Welcome to the Info TEST server!

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Human Resources > Employee Recognition

Employee Recognition

Left to Right: Charlottesville Employees,

Congratulations to the 2016 Service Award Recipients!

  • 50 Years: Jerry Turner (GB)
  • 40 Years: Jim Condon (CV) and Richard Lacasse (CV)
  • 30 Years: Larry Brothers (SO), Greg Morris (CV), Anthony Perreault (SO), Patrick Schaffner (GB), Gaetano Stanzione (SO) and Steve Tenorio (SO)
  • 20 Years: Tod Boyd (CV) and Ralph Marson (SO)
  • 10 Years: Connie Angel (SO), Matt Gardiner (SO), Sarah Gibson (GB), Antonio Hales (CH), Todd Hunter (CV), David Martin (GB), Juergen Ott (SO), Paul Padilla (SO), Anthony Remijan (CV), Richard Sakshaug (CV), Silver Sturgis (SO), Anthony Turner (CV), and David Woody (GB)



Thank you

AUI and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory support the recognition of employee excellence and loyalty through a variety of awards programs. These programs include Employee Service Awards, STAR awards and the Distinguished Performance Award (DPA). Additional information about each award is shown below.

Service Awards

STAR Awards

Distinguished Performance Awards

Program Objective and Administration - In recognition of their service to the Observatory and the Associated Universities, Inc., eligible employees are presented a specially designed award and certificate of appreciation upon the completion of 10, 20, 30, and 40 years of employment. The awards are presented annually, usually at a ceremony held during the first half of the following year.

Eligibility - For the purpose of establishing eligibility for a service award, "years of employment" shall include the following:

  1. All periods of full-time and part-time employment spent in the employment of the Associated Universities, Inc. or any of its operational units (i.e., the NRAO);
  2. All time spent as an assigned or a loaned employee when the salary is either paid or reimbursed by AUI or when AUI exercises control or direction over the employee's work; and
  3. Leave of absence and other authorized absences.

Tax Withholding - Service Awards are taxable as earned income and subject to Federal, State, local, and Social Security taxes. Awards do not increase an employee's base pay rate; therefore, an award will not be included in the calculation of benefits. The Fair Labor Standards Act considers awards as a discretionary bonus. An award to nonexempt employees will NOT be included in the regular pay for calculation of overtime.

Star Award Nomination Form

Program Objective and Administration - The Star Award Program enables supervisors to recognize exceptional contributions and noteworthy achievements of their employees or groups of employees in a timely manner. The objectives of this program are:

  1. To reward specific one-time achievements (event driven); and
  2. To provide an incentive for continued excellence through the recognition and reward of exceptional performance.

The Human Resources Office, on behalf of the Director, administers the Star Award Program.

Eligibility - Eligibility for the award includes all current employees EXCEPT:

  1. Management (Division Heads and above).
  2. Other employees in ungraded salary classifications.

Award Amount - Award amounts are determined by the Assistant or Associate Director and may be granted in $50 increments. The individual gross award amount may range from $100 to $1500 before mandatory taxes.

    Award Conferral - Awards are presented after the required approvals are obtained.  Awards may be granted at any time during a fiscal year as long as funds are available. Names of recipients may be published internally, with division approval.

    Nomination Procedure - A Star Award form is used to obtain the necessary approvals on individual nominations. The form is available on the Human Resources web site. A description of the extraordinary performance is required on the form to document that the award is consistent with program objectives. For recognition of team achievement, there should be a description of the extraordinary performance and a statement to characterize the contribution of each member and reason it is deemed outstanding. After the Associate or Assistant Director's approval is obtained, the form is forwarded to the Human Resources Office for final approval and processing. The Payroll Office will issue checks upon receipt of the approved form. The Human Resources Office will forward the check and Star Award certificate to the employee's Organization Head for presentation to the employee.

    Criteria for Selection - Supervisors may nominate an employee or a team of employees who have demonstrated a short-term performance of an extraordinary nature. The performance may be related to a particular assignment given by a supervisor or be an accomplishment initiated by the individual or the group. In either case, the activity must have been of significant benefit to the Site, Division, Group, or Observatory.

    In general, the award is intended to recognize short-term performance of a period from several weeks to several months. It should not replace recognition by promotion for significant permanent changes in responsibility or salary increase for sustained performance levels.

    To assist in ensuring consistency throughout the Observatory in granting awards, two criteria are used to choose individual accomplishments appropriate for an award. The criteria definitions are:

    1. Benefit to the Observatory: The Observatory or some subunit should have benefited in a significant way through either cost savings, efficiency of operations, satisfaction of work requirement, or some similar gain; and
    2. Exceptional Nature of Effort Required: It is expected that award recipients will have overcome problems which could be considered the most difficult for their classification or even beyond the expectations for employees in their classification.

    Tax Withholding - Star Awards are taxable as earned income and subject to Federal, State, local, and Social Security taxes. Awards do not increase an employee's base pay rate; therefore, an award will not be included in the calculation of benefits. The Fair Labor Standards Act considers awards as a discretionary bonus. An award to nonexempt employees will NOT be included in the regular pay for calculation of overtime.

    Program Objectives and Administration - The Distinguished Performance Awards recognize the Observatory employees who have distinguished themselves by their outstanding contributions and performance in support of the Observatory's mission. Outstanding sustained performance in the fields of science, technology, management, and administration can be recognized under this program. The objective of this program is to recognize outstanding contributions and foster an atmosphere of excellence. The Human Resources Office administers this program on behalf of the Director.

    Eligibility - All employees are eligible except for the Assistant or Associate Director, the Deputy Director, and the Director.

    Award Amount/Number - The Distinguished Performance Award gross amount is $2500. Throughout the Observatory, a maximum of six awards will be granted each year.

    Award Conferral - Awards will consist of a check and an engraved memento indicating the award name, the employee's name, the purpose of the award, and the year of the award. Award checks and mementos are to be presented at an annual ceremony and reception.

    Selection Committee - The Selection Committee consists of an Associate or Assistant Director, the Deputy Director, the Observatory Chief Scientist, and the Head of Human Resources. The committee will screen the nominations and recommend a maximum of six award recipients to the Observatory Director who will have final approval on selections.

    Nominations Procedure - Nominations are to be forwarded by the Associate or Assistant Director to the Human Resources Office after a solicitation period in the fall of each year. Because this award is Observatory wide, the Associate or Assistant Director may nominate employees from other observatory organizations after informing the affected Assistant or Associate Director. Nominations will be made privately and nominees will not be informed that they have been submitted for consideration.

    Required Documentation - Nominating Associate or Assistant Directors will prepare documentation in support of the nominee that clearly describes the distinguished performance and specifically addresses how this performance meets the awards criteria. Endorsement letters from other supervisors, co-workers, or collaborators may be submitted.

    Evaluation Criteria - The overall criterion for the award is an employee's exceptional contribution to the Observatory. The committee will evaluate each nominee specifically with respect to these five criteria:

    1. the exceptional nature of the employee's contribution,
    2. the difficulty level of the contribution,
    3. the benefit of contribution(s) to the Observatory,
    4. the consistency of sustained superior performance level, and
    5. the length of time over which the contribution(s) were made.

    The review committee will consider the nominee's job level and job function when evaluating the exceptional nature, difficulty, and benefit of the contribution(s) to the Observatory.

    Tax Withholding - The $2500 award is fully taxable as earned income. Appropriate taxes will be withheld by the Payroll Office. Awards do not increase an employee's base pay rate; therefore, an award will not be included in the calculation of benefits. The Fair Labor Standards Act considers a discretionary bonus. An award to nonexempt employees will not be included in regular pay for calculation of overtime.


    Previous Distinguished Performance Awardees