ME Technical and Operations Manager Traci Case received the Mines 2021 Administrative Faculty Outstanding Employee of the Year Award. The announcement came on Wednesday, April 28th from the Administrative Faculty Council (AFC). She will be honored at an event on May 20th.
The Administrative Faculty Outstanding Employee of the Year Award seeks to recognize an administrative faculty member who embodies Mines’ mission, produces quality work, and consistently displays characteristics valued and appreciated through their every-day job expectations.
Case is an integral member of the Mechanical Engineering Leadership Team and wears many hats in the department. Her technical background, (B.S. Chemical Engineering from UT Austin and MS in Environmental Science from Mines) and extensive managerial experience has aided her in managing day-to-day operation of the ME department office, machine shop, physical facilities, and managing student workers. Traci is known for her professionalism, consistently demonstrated dedication, and exceptional dependability. This was on full display this year as she spearheaded the university efforts in COVID response. She implemented sweeping changes in departmental/university communication, signage, seating arrangements, lab safety and personnel management. This fall, she was the key point of contact for understanding and implementing university guidelines at the department level. During much of this past year, she was the only person present in the department offices and on several instances, she went out of her way to ensure COVID protocols were met, and our students and faculty were safe.
Case is the go-to person for many within the department when faced with a challenging situation. Her professionalism and reputation have been key in building a respectful and safe departmental community. Hers is a respected voice in the ME leadership team, and she often brings forward perspectives that have been shared with her by individuals who did not feel comfortable raising their issues with other members of the team. Traci has led the ME alumni outreach efforts, including establishing the very successful Mechanical Monday’s program. This is a biweekly presentation by Mines alumni and industry that strengthens ties between current students, faculty and staff, and alumni and industry. She also creates the alumni newsletter and is the department repository for news and accomplishments of students and faculty.
As an Oredigger (`97) and a resident of Golden, Traci is dedicated to the success of Mines. This dedication is evident by her role as an adjunct faculty member in Engineering, Design, & Society, where she teaches a section of Cornerstone Design (EDNS 151) each semester. She often speaks of the bond she has with the students and how important it is to her to be an advocate for them and create a safe place for them to come and share their experiences. As a military veteran (Army platoon leader), she is also heavily engaged in military relations on campus and has been a key intermediary between student service members and the administration. Traci fosters this community with her direct reports in the department, ensuring that Buddy Haun and Casey Bernal, as lab managers for the ME program, are respected contributors to the student experience and are included in essential committees for ME courses.
Case is an indispensable member of Mechanical Engineering and, as one person outside the department commented of Traci’s work on a search committee, “Traci is likely the secret machine” behind getting things done in ME!