In conjunction with International Housekeepers Week (September 13-20, 2009), the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) has selected Lawrence (Larry) Burkhardt, a Tech III for the Hazardous Waste Task at Palmetto Health Baptist in Easley, South Carolina, as the 2009 Unsung Facility Hero Award Winner. IEHA member Gail VanEtten, REH, Manager of Building Services for Palmetto Health Baptist, nominated Burkhardt for the award. “Larry is a major support to my department,” says VanEtten. “Earlier this year, I was without a Supervisor and Manager due to an accident. Larry stepped up to the plate and everything went very smoothly. I am extremely proud to have this individual on my team.”

VanEttens’s nomination letter identifies specific examples where Burkhardt revealed dedication to his job. “Larry is very instrumental in learning more efficient and economical ways to perform his job. He has done an audit of medical waste versus regular waste to save our hospital money. We recently came on board with a re-usable sharps program and he has taken the helm and managed the process. In addition, we recently moved our recycling process to the day shift and he is also managing this program. He has opened eyes in all of the areas of the hospital as to what is and is not to be placed in these containers. Larry also assists us in the training and credentialing of our hazardous waste handlers. Larry takes advantage of every educational opportunity he can, and is a member of the Employer of Choice Team, is a Bright Idea Coordinator, and recently started a newsletter for our department. He is very conscientious about the success and survival of our hospital and our hospital family.”

As the 2009 Unsung Facility Hero Award winner, Burkhardt will receive a year’s membership to IEHA, a certificate of appreciation, a $200 cash bonus, have his story printed in Executive Housekeeping Today magazine, and for the first time since the inception of the Unsung Hero Award, he will also be given a complimentary IEHA Self Study Program.

Burkhardt was one of several candidates nominated for this year’s Unsung Hero Award contest. In fact, due to the overwhelming number of nominations, IEHA has chosen to reward two runners-up for this award for the first time. Sam Mangram, Public Area Manager with the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will receive a complimentary IEHA Self Study Program, due to his nomination by IEHA member Renee Broyles, Director of Housekeeping for the Broadmoor Hotel; and Alfredo Valdez, Custodial Lead for the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, will also receive a complimentary IEHA Self Study Program, due to his nomination by IEHA member Gene Woodard, Director of Facilities Services, Custodial Division, for UW. IEHA would like to thank all those who nominated a pool of very qualified candidates for this award.