Mary Alice Crum has been a leader throughout her 26 years at UAB. So it seemed only natural that her position as interim Lab Medicine Administrative Manager turned into a permanent arrangement in August.
But being named UAB’s Employee of the Year? That came as a shock.
Mary Alice Crum, lab medicine administrative manager, has managed or supervised eight laboratories in her 26 years at UAB, including running multiple labs at once – and she’s done it quite well. Crum has been selected as the 2007-08 Employee of the Year.
Sherry Polhill, administrative director of Hospital Labs, surprised Crum with the good news in a recent managers meeting.
“I’ve just been astounded with everybody’s response to it,” Crum says. “It’s a wonderful honor. I’m very humbled by it.”
A reception was held in Crum’s honor Nov. 5. Family from the Montgomery area and friends from Birmingham came to celebrate with her, along with her fellow co-workers.
Crum says it’s exciting and uplifting to work at an institution with so many physicians who are at the top of their field – and with co-workers determined to do good work every day.
“It’s great to read about advances in health care and to know UAB is the one that dictated those advances,” Crum says. “And my staff, they are all part of my family. They always care, they do right, they own their work and they work as a group — that’s the four core values for UAB Hospital and they live it every day. That’s what makes it such a pleasure to work with them.”
Masters every task
The old saying “a jack of all trades and a master of none” doesn’t apply to Crum.
She masters them all.
Crum has managed or supervised eight laboratories in her 25 years at UAB, including running multiple labs at once – and she’s done it quite well. Just a couple of years ago, while managing the molecular diagnostics and immunology lab she was called upon to supervise the clinical microbiology lab during the search for a new supervisor. That supervision lasted more than three years before she was asked to do it again at the beginning of this year. Then, she received the promotion this summer.
“I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks,” Crum says.
Crum, known as Mac by her co-workers, never has backed down from a task, no matter how heavy the burden, says Stephen A. Moser, Ph.D., associate director of Clinical Microbiology. He cites her ability to oversee the clinical microbiology lab in addition to the molecular diagnostics and immunology lab simultaneously as a key example.
“The clinical microbiology lab was in turmoil with a change in supervision, and although this is not an area within her technical expertise she was undaunted and instrumental in establishing order and discipline,” Moser says. “I have seen many management styles and personalities. Mac stands out as one of the very best in her management style and dedication to high-quality patient care.”
Crum’s leadership and management style are cited frequently by her colleagues as strengths. She says her management methods are simple.
“The people I work with know how I value quality, and hopefully I give them positive reinforcement for that,” she says. “I try to treat each person fairly and respect their strengths. That’s what I try to do.”
One of the goals of the UAB Strategic Plan is to create a positive, supportive and diverse work environment in which faculty and staff can excel, and the Employee of the Month program is part of that strategy. The program was established in 1977 for the purpose of recognizing non-academic personnel for their accomplishments. It runs from August 1 through July 31.
All full-time and part-time employees of the university, including hospital, academic, administrative and other support areas, are eligible to receive the award. All recipients of the Employee of the Month prize are eligible for Employee of the Year.
UAB is the largest employer in Alabama, employing some 19,000 people across the state, making the selection of Employee of the Month a prestigious honor. Employees are recognized as an outstanding employee for their dedication, hard work and contributions to UAB’s success.
The Employee of the Month Committee requires at least three letters of nomination or support for a candidate. Letters must detail why the employee exemplifies what’s best about UAB, giving examples of their good work. Those who nominate employees can encourage their co-workers and colleagues to join them in sending letters of nomination.
Nominations may be submitted by e-mail to Jason Turner, chair of the Employee of the Month Committee, at email@example.com or through campus mail at Employee of the Month Committee, AB 360, 0103.
You can also visit the Employee of the Month Web site at www.uab.edu/eotm for more information.
Employees of the Month for FY 2007-08
• August — Faye Carroll, Hematology & Oncology• September — Mary Alice “Mac” Crum, Hospital Labs
• October — John Tyler, Hospital Maintenance
• November — Robin Bryant, Academic Programs
• December — Ada Mailhot, School of Public Health
• January — Lydia Cowser, Foreign Languages
• February — Gredda Bailey, Enrollment Services
• March — Bill Pierce, Campus Recreation
• April — Melissa Deakle, Radiation & Oncology
• May — Albert Tousson, Cell Biology
• June — Mary Leopard, General Studies
• July — Minnie Randle, Philosophy