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Nominated by their peers and selected by Staff Council, the staff members below exemplify service to the University, showing leadership in their staff role and elsewhere. Below is a list of current and past Staff Members of the Month. Click on each staff member's name to learn more about them!

Do you know someone who should be here, too?  Nominate him or her as Staff Member of the Month today .


2018 Staff Members of the Month

September 2018




August 2018

Yohannes Abasseran

Operational Engineer
Facility and Project Management

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 Click here to learn more about Yohannes...
How long have you been at SPU? 

11 years.

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

Whenever I solve a heat and ventilation issue on campus, that is a good workday for me. 

One day I was checking boiler rooms as usual. I walked into the Ames Library boiler room and found a waterline raptured. It had started flooding the floor. First, I just shut down the main waterline and, second, I reported to the host what I did.

I feel lucky that I was there on time to save the damage, and that is one of the good days I remember.

How does your faith impact your work? 

My faith helps me to be positive and friendly at work. And I always pray for my work to be accomplish correctly. Thanks to God that so far nothing has turned out to be bad. 

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

I was born and grew up in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is located in the East side of Africa. 

After I finished technical school for auto mechanics 1984, I started working at a shipyard as a mechanic. Later, after a year, I was assigned to work on cargo ships. That gave me a chance to see the world — ports in Djibouti, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Yemen, India, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, Japan, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Holland, Germany, and Sweden.

In November 2002, I came to the U.S. My first entry city was Las Vegas. But I noticed Vegas is not convenient for living. I moved to Seattle in February 2003 and started working in maintenance.

I learned about SPU from my longtime friend, Michael Tesfaye. Michaël Tesfaye and I have known each other since back home.

I applied and was hired by SPU June 2007.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? 

Playing soccer and watching sports. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I come from a family of 10. Two of my sisters and one of my brothers live in Seattle.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Every day facing different challenges, that is my favorite part of my job. 

What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you? 

I want people to know that I am so happy to be part of SPU family. 

Anything else you'd like to share?

I just want say thanks for recognizing me as Employee of the Month. I never think of myself as a hard worker.

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Yohannes Abasseran as the August 2018 Staff of the Month!


August 2018

Josh Kanehen

Director, Business Systems
Computer and Information Systems

Hometown: Bothell, Washington

 Click here to learn more about Yohannes...
How long have you been at SPU? 

Nine years.

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

One of my favorite memories from my time at SPU was when we were working to roll out EMS for room management on campus. 

It was a chance to get to know many people around campus better, solve interesting problems, and build something that makes it easier for students and employees to find space on campus.

How does your faith impact your work? 

In my role, I get to be involved in a lot of big changes to how various offices do their day-to-day jobs. I take that role very seriously and am constantly looking to the Lord to help me find the insights needed to make something work well and to give me the wisdom in which route to go. All so that the end result serves the people using the system, the departments involved, and the University at large in the best way possible. 

Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific? 

My family has a lot of ties to SPU. Both my grandpa and dad served as pastors in the Free Methodist Church. My grandma, mom, brother, and many other relatives graduated from SPC/SPU. When I came to campus as a high school senior to preview campus, though, it was the community that convinced me to apply and enroll. 

After graduation, I went out into industry in firmware engineering, and that (SPU) community was the biggest thing I missed. When my company decided to downsize its operations in 2009, my old boss from when I was a student worker told me that, while he’d happily provide an excellent reference for me, he had a position open that I might be interested in. I took him up on the offer and have never looked back. 

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work? 

I really enjoy the new board and card games that have come out in the last 10 years or so. We have a group of people here at SPU who get together to play games once a week over lunch in our conference room. I also have two monthly game-nights with different friend groups. When it comes to board games, I can’t get enough. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I’ve recently started dabbling in baking. It’s pretty much exclusively breads at this point (nothing too fancy). A love of hearty breads was instilled in me by my babushka at a young age, so that’s driven me forward, and I find that I’m never at a loss for finding an appreciative home for a loaf when I end up baking too much.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Helping people. At the end of the day, that’s what brought me to this role. I want to be able to help people do their jobs and do them better. The biggest reward for me is when we finish resolving a problem, or implementing a system, and others can get back to doing what they do best, hopefully in a better and more efficient way than before. 

What’s the most important thing that you’d want people to know about you? 

I’m a people person. I’m not naturally outgoing, but love meeting people and getting to know them. So, don’t hesitate to come up and introduce yourself if you ever see me around campus. I’d love to meet you and would be happy to talk about your department, baking, board games, or anything that comes up! 

Anything else you'd like to share?

I love that I get to work with, and commute to SPU with, my wife, Kristi (SOE); we have lunch together as often as our schedules allow. We have two sons: Caleb (3) and Daniel (1).

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Josh Kanehen as the July 2018 Staff of the Month!


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