Facilities Team worked all year creating and maintaining safe public outdoor spaces for our community to enjoy and find a break from the daily challenges of the pandemic. 

Throughout 2020, the District saw significant visitation to our parks and recreation facilities as nearly everyone sought refuge outside from their daily doldrums. The Parks and Facilities Team made sure that all of the facilities maintained by the District were regularly sanitized and, when required by the County or State, were taken out of rotation or closed with protective measures, such as putting in place new fencing or signage. New and ever-changing signage was installed throughout the District, notifying residents and visitors of COVID-19 safety requirements and best practices. Trash removal from our facilities, and our contracted properties, were also at record levels in 2020 and crews maintained constant watch to keep trash from overflowing or becoming a nuisance.

Each one of the Parks and Facilities Team took on the responsibility for the maintenance of District facilities in 2020 and made sure the safety of our staff and the public was foremost in their daily routines. 

Thank you and congratulations to the entire Parks and Facilities Team on being the District’s 2020 Safety Award Winner.