The City of Wilmington is fortunate to have so many talented employees who are dedicated to selflessly serving our community.
Every quarter, we honor a select group of these employees with the STARS (Service, Teamwork, Accountability & Professionalism, Respect, Safety) Awards, recognizing their exceptional work.
In addition to the STARS recipients, we also named our 2022 Employees of the Year during the Nov. 1 City Council meeting.
Here are those winners:
Andrew Owens with the Wilmington Fire Department — Andrew saw the need for advanced training response for Mass Casualty Shooter incidents after an incident in Wilmington. Firefighter Owens began researching and attending training in the field of Mass Casualty Shooting Incident Response to further his knowledge. He worked with members of Novant and the WFD to create, present and implement a unified and organized plan for Mass Casualty Shooter Incidents. This year, Firefighter Owens presented a training course to the WFD and Novant Health paramedics, which consisted of a classroom portion and a simulated Mass casualty scenario. Firefighter Owens’ commitment to his community and department has greatly improved the level of service and preparedness within the City of Wilmington.
The next employees recognized are personnel with the WFD and Public Services who handle tree-related after-hours calls. Over the past six months, they have continually worked together to help fill the gap in municipal customer service during Urban Forestry staffing issues. Both groups have cooperated to address public hazards that might otherwise be impossible to mitigate in a timely manner. Combined resources dedicated to this effort include Urban Forestry led chainsaw safety training, new chainsaw PPE kits, multiple vehicles from both groups and personnel from both groups. Strict protocols have been put into place to help ensure the safety of all involved. Fire department personnel have been trained to assess each call when they arrive to determine if they can safely handle the situation or if the Tree Crew needs to be called. This example of teamwork demonstrated the cooperation, communication, accountability and leadership which is so vital to accomplishing Wilmington’s mission of providing quality services which enhance the safety, livability and prosperity of our community.
Accountability & Professionalism
Captain Scott Rivenbark with the Wilmington Fire Department — Captain Rivenbark identifies issues and quickly confronts them. He will bring it to the attention of the right person so a solution can be found. He holds himself to the highest level of accountability and is quick to accept responsibility in the case of an error. Recently the Fire Department put squad units into service, but issues in technology plagued the County’s 911 center which prevented the squads from being dispatched properly. Captain Rivenbark got involved, helping liaison between County IT, City IT, and the City Fire Department operations. Two days after the meeting, Captain Rivenbark was able to resolve the issue. The technology now works appropriately, and squad units are being dispatched properly to calls by the 911 center. Captain Rivenbark displayed outstanding accountability and professionalism by fixing a problem that had previously gone unresolved for over a month and was impacting the ability to get squads to the right calls for service.
Mike Naklicki and Wim Combs from Engineering, RT Jones from Community Services, and Jay Carter from Public Services — When the USCG bulkhead construction was completed adjacent to Water Street Park, no barrier or railing was installed along the Cape Fear River. A curb, approximately 8 inches, was the only protection preventing residents and visitors from potentially falling into the river. Mike quickly recognized that this would be unsafe and coordinated a meeting with the Engineering staff and the City Manager’s office to address the concern. Working together, Mike, Wim, RT, and Jay quickly arranged for temporary railing and rented barricades with fencing to be installed until more permanent barricades and fencing could be purchased and installed. These barricades will remain in place until the full construction of Water Street Park is completed.
2022 Employees of the Year
Rebekah Thurston, Nick Shepard, Dani Tridico & Michael Lee from the Wilmington Fire Department have been selected by the Employee Recognition Committee as our 2022 Employees of the Year.
They were selected among those that received STARS Awards in fiscal year 2022. Rebekah, Nick, Dani, and Michael were instrumental in the recent success of the Wilmington Fire Department’s Junior Firefighter Academy. The program was held for an entire week and included rising 9th through 12th graders from the area. The camp-like experience allowed students to learn life-saving skills including CPR, proper application of fire extinguishers, bike and pedestrian safety, and cooking safety. These fire department team members coordinated and instructed the entire week-long camp allowing for a positive experience that included mentoring and coaching. This program has continued to play an instrumental role in creating a positive environment for our youth and building an opportunity for them to have a glimpse into working in public safety.