NAWDP Advancing the Profession Awards

2016 - Winners

NAWDP's Advancing the Profession Awards Program recognizes workforce development professionals who have made exemplary contributions to our field.

The 2016 winners are: 

  • Jodi Spiegel Enhancement of Customer Service Award - Ernestine Chambers
  • NAWDP Professional Development Award - Beki Lockery
  • Peter E Kaiser Leadership Award - Knowlton Atterbeary
  • Thomas Ahlers System Building - Randy Berridge   

To nominate a workforce development professional for 2017 consideration, CLICK HERE to read general infomation, download the Award Description Sheet, and download specific nomination forms.

Click past award winners for a list from previous years.

Bios - 2016 Award Winners

2016 Jodi Speigel Enhancement of Customer Service Award

Ernestine Chambers, KRA Corporation

Ernestine Chambers is an operations manager for KRA Corporation’s Work Participation Placement & Support Services Program in Baltimore, Maryland, which services more than 4,000 TANF recipients annually. Ernestine is known as a teacher, advocator, overachiever, and results oriented individual. Ernestine meets people exactly where they are and is able to connect people from all walks of life. When working with customers, she is able to motivate them into moving from a place of complacency or helplessness to dreaming and achieving.

 Through her tenure as a Case Manager Team Lead, she was able to point out and address the deficiencies within the program design that indirectly prevented customers from reaching their fullest potential. She redesigned qualitative and quantitative assessment tools, revamped the job readiness curriculum to include peer support, and streamlined the process for meeting with customers resulting in a two-minute wait time in the resource room.

Ernestine also served as the Interim Quality Assurance.  Her proactive style prevented customers from receiving benefits in error or conversely ensured sanctions were always justified and not in error. She is known throughout the entire department of social services as the one to call if you need something fixed or prevented. The contributions made by Ernestine’s efforts, and her ability to train staff, have contributed to KRA and the City of Baltimore meeting its work participation goal -- a key performance indicator of TANF programs. 

2016 NAWDP Professional Development Award

Beki Lockery, Dynamic Workforce Solutions

Beki Lockery began her career in workforce development as a case manager and motivational workshop facilitator in 1990 with Forward Service Corporation in Shawano, Wisconsin. She soon became a trainer for the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Center for Career Development and Education and Training, as the very first JOBS Trainer employed in the state. Her first task was to develop New Worker Training for professionals in the field, which set the course for her expertise in the field in professional development for professionals within workforce services.

Beki defines the essence of training as delivering a message with the careful thought of the target audience to make meaningful connections with families and employment, no matter the training platform. Her strength is in strategic planning and resource management, and overseeing the execution of training events, such as classes and contact hours, annually for the state providers. All training sessions are evaluated via survey. Beki and the team consistently meet or exceed the high expectations of the funding source.

In 2014 Beki’s training unit was named Project of the Year with Dynamic Workforce Solutions. This honor is obtained through the measurement of six impact categories, including climate survey results, turnover rate and overall management of a successful contract with the Department of Children and Families in Wisconsin. On February 8, 2016, Beki’s team became ISO-9001 certified. The first workforce development training team in the US to accomplish this exceptional level of certification.

Over the years, Beki has embraced and demonstrated her ability to manage a virtual team of trainers, which is also challenging.  She consistently adapts to the evolving needs of her funding source and maintains cost effectives in her training plan for the state.

Beki has an unwavering commitment to training her team members. In turn, she impacts the service delivery of highly qualified case managers. Through her tenure, Beki has been able to change the tone from a “follow policy and process” mentality to a culture of support. All the while, keeping a focus on empowering job seekers, rather than enabling them, and remaining true to the helping profession she deeply adores. 

For nearly two decades, Beki has been committed to the overall growth and positive image of the workforce development profession; and has made significant contributions to the overall growth and positive image of the workforce development profession in many ways.

2016 Peter E. Kaiser Leadership Award

Knowlton Atterbeary, KRA Corporation

Knowlton Atterbeary founded KRA Corporation in 1981. Supported by his own professional knowledge, skills, and abilities, KRA offers administrative, management, professional, and technical services that positively impact adults and youth receiving employment and training services through federally-administered programs for target populations. The programs include Job Corps, CareerOneStop, and STRIVE. 

By 1996, Knowlton knew it was time to diversify if KRA was to make a positive, substantial contribution to the success of the public-investment workforce-services system. He strategically expanded business lines and customer bases to include: local, regional, and federal agencies; community based initiatives; national programs; and policy and development initiatives. As a result, KRA has thrived.

If leadership can be summed up as the ability to positively influence and impact others -- through coaching, encouraging, mentoring, motivating, supporting -- then Knowlton exemplifies these qualities through his willingness to invest in the development of his team. Starting in 2009, Knowlton institutionalized KRA's staff development and training initiatives by investing in the creation of The Leadership Edge, a series of year-long, leadership training programs for emerging leaders to expand their knowledge, skills, and abilities through activities, projects, and workshops. The trainings focus on corporate performance goals and objectives in customer service, program operations, management and supervision, and stakeholder outreach and development, and prepare participants to lead their local teams.

Knowlton encourages continuing education and professional credentialing as part of KRA's corporate-wide staff development and training initiatives, and offers support to all employees to earn basic or advanced college degrees and/or the CWDP, CPRW, and other national- and state-recognized industry certifications. He motivates staff to assume leadership positions outside the company, including both corporate and program operations staff, that have been elected to serve on the NAWDP Board of Directors. 

2016 Thomas Ahlers System Building Award

Randy Berridge, Florida High Tech Corridor 

It is difficult to assess the accomplishments and contributions of Randy Berridge separate from those of the Florida High Tech Corridor. As the founding -- and current -- president since its inception in 1996, Randy IS the Corridor!

The goal of the Corridor is build a region where technology and innovation thrive. Today, there are nearly 20,000 high-tech companies in the 23-county region that he and The Corridor oversee, employing about a quarter of a million people making an average salary of just under $70,000 a year. 

Partnering with 360 companies on more than 1,350 research projects in industries, in a swath across Florida that spans 23 counties from east to west, and includes more than 25 local and regional economic development organizations, 14 community and state colleges, 12 regional workforce boards, countless industry groups, and thousands of innovative companies; Randy has spent the last 20 years building, maintaining, nurturing, and expanding relationships and collaborative partnerships in order to lead Central Florida into a brave new world of tech training, jobs creation, and other economic-growth opportunities.

One of the biggest challenges facing Central Florida today is not as much a lack of high-tech, high-wage jobs in the region; it is having…and keeping…the qualified talent being “grown” here to fulfill them. Though this challenge is being faced head-on by several separate and synergistic alliances between governments, educational institutions, private business, and industry partners, organizations, and public entities like the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the region continues to struggle with attracting -- and filling -- certain industry clusters.

In 2014, Randy partnered with several CareerSource Florida Network regions, including Brevard, Central Florida, and Flagler Volusia, to sponsor and fund “The Talent Gap Study.” The purpose of the study was to learn where disparities lie in the skills businesses required of their own employees and potential talent. The results were presented at a Tri-Regional Business Summit to approximately 200 corporate, workforce, and government professionals, with the goal of improving the availability of qualified talent in our communities to help retain and attract firms that provide jobs.

The Corridor provides a pathway for companies to partner with the University of Central Florida to fund collaborative research so that our graduate students end up working on something that has a much higher likelihood of transitioning into a product a lot quicker, and it also gives them a pathway to employment. Great strides are being made, but opportunities continue to exist for continued expansion and development. 

2016 H.G. Weisman Award

Sherry Kelly Marshall, Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board

Sherry Kelly Marshall has been President and CEO of Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board (SWORWIB) in Cincinnati, Ohio since 2007. Sherry has been a long time workforce development and economic development professional.

Committed to improving the outcomes of the workforce system, Sherry organized a consortium in 2008 to train workforce professionals across the southwest Ohio marketplace, from public career coaches to faith-based volunteers helping returning former offenders. In addition, she has advanced the focus on successful youth programming, which ultimately resulted in the SWORWIB’s focus on out-of-school youth at 70 percent of their funding in 2011, so they are ready for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) requirement that 75 percent of youth funding be directed at out-of-school youth.

She led industry sector partnerships and career pathways in healthcare, construction, manufacturing, call-centers & home-based inbound centers, and hospitality and merged many with a new pathway agency when Cincinnati was selected as a National Fund site. In 2012, they were recognized for their leadership in construction career pathways and were on the team winning an international construction workforce award from the Construction Users Round Table of companies doing construction work internationally.

Under Sherry’s leadership, the SWORWIB was recognized in 2012 as one of the 14 Innovative Workforce Investment Boards nationally in the Government Accountability Office Research Report “Innovative Collaborations between Workforce Boards and Employers Helped Meet Urgent Local Workforce Needs.”

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