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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 the Staff Member of the Month?  Nominate him or her today !


2018 Staff Members of the Month

October 2018

Marilyn Hancock

Administrative Assistant
Humanities

Hometown: Olympia, Washington

 Click here to learn more about Marilyn...

How long have you been at SPU? 

10 years, plus the two years I worked from 1985 to 1987..

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

Every day is a memorable day. I do a lot of little things, helping people, ordering supplies, making photocopies, filling out reimbursement requests, etc. I also enjoy getting to know the students, staff, and faculty. This is a wonderful community!

How does your faith impact your work? 

Prayer has always been an important part of my life and I love to see how God answers the biggest and smallest requests. I am constantly praying for God to give me wisdom in making decisions throughout my day, and I see his hand guiding and directing me.. 

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

I came to SPU in 1985 and worked as the administrative assistant for Professor Ed Bauman in the Electrical Engineering Program. My supervisor was Jacque Hancock and she later became my mother-in-law. My husband, Jeff, is a 1988 SPU alum and, since I loved working here so much and Jeff loved his EE program, we decided I would come back so our kids could have the option of attending, if they so desired. Our oldest graduated in 2017 in nursing and is a labor and delivery nurse at Evergreen Hospital, the hospital where all of our kids were born. Our younger two will be juniors this year, mechanical engineering and exercise science. (They’re not twins; one took a gap year with YWAM.)

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

Spending time with family and friends, reading, walking, running, hiking, biking. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I toured three times with the Continental Singer back in the early ’80s and traveled around the U.S., Asia, Canada/Alaska and South America.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

All of it! I love my job!

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

More than anything, I want to be more like Jesus.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I’ve run eight half marathons and two full. Completing my first full marathon was one of my proudest moments.


Please join Staff Council in congratulating Marilyn Hancock as the October 2018 Staff of the Month!

September 2018

Neal DeWitt

Multi-Skilled Trades 11 Mch/El
Facility and Project Management

Hometown: Vernonia, Oregon

 Click here to learn more about Neal...

How long have you been at SPU? 

17½ years.

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

Everyday working here is a good day at work.

Also, there was the time I was allowed to shadow my child who was in the 4th or 5th grade at the time. His class was visiting campus, and I was allowed the time off to join him in a tour of the campus, which made for a memorable time for the both of us.

How does your faith impact your work? 

To always be open to teach, or be taught, with an open mind, while striving to do the work with an attitude of humility. 

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

I was unhappy at my previous employers and was looking for a new job when I came across the job posting. Also, I wanted to work in a Christian workplace. I applied and was hired.

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

Bicycle riding, camping, and enjoying my 3-year-old granddaughters. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I was born at home.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Being tasked to find workable solutions to the issue at hand. 

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

That I can find good in almost all challenges in life. Also it's about working smarter, not harder.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I feel really blessed and grateful to have a welcoming place to work.


Please join Staff Council in congratulating Neal DeWitt as the September 2018 Staff of the Month!

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!


July 2018

Josh Kanehen

Director, Business Systems
Computer and Information Systems

Hometown: Bothell, Washington

 Click here to learn more about Josh...

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!

June 2018

Lynne Hall

Executive Assistant to the Vice President for University Advancement
University Advancement

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

 Click here to learn more about Lynne...

How long have you been at SPU? 

Almost 18 years

How does your faith impact your work? 

I am so blessed to be surrounded by co-workers who live out their faith every day at work. We genuinely care about each other, pray together, and encourage one another daily.

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

Going way back ... This may sound corny, but as a young person I loved looking at my parents’ SPC yearbooks (both are grads of the Class of 1950). I dreamed about attending someday, as I poured over the photos of their experiences here. They met many of their lifelong friends in college and both continued to stay very involved here throughout my life.

My dream came true as I enrolled, got my first job (cleaning bathrooms at $1.60 an hour), met my husband, and graduated with a degree in education. 

I stayed involved in alumni activities through the years and in the late ’90s I was asked to join the SPU Alumni Board. A few years later, my oldest son decided to apply here, and at the same time a position in the Alumni Office was posted. I applied and was hired. 

It was the perfect fit and I loved it. (Of course, the tuition discount was especially helpful!) Since then I’ve also been privileged to work alongside three vice presidents.

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

I have a few favorite things:

I’m a bargain shopper. On Saturdays you can find me driving around, looking for the best price on almost anything! 

I also love to take walks with Ken, my wonderful husband of 40 years, and our 7-month-old puppy, Fynn.

And I do enjoy watching movies and binge-watching British crime dramas ...

What’s something that few people know about you? 

My paternal grandparents’ wedding was officiated by  Alexander Beers .

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Coming to work is a joy. Every person that I work alongside is so gifted, and I’m continually thankful for the work and time they spend with our faithful donors.

I love helping my co-workers with their jobs however I can, even if it’s just answering a question! 


Please join Staff Council in congratulating Lynne Hall as the June 2018 Staff of the Month!

May 2018

Clint Kelly

Communications Specialist; Senior Response Writer
University Communications

Hometown: Portland, Oregon


 Click here to learn more about Clint...

How long have you been at SPU? 

30 years

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

To be a “teller” of SPU stories is one of the best jobs in the world. A good day at work is when I can interview a student, a donor, or a faculty/staff member, see them light up at what God has been doing in their lives, and then capture the story in 500 or 1,000 words or more. 

Strange to hear, probably, but I am especially captivated by the Footnotes section of Response magazine where in 75 words or less, I must provide snapshots of some pretty amazing lives — and passings. Obituaries are fertile ground for storytellers. I’ve had the honor of interviewing dozens of interesting Falcons, including POW Jake DeShazer, data scientist Christalyn Steers McCrum, and, posthumously, Kassa Wolde-Mariam, secretary to King Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. 

How does your faith impact your work? 

Part of SPU storytelling is drawing out the various ways that the Holy Spirit moves in people’s lives, be they Harold Crawford, the carrot king, or Bonnie Prather, Broadway wardrobe assistant. To handle the historic letters of one-time slave trader John Newton or hear hair-raising tales of jungle medicine from career missionary Marti Ensign, is to tell God’s story through his human agents. 

My faith allows me to write as boldly as they tell their stories. To share that faith with all of them, and with all my co-workers — through weekly devotions and prayer — is an unbelievable blessing in this secular and chaotic world. 

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

I was freelance writing and producing Northwest Christian News, a monthly for churches in Snohomish County, when I attended a writers conference at SPU. A fellow writer friend and SPU grad, Alice Kalso, was at that conference, told me about the job opening in University Communications, and urged me to apply. My only degree was an associate’s degree, and that in forestry, and my portfolio of published articles seemed all-too-thin. But I applied and, after running a gauntlet of interviews, was hired by John Glancy, who then was director of UC. 

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

Read, sit on the dock of the bay, and spend time with my four kids and six grandkids. I guess that’s three things, but they sometimes merge.

I was recently in the shadow of Harborview Hospital with my daughter and two of my grandkids watching 120 goats clear six acres of weeds and tall grass. Did you know that a goat is considered “an old goat” at about 13 years? Same age as my grandson! Somehow it made me feel better. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I and a team of others ran a 24-hour marathon and set a world record for the most collective miles run in one place in one day as recognized by Runner’s World magazine.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Working with my talented and creative UC teammates. Among them are graphic design, web design, and web development experts; management gurus; editorial geniuses; grammatical wizards; and social media savants who are just plain fun and inspirational to be around.

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

That God is my rock, my shield, and my deliverer. Almost half my life has been spent at SPU and it has been the Lord’s immeasurable blessing all the way.

Anything else you would like to share? 

Will work for bacon. 


Please join Staff Council in congratulating Clint Kelly as the May 2018 Staff of the Month!


April 2018

Donna Coombs

Communication Office/Dispatcher
Safety and Security

Hometown: Seattle, Washington


 Click here to learn more about Donna...

How long have you been at SPU? 

16 years

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

There is no one specific day that stands out. A good day is when we are emergency free. When I have helped someone in even a small way maneuver through a difficult situation and see them find a solution, it is so rewarding. 

How does your faith impact your work? 

I believe in an all-powerful God. There are times at work where I have been able to stop and pray over a situation and then watch God change it.

Also, I'm so blessed to be given a chance to share Jesus love with the students and staff. 

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

My friend Daphne, who worked for SPU, encouraged me to apply. I have always had a heart for missions and have been blessed to be able to continue sharing my faith in our community.

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

Spending time with my nieces and nephews, whether playing games, bowling, swimming, or just sitting around talking. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I spent some time with Wycliffe Bible Translators as a helper to missionaries in the Philippines.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Interacting with a student who is excited about the University and sharing in their dreams and hopes. 

It is so refreshing to greet the new students and experience their enthusiasm, seeing the University in a fresh way through their eyes.

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

I love the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart and will not back down in how I believe. The Bible stands as complete truth, and I will not soft pedal the gospel to be politically correct. 

Anything else you would like to share? 

No matter what, God is able and his word is true. 


Please join Staff Council in congratulating Donna Coombs as the April 2018 Staff of the Month!


March 2018

Alexis Cruikshank

Director of University Services
University Services

Hometown: Renton, Washington

 Click here to learn more about Alexis...

How long have you been at SPU? 

This is my fourth year at SPU.

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

My most memorable days are when my team and I see the culmination of a project that has been months in the making — a new software platform going live, the birth of Falcon Funds, the start of newly designed meal plans, a new process rolling out to students, etc. 

I love seeing our hard work put into action to expand or make our services to students, staff and faculty better. With eight different units under the umbrella of University Services, we get to see a lot of good memorable days! 

How does your faith impact your work? 

I believe that every job is an opportunity to do God’s work whether in a secular organization or a Christian one like SPU. God chooses to love people and distribute his gifts through our work. This is of particular encouragement to me, as University Services often works behind the scenes in a supportive role. 

Though often unseen, our work helps others flourish through our efforts. Since all work matters to God I try to ask myself daily, “how does God matter to my work?” and challenge myself to let him shape and effect my motivation, responses, and actions. 

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

I’d lived in New York City and worked at NYU for 13 years when my husband and I felt called to return to the Seattle area to be closer to our families. I loved working in academia, but I really wanted to find a smaller campus where I could be more connected and make a greater impact. I was very intrigued by the SPU position and thought it would be a wonderful bonus to work at a Christian University. 

I interviewed for the position just a few days before leaving NYC. We decided to spend a week on the road (we love cross-country road trips) and somewhere between Idaho and Oregon, I got the call that I had received the position! It was such a confirmation and relief to roll into town with a new position, though my husband was annoyed since it was the only one I had applied for! 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I love to make things and have tried just about every kind of craft like sewing, scrapbooking, knitting, jewelry making, cake decorating, wood burning, and pretty much everything in between. 

Right now I am the costume co-chair for my daughter’s elementary school play, responsible for the production of 130+ “Beauty and the Beast” costumes! So in my spare time you will most likely find me in my craft room creating something new.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

The best part of my job as director of OUS is finding ways to improve our operations. Designing, implementing and managing processes brings me a great deal of joy. 

The easiest part of my job is managing a truly exceptional and hardworking staff. They make it a pleasure to come to work each day and serve beside them. 


Please join Staff Council in congratulating Alexis Cruikshank as the March 2018 Staff of the Month!


February 2018

Teresa Lewis

Accounting Assistant II Senior
Finance Office

Hometown: Bonney Lake, Washington


 Click here to learn more about Teresa...

How long have you been at SPU? 

Working on seven years.

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

More like a memorable good year! I love the people I work with and around; they’re more like family than co-workers. They’ve always been very supportive, but none more so than over the past 1+ years when I’ve required a lot of prayer and support for personal health reasons. They have allowed me to come and go during the day in order to take care of last-minute appointments, they covered my job (affording me the ability to take an extended leave) at a time Finance is very busy. 

The SPU community as a whole, has been great over this past year, and I’m thankful every day, to be a part of it all. 

How does your faith impact your work? 

I would say that my work impacts my faith, more so than the other way around. Working in a Christian environment has been a blessing. 

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

A LOT of prayer! I was in real estate, and when the market crashed, so did I. I was out of work for a couple years, doing odd jobs just to pay my bills, when a member of my church (Steve Whitehouse) approached me about an opening in the Finance Department at SPU. Never saw myself commuting to Seattle for work, but God had a plan, and here I am.

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

Relax! But let’s get real, I rarely have time for that. I love to snow/water ski, but haven’t had much time to do either lately. I try to visit family (mom and aunt) and friends as much as possible, and I thoroughly enjoy planning our ladies annual retreats at church (two yrs ago we went to Camp Casey). 

I also love sports of all kind, and still play on the church co-ed softball team. 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I’m a deaconess at church, the past president and current member of the Tacoma Downtown Lions Club. 

On a more fun note, I’ve jumped out of an airplane on a static line (that means all by myself!), which is possibly one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done, besides swimming with the dolphin’s in Bora Bora.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

The people! Sitting out front allows me the opportunity to meet new and existing, students/staff/faculty daily. I love laughing with and getting to know them all on a more personal level. It’s what makes my commute worthwhile.

Anything else you would like to share? 

I love my little Chihuahua, Shelby. She brings me great joy. :-) 


Please join Staff Council in congratulating Teresa Lewis as the February 2018 Staff of the Month!


January 2018

Mark Sullivan

Associate Director, Academic Counseling
Student Academic Services

Hometown: Kirkland, Washington


 Click here to learn more about Mark...

How long have you been at SPU? 

11 years.

Tell us about a memorable day at work. 

I love the busy days: Registration week, first week of the quarter, New Student Advising, Commencement, and that random Tuesday when you get an extra helping of student emails. Those days all have their crazy moments for sure, but they’re made fun when working with a great, supportive team. 

It’s also fulfilling to help students take something initially complex or overwhelming, and either make things more simple, or help them feel empowered to research and decide for themselves.

How does your faith impact your work? 

What a gift to work at a place where faith not only matters, but can also be lived out in our every day with students and colleagues. 

My own educational background included eight years of Jesuit education, and so practical Jesuit spirituality easily (and often unknowingly) finds its way into my work. A simplistic list would include concepts like cura personalis (care for the entire person), discernment, and finding God in all things. These are all very helpful in academic counseling. 

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

As an undergrad (at Gonzaga), it took me a long time to figure out that working in higher education was an actual thing. That was pretty silly, because I was lucky to be involved throughout college and had been working with lots of folks who were doing just that. 

The turning point was in the last week before graduation. I had just packed up an office and was holding a box of stuff in the doorway of our dean of students when she mentioned this (obvious to her) opportunity for me. Thanks, Dr. Hellwig!

That set me off on lots of conversations, including informational and real interviews with so many helpful people. I eventually connected with Ruth Adams (who like she always does) connected me with others, including Jordan Grant, who hired me in my first job at SPU to help with the great work in Student Financial Services.

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

I love to read more than anything, but I never make enough time for this! 

What’s something that few people know about you? 

I thought I didn’t like ice cream for the first 15 years of my life because my family only ever had mint chocolate chip — and I have a “strong dislike” for mint. I now love cookie dough ice cream, btw.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

The people. I get to work with incredible people every day, on my own team and in my department — but also all over this campus.

Students are amazing and hilarious and frustrating and teaching me new things every day. When my millennial-peer friends ask why I’ve been at the same one place when they’ve been at four, I always say it’s the people.

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

I’m only bored when I’m not learning! 


Please join Staff Council in congratulating mark Sullian as the January 2018 Staff of the Month!


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