Kerry Mincher honored for service
Among SUNY Cortland’s classified employees, Kerry Mincher is perhaps the least likely to press the “call forward” button. She’s all about providing a caller with the requested information on the spot, if she knows it, or finding the answer and returning the call.
“Kerry recognizes the importance of providing exemplary customer service,” said SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum of Mincher, an administrative assistant II in the Division of Student Affairs since 2019 and a 23-year SUNY Cortland employee. “She is always willing to track down information and assist others.”
Mincher was honored on Dec. 1 with the prestigious 2023 President’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.
The award was created in 2002 to annually spotlightone SUNY Cortland full-time classified service employee “for extraordinary achievement and to encourage the continuation of excellence.” Nominees must have at least three years of continuous service. Supervisors, co-workers or other university community members nominate workers considered for this honor.
The President’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service traditionally is presented at the annual Service Awards Ceremony, a 52-year-old event for classified employees with a holiday luncheon sponsored by the Human Resources Office in Corey Union.
At this year’s event, Bitterbaum presented Mincher with a plaque to acknowledge her outstanding service to the university. On hand to celebrate with her were her husband, Craig Mincher; her two sons, David and John; and her parents, Grace and Roger Howland. A graduate of Newark Valley (N.Y.) High School, Mincher earned an associate degree as a paralegal at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
In 1994, Mincher was hired as a keyboard specialist at SUNY Upstate Medical Center’s clinical campus in Binghamton, N.Y., where her numerous roles included preparing and distributing all materials for the geriatric, surgery and radiology programs.
She joined SUNY Cortland in 2000 as a secretary I in the Business Office. In 2010, she was promoted to administrative aide in the Purchasing Office. In 2014, she was elevated to secretary II in the Finance and Management Office. In 2019, she accepted a lateral transfer to serve in the Vice President for Student Affairs Office.
“Kerry joined Student Affairs in the summer of 2019,” said Greg Sharer, vice president for student affairs, who nominated her for the award. “While she was learning about the division, she quickly became a key person for COVID-19 communication. She fielded many difficult calls from parents during a time of anxiety and uncertainty.”
More recently, Mincher has pinch-hit for the Student Conduct Office in the absence of administrative support staff while managing her own responsibilities.
“Her demeanor, confidence and skills are an example of what all staff should embody,” said Rebecca Nadzadi, director of student conduct. “Beyond that, she is intelligent, kind and a friendly face to see every day at work.”
“Kerry is an adept multitasker,” Sharer said. “She maintains a positive attitude in stressful situations. “She manages challenging calls from parents on a regular basis.”
He noted that Mincher manages the family communication address list with a fine-tuned sense of what parents and guardians will want to learn about their student’s Cortland experience.
Chris Kuretich, associate vice president for student affairs, noted how Mincher helped him through an administrative vacancy by adding to her own tasks without hesitation — services meeting an immediate need including the distribution of grocery cards and fuel cards to students via the Student Emergency Fund.
“She has consistently provided excellent service in all of the roles she’s held at the university and has managed to go above and beyond throughout this past year,” Kuretich said.
“With her wits, guidance and thinking outside the box, we became a team” when the pandemic-related public health measures began, said Dana Smith, administrative assistant I in the Modern Languages Department. “She was constantly coming up with ways of keeping calls and emails organized, information up to date with not only me but with others working the front lines. … With each phone call and email from every parent, student, faculty member and staff member, she showed all of them the utmost respect, compassion and drive to help them out.”
Jennifer Eckert-Dennison, associate director of human resources, has observed for seven years Mincher’s hard work on campus committees, including on the CSEA executive board, assisting and managing the group’s picnic and Classified Staff Service Awards ceremony.
“One thing I can absolutely say, without hesitation, is that Kerry cares about her work on this campus,” Eckert-Dennison said.
Employees Honored for Years of Service
As is customary this time of year, 32 classified staff and Research Foundation employees who met milestone years of service with SUNY Cortland were recognized for their dedication and commitment. The 2023 Service Awards honorees are:
Jennifer Baker, Student Health Services
Darwin Bartholomew, Custodial Services
Colleen Trinkle, Custodial Services
David Coakley, University Police
Judy Daniels, Custodial Services
Anne McLorn, Art and Art History Department
Tracey Messinger, Research Foundation
Steven Rolfe, University Police
Scott Chierchio, Maintenance
Patty Fisk, Custodial Services
Lisa Hand, Registrar’s Office
Corrina Harvey, History Department
Marie Nelson, Human Resources Office
Julie Randall, Athletics Department
Sheryl Robertson, Custodial Services
Jamie Rounds, Facilities Operations and Services
Lawrence Smith, Custodial Services
Haley Zurell, School of Professional Studies
Kathleen Abbatoy, Custodial Services
Brendan Barry, Custodial Services
Steven Brown, Maintenance
Erika Caughey, Custodial Services
Ashley Clark, Custodial Services
Bonnie Daniels, Custodial Services
Bennett Gallow, Maintenance
Wilma Kile, Custodial Services
Kevin Pratt, Grounds
Nichole Schwartz, Library
Barbara Smith, Custodial Services
Michael Theobald, Research Foundation
Scott Thornton, Transportation
Robert Wright, Custodial Services