UPEA Recognizes Excellent Employees with the Public Employee Salute

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.

June 2020

Rod Montoya
Rod Montoya is an employee with the Utah Department of Technology Services (DTS) and is recognized for helping Utah State Office of Rehabilitation counselors transition to telework. He installed new software, verified laptops, and set up phone systems while searching for needed, high-demand equipment. Rod trained counselors on using the new setup, exhibiting patience answering questions, and dedication by being readily available. Thank you, Rod!

Shane R. Bekkemellom
Shane Bekkemellom, a respected administrative legal secretary with the State Attorney General’s Office, is recognized for his kind heart and jovial personality. His positivity encourages everyone around him, making others feel appreciated. He played a huge role in implementing Legal Files software for the division, helping make the integration seamless.

Aaron Johnson
Aaron Johnson is a dedicated Juvenile Justice Services employee at the Southwest Youth Center. He is always willing to take shifts, work overtime, and support other staff members and supervisors when needed. He is a hard worker and a valuable employee. Aaron upholds principles of the agency while maintaining good social relations with everyone he serves.

Tracy Barkley
As the constituent services specialist for the Division of Medicaid and Financing, Tracy Barkley carries out the difficult job of helping customers with their questions and problems. She is always calm and patient, listening carefully to concerns, and works diligently to assure correct decisions on eligibility. Tracy exhibits kindness and empathy, relentlessly pursuing the best possible outcomes.

July 2020

Kennith “Dayne” Johnson
Dayne Johnson has provided facilities maintenance for the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) for more than 20 years. He works hard to ensure the buildings within his region are kept in tip-top condition for UDOT employees to perform their jobs efficiently. His commitment to excellence, knowledge of his job, and passion for serving do not go unnoticed.

Gena Nielson
Gena Nielson, a motor vehicle carrier specialist for UDOT, is recognized for her dedication to her coworkers. She is a caring individual, often bringing goodies for everyone and decorations for the office. During this public health crisis, she takes it upon herself to disinfect the work environment to help keep everyone safe and healthy. She is a great friend and coworker

Diana Beard
Diana Beard works with the Unemployment Insurance Department for the Division of Workforce Services (DWS) reviewing resumés, discussing interview tactics, and finding job leads for clients. She handles difficult situations with professionalism and is known for her spunk and knowledge of resources. Diana volunteers at the facility food drop, and is always up to date on community events to help clients.

Kevin Burt
Utah Unemployment Director Kevin Burt, with DWS, is known for thinking out of the box and coming up with creative solutions. He is appreciated for his leadership and work skills, diligently working to help Utah citizens get unemployment benefits as soon as possible. Kevin has been instrumental in implementing workable solutions during current times. He prioritizes Utah citizens.

Ben Reeves
Santaquin City Manager Ben Reeves is a leader. He assists the mayor and city council, serves as the public-relations representative, and attends countless meetings, all to serve the residents of Santaquin. He recognizes staff for their extra efforts and is always willing to do any given task. Ben is a true professional and peacemaker, dedicated to serving the public.

Russell Hadley
Russel Hadley is a senior engineer for the Utah Division of Water Resources (DWR). He has been dedicated to public service for more than 20 years. Russell is thanked by coworkers for being a fantastic UPEA representative for DWR, making sure everyone is up to date on benefits and current events. Russell is an excellent spokesman, and is committed to seeing projects through.

August 2020

Mark Hansen
Officer Mark Hansen is a member of the Critical Incident Response Team for the Utah Department of Corrections. He is the embodiment of professionalism, and excels at all he strives to do. Officer Hansen is the oldest member of the team to complete a SWAT School, and is by far one of the most valuable assets the team has. He has progressed at a fast rate, and it is a privilege and honor to work with him.

Stefany Richards
Stefany Richards is a DTS technical support specialist who provides state employees assistance remotely via the Technical Helpdesk. She demonstrates professionalism and kindness, while being compassionate and supportive. Stefany honors the efforts of those who call her, and handles each case with knowledge, expertise, and grace. Stefany is thanked for her excellence in providing excellent work and quality service.