2019 Outstanding Supervisor Award Recipients

Happy Boss’s Day! (Oct 16, 2019)

Erin Gorman

Erin with 5 coworkers holding a banner, flowers, and a certificate to celebrate being an outstanding supervisorErin is a Research Administration Manager/S in the Health Colleges Research Services at the MSU College of Human Medicine. She reports to Walt Esselman, Senior Associate Dean for Research, who attended her celebration along with dozens of her colleagues. Erin was nominated by Teresa Thomas with additional letters of support written by Theresa Couch, Lu Liu, and Melinda Kochenderfer. One of the most sentimental components of Erin’s award party was the presence of her family including her husband, two children, and parents. Erin made special mention of the work ethic she learned from her father who worked many years as a a 3rd shift skilled tradesman at GM.
Erin with 5 family members smilingErin’s staff said that she is a great role model and that “you would want to work with Erin, too!” Lu read her letter during the ceremony, right before we all ate delicious MSU Bakers cake, stating how “Erin understands and supports work/life balance and treats all employees with dignity, support, respect, and integrity.” Erin’s boss, Walt Esselman, supports her approach to supervision and said that “the nature of the work (performed by Erin’s team) allows individuals to work from home one day a week, which Erin encourages. In addition, Erin understands her staff’s needs to take care of children and other life responsibilities and does her best to accommodate them.” Two of the nominators mentioned specific ways that Erin supported their family lives and children.


One of the best parts of Erin’s award ceremony, besides that delicious cake, was seeing her family take part in the celebration. It was really touching and we hope you see that in the photo!

Bryce Henderson

Bryce holding a white spartan cake with green writing that says "Congratulations Bryce Henderson 2019 Outstanding Supervisor"Bryce’s celebration was special! His family came to the 3rd Floor of 1855 Place at 8a to watch the entire Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) Team welcome Bryce with cake and flowers. Several members of his team shared their perspective on why Bryce is so outstanding. One particular employee was appreciative of Bryce’s willingness to craft a flexible schedule that allowed the team member to pursue and complete his bachelor’s degree. The staffer was recently accepted into an internship in Texas and the process was much less stressful due to Bryce’s supervisory approach. Bryce’s supervisor (Phyllis Sherwood) and supervisor’s supervisor (Bob Patterson) also attended the celebration. The entire experience left Bryce relatively stunned and at a loss for words, but his team was able to fill the silence by reading their letters of support for his nomination. The staff was thankful that Bryce was accommodating during the recent “Polar Vortex” and that he has been very supportive when staff members experience family circumstances outside of work. Bryce is a fantastic example of supporting his team and the worklife fit!

William Wetzel

A collage of 4 images. Top left is William's coworkers holding the greatest supervisor banner. Top right is William holding flowers and smiling, looking at the banner. Bottom left is cute shaggy black dog by a table in the office, and bottom right are some coworkers and some on zoom looking at some pictures.William won the award as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Entomology, Center for Integrated Plant Systems. He was nominated by Luke Zehr who wrote a wonderful letter about how Will gets to know the team on an individual level. During the celebration, Luke conveyed a slide show titled “The Joys of Fieldwork” that included photos at the Kellogg Biological Station. Another member of Will’s staff explained how he is an “advocate for healthy, productive, and collaborative work.” Dr. Moria Robinson was able to join in the celebration via Skype while the lab dog drooled as cake was served. Several members of the awards committee packed the small room to hear anecdotes about Will and how much he “sets the tone” for a pleasant and productive work environment at Michigan State. It was clear that Will Wetzel is truly outstanding!

Erica Lange

Erica smiling with coworkers and holding a certificate for being an outstanding supervisorErica won the award as an Office Supervisor with the Pharmacology & Toxicology Department. She reported to Richard Neubig, Department Chair, and was nominated by Stephen Stofflet, Academic Program Coordinator. Her award celebration was unique because it occurred on her last day with MSU! Dozens of her colleagues joined together for a going away party and we surprised her with a pillow made from a Spartan Marching Band uniform, purchased at the MSU Surplus Store. It was a great gift because Erica loves the marching band. Many of her colleagues spoke about how much of an impact Erica made while she was a supervisor at MSU. She transformed the work environment, shifting it from toxic to a place where “people enjoy coming into our office now.” She spoke about her use of “Strengths Finder” to help her team members identify their strengths. She mentioned that a team member might have a strength – for example, technology skills – that she lacks. Identifying who is good at what is essential for a well functioning team because that allows any team member to collaborate and leverage a colleague’s skill set when needed. Erica supported work life balance when several members of the team had family members become ill. She supported her team, both personally and professionally, through it all.