Starting in 2018, the EERC began awarding five employees for their outstanding efforts in aligning their work with our five Core Values. The Core Values are a set of guidelines at the heart of everything we do. Be Safe: We promote safe practices and procedures for all employees and urge all to act safely. Be Ethical: We encourage every employee to be caring, be a good steward, and be responsible. Be Engaged: We foster an environment that stimulates new ideas, provides solutions, and communicates clearly. Be Effective: We take pride in our work. We work hard and expand and adapt our capabilities all while working as a team. Be Professional: We uphold integrity, take responsibility, are punctual, and use effective interpersonal skills. Nominated by their peers for embodying these values, the following individuals were honored at the EERC’s 2023 annual meeting.
Be Safe Award: John Brunner, Research Engineer
John Brunner’s colleagues describe him as having a keen eye for safety whether in the office or the field. He consistently calls out potential hazards and safety issues, collaborates with others to avoid or eliminate hazards, and takes mindful leadership to address safety issues in labs and pilot plant areas. He also consistently advocates for openness and transparency in discussions about how to enhance our safety culture. He was nominated for the Be Safe Award for displaying situational awareness whether he’s on the ground enduring hot and muggy weather or 400 feet up in a stack as well as for acting rationally and speedily when a small office fire broke out at the EERC last year. To defuse a dangerous situation, John safely entered a locked office and extinguished the flames with a fire extinguisher. The success of our projects depends heavily on his attention to safety, and we appreciate his hard effort and initiative.
Be Ethical Award: Todd Deibert, Principal Technology Development Operator, Group Lead
Todd Deibert is a leader who puts a high value on treating people ethically. His colleagues consider him sincerely honest to all. It’s not unusual to hear a blunt, “No, we aren’t doing it that way,” if the well-being of team members or the ethics of the work are in question. Todd was nominated for the Be Ethical Award because his leadership style is one of loyalty and compassion. He is unselfish and may even take professional risks to his own popularity out of respect for preserving the integrity of team and project alike. As an example of his exemplary ethical nature, he was responsible for procuring a Polaris Ranger ATV when he heard that workers on the SASSA field project were facing serious hazards in the field without such a vehicle. His no-nonsense ethics saw the need out of respect and consideration for the EERC field team; no matter what the process required, he was adamant to press forward because it was the ethical and prudent solution. He got it done and EERC has a Ranger! Todd’s attention to doing what is right in the field and in the pilot plant, without need for recognition or fanfare, has resulted in this award.
Be Engaged Award: Joyce Riske, Assistant Director for Communication and Information Services
Joyce Riske is always the first to congratulate others for their achievements and accomplishments and constantly takes positive actions to further the EERC’s reputation, interests, and vision. Her colleagues describe her as someone who has an uncanny shamelessness to ask tough questions, not to belittle or argue, but to find solutions and stay on mission. She is known for having a sincere love for people, expressed in genuine joy and positive energy. She’s a people-person who greets everyone individually in a way that they feel welcomed and comfortable and gives them confidence to engage others. Joyce is also an advocate for transparent communication at the EERC and for a highly inclusive workplace. Because of this, Joyce was nominated for the Be Engaged Award. She consistently encourages so many of us to smile, be positive, and be dedicated to engaging with our coworkers and clients. Joyce is always willing to engage others with her voice and guitar during spur-of-the-moment EERC garage band performances.
Be Effective Award: Stacy Kouba, Research Manager
Stacy’s coworkers note that she maintains a mentoring and training mindset, creating training materials used effectively by new team members as they learn about their role and the EERC. She has supported ten proposals to federal, state, and commercial clients while helping to manage several projects, including CORE-CM and Wyoming CarbonSAFE, proactively communicating with the project team (internal and external), developing schedules, monitoring the budget, writing text, and keeping the project on track. Stacy is known for leading the technical risk assessment activities for commercial geologic CO2 storage projects, working with others to create a 160-page risk register; impressing the client; and becoming a go-to person for scoping, budgeting, and leading this type of work on other projects. Because of her attention to detail, schedules, and budgets on multiple high-end projects and effectively communicating all of this while maintaining a fantastic work ethic with a positive attitude earned her the Be Effective Award.
Be Professional Award: Lisa Borgen, Administrative Assistant
Lisa Borgen is known for dealing with sensitive or confidential information with the utmost level of professionalism. She can quickly respond to time-sensitive requests for critical office and operations needs while maintaining positive, professional relationships with UND staff so that EERC requests remain on the priority list to get addressed quickly. Being the administrative assistant for two high-maintenance groups while managing phones when coworkers urgently needed a satellite phone for the field within 20 minutes, security access, employee onboarding and terminations, uniforms, office moves, and keys are just some examples of her professionalism. The 2022 Be Professional Award has been given to Lisa for her respectful and professional treatment of others while pursuing excellence and efficient processes for the EERC.
Congratulations to this year’s Core Value Award winners. We are continually impressed with their commitment to adhering to our Core Values and exceeding expectations. We are thankful for all they do for the EERC.