Mayor Chris Beutler today will present the Mayor's Award of Excellence for August to Public Information Specialist III Jamie Wenz, who works in the City Communications division of the Mayor's Department. The award will be presented at 3 p.m. at the beginning of the City Council meeting at the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th Street. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.
Wenz was nominated in the categories of customer relations and productivity by City Communications Manager Diane Gonzolas for his work with the Lincoln Arts Council (LAC) earlier this year. Wenz is the Operations Manager for the government and education access channels and began working for City Communications in November 2013.
As the City's official agency for the arts, LAC presents the Mayor's Arts Awards celebration every year. This spring, City Communications was asked to produce the awards video for the 2017 celebration June 7. The large and time-consuming task included on-camera interviews of all 16 award winners. Wenz was in charge of all the production work, which included creating a set for the interviews, lighting and camera work. He then edited the interviews into 16 two-minute segments and added video and photos submitted by the award winners. He also created special graphics, using the design and theme of the event, "The Wizard of Arts."
The event was at Pinnacle Bank Arena for the first time, and Wenz worked with Arena staff to make sure the videos would play correctly the night of the celebration. The videos were also played on the Cube in the Railyard during the post-event reception. In addition, Wenz also produced the memorial segment for the event, and did the camera work for the entire program on June 7. After the event, Wenz took time to post all the videos to YouTube, including the full-length interviews with the award winners.
The award winners were very pleased with the outcome. The mother of the youth award winner wrote, "Everything was so beautifully crafted and woven together. You really made the winners look their very best. You really know how to make magic happen." Another award winner wrote, "The videos were extraordinary and beautifully captured the spirit of each project - thank you!"
LAC Executive Director Deb Weber wrote, "We could not have done the video without the skills and expertise of Jamie. His positive and professional attitude is commendable and carried the project through multiple changes (sometimes stressful) with a result that we are all proud of. This work is complex, with a short turnaround time, and we know that we added to his already full schedule. His work honors others which is an amazing act of kindness."
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are safety, valor and loss prevention. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee's job description. All City employees are eligible for the award except for elected and appointed officials. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: mayor) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Human Resources Department, which oversees the awards program.
All nominations are considered by the Mayor's Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.