UPEA Recognizes Public Employee Salute Winners

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) is proud to participate in the Public Employee Salute Program.  The idea for the program began in 1999, when a past UPEA executive director noticed that KSL Radio had a special segment to recognize Utah teachers.  The segment is commonly known as the “Teacher Feature.”  However, there was no feature recognizing Utah’s public employees.  The following year, the UPEA and Mountain America Credit Union Public Employee Salute program began.

The following individuals have been nominated and recognized with the Public Employee Salute for their hard work for the state of Utah.

February 2020

Brandon Stokes
Brandon Stokes is the manager for the Division of Facilities and Construction Management Northern Utah Complex. He is responsible for a number of buildings, and expertly leads a crew to keep all of the infrastructure working phenomenally. Stokes recently demonstrated his dedication when he spent three hours on a holiday troubleshooting and resolving a building security issue. UPEA appreciates him and thanks him for his daily efforts and leadership.

Trina Whitehead

Adult Probation and Parole Agent Trina Whitehead has served the public since 2004. She is a valuable asset in the Ogden AP&P office, and is recognized as a balanced agent who can hold an offender accountable when necessary and provide the appropriate support to those willing to make life changes. She cultivates relationships with allied law enforcement agencies to enhance public safety. Her exceptional work ethic, great people skills and strong desire to do the right thing have led to her excellent career.

March 2020

Andre Erebia

Andre Erebia is a transportation technician III with the Utah Department of Transportation. For six years, Erebia has been going above and beyond his responsibilities both for his shed and for the entire department. He is noted for his mentorship and promotion of teamwork.

Jessica Antezano

Jessica Antezano is an environmental health scientist with the Salt Lake County Health Department. She is recognized for her hard work and efficiency. She works diligently inspecting restaurants, protecting health by making sure food sold to the public is safe. She is always going above and beyond to provide great customer service,and is supportive both of her coworkers and restaurant operators.

Patrick Upton

Officer Patrick Upton is employed by the Utah Department of Corrections at the Utah State Prison. He is an integral part of the Uinta One O day crew, and is commended for his professional demeanor with offenders and staff. He has pioneered multiple successful direct approaches to deal with problematic situations. Upton is an outstanding public employee.

Judy Kearns

Judy Kearns, an employment counselor with the Utah Department of Workforce Services, goes above and beyond to serve her community and customers. She works alongside the courts, Adult Probation and Parole, vocational Rehab, and other agencies to ensure they know how DWS can help their customers and clients. Kearns volunteers her time to support the community, and informs others about how they can get involved.

April 2020

Jessica Berryman

Jessica Berryman is a member of the Salt Lake Community College faculty. She is always smiling, and is recognized for her positive attitude. Berryman is recognized for her dedication, and is an admirable instructor and coordinator. She loves her students, and always finds educational excursions to complement lessons. UPEA thanks Berryman for her commitment to teaching and to her colleagues.

Denise Hawes

Denise Hawes is an eligibility specialist trainer with the Utah Department of Workforce Services. She is an excellent trainer and mentor. Hawes is always willing to step up to help in any way she can. She is known as the go-to person when a problem occurs, and will help find the solution if she doesn’t already know the answer. Coworkers appreciate Hawes because she takes the time to explain policies to her coworkers so they understand how to resolve difficulties.

Justin Hale

Justin Hale is an eligibility specialist with the Utah Department of Workforce Services. He is an exemplary employee, and everyone wants him on their team. Hale is always smiling and has kind words for everyone, employees and customers alike. He provides excellent customer service. He also arranges potluck lunches for his team to build morale. Hale is a person who is reliable, positive, and kind.

Robert Bratton

Robert Bratton works for the Utah Department of Transportation as an incident management specialist. On April 1, 2020, Robert was on routine patrol in the Salt Lake area when he came across an accident involving multiple injuries. He immediately started lifesaving measures while communicating information to Utah Highway Patrol dispatched. Because of his immediate actions, the accident victims survived their injuries. His team recognizes him for his commitment.


May 2020

Deputy Warden Devon Blood

Deputy Warden Devon Blood is recognized for his service to the Utah Department of Corrections. He inspires his staff through his commitment to building trust with the public and with the offender population. He is respected for his solid answers to questions, and is praised for treating individuals equally. Blood exemplifies leadership and great character.

Richard Petersen

District Director Richard Petersen has been with the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation for 18 years. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been at the helm, making sure excellent service continues to customers. He has been instrumental in establishing telecommuting services following Gov. Gary Herbert’s directive. Petersen is a leader who emphasizes positive workplace morale while serving the people of Utah, and he has maintained this during the crisis.

Megan Haney

Chief Probation Officer Megan Haney works for the Third District Juvenile Court. She is a phenomenal person who improves employee morale. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she compiled a list of resources for staff and clients, and sent out weekly emails providing status updates. She continues to do what she can to bring smiles to people with random acts of kindness.  Haney is a unique human being who makes the world and work place better with her presence and positivity.

Marcel Larsen Jones

Marcel Larsen Jones is the Medicaid policy coordinator for the Utah Department of Health. He coordinates policy changes across agencies, and is recognized by Bureau Director Jeff Nelson, as “one of my top hires who consistently impresses with his attention to detail and enthusiasm.” Jones is always available to answer policy questions with patience and complete, concise answers. He is known as a joy and pleasure to work with.