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Pride of Workmanship Awards

Tuesday, 5 July 2016 9:31am

Pride in Workmanship Award image
Winning ways … (from left) Marine Science Scientific Officer and sediment core specialist Bob Dagg, Scottish Shop Assistant Manager Kaye Foster, and Anatomy’s Executive Assistant to the Head of Department Aven Drayson.

The winners of this year’s Pride of Workmanship Award at the University are Marine Science Scientific Officer and sediment core specialist Bob Dagg, and Executive Assistant to the Head of the Department of Anatomy Aven Drayson.

The Dunedin North Rotary Club makes the award available to firms, businesses, and institutions in its area, to give well-deserved recognition to people making outstanding contributions in their workplace.

Mr Dagg was nominated by Professor Gary Wilson and Dr Chris Moy for supporting a significant programme of research which also spans Geology, Chemistry and Geography — and he is involved in Marine Science field teaching.

Mr Dagg supports and takes part in expeditions on University research vessels, manages equipment deployed from the vessel, runs geotechnical laboratories unique in New Zealand, curates all Otago researchers’ core samples, teaches a wide range of graduate students analytical techniques, quality-controls data, hosts visitors to the lab, and is in charge of the transitional facility for biosecurity restricted samples.

Mr Dagg’s ability to make sure research teams have the correct equipment in the field is particularly important because there is “no opportunity to nip out to the store or for the engineers to get something fixed or changed.”

"Above all, though … it is the fact that he spends time with every graduate student, visitor and staff member alike to ensure they learn how things work."

“And if that’s not enough, he manages his time in such a way that he always seems available to assist at any one of these tasks at any time.”

“Above all, though … it is the fact that he spends time with every graduate student, visitor and staff member alike to ensure they learn how things work. He takes enormous pride in ensuring that each of them gets the best quality data possible and ensures that they have an outcome that helps them achieve their learning or research goals.”

“He is also quite good at drawing a line when it is required to ensure integrity of the outcome — something that we all respect.”

Mr Dagg has been working at the University since about 2008. Fellow award-winner Aven Drayson has been with the Department of Anatomy since 2005.

She was nominated by Head of Department Professor Neil Gemmell and Departmental Administrator Sally-Ann Howard.

Ms Drayson’s tasks are often complex, varied, confidential, sensitive and time-pressured. She has high standards, is highly professional, adaptable, unfailingly obliging, approachable “and always willing to accept a challenge and go the extra mile for anyone or to complete a task.”

Ms Drayson treats “all staff and students with respect and is beyond reproach in maintaining confidentiality and discretion.”

Professor Gemmell says that he “simply couldn’t imagine how the Department or I would function in her absence.”

"One of the most pleasant and dedicated staff members I have ever worked with over a professional career now spanning thirty years."

She is meticulous at checking details and compliance with University policies and practices, and her good-natured fastidiousness is widely appreciated and valued.

The functions Ms Drayson organises with flair and care often include her home baking and when she was administering the Department’s 400-level programme she started a student first aid box – chocolates to give stressed or distressed students a boost. Those now have a broader role with her lolly jar a popular haunt for many staff and students in the Department of Anatomy.

She also delights in seeing students achieve and invariably knows their names at Departmental graduation functions.

“It is this unstinting commitment to others that truly sets Aven apart from the many other exceptional staff we have in our Department.”

Professor Gemmell says Ms Drayson is “one of the most pleasant and dedicated staff members I have ever worked with over a professional career now spanning thirty years.”