Total No Of Staff-Months Of The Assignment Desk

On By In 1

The house on Grettisgata Street, in Reykjavik, is a century old, small and white, situated just a few streets from the North Atlantic. The shifting northerly winds can suddenly bring ice and snow to the city, even in springtime, and when they do a certain kind of silence sets in. This was the case on the morning of March 30th, when a tall Australian man named Julian Paul Assange, with gray eyes and a mop of silver-white hair, arrived to rent the place. Assange was dressed in a gray full-body snowsuit, and he had with him a small entourage. “We are journalists,” he told the owner of the house. Eyjafjallajökull had recently begun erupting, and he said, “We’re here to write about the volcano.” After the owner left, Assange quickly closed the drapes, and he made sure that they stayed closed, day and night. The house, as far as he was concerned, would now serve as a war room; people called it the Bunker. Half a dozen computers were set up in a starkly decorated, white-walled living space. Icelandic activists arrived, and they began to work, more or less at Assange’s direction, around the clock. Their focus was Project B—Assange’s code name for a thirty-eight-minute video taken from the cockpit of an Apache military helicopter in Iraq in 2007. The video depicted American soldiers killing at least eighteen people, including two Reuters journalists; it later became the subject of widespread controversy, but at this early stage it was still a closely guarded military secret.

Assange is an international trafficker, of sorts. He and his colleagues collect documents and imagery that governments and other institutions regard as confidential and publish them on a Web site called WikiLeaks.org. Since it went online, three and a half years ago, the site has published an extensive catalogue of secret material, ranging from the Standard Operating Procedures at Camp Delta, in Guantánamo Bay, and the “Climategate” e-mails from the University of East Anglia, in England, to the contents of Sarah Palin’s private Yahoo account. The catalogue is especially remarkable because WikiLeaks is not quite an organization; it is better described as a media insurgency. It has no paid staff, no copiers, no desks, no office. Assange does not even have a home. He travels from country to country, staying with supporters, or friends of friends—as he once put it to me, “I’m living in airports these days.” He is the operation’s prime mover, and it is fair to say that WikiLeaks exists wherever he does. At the same time, hundreds of volunteers from around the world help maintain the Web site’s complicated infrastructure; many participate in small ways, and between three and five people dedicate themselves to it full time. Key members are known only by initials—M, for instance—even deep within WikiLeaks, where communications are conducted by encrypted online chat services. The secretiveness stems from the belief that a populist intelligence operation with virtually no resources, designed to publicize information that powerful institutions do not want public, will have serious adversaries.

Iceland was a natural place to develop Project B. In the past year, Assange has collaborated with politicians and activists there to draft a free-speech law of unprecedented strength, and a number of these same people had agreed to help him work on the video in total secrecy. The video was a striking artifact—an unmediated representation of the ambiguities and cruelties of modern warfare—and he hoped that its release would touch off a worldwide debate about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was planning to unveil the footage before a group of reporters at the National Press Club, in Washington, on April 5th, the morning after Easter, presumably a slow news day. To accomplish this, he and the other members of the WikiLeaks community would have to analyze the raw video and edit it into a short film, build a stand-alone Web site to display it, launch a media campaign, and prepare documentation for the footage—all in less than a week’s time.

Assange also wanted to insure that, once the video was posted online, it would be impossible to remove. He told me that WikiLeaks maintains its content on more than twenty servers around the world and on hundreds of domain names. (Expenses are paid by donations, and a few independent well-wishers also run “mirror sites” in support.) Assange calls the site “an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis,” and a government or company that wanted to remove content from WikiLeaks would have to practically dismantle the Internet itself. So far, even though the site has received more than a hundred legal threats, almost no one has filed suit. Lawyers working for the British bank Northern Rock threatened court action after the site published an embarrassing memo, but they were practically reduced to begging. A Kenyan politician also vowed to sue after Assange published a confidential report alleging that President Daniel arap Moi and his allies had siphoned billions of dollars out of the country. The site’s work in Kenya earned it an award from Amnesty International.

Assange typically tells would-be litigants to go to hell. In 2008, WikiLeaks posted secret Scientology manuals, and lawyers representing the church demanded that they be removed. Assange’s response was to publish more of the Scientologists’ internal material, and to announce, “WikiLeaks will not comply with legally abusive requests from Scientology any more than WikiLeaks has complied with similar demands from Swiss banks, Russian offshore stem-cell centers, former African kleptocrats, or the Pentagon.”

In his writing online, especially on Twitter, Assange is quick to lash out at perceived enemies. By contrast, on television, where he has been appearing more frequently, he acts with uncanny sang-froid. Under the studio lights, he can seem—with his spectral white hair, pallid skin, cool eyes, and expansive forehead—like a rail-thin being who has rocketed to Earth to deliver humanity some hidden truth. This impression is magnified by his rigid demeanor and his baritone voice, which he deploys slowly, at low volume.

In private, however, Assange is often bemused and energetic. He can concentrate intensely, in binges, but he is also the kind of person who will forget to reserve a plane ticket, or reserve a plane ticket and forget to pay for it, or pay for the ticket and forget to go to the airport. People around him seem to want to care for him; they make sure that he is where he needs to be, and that he has not left all his clothes in the dryer before moving on. At such times, he can seem innocent of the considerable influence that he has acquired.

Sitting at a small wooden table in the Bunker, Assange looked exhausted. His lanky frame was arched over two computers—one of them online, and the other disconnected from the Internet, because it was full of classified military documents. (In the tradecraft of espionage, this is known as maintaining an “air gap.”) He has a cyber-security analyst’s concern about computer vulnerability, and habitually takes precautions to frustrate eavesdroppers. A low-grade fever of paranoia runs through the WikiLeaks community. Assange says that he has chased away strangers who have tried to take his picture for surveillance purposes. In March, he published a classified military report, created by the Army Counterintelligence Center in 2008, that argued that the site was a potential threat to the Army and briefly speculated on ways to deter government employees from leaking documents to it. Assange regarded the report as a declaration of war, and posted it with the title “U.S. Intelligence Planned to Destroy WikiLeaks.” During a trip to a conference before he came to the Bunker, he thought he was being followed, and his fear began to infect others. “I went to Sweden and stayed with a girl who is a foreign editor of a newspaper there, and she became so paranoid that the C.I.A. was trying to get me she left the house and abandoned me,” he said.

Assange was sitting opposite Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch activist, hacker, and businessman. Gonggrijp—thin and balding, with a soft voice—has known Assange well for several years. He had noticed Assange’s panicky communiqués about being watched and decided that his help was needed. “Julian can deal with incredibly little sleep, and a hell of a lot of chaos, but even he has his limits, and I could see that he was stretching himself,” Gonggrijp told me. “I decided to come out and make things sane again.” Gonggrijp became the unofficial manager and treasurer of Project B, advancing about ten thousand euros to WikiLeaks to finance it. He kept everyone on schedule, and made sure that the kitchen was stocked with food and that the Bunker was orderly.

At around three in the afternoon, an Icelandic parliamentarian named Birgitta Jonsdottir walked in. Jonsdottir, who is in her forties, with long brown hair and bangs, was wearing a short black skirt and a black T-shirt with skulls printed on it. She took a WikiLeaks T-shirt from her bag and tossed it at Assange.

“That’s for you,” she said. “You need to change.” He put the T-shirt on a chair next to him, and continued working.

Jonsdottir has been in parliament for about a year, but considers herself a poet, artist, writer, and activist. Her political views are mostly anarchist. “I was actually unemployed before I got this job,” she explained. “When we first got to parliament, the staff was so nervous: here are people who were protesting parliament, who were for revolution, and now we are inside. None of us had aspirations to be politicians. We have a checklist, and, once we’re done, we are out.”

As she unpacked her computer, she asked Assange how he was planning to delegate the work on Project B. More Icelandic activists were due to arrive; half a dozen ultimately contributed time to the video, and about as many WikiLeaks volunteers from other countries were participating. Assange suggested that someone make contact with Google to insure that YouTube would host the footage.

“To make sure it is not taken down under pressure?” she asked.

“They have a rule that mentions gratuitous violence,” Assange said. “The violence is not gratuitous in this case, but nonetheless they have taken things down. It is too important to be interfered with.”

“What can we ask M to do?” Jonsdottir asked. Assange, engrossed in what he was doing, didn’t reply.

His concerns about surveillance had not entirely receded. On March 26th, he had written a blast e-mail, titled “Something Is Rotten in the State of Iceland,” in which he described a teen-age Icelandic WikiLeaks volunteer’s story of being detained by local police for more than twenty hours. The volunteer was arrested for trying to break into the factory where his father worked—“the reasons he was trying to get in are not totally justified,” Assange told me—and said that while in custody he was interrogated about Project B. Assange claimed that the volunteer was “shown covert photos of me outside the Reykjavik restaurant Icelandic Fish & Chips,” where a WikiLeaks production meeting had taken place in a private back room.

The police were denying key parts of the volunteer’s story, and Assange was trying to learn more. He received a call, and after a few minutes hung up. “Our young friend talked to one of the cops,” he said. “I was about to get more details, but my battery died.” He smiled and looked suspiciously at his phone.

“We are all paranoid schizophrenics,” Jonsdottir said. She gestured at Assange, who was still wearing his snowsuit. “Just look at how he dresses.”

Gonggrijp got up, walked to the window, and parted the drapes to peer out.

“Someone?” Jonsdottir asked.

“Just the camera van,” he deadpanned. “The brain-manipulation van.”

At around six in the evening, Assange got up from his spot at the table. He was holding a hard drive containing Project B. The video—excerpts of running footage captured by a camera mounted on the Apache—depicts soldiers conducting an operation in eastern Baghdad, not long after the surge began. Using the Freedom of Information Act, Reuters has sought for three years to obtain the video from the Army, without success. Assange would not identify his source, saying only that the person was unhappy about the attack. The video was digitally encrypted, and it took WikiLeaks three months to crack. Assange, a cryptographer of exceptional skill, told me that unlocking the file was “moderately difficult.”

People gathered in front of a computer to watch. In grainy black-and-white, we join the crew of the Apache, from the Eighth Cavalry Regiment, as it hovers above Baghdad with another helicopter. A wide-angle shot frames a mosque’s dome in crosshairs. We see a jumble of buildings and palm trees and abandoned streets. We hear bursts of static, radio blips, and the clipped banter of tactical communication. Two soldiers are in mid-conversation; the first recorded words are “O.K., I got it.” Assange hit the pause button, and said, “In this video, you will see a number of people killed.” The footage, he explained, had three broad phases. “In the first phase, you will see an attack that is based upon a mistake, but certainly a very careless mistake. In the second part, the attack is clearly murder, according to the definition of the average man. And in the third part you will see the killing of innocent civilians in the course of soldiers going after a legitimate target.”

The first phase was chilling, in part because the banter of the soldiers was so far beyond the boundaries of civilian discourse. “Just fuckin’, once you get on ’em, just open ’em up,” one of them said. The crew members of the Apache came upon about a dozen men ambling down a street, a block or so from American troops, and reported that five or six of the men were armed with AK-47s; as the Apache maneuvered into position to fire at them, the crew saw one of the Reuters journalists, who were mixed in among the other men, and mistook a long-lensed camera for an RPG. The Apaches fired on the men for twenty-five seconds, killing nearly all of them instantly.

Phase two began shortly afterward. As the helicopter hovered over the carnage, the crew noticed a wounded survivor struggling on the ground. The man appeared to be unarmed. “All you gotta do is pick up a weapon,” a soldier in the Apache said. Suddenly, a van drove into view, and three unarmed men rushed to help the wounded person. “We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly, uh, picking up bodies and weapons,” the Apache reported, even though the men were helping a survivor, and were not collecting weapons. The Apache fired, killing the men and the person they were trying to save, and wounding two young children in the van’s front seat.

In phase three, the helicopter crew radioed a commander to say that at least six armed men had entered a partially constructed building in a dense urban area. Some of the armed men may have walked over from a skirmish with American troops; it is unclear. The crew asked for permission to attack the structure, which they said appeared abandoned. “We can put a missile in it,” a soldier in the Apache suggested, and the go-ahead was quickly given. Moments later, two unarmed people entered the building. Though the soldiers acknowledged them, the attack proceeded: three Hellfire missiles destroyed the building. Passersby were engulfed by clouds of debris.

Assange saw these events in sharply delineated moral terms, yet the footage did not offer easy legal judgments. In the month before the video was shot, members of the battalion on the ground, from the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment, had suffered more than a hundred and fifty attacks and roadside bombings, nineteen injuries, and four deaths; early that morning, the unit had been attacked by small-arms fire. The soldiers in the Apache were matter-of-fact about killing and spoke callously about their victims, but the first attack could be judged as a tragic misunderstanding. The attack on the van was questionable—the use of force seemed neither thoughtful nor measured—but soldiers are permitted to shoot combatants, even when they are assisting the wounded, and one could argue that the Apache’s crew, in the heat of the moment, reasonably judged the men in the van to be assisting the enemy. Phase three may have been unlawful, perhaps negligent homicide or worse. Firing missiles into a building, in daytime, to kill six people who do not appear to be of strategic importance is an excessive use of force. This attack was conducted with scant deliberation, and it is unclear why the Army did not investigate it.

Assange had obtained internal Army records of the operation, which stated that everyone killed, except for the Reuters journalists, was an insurgent. And the day after the incident an Army spokesperson said, “There is no question that Coalition Forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force.” Assange was hoping that Project B would undermine the Army’s official narrative. “This video shows what modern warfare has become, and, I think, after seeing it, whenever people hear about a certain number of casualties that resulted during fighting with close air support, they will understand what is going on,” he said in the Bunker. “The video also makes clear that civilians are listed as insurgents automatically, unless they are children, and that bystanders who are killed are not even mentioned.”

WikiLeaks receives about thirty submissions a day, and typically posts the ones it deems credible in their raw, unedited state, with commentary alongside. Assange told me, “I want to set up a new standard: ‘scientific journalism.’ If you publish a paper on DNA, you are required, by all the good biological journals, to submit the data that has informed your research—the idea being that people will replicate it, check it, verify it. So this is something that needs to be done for journalism as well. There is an immediate power imbalance, in that readers are unable to verify what they are being told, and that leads to abuse.” Because Assange publishes his source material, he believes that WikiLeaks is free to offer its analysis, no matter how speculative. In the case of Project B, Assange wanted to edit the raw footage into a short film as a vehicle for commentary. For a while, he thought about calling the film “Permission to Engage,” but ultimately decided on something more forceful: “Collateral Murder.” He told Gonggrijp, “We want to knock out this ‘collateral damage’ euphemism, and so when anyone uses it they will think ‘collateral murder.’ ”

The video, in its original form, was a puzzle—a fragment of evidence divorced from context. Assange and the others in the Bunker spent much of their time trying to piece together details: the units involved, their command structure, the rules of engagement, the jargon soldiers used on the radio, and, most important, whether and how the Iraqis on the ground were armed.

“One of them has a weapon,” Assange said, peering at blurry footage of the men walking down the street. “See all those people standing out there.”

“And there is a guy with an RPG over his arm,” Gonggrijp said.

“I’m not sure.” Assange said. “It does look a little bit like an RPG.” He played the footage again. “I’ll tell you what is very strange,” he said. “If it is an RPG, then there is just one RPG. Where are all the other weapons? All those guys. It is pretty weird.”

The forensic work was made more difficult because Assange had declined to discuss the matter with military officials. “I thought it would be more harmful than helpful,” he told me. “I have approached them before, and, as soon as they hear it is WikiLeaks, they are not terribly coöperative.” Assange was running Project B as a surprise attack. He had encouraged a rumor that the video was shot in Afghanistan in 2009, in the hope that the Defense Department would be caught unprepared. Assange does not believe that the military acts in good faith with the media. He said to me, “What right does this institution have to know the story before the public?”

This adversarial mind-set permeated the Bunker. Late one night, an activist asked if Assange might be detained upon his arrival in the United States.

“If there is ever a time it was safe for me to go, it is now,” Assange assured him.

“They say that Gitmo is nice this time of year,” Gonggrijp said.

Assange was the sole decision-maker, and it was possible to leave the house at night and come back after sunrise and see him in the same place, working. (“I spent two months in one room in Paris once without leaving,” he said. “People were handing me food.”) He spoke to the team in shorthand—“I need the conversion stuff,” or “Make sure that credit-card donations are acceptable”—all the while resolving flareups with the overworked volunteers. To keep track of who was doing what, Gonggrijp and another activist maintained a workflow chart with yellow Post-Its on the kitchen cabinets. Elsewhere, people were translating the video’s subtitles into various languages, or making sure that servers wouldn’t crash from the traffic that was expected after the video was posted. Assange wanted the families of the Iraqis who had died in the attack to be contacted, to prepare them for the inevitable media attention, and to gather additional information. In conjunction with Iceland’s national broadcasting service, RUV, he sent two Icelandic journalists to Baghdad to find them.

By the end of the week, a frame-by-frame examination of the footage was nearly complete, revealing minute details—evidence of a body on the ground, for instance—that were not visible by casual viewing. (“I am about twelve thousand frames in,” the activist who reviewed it told me. “It’s been a morbid day, going through these people’s last moments.”) Assange had decided to exclude the Hellfire incident from the film; the attack lacked the obvious human dimension of the others, and he thought that viewers might be overloaded with information.

The edited film, which was eighteen minutes long, began with a quote from George Orwell that Assange and M had selected: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.” It then presented information about the journalists who had been killed, and about the official response to the attack. For the audio of this section, one of the film’s Icelandic editors had layered in fragments of radio banter from the soldiers. As Assange reviewed the cut, an activist named Gudmundur Gudmundsson spoke up to say that the banter allowed viewers to “make an emotional bond” with the soldiers. Assange argued that it was mostly fragmentary and garbled, but Gudmundsson insisted: “It is just used all the time for triggering emotions.”

“At the same time, we are displaying them as monsters,” the editor said.

“But emotions always rule,” Gudmundsson said. “By the way, I worked on the sound recording for a film, ‘Children of Nature,’ that was nominated for an Oscar, so I am speaking from experience.”

“Well, what is your alternative?” Assange asked.

“Basically, bursts of sounds, interrupting the quiet,” he said.

The editor made the change, stripping the voices of the soldiers from the opening, but keeping blips and whirs of radio distortion. Assange gave the edit his final approval.

Late Saturday night, shortly before all the work had to be finished, the journalists who had gone to Baghdad sent Assange an e-mail: they had found the two children in the van. The children had lived a block from the location of the attack, and were being driven to school by their father that morning. “They remember the bombardment, felt great pain, they said, and lost consciousness,” one of the journalists wrote. The journalists also found the owner of the building that had been attacked by the Hellfires, who said that families had been living in the structure, and that seven residents had died. The owner, a retired English teacher, had lost his wife and daughter. An intense discussion arose about what to do with this news: Was it worth using at the National Press Club, or was it a better tactic to hold on to it? If the military justified the Hellfire attacks by claiming that there were no civilian casualties, WikiLeaks could respond by releasing the information, in a kind of ambush. Jonsdottir turned to Gonggrijp, whose eyes had welled up.

“Are you crying?” she asked.

“I am,” he said. “O.K., O.K., it is just the kids. It hurts.” Gonggrijp gathered himself. “Fuck!” he said. Resuming the conversation about ambushing the Army, he said, “Anyway, let them walk into this knife—”

“That is a wonderful thing to do,” one of the activists said.

“Let them walk into this, and they will,” Gonggrijp said. “It is a logical response.”

Jonsdottir was now in tears, too, and wiping her nose.

“Now I want to reëdit the thing,” Assange said. “I want to put in the missile attack. There were three families living in the bottom, so it wasn’t abandoned.” But it was impossible to reëdit the film. The activists were working at capacity, and in several hours it would be Easter.

At half past ten in the morning, Gonggrijp pulled open the drapes, and the Bunker was filled with sunlight. He was wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt and black pants, freshly washed and ironed, and he was struggling to keep everyone on schedule. Last-minute concerns—among them finding a criminal-defense lawyer in the United States—were being addressed. Assange was at a computer, his posture upright as he steadily typed.

“How are we on time?” he asked no one in particular.

“We have three hours,” Gonggrijp said.

Assange wrinkled his brow and turned his attention back to the screen. He was looking at a copy of classified rules of engagement in Iraq from 2006, one of several secret American military documents that he was planning to post with the video. WikiLeaks scrubs such documents to insure that no digital traces embedded in them can identify their source. Assange was purging these traces as fast as he could.

Reykjavik’s streets were empty, and the bells of a cathedral began to toll. “Remember, remember the fifth of November,” Assange said, repeating a line from the English folk poem celebrating Guy Fawkes. He smiled, as Gonggrijp dismantled the workflow chart, removing Post-Its from the cabinets and flushing them down the toilet. Shortly before noon, there was a desperate push to clear away the remaining vestiges of Project B and to get to the airport. Assange was unpacked and unshaven, and his hair was a mess. He was typing up a press release. Jonsdottir came by to help, and he asked her, “Can’t you cut my hair while I’m doing this?”

“No, I am not going to cut your hair while you are working,” she said.

Jonsdottir walked over to the sink and made tea. Assange kept on typing, and after a few minutes she reluctantly began to trim his hair. At one point, she stopped and asked, “If you get arrested, will you get in touch with me?” Assange nodded. Gonggrijp, meanwhile, shoved some of Assange’s things into a bag. He settled the bill with the owner. Dishes were washed. Furniture was put back in place. People piled into a small car, and in an instant the house was empty and still.

The name Assange is thought to derive from Ah Sang, or Mr. Sang, a Chinese émigré who settled on Thursday Island, off the coast of Australia, in the early eighteen-hundreds, and whose descendants later moved to the continent. Assange’s maternal ancestors came to Australia in the mid-nineteenth century, from Scotland and Ireland, in search of farmland, and Assange suspects, only half in jest, that his proclivity for wandering is genetic. His phone numbers and e-mail address are ever-changing, and he can drive the people around him crazy with his elusiveness and his propensity to mask details about his life.

Assange was born in 1971, in the city of Townsville, on Australia’s northeastern coast, but it is probably more accurate to say that he was born into a blur of domestic locomotion. Shortly after his first birthday, his mother—I will call her Claire—married a theatre director, and the two collaborated on small productions. They moved often, living near Byron Bay, a beachfront community in New South Wales, and on Magnetic Island, a tiny pile of rock that Captain Cook believed had magnetic properties that distorted his compass readings. They were tough-minded nonconformists. (At seventeen, Claire had burned her schoolbooks and left home on a motorcycle.) Their house on Magnetic Island burned to the ground, and rifle cartridges that Claire had kept for shooting snakes exploded like fireworks. “Most of this period of my childhood was pretty Tom Sawyer,” Assange told me. “I had my own horse. I built my own raft. I went fishing. I was going down mine shafts and tunnels.”

Assange’s mother believed that formal education would inculcate an unhealthy respect for authority in her children and dampen their will to learn. “I didn’t want their spirits broken,” she told me. In any event, the family had moved thirty-seven times by the time Assange was fourteen, making consistent education impossible. He was homeschooled, sometimes, and he took correspondence classes and studied informally with university professors. But mostly he read on his own, voraciously. He was drawn to science. “I spent a lot of time in libraries going from one thing to another, looking closely at the books I found in citations, and followed that trail,” he recalled. He absorbed a large vocabulary, but only later did he learn how to pronounce all the words that he learned.

When Assange was eight, Claire left her husband and began seeing a musician, with whom she had another child, a boy. The relationship was tempestuous; the musician became abusive, she says, and they separated. A fight ensued over the custody of Assange’s half brother, and Claire felt threatened, fearing that the musician would take away her son. Assange recalled her saying, “Now we need to disappear,” and he lived on the run with her from the age of eleven to sixteen. When I asked him about the experience, he told me that there was evidence that the man belonged to a powerful cult called the Family—its motto was “Unseen, Unknown, and Unheard.” Some members were doctors who persuaded mothers to give up their newborn children to the cult’s leader, Anne Hamilton-Byrne. The cult had moles in government, Assange suspected, who provided the musician with leads on Claire’s whereabouts. In fact, Claire often told friends where she had gone, or hid in places where she had lived before.

While on the run, Claire rented a house across the street from an electronics shop. Assange would go there to write programs on a Commodore 64, until Claire bought it for him, moving to a cheaper place to raise the money. He was soon able to crack into well-known programs, where he found hidden messages left by their creators. “The austerity of one’s interaction with a computer is something that appealed to me,” he said. “It is like chess—chess is very austere, in that you don’t have many rules, there is no randomness, and the problem is very hard.” Assange embraced life as an outsider. He later wrote of himself and a teen-age friend, “We were bright sensitive kids who didn’t fit into the dominant subculture and fiercely castigated those who did as irredeemable boneheads.”

When Assange turned sixteen, he got a modem, and his computer was transformed into a portal. Web sites did not exist yet—this was 1987—but computer networks and telecom systems were sufficiently linked to form a hidden electronic landscape that teen-agers with the requisite technical savvy could traverse. Assange called himself Mendax—from Horace’s splendide mendax, or “nobly untruthful”—and he established a reputation as a sophisticated programmer who could break into the most secure networks. He joined with two hackers to form a group that became known as the International Subversives, and they broke into computer systems in Europe and North America, including networks belonging to the U.S. Department of Defense and to the Los Alamos National Laboratory. In a book called “Underground,” which he collaborated on with a writer named Suelette Dreyfus, he outlined the hacker subculture’s early Golden Rules: “Don’t damage computer systems you break into (including crashing them); don’t change the information in those systems (except for altering logs to cover your tracks); and share information.”

Around this time, Assange fell in love with a sixteen-year-old girl, and he briefly moved out of his mother’s home to stay with her. “A couple of days later, police turned up, and they carted off all my computer stuff,” he recalled. The raid, he said, was carried out by the state police, and “it involved some dodgy character who was alleging that we had stolen five hundred thousand dollars from Citibank.” Assange wasn’t charged, and his equipment was returned. “At that point, I decided that it might be wise to be a bit more discreet,” he said. Assange and the girl joined a squatters’ union in Melbourne, until they learned she was pregnant, and moved to be near Claire. When Assange was eighteen, the two got married in an unofficial ceremony, and soon afterward they had a son.

Hacking remained a constant in his life, and the thrill of digital exploration was amplified by the growing knowledge, among the International Subversives, that the authorities were interested in their activities. The Australian Federal Police had set up an investigation into the group, called Operation Weather, which the hackers strove to monitor.

In September, 1991, when Assange was twenty, he hacked into the master terminal that Nortel, the Canadian telecom company, maintained in Melbourne, and began to poke around. The International Subversives had been visiting the master terminal frequently. Normally, Assange hacked into computer systems at night, when they were semi-dormant, but this time a Nortel administrator was signed on. Sensing that he might be caught, Assange approached him with humor. “I have taken control,” he wrote, without giving his name. “For years, I have been struggling in this grayness. But now I have finally seen the light.” The administrator did not reply, and Assange sent another message: “It’s been nice playing with your system. We didn’t do any damage and we even improved a few things. Please don’t call the Australian Federal Police.”

The International Subversives’ incursions into Nortel turned out to be a critical development for Operation Weather. Federal investigators tapped phone lines to see which ones the hackers were using. “Julian was the most knowledgeable and the most secretive of the lot,” Ken Day, the lead investigator, told me. “He had some altruistic motive. I think he acted on the belief that everyone should have access to everything.”

“Underground” describes Assange’s growing fear of arrest: “Mendax dreamed of police raids all the time. He dreamed of footsteps crunching on the driveway gravel, of shadows in the pre-dawn darkness, of a gun-toting police squad bursting through his backdoor at 5 am.” Assange could relax only when he hid his disks in an apiary that he kept. By October, he was in a terrible state. His wife had left him, taking with her their infant son. His home was a mess. He barely ate or slept. On the night the police came, the twenty-ninth, he wired his phone through his stereo and listened to the busy signal until eleven-thirty, when Ken Day knocked on his door, and told him, “I think you’ve been expecting me.”

Assange was charged with thirty-one counts of hacking and related crimes. While awaiting trial, he fell into a depression, and briefly checked himself into a hospital. He tried to stay with his mother, but after a few days he took to sleeping in nearby parks. He lived and hiked among dense eucalyptus forests in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which were thick with mosquitoes whose bites scarred his face. “Your inner voice quiets down,” he told me. “Internal dialogue is stimulated by a preparatory desire to speak, but it is not actually useful if there are no other people around.” He added, “I don’t want to sound too Buddhist. But your vision of yourself disappears.”

It took more than three years for the authorities to bring the case against Assange and the other International Subversives to court. Day told me, “We had just formed the computer-crimes team, and the government said, ‘Your charter is to establish a deterrent.’ Well, to get a deterrent you have to prosecute people, and we achieved that with Julian and his group.” A computer-security team working for Nortel in Canada drafted an incident report alleging that the hacking had caused damage that would cost more than a hundred thousand dollars to repair. The chief prosecutor, describing Assange’s near-limitless access, told the court, “It was God Almighty walking around doing what you like.”

Assange, facing a potential sentence of ten years in prison, found the state’s reaction confounding. He bought Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “The First Circle,” a novel about scientists and technicians forced into the Gulag, and read it three times. (“How close the parallels to my own adventures!” he later wrote.) He was convinced that “look/see” hacking was a victimless crime, and intended to fight the charges. But the other members of the group decided to coöperate. “When a judge says, ‘The prisoner shall now rise,’ and no one else in the room stands—that is a test of character,” he told me. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to twenty-five charges and six were dropped. But at his final sentencing the judge said, “There is just no evidence that there was anything other than sort of intelligent inquisitiveness and the pleasure of being able to—what’s the expression—surf through these various computers.” Assange’s only penalty was to pay the Australian state a small sum in damages.

As the criminal case was unfolding, Assange and his mother were also waging a campaign to gain full custody of Assange’s son—a legal fight that was, in many ways, far more wrenching than his criminal defense. They were convinced that the boy’s mother and her new boyfriend posed a danger to the child, and they sought to restrict her rights. The state’s child-protection agency, Health and Community Services, disagreed. The specifics of the allegations are unclear; family-court records in Australia are kept anonymous. But in 1995 a parliamentary committee found that the agency maintained an “underlying philosophy of deflecting as many cases away from itself as possible.” When the agency decided that a child was living in a safe household, there was no way to immediately appeal its decision.

The custody battle evolved into a bitter fight with the state. “What we saw was a great bureaucracy that was squashing people,” Claire told me. She and Assange, along with another activist, formed an organization called Parent Inquiry Into Child Protection. “We used full-on activist methods,” Claire recalled. In meetings with Health and Community Services, “we would go in and tape-record them secretly.” The organization used the Australian Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents from Health and Community Services, and they distributed flyers to child-protection workers, encouraging them to come forward with inside information, for a “central databank” that they were creating. “You may remain anonymous if you wish,” one flyer stated. One protection worker leaked to the group an important internal manual. Assange told me, “We had moles who were inside dissidents.”

In 1999, after nearly three dozen legal hearings and appeals, Assange worked out a custody agreement with his wife. Claire told me, “We had experienced very high levels of adrenaline, and I think that after it all finished I ended up with P.T.S.D. It was like coming back from a war. You just can’t interact with normal people to the same degree, and I am sure that Jules has some P.T.S.D. that is untreated.” Not long after the court cases, she said, Assange’s hair, which had been dark brown, became drained of all color.

Assange was burned out. He motorcycled across Vietnam. He held various jobs, and even earned money as a computer-security consultant, supporting his son to the extent that he was able. He studied physics at the University of Melbourne. He thought that trying to decrypt the secret laws governing the universe would provide the intellectual stimulation and rush of hacking. It did not. In 2006, on a blog he had started, he wrote about a conference organized by the Australian Institute of Physics, “with 900 career physicists, the body of which were sniveling fearful conformists of woefully, woefully inferior character.”

He had come to understand the defining human struggle not as left versus right, or faith versus reason, but as individual versus institution. As a student of Kafka, Koestler, and Solzhenitsyn, he believed that truth, creativity, love, and compassion are corrupted by institutional hierarchies, and by “patronage networks”—one of his favorite expressions—that contort the human spirit. He sketched out a manifesto of sorts, titled “Conspiracy as Governance,” which sought to apply graph theory to politics. Assange wrote that illegitimate governance was by definition conspiratorial—the product of functionaries in “collaborative secrecy, working to the detriment of a population.” He argued that, when a regime’s lines of internal communication are disrupted, the information flow among conspirators must dwindle, and that, as the flow approaches zero, the conspiracy dissolves. Leaks were an instrument of information warfare.

May 2014 Employee of the Month

Sarah Smiley – Aztec Recreation

Huge congrats to Aztec Recreation’s Sarah Smiley for receiving May employee of the month! Sarah started working for Aztec Recreation in in January 2012 and after a few short months Sarah was promoted to Facility Supervisor and then again promoted to Facility Lead. Sarah embodies what it means to be a leader, a team player and a role model of our Aztec Recreation core values. When asked what her favorite memory was working for Aztec Recreation, her response, “Being promoted to Facilities Lead in November 2012 was one of the best memories. It was a great accomplishment that I worked hard for. I have also been able to sit on 3 interview panels to hire new employees, a great experience for myself, being on the other side of an interview, and I love to see the new hires grow while working at the ARC.”

Studying Biology here at SDSU, Sarah knows how to stay focused and how to balance work, school, and her volunteering responsibilities at Rady Children’s hospital and Sharp Hospice Care. Sarah is studying to become a doctor and she genuinely cares for the well-being of others. Sarah goes above and beyond to help members and cater to their fitness needs. She not only is very knowledgeable of our programs but also experienced. She can be seen working out at the Express, participating in group fitness classes, taking the half marathon training rec class and more. As the Facilities Lead Sarah plays a big part in day to day operations where safety is the top priority. When it comes to safety, Sarah has been clutch in many ones, but the most prominent is how great she has been at training many new hires over the years.

Sarah claims, “My favorite parts about working in recreation is the people I have met from members to staff. I have so many strong relationships with a majority of my co-workers and even met my best friend while working here.”

Sarah’s supervisor, Aimee stated, “Sarah is one of the sweetest people you will meet. She does everything just like her name says, with a smile on her face. Sarah is one of the only leads that took the time to cross train, work, and feel comfortable at both the front desk and floor.”

Sarah’s personal motto that she lives by is “Work for a cause, not for applause.” We wish you the best of luck in med school and know you will do great things! Once an Aztec always an Aztec!

 

April 2014 Employee of the Month

Katie Hecker – Aztec Adventures

Aztec Adventures Katie Hecker is the perfect example of what a true leader is all about. Katie started working for Aztec Adventures in fall 2010. She got involved because her RA in the SDSU res hall took a trip and brought Katie to a meeting. She then took the ENS138 Adventure Leadership course and discovered that she had a passion for outdoor leadership. The rest is history.

Katie has done it all from leading trips, to cleaning the vans, working in the back shop (the place that the gear is kept), and facilitating programs for Team Challenge. Since Thanksgiving, Katie has lead four trips (as the Primary Leader) consisting of 21 wonderful nights outdoors. This included a week-long backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon and an eight day canoeing staff training to the Black canyon on the Colorado River. In addition, she has also facilitated three key Team Challenge programs that generated at total of $7,100.00.

When asked why she loves working for Aztec Adventures she explains, “The reason I love coming into work is my coworkers. Aztec Adventures is truly a family. When you are having a bad day or need help with something someone is always there and willing to pick up the slack. The best part is coming in knowing you have a lot of work to do and realizing that someone has already beat you to it.”

One thing that makes Katie such a great leader is the constant mindset that trip members come first. She always makes sure her group is comfortable in the outdoors. Her first goal is safety, which is followed closely by fun, relationship building, and good food. She strives to make the trips she leads have lasting memories and have the trip members grow into family by the end. Aztec Adventures supervisor Jim Lustig illustrates why Katie is such a role model to others, “Hecker consistently takes complete "ownership" of the entire Aztec Adventures Outdoor Program. She is always striving to improve her skill sets and leadership abilities and in doing so is a great role model for all of our staff, but especially the many young women involved our program. Hecker aspires to a career in outdoor recreation and views her time with Aztec Adventures as the best part of her SDSU education.”

Being that her major is Recreation and Tourism Management with an emphasis in Outdoor Systems Management she is in the right field. Jim also stated that, ” Her knowledge and experience with the majority of our trips, plus her mastery of our back shop and all the logistics allows her to share new ideas that most staff cannot even conceive of--and that includes myself at times.” When we asked Katie how being involved helped her she claimed, “Aztec Adventures has prepared me for a variety of challenges to come in my professional and personal life. I welcome those challenges with open arms. I could not be more thankful.”

Katie’s personal motto is, “At the end of your weak all you have left is your strong.” Along with her extraordinary leadership skills, her humbleness is what also stands out. When asked what she loved about the program she diverted it to the people involved. She was constantly thanking all of those who had helped her along the way. When asked what she was most excited about, she referred to her coworkers promotions. She is such a beautiful person inside and out. Along with Aztec Recreation, SDSU is excited to see what she has in store for the future!

By: Reyanne Mustafa

 

February 2014 Employee of the Month

Amanda Whiteley – ARC

ARC Sales Rep Amanda Whiteley has been absolutely crushing it with sales during her year working here. Whiteley started her job at the ARC in September 2012 during her first semester of college because she loved the energy of this work environment.

She explained how working at the ARC has been such a great and useful experience because she has learned about, "marketing and working with a team that values creativity, efficiency and personal connections with customers." Whiteley’s position requires her to table and promote ARC membership around campus, which she describes as her favorite part of the job not only because she gets to be outdoors soaking up the sunshine, but also because she gets to talk with a variety of individuals which allows her to get a sense of what they are looking for in an ideal gym. Along with interacting with students and members while tabling, Whiteley’s average day on the job consists of checking emails, following up on sales, and providing excellent customer service while advertising the ARC.

ARC Marketing lead Blake Pinsker illustrated why Whiteley was selected as employee of the month, "Amanda Whitely exemplifies the ARC Experience, and has been shining bright in the ARC marketing and sales department for over a year now. This semester Amanda shattered her semester sales quota half way through the semester, and finished the month atop the department in sales."

As a Psychology major with a counseling and social change minor (CSP), Whiteley certainly understands the importance of personal interactions and connections with ARC members. She explained how she enjoys chatting with customers and making sure they have a good experience because every interaction counts. When asked if she had any advice for her coworkers she suggested to, "always be friendly to customers and try to be as helpful as possible because even if people do not sign up for a membership with you at that time they will come back and talk to you or send their friends to speak with you if they had a good experience."

Pinsker went on to praise Whiteley’s efforts and commitment to the ARC, "her hard work and initiative have gone a long way in helping produce the ARC Express/Aztec Lanes binders, developing new sales techniques, and maintaining great member relationships."

After graduating from SDSU, Whiteley plans on attending graduate school to receive her doctorates at the University of Hawaii or a school in California. With her doctorates she will become a clinical psychologist and will treat patients. She feels that her current job here at the ARC will benefit her for the future because, "I am learning how to interact with a variety of people through customer service, I am learning about marketing, I am learning how to be more productive in an office setting, and I am learning to interact with a team."

Working with the sales team is another of her favorite aspects of her position, because she has gotten to know everyone so well. Some of her favorite memories from her job include creating the ARC Express binder with Jared Kleber, the ARC videographer and hanging up blow up animals with the sales team while decorating for the ARC ‘til Dark.

Whiteley’s personal motto is, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain." She has certainly learned to dance and succeed at the ARC, and we are positive that she will continue to find great success in her future. Congratulations Amanda!

By: Kayla Heaviside

 

December 2013 Employee of the Month

Corry Vogel – ARC

Big congratulations are in order for our December employee of the month, Corry Vogel! Vogel began working at the ARC in August 2012 in an attempt to become more involved on campus. She was the perfect fit for her position as sports club lead because she is extremely hard-working and maintains a positive attitude, and she has been involved in and around sports her entire life!

As sports club lead, Vogel is responsible for keeping the team sign-in sheets up to date and printing them off for practice each day, checking to ensure that each player has an active ARC membership, and processing travel forms for teams that have upcoming events. The beginning of the fall semester is the busiest time of the year for Vogel because she gets a large influx of player paperwork that must get processed and sent to the athletic trainer before it is filed into the system. As that busy works tapers down, she then turns her focus to organizing and scanning in all of the paperwork she received for the 400+ sports clubs athletes.

Her time here at the ARC has shown her that no matter what department you may work for, everyone here is part of one big community where everyone is friendly and willing to help each other out. Vogel says that her "favorite part of the job is getting to work with my co-workers." She is particularly fond of Jenn Hayes, who she shares a cubicle with. Some of Vogel’s favorite memories from her time as the ARC sports lead are from the full-time and lead staff retreats, as well as the sport clubs retreats. These retreats have granted her the opportunity to both learn about the different aspects of operations around the ARC while building friendships with other lead staff that work at the Aquaplex, MBAC and for Aztec Adventures. She said, "I also enjoyed getting to know the athletes that went to the sport club retreat; it really helps keep operations moving smoothly when I get to know the athletes on a more personal level, which allows for better communication throughout the year."

Vogel describes her attitude on the job as being motivated. "I’m happy to see all the new faces that come through Sports Clubs signing up for a team, whether they’re learning a new sport or getting to know their new teams I am always happy to help the new athlete get registered and cleared to play so they can enjoy the new year of sports, fun, and life long memories," she stated.

Her supervisor, DeJuan Benford, the Intramural Sports and Sports Club Coordinator further emphasized Vogel’s awesome attitude. He commented, "Corry is well respected within the Aztec Recreation Program and has proven to be a hardworking, determined, and dedicated individual. She always has a positive attitude and her strengths are found in her team building, motivation, initiative, and excellent organizational skills."

As a Kinesiology student studying pre-physical therapy, Vogel plans to attend a doctorate program after graduating from SDSU with a B.S. degree. Her end goal is to have a career working with infants, children or athletes in the physical therapy field. Her position as sports club lead is the first real job she has ever had, so she feels that the experience alone is going to help her tremendously when applying for jobs in her career field later in life. When describing the benefits of her current job she stated, "I have learned many useful skills, some of the most prominent being, multi-tasking, customer service, and organization."

Vogel is being recognized for all of her hard-work as sports club lead. She always stays positive, no matter what the situation, which is extremely important in her current position and her future career field. We also value her extreme attention to detail, which she explains is so important because, "one mess up can mean an athlete has to sit out of practice, and no one is going to be happy with that."

Benford went on to brag about Vogel’s excellence on the job when he said, "She is always eager and willing to go the extra mile to ensure new staff members are well trained for the Sports Club Department and continually provides suggestions on how to improve the program. As an employee and a participant, she has the ability to quickly develop friendly relationships with diverse groups and aids in their growth and the advancement of the Sport Club program."

We have no doubt that Vogel will find great success in her future endeavors due to her diligence and awesome attitude and outlook on life! She said that she has been benefitted lately by her positive thinking, and explained it as, "when something goes wrong I simply say "plot twist!" And move on. There is nothing I can do to change the past I just have to learn from in, move on, and do better in the future."

Congratulations once again, Corry! And don’t forget your favorite motto, even if the sun is turned off, you’re still gonna shine!

By: Kayla Heaviside

 

November 2013 Employee of the Month

Allie Raimondo – MBAC

Aztec Recreation is proud to congratulate our November employee of the month Allie Raimondo. Raimondo began working at the front desk of the Mission Bay Aquatic Center in May of this year, and has loved every minute of it!

Her position requires her to assist customers with enrolling in MBAC classes such as surfing or wakeboarding, renting out equipment, and answering general questions about the facility as well as the available equipment and classes. Raimondo said, "If you call our phone number or email us, there is also a good chance I'm the one who will answer! One of my favorite things about the job is hearing how much fun our customers have had out on the water, especially first-timers!"

Raimondo’s hard work and upbeat and positive attitude are essential for her job at MBAC, especially in the busy season when things get extra hectic around there with all of the extra summer programs they offer. No matter how crazy things get at work, Raimondo is always smiling and happy to help customers. Amanda Burgess, her supervisor at MBAC, had only the best things to say about her employee of the month, "Allie consistently offers outstanding customer service. She has a very friendly voice and personality and does a great job of answering customers’ questions and guiding them to find what they want plus additional options. Allie goes out of her way to make sure that all interactions with customers make the customer feel special and listened to."

Raimondo is a Health Science-Public Health major with a Psychology minor. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, her goal is to return to SDSU for graduate school. She hopes to use her degree to work somewhere in the realm of health promotion and education. "As long as I'm working hands on with people and helping them live healthy lives, I'll be happy," Raimondo commented. Her job at MBAC will benefit her in the future because she says it has helped her improve both her multitasking and communication skills, which are imperative for nearly any job.

Along with improving these essential skills, Raimondo has perfected her customer service while working at MBAC. Burgess described her as being both friendly and reliable, "She makes customers feel welcome by showing a lot of personality in her interactions."

Raimondo explained that besides her awesome co-workers who she frequently goes surfing with before and after work, her favorite part of her job is watching all of the kids in action during their summer watersports camp. MBAC accommodates campers with special needs and also offers "camperships" for those who cannot afford the program. Raimondo is understandably proud of MBAC for these awesome efforts to help kids learn new skills on the water. "Seeing kids who have never done any kind of water-sport and were almost afraid of the water leave so happy, reminded me what an awesome facility we have and I felt proud to be a part of it," she said. We are extremely proud of Allie and wish to thank her for all her hard work at the Aquatic Center. Friendly as always, when asked if there was anything else she would like to share with us, she exclaimed, "For anyone who has not yet visited the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, I hope to see you soon!"

By: Kayla Heaviside

 

July 2013 Employee of the Month

Daniel Kersten

Daniel Kersten began working for Intramural Sports in February, 2011. Starting as a referee and transitioning into a Supervisor, Daniel has made great contributions to the Intramural Sports program. His skill, dedication, flexibility and ability to take shifts on short notice have helped the program tremendously. Kersten spent the spring 2012 semester studying abroad in Australia, but came back in the fall and fell right into his groove. Kersten helps lead staff trainings, volunteers for Intramural Sports promotional opportunities and special events, and is a mentor for the younger staff members.

As a business management major with a minor in social psychology, Kersten’s plans after college include traveling to Europe and Mexico before starting his own business. His current position in Intramural Sports is preparing him for his future because it has helped him develop a thick skin. He said, "No job is going to be as strenuous as having players yell at me for 40 minutes straight during a basketball game!"

Kersten completed an internship project in the spring 2013 semester that will benefit Intramural Sports at SDSU. He researched different Intramural Sports programs at various Universities in the San Diego area including UCSD, USD and Point Loma. Kersten conducted interviews with their program Directors to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth within their program. He compiled reports with this information and included possible changes that can be made to enhance the services offered by Intramural Sports at SDSU. These fresh ideas may prove to be very beneficial for Intramural Sports at SDSU and help us offer better programming for the SDSU community.

By Andrew Reddish and Kayla Heaviside

 

June 2013 Employee of the Month

Shai Lee

This month, the Aztec Recreation Center would like to recognize racquetball lead Shai Lee for her outstanding efforts and commitment to excellence in her position. Lee began working at the ARC for the facilities department a little over a year ago, in April 2012 before she became the racquetball supervisor in spring 2013. Her favorite saying is "always do your best, even when no one is watching", which she certainly does here at the ARC!

Lee has accumulated a variety of great memories from her time as an ARC employee, but said that her favorite is finally being elected as employee of the month! Her favorite part of her job is "mingling with the members (you never know who you will meet), witnessing member transformations and helping out people in need." She also loves working alongside the two facilities leads, Sarah Smiley and Phylicia Barron.

Lee described an average day at work as consisting of "enforcing ARC policies, reading and updating the daily reports and events schedules, cleaning, checking to make sure that all equipment is up to par, and speaking with Ron Cortell [ARC Assistant Director] to stay up to date with everything going on around the ARC."

As a Public Health major with minors in both Spanish and American Sign Language, Lee’s position at the ARC is helping prepare her for her future career as a Doctor of Sexual Medicine. She hopes to work in clinics to counsel teenage girls before starting an organization where victims of sex crimes can find a safe haven. While describing her future career, Lee said, "Hopefully, I will be able to secure a position within the FBI counseling victims of sex crimes. While pursuing my doctorate in public health, I would love to work as a medical translator. While all this is great, I also just want to be a mom."

Her previous position in the facilities department and her current title of Racquetball Supervisor have both given her more insight into working in the health field and dealing with pressure situations. Lee commented, "I’ve handled a lot of injuries and seen a lot of crazy and odd things at the ARC that helped me develop a tougher skin."

Lee has been successful in her time here at the ARC because she always keeps a positive attitude while working. She says, "I try to remain very open, personable, and cheery at all times. I like to seem very approachable not only to members, but to other ARC staff as well. I always try to keep a smile!" Her suggestion for her co-workers to find the same success that she has is to do their jobs and stay busy – the ARC can never be too clean!

Not only is Lee an outstanding ARC employee, but she is an amazing SDSU student as well! She is extremely involved on campus as an SDSU Ambassador, the SDSU Volleyball team manager, a member of the Good Neighbor Program and the Pacific Islander Student Association, and is on the Community Service and Leadership Board. This statement shows just how great Lee is, "Overall, the ARC provides me with the satisfaction that I am helping people and I really just like to help. I would like to make a small difference in this world and for me it starts with just helping."

By Kayla Heaviside

 

May Employee of the Month

Joel Newbold

May Employee of the Month After a year of working diligently at the Aztec Aquaplex, Joel Newbold has been nominated as Aztec Recreation’s employee of the Month for May!

Newbold loves working at the Aquaplex because of his awesome co-workers and the great patrons and members he sees on a daily basis. "I really enjoy how much customers appreciate what we do, and they never hesitate to let us know," commented Newbold.

He always has a positive attitude and a good time at work because his co-workers have become some of his closest friends, which makes spending time on the clock a lot more fun! He explains an average day at work, "sometimes I get jealous watching our patrons have fun in the sun while I sit behind my desk, but we stay busy and have a good time either way."

Newbold is majoring in Management Information Systems and plans to work in the field for a few years after graduation to gain valuable hands-on experience. He then hopes to attend graduate school at a top university after seeing where his career takes him. He has gained valuable customer service skills through his position at the Aquaplex that he will put to good use in his future endeavors.

Newbold was elected employee of the month for Aztec Recreation because of his commitment to customer service and his work ethic. His advice for his co-workers is to learn how to multi-task and to have a good awareness of everything that is going on around you. He uses these skills to empathize with our wide range of members and makes each one feel welcome. He described his approach to customer service, "I try to treat each customer in a unique way that I feel will satisfy them the most. I always keep it real and uphold the facility rules respectfully and consistently."

When asked about his favorite memory as an Aquaplex employee, he said "being a college student, naturally all of my happiness involves getting free food. Gotta love that! And it seems to happen a lot here."

Newbold adheres to an infamous quote from the movie Talladega Nights as his personal motto. Ricky Bobby’s one liner is, "if you ain’t first, you’re last." With such a strong work ethic and positive attitude, we are certain you’ll never finish last wherever life takes you Joel!

By Kayla Heaviside

 

April Employee of the Month

Gebriele Kubrom

Our April employee of the month is our evening facility lead, Gebriele Kubrom. Kubrom began working at the ARC in January 2012. He was a perfect fit for the job because he had plenty of free time and was already a consistent ARC member. Kubrom was elected employee of the month for a variety of reasons, but one that stands out was his efforts to stop and catch a thief while on the clock! While performing a routine security check of the ARC facility, he noticed some suspicious noises coming from the closed Shake Smart facility. He notified his co-workers and watched the area. Minutes later, a male emerged from the tent carrying stolen whey protein containers. Kubrom confronted the thief and retrieved the stolen goods. He also detained him until police arrived and arrested the suspect. While we don't suggest anyone to interfere in such dangerous activities, we appreciate Kubrom's miraculous efforts to stop the thefts that had been occurring at Shake Smart for months now. His heroic efforts follow his words of advice for his co-workers, "always remain confident and never be afraid to ask for help!"

His favorite memory from his time as an ARC employee was getting a promotion and becoming the evening facility lead alongside his co-worker Sean Ha. Kubrom is an excellent ARC employee because he forms good relationships not only with his co-workers, but with ARC members as well. He has excellent customer service skills and is always asking members how their morning is going and wishing them a great workout. An average day on the job as the evening facilities lead consists of folding towels, assisting members with their accounts, re-racking weights in the fitness and weight rooms, writing up occasional injury reports, recording occurrences throughout the ARC, answering phone calls, and folding a lot more towels.

Kubrom is currently pursuing a degree in Kinesiology and is considering doubling majoring or minoring in Public Health. After earning his degree from SDSU, he wants to travel the world before going back to school to get his master's degree. His position at the ARC has taught him the importance of communication amongst fellow co-workers and how to properly treat and talk to customers in any work environment. He has also gained insight on the professional world and how to act in a variety of situations, as well as the importance of punctuality. He describes his time as an ARC employee as a great experience that "has allowed me to grow and mature as an individual."

We are grateful for Kubrom's heroic efforts and his exceptional customer service skills. We are confident that he will be successful in life and will continue to amaze us all by following his favorite quote by Jerry Rice, "today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

By Kayla Heaviside

 

March Employee of the Month

Sarah Smiley

ARC Facilities Lead Sarah Smiley is being recognized as the employee of the month for March for her dedication and commitment to both her position and ARC members. Smiley applied for the position to get more involved on campus and was hired in December 2011. She loves working at the ARC because "interacting with members is always fun and interesting, and the staff is the best to work and hangout with!"

Smiley has a plethora of great memories from her time working at the ARC and loves that every day on the job is different than the one before it. An average day at work for Smiley is filled with staff relations with the facility/operations crew, reviewing daily reports of the happenings within the ARC, and giving top priority to customer service with members and guests. Smiley loves the aspect of customer service that comes with her position. "I enjoy interacting with members and answering all the questions, comments or concerns they have," she stated.

ARC Assistant Director Ron Cortell nominated Smiley for employee of the month because he feels that she is, "open minded and a natural leader who continues to learn."

Smiley flourishes in her leadership role at the ARC because she has taken advantage of all the experiences and opportunities her position has offered her. She attributes her success to, "taking the big/small, bad/good situations at hand with a positive attitude while working with the staff and members to find the best solution."

Cortell is proud of his employee for doing all of the little things required to be a good leader, including her commitment to ARC members. On the subject of customer service, Smiley commented, "customer service for me is being a good listener, being friendly, and trying to do whatever it takes to put a smile on the member's face."

Smiley is a biology major who plans to go to medical school after graduating from SDSU. She wants to specialize in Pediatrics. Her position at the ARC is preparing her for medical school because it requires her to be both assertive and empathetic at the same time. Her position as facilities lead also requires her to be the first responder to any injuries members sustain within the ARC, which gives her a glimpse into the world of medicine and first aid. Smiley is sure to be successful in her future because she does well in school, volunteers, and knows that her hard work and passion will fill out the rest.

By Kayla Heaviside

 

 

February Employee of the Month

CJ Capes

Our February employee of the month is the ARC's Videographer, CJ Capes. Capes was originally hired in June 2010 as a graphic artist, but his title was changed to videographer once his true talents of making videos were realized. Capes has followed Confucius's advice to, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." He describes his position as a combination between his favorite hobby and a part-time job.

A typical day for our videographer consists of first checking emails and opening the current project he is working on before its "coffee time." Capes explains this important part of his daily routine, "I enjoy having a personal (only because I'm the only one that uses it) coffee maker available in the office, and it gets a lot of use. My go-to-blend is a Guatemalan Huehuetenango, but I like to mix it up." Capes also spends his day testing out equipment, posting his completed work to the ARC's Facebook and Twitter pages, researching various editing techniques or camera equipment, and editing projects. He adds, "I love being able to apply creative energy to my projects and have a hands on learning experience." Capes' favorite project while on the job was the Aztec Adventures Joshua Tree Rock Climbing Outing. Capes was able to travel with the Aztec Adventures crew to Joshua Tree to document their weekend trip.

Although Capes describes his office as, "a small cavern located in the back of the Recreation Sports Office" where he doesn't encounter many members or customers, he is still able to help answer any questions that may arise for the racquetball staff. Capes is being recognized as employee of the month not only for his outstanding videos, but also for his positive and helpful attitude. "Even though I don't spend that much time interacting with customers, any time that I do I'm always very respectful, and attentive. I always try to keep a positive attitude while working, not that that's hard to do when you like what you're doing," said Capes.

For his fellow employees, Capes wants them to remember that, "a lot of what you learn in video production just comes from experience, trial and error, and doing things right the first time around." Capes has worked at the ARC for almost three years and has seen a lot of the staff come and go, but he describes a consistent strong relationship between all of his coworkers. He admits that he has subjected many of them to countless critiques of his current projects, and has bounced numerous ideas off of them. "Whether it be the racquetball staff that I share office space with, or fellow marketing team members, I've always enjoyed the company and cohesion of my fellow employees," Capes stated.

Capes is majoring in Television, Film and Media Production and minoring in Spanish. He hopes to work in the sports television industry upon his graduation this spring. He has sent out a few applications for internships that he is waiting to hear back on, but he is keeping a positive and open mind because he is well aware of the competitive nature of the television and film industry. In order to break into the industry, Capes stated that he is "building as many relationships as possible with fellow students, promoting my work, and basically just getting my name out there."

Capes' position as videographer has prepared him for future jobs because it has given him a platform that has enabled him to develop many of the essential skills necessary for the professional world. "As a student television and film major, I couldn't have asked for a better job," comments Capes.

Capes added, "If anyone would like to view my work, or contact me for any reason, my website is cjcapes.com and I encourage people to check it out."

By Kayla Heaviside

 

 

December 2012 Employee of the Month

Jana Tokunaga

Jana Tokunaga was selected as the Aztec Recreation Employee of the Month for December 2012. Jana was nominated by her supervisor, Amanda Burgess, for her outstanding critical thinking and exceptional customer service skills. While off the clock, Jana was informed of a possible theft of a stand up paddleboard. She informed her supervisor immediately and sought out the potential thief. Once realizing that the board was in fact our property, she was able to keep the suspect in sight while informing proper authorities. Due to her attentiveness and persistence, the aquatic center was able to recover the stolen stand up paddleboard. "Every day Jana takes initiative around the front desk and it was especially outstanding when she took initiative to help us get out stand up paddleboard back," said her supervisor.

Jana Tokunaga began working at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center in May 2009 as a youth summer camp counselor while she pursued her degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in pre-Physical Therapy. After completing two summers as a camp counselor, Jana chose to apply to be a front desk assistant. Her leadership and critical thinking skills that she displayed as a camp counselor helped her gain her current position as a front desk assistant.

Jana has also played a large role in training newer front desk staff. She sets a prime example of exceptional customer service and because she has taken many classes and worked as a camp counselor, she is very knowledgeable of all MBAC programs and offerings. Jana is extremely helpful and courteous with all customer and co-worker interactions. Amanda states that, "Jana has a passion for watersports and spends a lot of time around the aquatic center even when she is not working. Her passion for watersports and the aquatic center shows in her enthusiasm with customers and willingness to get them excited about all that we have to offer."

Jana's interest in working at the aquatic center began when she took an ENS surfing class in spring 2009. Through the class she learned the fundamentals of surfing and attended multiple classes per week to accomplish her dream to become a great surfer. Three years later, she has become an outstanding surfer who loves to surf her 5'8" swallowtail JS or 6'6" twin-fin fish frequently in various Pacific Beach surf spots. Jana says that her favorite part of working at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center is working with great people every day. She also states, "I like promoting an active lifestyle to others and being a part of it."

By Kayla Heaviside

 

 

November 2012 Employee of the Month

Micah Ninteman

Micah Ninteman began working for the ARC towards the end of the spring semester in 2011. During his time working Membership for the ARC, Ninteman has perfected his customer service skills in such a way that can only be rewarded with the title of employee of the month.

Ninteman is being recognized for his outstanding attitude and willingness to do whatever is necessary to ensure that members are happy. Because of this, Daniella Lavezzo, the member services supervisor, considers Ninteman to be a "jack of all trades." Lavezzo says of her employee, "He has handled injuries on the floor this past month and has proved that he is an excellent Membership employee. Micah is very professional and courteous to all of the members. He is a leader for the Membership team." His duties include greeting members, signing up new clients and answering any general questions that people have. He explains that the key to great customer service is that "you always have to be happy and ready to cheerfully help any type of customer, anytime."

Enjoying his time working behind the member services desk further strengthens Ninteman's positive attitude. Of his time working at the ARC, he says that is has been nothing less than amazing. "The people I have met and the experiences I have gained have not only bettered my college career, but me as a person as well," stated Ninteman. He considers all of his co-workers to be good friends, and describes how their friendships go farther than the membership desk. They are all involved in each other's lives – through work, sports, social events and even school.

Ninteman is studying Kinesiology and plans on becoming a personal trainer after he graduates. He is considering using his knowledge of kinesiology and his vast customer service skills to eventually open up a new gym with his older brother. Through his own advice to "work hard and never complain," we are certain that he will be successful in whatever path the future takes him on.

One of his most favorable memories from working at the ARC was during the huge black out last fall. He stayed on shift in the dark and empty ARC and picked up the phone each time someone called to ask whether the power was out at the ARC as well. His perseverance to his job and his effort to follow his personal motto, "Hakuna Matata," has ensured him the title of employee of the month.

Ninteman would like to make a "shout out to the Jamaican Hopscotch Mafia! Soon to be three time defending champions in intramural outdoor soccer!" Best of luck to both you and your team!

By Kayla Heaviside

 

 

October 2012 Employee of the Month

Nick Paulsen

Our October employee of the month comes from the ARC's Intramural Sports Program. Nick Paulsen has worked for the ARC for one year now and describes it as an "awesome experience," thanks to the exciting games and his fantastic co-workers that he has built strong relationships with over the past year.

Paulsen states, "I love being surrounded in its competitive atmosphere and I enjoy watching and being involved with the intramural games." Even with all of the exciting games he has refereed, his favorite memory of his job was getting promoted to supervisor last week. To achieve success on the job, Paulsen suggests to his co-workers to "be aware of your surroundings, always be looking for members who look like they need assistance or information. Give your best effort and be confident in your calls."

An average day for Paulsen consists of checking in, setting up the proper sports equipment, refereeing and supervising the games, and then breaking down the equipment when the games are finished. Paulsen is the ideal ARC employee because he continually does more than the standards required of his position and is always looking to lend a helping hand. "While on the job, I make the effort to be friendly and sociable to the ARC members. I'm always looking around for anyone who appears to be in need of assistance," he commented.

Paulsen is studying Business Management with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. After receiving his diploma from SDSU, he plans on attending graduate school. His ultimate goal for the future is to become the General Manager of a professional sports franchise, preferably baseball. His supervisor position at the ARC is preparing him for his future career because he is gaining valuable experience in managing employees, customers, and the sporting events themselves. With a major in business management, being a supervisor in the Intramural department at the ARC is a perfect preliminary job for my future endeavors.

Dejuan Benford, the Intramural Sports and Sports Club Coordinator and Andrew Reddish, the Intramural Sports and Sports Club Supervisor both nominated Paulsen for employee of the month for going above and beyond his required duties, including his efforts during the ARC's Break-a-World-Record night last month. "He displayed great dedication by helping the Recreation staff prepare for our Twister Break-a-World-Record event on August 31st. He has also been tabling for Intramural Sports and helping to promote the program," said Reddish.

Reddish not only appreciates all of Paulsen's hard efforts, but another one of his staff that have been recently promoted to a supervisor position as well. Zach Hernandez is a sophomore at SDSU and has also been a sports official for the Intramural Program for one year. Reddish wishes to thank Hernandez for his endless dedication to the success of the Intramural Program. "He has been a big help for us getting ready for this new school year and deserves recognition as well," stated Reddish.

Paulsen has found much of his success due to his adherence to follow his dreams. He quotes, "Don't ever let somebody tell you that you can't do something. If you've got a dream, you've got to protect it. When people can't do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can't do it. If you want something, go get it. Period."

Reddish and the rest of the staff at the Aztec Recreation Center "appreciate Nick's dedication and devotion to the various programs that we run and look forward to continue working with Nick in the future."

By Kayla Heaviside

 

 

September 2012 Employee of the Month

Jacob Williams

Jacob Williams, one of our many talented Aquaplex lifeguards, has always been positively affiliated with water. He swam competitively for ten years, played water polo for four, and was a participant in the LA county Junior Lifeguard program for six summers. Ever since he can remember, the water has always played a very important role in his life, leading him to be our September employee of the month!

"I absolutely love my job, having the opportunity to work outside every day, relishing in the serene, sunny and warm weather that San Diego is best known for" Williams stated. He also appreciates the convenient location of the Aquaplex since he lives on campus, which makes his commute to work both sustainable and practical. One of William's favorite parts about working as a lifeguard for the Aquaplex is, "having the opportunity to swim laps in the competition pool every day and stay in great physical condition." Williams considers swimming to be his "get-away zone", or his "happy place" that he can resort to even in the most difficult of times and situations.

Williams began working for the Aquaplex last spring after hearing about a job opening from one of his fraternity brothers. When he isn't lifeguarding, he teaches swim lessons to people of all ages at the Aquaplex. "Whether I'm preventing injury and saving lives, teaching kids how to swim for the very first time, or improving the hydrodynamic s of their stroke, my job is extremely worthwhile and I take it very seriously," said Williams. This outlook on his job is one of the many reasons Williams was selected to be our employee of the month. He also has an excellent attitude and great customer service skills that are noticed by his co-workers and ARC members alike. Williams considers a good lifeguard to be responsible, prepared, alert and spontaneous. Aquaplex coordinator Jake Siegfried has taken note of William's professional and congenial attitude while on the job and we wish to congratulate him on his outstanding efforts!

Williams manages to successfully balance his job at the Aquaplex with his studies here at SDSU. He is majoring in Recreation and Tourism Management with an emphasis in Sustainable Tourism. He would like to become a full-time lifeguard upon graduation. His other future career plans are to become an activities director for a resort or cruise line, with the hopes of eventually owning his own snorkeling booze-cruise company. Being a lifeguard at the Aquaplex is benefitting him for future jobs because being able to put a recreation-affiliated job on his resume is a mandatory requirement for anyone in the Recreation and Tourism Management field.

By "starting the day optimistically and ending the day optimistically" Williams has ensured his success on the job. He describes every day at the Aquaplex as an adventure, and his most memorable work moments deal with the kids he teaches swim lessons to. Williams attributes his success to all of the traits and skills he acquired while participating in a semester long internship for the Disney College Program in Anaheim, CA. This 12-unit, paid internship gave him the opportunity to succeed on being an effective, fun, and efficient swim teacher. He derives many of his favorite swim lesson techniques and activities from working on the World Famous Jungle Cruise. Williams is a favorite swim instructor to many children because he is constantly mixing jokes and games into his lessons that keep children alert and excited. One of his favorite jokes is, "Why is there no poker playing in the jungle? Cause it's full of cheetahs, and they keep on lion!" William's fun demeanor is another trait needed to be a successful employee, which is yet another reason he is being awarded employee of the month!

While working at the Aquaplex, Williams has met a plethora of diverse individuals. He describes his co-workers as being down to earth, easy going, and great to get along with. Although they come from different backgrounds, Williams loves working alongside them because they all share one unique and concrete bond that ties them together – they are all San Diego State Aztecs!

Williams describes working at the Aquaplex this past summer as an adventure, and he is excited to continue working as a lifeguard this upcoming school year. We are confident he will be successful in whatever endeavors he undertakes, thanks not only to his excellent attitude, but his personal motto as well: "Live life to the greatest extent! Don't do something you don't love to do. Give expecting nothing thereof."

By Kayla Heaviside

 

 

August 2012 Employee of the Month

Kyle Reed

Kyle Reed, a fourth year graphic design major, is being recognized as employee of the month for his outstanding efforts as the Graphic Artist for the Aztec Recreation Center. Reed began doing graphic design for the ARC in May 2011. His day-to-day work entails drafting promotional items, printing collateral, and other ARC-related ephemera. Reed ensures his success and productivity by "keeping close relations with department heads to coordinate deadlines for deliverables."

Reed is glad to have formed strong friendships out of his work experience at the ARC. "Former sales representative Peter Cohen and have enjoyed hiking together, while CJ Capes [the ARC Videographer] and I have formed a bond over a shared interest in movies and music," said Reed.

One of Reed's favorite memories from his time working at the ARC was during an Aztec Adventures team-building exercise. "I really enjoyed spending time with my colleagues on the high ropes course out in Julian, CA, last September," described Reed.

Reed portrays the qualities found in an employee of month through keeping a constant high level of energy while on the job. "Staying attentive and positive and ensuring that all posted materials are relevant and free from any inaccurate or offensive content," certify Reed's status as employee of the month.

After college he plans to land either a paid internship or a full-time design position. Although Reed feels that the saying "simplicity reigns supreme" best describes him as a person, he has a variety of graphic design talents that he hopes to put to use in the future. He is interested in working in print, publication, or packaging, or for a type foundry. The highly motivated Reed has already begun planning and preparing to achieve his future goals. He stated, "In the next few months, aside from completing my portfolio work, I will need to write a thick stack of letters to be sent out." A few of the companies Reed plans on applying to include Nike, National Forest, Esquire, Quiksilver, Depot Creative and Turner Duckworth, among others.

Reed's tips for success in the graphic design industry are to stay inspired, to remember that "no man is an island" and to "look good, design better".

Along with compiling his portfolio, Reed is also preparing himself for future jobs through his current position at the ARC. As the ARC's only graphic artist for the summer, he is often challenged to tackle multiple projects at any given time. "At the ARC, I often find myself engaged in meetings with different coordinators and program leads in order to fulfill project needs," described Reed. These challenges will build Reed's talents for the future because it is not uncommon for a designer to be juggling several clients and projects at once.

"Working with a group to create a unified goal in visual communication that reflects a greater entity is probably the most valuable thing I will take away from this job when I enter the design field," Reed said.

Some of Reed's success can be attributed to his constant enthusiasm for his job and the ARC. He stated, "I just want to give a big thanks to everyone at the Aztec Recreation Center. It has been so good to me both as a patron and as an employee!""

Congratulations on being our August employee of the month and best of luck with your portfolio! There is no doubt you will be doing big things in the future and we can't wait to see what your talents and success bring!

By Kayla Heaviside

 

 

July 2012 Employee of the Month

Daniel Dominguez

Daniel Dominguez, the ARC's July employee of the month, has been a member of the San Diego State University ARC since the building was first opened in July 1997. He began regularly practicing yoga at the ARC in 1999, and got his Yoga Teacher Certification ten years later. Dominguez felt that getting one of his first jobs as a yoga teacher at the ARC was not only a natural progression, but a very comfortable transition as well since he felt "at home." Dominguez was then invited to participate in the Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Yoga Program that the Mission Bay Aquatic Center was starting in the spring of 2011. He quickly became involved in the program because he "loved the challenge and the opportunity of learning a new sport that would allow [him] to practice yoga outside and on the water!"

It's because of Daniel's passion for SUP that he was selected as the July employee of the month. Dominguez helped to launch the ENS SUP Yoga class in spring 2012, so now, SDSU students can get a college credit unit for taking SUP Yoga classes! In addition Daniel taught SUP basic training throughout the semester long classes. "It's great to see the progress of the students from the first day of class, hardly standing on the paddle board for the first time, to the second or third SUP Yoga class with the program where they manage to balance on their arms doing the "crow" pose on the board!"

"Being happy with what you do reflects in your work, in your natural attitude, and it's contagious…or at least sets an example," said Dominguez.

He obtained a PhD in Psychology in 1996 in his homeland of Argentina before he came to America for post-doc training. Dominguez then spent twelve years working for the SDSU Research Foundation, where he transitioned from a Research Assistant at the Psychology Department to the Principle Investigator managing his own NIH grant.

Dominguez strives to live by Mahatma Gandhi's infamous quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Inspired by this, he found new goals for himself and his life in 2008 and obtained certifications as both a Massage Therapist and a Yoga Instructor. Today he owns his own small business that offers yoga instruction and bodywork.

He does not measure his success on economic achievements or social recognition. His advice for his coworkers is to love your job, to respect and take care of your body and mind, and to help others achieve their goals. These simple things will make each day a success, and Dominguez feels that with love and respect, anyone can be successful. He has certainly shown how these traits can lead to a fulfilling and successful career and life! Congratulations on being July's employee of the month Daniel!

By Kayla Heaviside

 

 

June 2012 Employees of the Month


Ryan Schuler


Kole Wiese

Ryan Schuler

Ryan Schuler worked as an intramural sports referee for a year before accepting a position at the Aztec Aquaplex. Schuler was nominated for employee of the month by Jake Siegfried, the Aquaplex coordinator, who described him as, "a dedicated employee who provides excellent customer service to patrons and members on a daily basis."

Some of Schuler's favorite memories working for the ARC consist of hanging out with his fellow employees outside of work and joking around with his colleagues.

"I love working at the Aquaplex. I've made some great friendships while I've been here. Everyone is so nice and we all know each other so well, so it makes work fun," said Schuler.

His average day at work consists of signing community members up for swim lessons, selling day-passes, handling the phones and filing paperwork. His advice to his co-workers on being successful in this job is to, "pay attention to details and don't be afraid to ask your lead any questions if you don't remember how to do something."

Schuler, who is majoring in journalism and minoring in political science, hopes to travel to Australia after graduation. Upon his return to America, he plans to write for a newspaper or a magazine. Schuler feels that his position at the Aztec Aquaplex is preparing him for his future career since his job allows him to interact with a variety of different people each day.

"I would describe my attitude and customer service as patient and understanding. We get a wide variety of people at the Aquaplex, so it's important to make sure you are patient with everyone," said Schuler.

Siegfried nominated Schuler because of his ability to "troubleshoot problems and take steps to ensure that information and services provided meet the standards that we ask all employees to adhere to."

Schuler strives to live by Derek Jeter's motto, "There may be people that have more talent than you do, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do." Schuler's hard work has clearly paid off and can be witnessed through his outstanding achievements at the Aquaplex.

Kole Wiese

Kole Wiese began working for the Aquaplex in August 2011 and was selected as the Employee of the month for June for his dedicated efforts.

"Recently Kole has been more involved with the building services department at the Aquaplex, ensuring that work schedules and work orders are being completed correctly," said Aquaplex Coordinator Jake Siegfried. "He has taken on new assignments and duties as needed and worked to make sure that facility issues are being solved quickly."

One of Wiese's main responsibilities is to respond to first aid accidents on the pool deck, as well as maintaining a patient and understanding attitude with all patrons.

"My favorite part of this job would have to be that A.S. is really good about making sure that school comes first and I like that they work around our school schedule," said Wiese.

Currently, Wiese is majoring in Kinesiology with an emphasis in physical therapy and hopes to become a physical therapist for the San Diego Chargers or the San Diego Padres. Wiese plans on achieving these goals by getting the best grades possible and being involved within the school and community.

Wiese considers his positive attitude to be a key component to his success; therefore, he does his best to adhere to the saying "be the best that you can be and don't let anyone bring down your confidence." We wish to congratulate and recognize Wiese for his outstanding achievements as an AS employee!

By Kayla Heaviside

 

 

May 2012 Employee of the Month

David Robbins

David Robbins has used his humor, leadership and integrity to exemplify why he is a stand-out employee here at the ARC. Robbins is currently a facilities supervisor, but he has been working at the ARC since his freshman year of college.

"The flamboyant fanny packs drew me in at first glance, then came the honor of protecting and becoming an employee of the ARC," joked Robbins. "This was not just a dream but a vision. From that point on I knew I had a date with destiny and that the ARC was to be my new-found home."

Not surprisingly, Robbins has made some of his closest friends while on the job and through his use of brilliant analogies, he is able to explain how deep of a bond he has made with fellow coworkers.

"The thought of putting smiles on every member's face gives me the utmost satisfaction, like a gladiator earning his freedom in the midst of battle," said Robbins. "Let's just say for the sake of argument that the relationships I have built here were forged stronger than that of dwarven metal. Like the bond Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee once had (think Lord of the Rings), I too have made the equivalent connection to the staff here."

If you can't tell already, Robbins is quite the comedian and with a major in communications, it would not surprise me if he became a stand-up comedian or a writer who specializes in satire! On a more serious note, Robbins makes a legitimate effort to improve the mood of both the staff and ARC members.

"I love working with people and love being around them to cheer up their day. I make it my mission to go out of my way to introduce myself and make great connections," said Robbins. "I am empathetic towards the needs of members, but at the same time assertive to enforce what needs to be enforced."

Robbins has truly been an irreplaceable employee here at the ARC and we are confident that not only will he be successful in whatever he chooses to do, but that he will be making others laugh and smile along the way!

By Leila Seed

 

 

April 2012 Employee of the Month

Kristin Harries

Kristin Harries was hired as a membership services representative less than a year ago, yet she has already managed to stand out and receive recognition from her supervisor and peers.

"We nominated Kristin this month because of how helpful she was at the beginning of the semester," said the membership services supervisor Dani Lavezzo. "She was trained in different aspects of membership that leads are only trained in to help us process our vast amount of paperwork. Kristin always goes above and beyond every shift she works."

Working at the ARC has been an amazing experience for Kristin because she is able to interact with people from all different backgrounds, which relates to her goals and plans for the future.

"I am currently majoring in sociology and minoring in psychology," said Kristin. "I would love to work for a non-profit after college that works to help people in need. In order to achieve this, I am going to work at as many customer-service oriented jobs as I can, so that I can gain experience dealing with a variety of people."

While on the job, Kristin always does her best to maintain a positive attitude when working with customers and guests of the ARC.

"I always try to remember that every problem, big or small, has a solution that works for everyone," said Kristin. "Remembering this helps me to remain calm and collected when something comes up and really keeps me going at my most efficient pace."

Kristin has clearly demonstrated that she is very deserving of employee of the month. We appreciate all of her hard work and her unique contribution to the membership services team!

By Leila Seed

 

 

March 2012 Employee of the Month

Tyler Torrez

Tyler Torrez has been with the Intramural Sports program for almost two years now, and you can see him supervise and sometimes referee just about every sport the program has to offer.

"I thoroughly enjoy working at the ARC, it has been nothing but a great experience," said Torrez. "Every shift I work on, I typically meet someone new and that is easily my favorite part about my job. I always think if I had not been hired on, I would have never met so many great people who are now not only coworkers but close friends."

Torrez has been described by fellow coworkers as professional, helpful and someone who keeps the work environment enjoyable. According to the Intramural and Sports Club Supervisor Andrew Reddish, "Tyler's work ethic goes above and beyond. He has worked in extreme conditions, such as coming into work after experiencing food poisoning and covering last minute shifts for his coworkers."

When Torrez is at work, he signs in participants and keeps score for whichever game is being played while simultaneously overseeing everything to ensure the safety of the players. Work hard, have a good attitude and be reliable are some words of advice that Torrez would give to anyone on the job. Although Torrez enjoys working as an Intramural Sports Supervisor, he is also passionate about his education.

"Right now I am majoring in finance and currently pursuing a banking job," said Torrez. "I plan to become a teller as soon as possible, and then use my degree to move up within the company. Eventually I would like to be a financial analyst, financial adviser or something along those lines."

The ARC would like to wish Torrez the best with his future plans, as well as congratulate him on achieving employee of the month for March. We appreciate his hard work and contribution to the Intramural Sports program.

By Leila Seed

 

 

February 2012 Employee of the Month

Drew Haines

Drew Haines is our February employee of the month because of his ability to satisfy each customer while maintaining and abiding by the ARC's policies.

"The customer is always right," said Drew. "Unless that customer is breaking the rules."

Drew started working at the Aztec Recreation Center a year and a half ago and has greatly contributed to our friendly environment.

"My favorite part about working at the ARC is the people," said Drew. "I have made so many friends and built relationships with co-workers, as well as members."

Drew is currently in the process of switching his major to electrical engineering, and feels his position at the ARC will help prepare him for future jobs by teaching him management skills through hands-on experience.

"After college I plan to work for an engineering company," said Drew. "Once I have more experience and money, I plan to start my own business. I will achieve this by keeping my grades up, grabbing internships and working on my extracurricular studies."

The ARC would like to congratulate and thank Drew Haines for his exemplary work ethic!

 

 

January 2012 Employee of the Month

Nicholas Holeman

Nicholas Holeman began working for the ARC during the Spring 2011 semester after he had heard about the job opening through a brother in Delta Sigma Pi. Nick was nominated in January for employee of the month because of his desire to go above and beyond expectations.

"Nick took it upon himself to speak Spanish on two different occasions when members were unable to converse in English," said Daniella Lavezzo, the membership services supervisor. "This is impressive because Nick does not speak Spanish and was only using what he has learned in class. His hard work and drive to make every member feel like they are the most important makes him very deserving of employee of the month."

"Working at the ARC has been an amazing experience, I love everybody I have met; membership, floor and full-time staff," said Nick. "I have made more than just coworkers, I have made friends. We hang out on the weekends, go to football games together and our monthly meetings are always a blast." One of Nick's all-time favorite memories was the end of semester camping trip. According to Nick, the weekend was full of flag football on the beach and late night adventures.

Nick feels his work experience at the ARC has helped to prepare him for a professional future by teaching him how to deal with all types of people. For instance, working with the foreign exchange students has encouraged Nick to be more patient. Adopting these qualities will allow Nick to succeed in both school and his future career. Nick is currently majoring in International Business with an emphasis in Finance and he hopes to travel the world as a financial advisor.

"Despite my love for San Diego, I can't imagine never experiencing other cultures and cities," said Nick. This semester Nick will have the time of his life studying abroad in Spain. The membership services team, as well as the ARC would like to thank Nick for all his hard work!

Written by: Leila Seed

 

 

December 2011 Employee of the Month

Jennifer Ahdoot

During fall 2009, Jennifer applied for a job in the Sports Club program because she has always been a sports fan and felt working on campus would be a great fit for her.

When Jennifer is at work, she helps the student athletes with their paperwork to ensure their eligibility and weekly travel to competitions. Jennifer also assists her supervisors by overseeing all of the administrative aspects of the program.

"Right now being the lead for Sports Club, I oversee 18 teams with over 500 student athletes which can become overwhelming when a deadline is approaching," said Jennifer. "I make a point to stay motivated and power through the challenging times because I know each teams works very hard at what they do. If the athletes are making a strong and successful name for SDSU Sports Club, I do not mind doing the same at the office."

Jennifer's heavy workload is complimented by her friendly work environment and the great company provided by her coworkers. Jennifer and her coworkers are all dedicated to improving an integral part of Associated Students and campus recreation.

Although Jennifer is a driven and hard worker, she also feels it is important to keep a balance in her life and not let one aspect consume it. She quotes the Dalai Lama in order to explain her life philosophy, "Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."

Jennifer's ability to be present in both her job and her life outside of Sports Club has enabled her to effectively manage her time, resulting in her accomplishment of being nominated as the ARC's December employee of the month!

Written by: Leila Seed

 

 

November 2011 Employee of the Month

Cuyla Coogan

Cuyla Coogan was hired as a floor supervisor in June, 2010 and exemplified amazing work ethic during the University Towers evacuation at the beginning of the semester.

"Cuyla handled 250+ displaced UT residents who slept in the ARC when their dorm was shut down for the weekend," said the facility supervisor Travis McCauley. "She worked with ARC staff, American Red Cross and Elite Security to make sure ARC operations ran smoothly and that the displaced residents were as comfortable as possible."

On top of everything else Coogan was dealing with, there was a huge line out the door of the ARC because incoming freshman were signing up for their gym memberships.

"I had to continuously check-in with membership services and assist them at the front desk in order to keep the line moving and prevent people from blocking the entry way," said Coogan. "The most challenging aspect of that shift was the constant multi-tasking because I had to document everything that was going on throughout the facility."

Coogan says she is known for being meticulous because she takes pride in being thorough and working hard in everything she does.

"She is highly attentive to the broad range of details, which must be noted on a daily basis here at the ARC," said McCauley. "She also does a phenomenal job working with the members and is not afraid to get her hands dirty and get down to business cleaning, racking weights and generally managing all situations that occur in the ARC."

Coogan applied for the floor supervisor position because she wanted to gain valuable managerial experience in a large, fitness facility. She is majoring in kinesiology and minoring in management because of her passion for health. Coogan, who graduates in December, plans to apply to graduate school programs in order to further pursue a managerial career in the fitness, wellness or sports industry.

 

 

October 2011 Employee of the Month

Daniel Frausto, MBAC SUP Instructor

Daniel Frausto was hired by the Mission Bay Aquatic Center in April 2011 as a stand-up paddle instructor, dock master and camp counselor.

"One of the more interesting days at the MBAC consisted of me working as a camp counselor in the morning, teaching a stand-up paddle class in the afternoon and closing as a dock master," said Frausto. "I really enjoy days as the one mentioned above because I get to interact with a wide spectrum of individuals, as well as learn different tasks around the MBAC."

Working in such a positive environment compliments Frausto's work ethic because he believes that smiling and being friendly to customers and staff really goes a long way.

"It didn't take long for me to feel comfortable at the MBAC due to an awesome staff," said Frausto. "I really have to give it up to my friendly and helpful coworkers."

Frausto began working for the MBAC a few months after he graduated from SDSU in December 2010. He received his degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in fitness, health and nutrition. Frausto hopes his education will allow him the opportunity to be self-employed and eventually own a private, personal-training business.

by Leila Seed

 

 

September 2011 Employee of the Month

Jordan Mojica, ARC Facility Supervisor

Jordan Mojica is a great facility supervisor at the ARC. At his job he is responsible as first responder to injuries as well as ensuring the rules are adhered to. In his calm demeanor he says, "I don't get rattled to easily and I think clearly during stressful situations." His favorite part of his job is talking to members every day. He says it doesn't feel like work.

Jordan is a kinesiology major at SDSU entering his senior year. He was a football player since age 12 and also currently holds an internship with Aztec Athletics working with student athletes on their strength and conditioning. He works out just about every day at the ARC. You can find him weight training, taking a Spinning® class and playing basketball any day of the week.

 

 

August 2011 Employees of the Month


Staci Benak


Veronica Velazquez

Staci Benak, Aquaplex Lead Lifeguard

Staci Benak is an important part of operations and safety at the Aztec Aquaplex. Her effective work and dedication has won her recognition as August employee of the month. Staci started working as a lifeguard in February 2008 and was promoted to Lead Lifeguard in April 2010. While good at almost any assignment, Staci says she like the administrative side of the operation. She says that it's the feeling of closeness and "family" that helps the staff maintain an excellent safety record.

As a math major at SDSU, Staci's long-term goal is the administration of schools - she hopes to be a school principal one day. To help her reach the goal, she is part of a program in conjunction with schools: Math for America. Staci is an avid runner and has completed three marathons as well as numerous half marathons. She runs for an hour every morning before heading to work and school here at SDSU.

Veronica Velazquez, Aquaplex Office Lead

Veronica Velazquez is a student employee that has been integral in business operations of the Aztec Aquaplex since December 2008. Veronica was promoted to Office Lead in May 2010 where she became supervisor over other student employees working at the front desk, among other responsibilities. Veronica says that one of the reasons she likes working at the Aquaplex is that she finds the students there have "similar personalities and work ethic."

Veronica graduated in May 2011 from SDSU as a Kinesiology Fitness Specialist. Her intention is to work full-time during the upcoming year and return to graduate school to study Physical Therapy. Her favorite ARC programs are the Saturday morning Power Yoga class as well as Intramural softball.

June 2011 Employee of the Month

Selam Woldemariam, ARC Member Services Representative

by Leila Seed

Selam Woldemariam began working for the Aztec Recreation Center back in January and has quickly become an important asset to the member services team.

"It was apparent by his first interview that Selam had the energy and excitement we were looking for in a member services representative," said Daniella Lavezzo, Member Services Supervisor. "As a grad student in the health and fitness field, we immediately knew he would encourage and excite our students and surrounding community to work out and have fun while doing it."

Selam is currently in the process of getting his masters in kinesiology from San Diego State. He hopes to receive his PHD in methodology from Boston College and plans to use his education to reduce the rate of Americans suffering from obesity.

"My favorite part about my job is spending time with my coworkers," said Selam. "We are all becoming very good friends and we hang out a lot outside of the ARC. My coworkers help me out whenever I need it and I feel like I have known them for much longer than a semester."

Selam describes himself as an open book and a team player. If a coworker needs to take a breather, he has no problem working a little bit harder to give someone else a break. One time a coworker was not able to make it to their shift on time, so Selam stayed an extra hour so that employee would not be considered late.

When asked how Selam stands out as a star employee, Lavezzo said, "The high level of work ethic he displays is noticed everyday by his supervisors. The energy Selam has multi-tasking is where he shines. Whether it is two towel runs per shift, answering phones, helping members, folding and filing, Selam takes it all on and does it with ease."

Selam tries to live his life by the phrase "always be loyal." Not only is Selam loyal to his family and friends, but he has proven himself to be a loyal and valuable employee to the ARC in a short amount of time. The ARC is lucky to have Selam as an employee and is proud to announce him as the June employee of the month.

May 2011 Employee of the Month

Shawnda Numan, ARC Facility Supervisor

by Leila Seed

Shawnda Numan was hired to fill the floor supervisor position at the Aztec Recreation Center back in September 2009. Since then, she has been promoted to facility supervisor for her excellent work ethic as well as her leadership abilities as a positive role model for her peers.

When asked why Numan is such a valuable employee, Facility Lead Carlyn Peterson said, "Shawnda has a very unique ability to remain calm and think quickly on her feet during the most stressful situations. She has handled a variety of situations whether being operational or injury related that have really tested her ability to show this quality. She is friendly, confident and incredibly customer-service oriented. If there are questions she cannot initially answer, she will find answers to them. She sticks to her training and has the ability to make others feel comfortable when interacting with her."

Numan enjoys working at the ARC because she is able to meet new people and help members feel comfortable when working out.

"Sometimes the members make my day by being thankful when I go out of my way to help them," said Numan. "They'll tell me good job, thank you so much. The appreciation gives my job purpose."

In regard to her work ethic, "[Numan] has great time-management skills, she knows how to properly delegate tasks when necessary and she is an excellent team player by taking-on shifts nobody else wants," Peterson said.

Numan is majoring in child development and will graduate in the spring of 2012. She hopes to teach sometime in the near future, as well as work for child protective services to help kids who live in bad home situations. Numan believes that the skills she has learned while working at the ARC will help her succeed in future jobs.

April 2011 Employee of the Month

Dennis Avery, ARC Evening Facility Supervisor

by Leila Seed

Five nights a week, Dennis Avery works as an Evening Facility Supervisor from 11p.m.-7 a.m. at the Aztec Recreation Center. His position allows the facility to be open 24 hours during the week. Due to the odd hours, most people would not be interested in this position. On the contrary, Avery finds the hours appealing because they do not take time out of his day

"I don't like the idea of sleeping through the day," said Avery. "I usually take a nap before work and sleep only three or four hours a day." Following his work shift, Avery makes a point to complete an intense workout routine before leaving the ARC every day.

Avery was hired to fill an emergency position almost two years ago, and he has been working overnight at the ARC ever since. Avery was a SDSU student when he was hired, but he graduated last summer with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.

One of Avery's favorite memories on the job was witnessing all of the students camp out for the basketball games this season. He allowed the tired campers to use the ARC's restroom facilities. Avery found it very exciting to see so much school spirit.

According to his Supervisor Don Truntna, "Avery is prompt, dependable and a great representative for the ARC's staff. He goes out of his way to ensure all members and visitors are comfortable, as well as assist them with any questions they may have about ARC programs." Avery has received an outstanding commendation from the Secret Shopper Program for his efforts in greeting and acknowledging members when they enter the ARC.

I try to empathize with members, regardless of how big or small the problem is. Because of the late hours some people can be short, but I manage to stay calm and never raise my voice," said Avery. When asked to give other employees advice on how to succeed, Avery replied, "Help people out when they need it, do your job well, be punctual and excel on customer service!"

March 2011 Employees of the Month

Renee Payne, Payroll Assistant & Eric Fehrs, MBAC Maintenance Lead

by Brittani Libring


Renee Payne


Eric Fehrs

Renee Payne, Payroll Assistant

Nominated for her great work ethic and drive to take initiative, Renee Payne has earned the title of Employee of the Month. Renee has been working at the ARC since February 2008, but recently became the Aztec Recreation's Payroll Assistant in July 2010. She is responsible for all new hire and separation paperwork.

"She really seems to know the ins and outs of our department," said the ARC's Administrative Supervisor Julia Green.

Green, Renee's Supervisor, believes Renee stands out from other employees because she takes the initiative to work on projects without being asked. During the absence of the Office Supervisor, Renee took on extra hours to ensure all the responsibilities of the Office Supervisor position were completed, as well as her own. Renee kept the ARC's payroll precise and made sure everyone was paid on time.

"What don't I like about the job – it's flexible, a casual environment and friendly staff," said Payne.

Renee recently returned from Singapore, Thailand, Bali, Hong Kong and five other countries where she was traveling with an SDSU Study Abroad program. She has also been running since her freshman year in high school, which is located in San Jose; and, running competitive events in San Diego since starting college. Renee will be instructing the Recreational Running rec class and racing the goal marathon in La Jolla this April.

As an upcoming graduate with a bachelor's degree in Psychology, Renee has no plans of leaving the beautiful campus for Grad school.

Eric Fehrs, MBAC Maintenance Lead

"Eric is an outstanding employee and great asset to the aquatic center; we greatly appreciate his hard work ethic and dedication," said Kevin Straw, the Instructional Manager at MBAC.

Since May 2009, Eric Fehrs has been working at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. He began as a camp counselor and now works as the Maintenance Lead. His duties consist of handling maintenance issues in order to keep the equipment in working condition. This includes: 8 wakeboarding boats, 4 jet-skis, 50 sailboats, 100 surfboards, 25 windsurf boards, 90 kayaks and 25 rowing shells.

Eric exemplified his dedication to the MBAC during this past winter break. In the absence of a full-time maintenance supervisor, Eric took the initiative to put in some long days to ensure all priorities and tasks were accomplished.

"Each and every day, Eric comes to the Aquatic Center ready to work with a great attitude," Straw said.

Eric was on the SDSU Waterski Team for 2 ½ years and enjoys filling his free time with wakeboarding, surfing, sailing, camping, hiking and snowboarding.

"Pretty much everything I like to do, I get to do at work," says Fehrs.

Fehrs graduated in December but will be walking in May with a degree in criminal justice. He transferred here about two years ago from Mount San Jacinto College. He hopes to work for the Department of Fish and Game to aid in protecting California's natural resources.

February 2011 Employee of the Month

Adriana Chavez

by Brittani Libring

Our Employee of the Month is Adriana Chavez. She is a senior maintaining a 3.5 GPA in the SDSU Nursing Program while working hard as a front desk cashier in the Bowling & Games Center. Adriana was nominated not only for her fun-loving personality and customer-service skills on the job, but according to her supervisor, Jim Mitchell, "Adrianna is an excellent example of a model AS employee."

Aside from recently receiving a perfect score on her "secret shop", she is attentive on a daily basis to when supplies are in need of re-stocking and other necessary duties. Adriana has worked at the Bowling & Games Center for three years and she said the worst injury she has encountered has only been a sprained finger. But, her favorite part: "I have gotten to meet a lot of new people through the bowling classes we have here." She also gets involved in the ARC in the Intramurals year after year, maybe you recognize her from the basketball courts.

Aside from school, work and Intramurals, Adriana is fully dedicated to becoming a traveling nurse. She finds time to volunteer her services at the Veterans Hospital while also working as a student nurse at Alvarado Hospital. "I guess I would consider myself hard-working and determined," Adriana said. She will be studying abroad in Africa next summer to set up clinics and help people in the villages and she plans to hopefully do the same in Honduras next winter break.

Adriana has definitely earned this recognition due to her hard work, dedication and overall example of what a model employee is. We wish her luck in the future, and are happy to have had her on staff in Aztec Recreation.

December 2010 Employee of the Month

Duane Esquier, Facility Supervisor

by Brittani Libring

Duane is currently a senior in the Recreation and Tourism Management major at San Diego State, with plans of graduating this coming spring. For almost two years, he has worked at the Aztec Recreation Center in multiple departments as Floor Supervisor, Facility Supervisor, and Building Services assistant.

When asked what he enjoys most about the working at the ARC, Duane responded, "My co-workers are cool and laid-back; plus, it is convenient because I get to enjoy the employee benefits like any free rec classes."

His supervisor, Travis McCauley, has nothing but good things to say about Duane. "When Duane is on-duty he can be counted on to be observant, courteous, and tactful." His responsible, yet upbeat, attitude is what sets him apart in his customer service. Most recently, Duane's crisis handling skills were launched into effect when a water pipe in the Aztec Adventures Back Shop ruptured and began flooding the area. According to McCauley, Duane took charge calling all the right senior staff members, redirected the water into drains, coordinated his Floor Supervisor for assistance, and ultimately shut down the flow of water. "Duane truly is an exemplary Facility Supervisor and an asset to all of Associated Students and Aztec Recreation," said McCauley.

After graduation, Duane aspires to become a firefighter, as well as, dabble in some real estate investments. He really just enjoys being spontaneous and trying new things. "I take surfing classes and the Mission Bay Aquatic Center and I want to learn wakeboarding. Basically, it's stuff I would not be doing back in my hometown of Los Angeles," said Duane.

November 2010 Employee of the Month

Joe Griffith, Aztec Aquaplex

by Brittani Libring

Since the summer of 2008, the Aquaplex has had the pleasure of employing an irreplaceable employee – Joe Griffith. Over the last two years, Joe's knowledge of the Aquaplex and experience at the front desk has helped him to achieve the Employee of the Month for November.

"Joe's knowledge has allowed him to answer any questions asked of him, and even earned him a perfect score from a secret shopper," said Veronica Velazquez, Aquaplex Office Lead.

In crucial times at the Aquaplex with a rush of patrons and families, Joe has shown he is able to balance his responsibilities while going above and beyond the call of duty.

"In a recent situation, he was able to calm a worrisome mother whose child was having an allergic reaction, as well as tend to the members needs," Velazquez said.

Joe's spunky personality always resonates with patrons and co-workers making him a wonderful addition to the Aquaplex team. Thanks you Joe for all of your hard work!

October 2010 Employee of the Month

By Brittani Libring


Julia Greenfield


Rae Sours

Julia Greenfield, MBAC

It was Julia Greenfields first year back at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center and her outstanding work ethic has earned her the title of Employee of the Month for October. She worked long hours over a busy summer as a camp coordinator but always maintained an affable attitude and a friendly management style that was appreciated by all.

"Her superb organizational skills helped ensure each camper had the best experience possible," said Kevin Waldick, programs manager for the Mission Bay Aquatic Center.

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