Justin Lancaster, The ISE Department’s director of IT, continued his winning ways by receiving his third Award for Excellence in as many months. In May, Lancaster received the ISE Department’s Award for Excellence (#1), which allowed him to move on to the next round to compete against fellow departmental winners from the College of Engineering. In June, He won the College’s Award for Excellence (#2), which advanced him to the next level, University. In July, he completed the three-peat by winning the NC State University Award for Excellence.
NC State’s Awards for Excellence, the most prestigious honor bestowed upon non-faculty employees, recognizes the accomplishments and achievements of NC State employees.
In her nomination letter, department head Julie Swann talked about Lancaster’s dedication, work ethic and commitment to customer service. She described Lancaster as a “rare breed,” someone in IT who leaves you a happier person by making you feel good about yourself. “He solves all of your problems, answers questions while on vacation, or with sick kids, and adds value to your job even when you do not ask for it,” shared Swann. “Lancaster is responsible for making sure the IT needs of the department are met in a timely manner while also treating everyone with respect, no matter their role in the department.”
Swann also explained that Lancaster goes above and beyond by assisting with special events like pioneering the streaming of the Department’s graduation ceremony. She states, “Justin is easy to work with, willing to share his expertise, helpful to anyone who seeks help, and willing to assist or respond to queries at non-standard times; I think these are the epitome of characteristics of excellent customer service.”
Swann isn’t the only person in the Department who thought he deserved these awards. Both fellow staff members and students were more than happy to give him praise.
“His service to the Department has warranted his nomination many times over,” said business officer Debbie Allgood-Staton. “All of our faculty and staff are treated with respect and have expressed their confidence in his knowledge and their appreciation in dealing with his easy-going personality.”
Ph.D. student Ling Zhang shared that he had “bothered” Lancaster so much about getting research software that they became friends. “He always has a solution right away,” said Zhang. “He either pointed you to the right place to download the software or provided you with an alternative.” On a rare occasion, when the Department did not have the resources in question readily available, Lancaster would go and make it happen. “Justin deserves to be recognized for his professional service and, more importantly, his genuine care to support ISE’s research activities,” confided Zhang.
With each win, Lancaster received a cash prize, paid time off and a plaque recognizing his accomplishment. He also earned the ISE Department’s Employee of the Year Award in May at the virtual Spring 2020 Student Celebration Ceremony.