Tribal Government & News

Employees honored for combined 549 years of service to Tribe

03.09.2017 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, Tribal Employees

Member Services Manager Penny DeLoe led a contingent of seven Tribal employees who have reached the 20 year or more mark in service to the Tribe during the first-quarter Employee Service Awards breakfast held on Thursday, March 9, in the Tribal gym.

The first-quarter awards honored employees reaching their anniversary date in January, February or March. Employees who were hired five years ago or longer received bonus checks and other awards.

Forty-seven employees were honored for a combined 549 years of service to the Tribe.

DeLoe notched her 23rd year of employment with the Tribe while Records Administrator Kim Mueller and A/V Network Technician Wendell Olson both reached their 22nd anniversaries.

Elders Activity Assistant Daniel Ham and Gaming Commission Licensing Manager Julia Papen reached the 21-year mark while Lands Department Manager Jan Reibach and Assistant Controller Jody Jerger both were hired in the first quarter of 1996.

Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George blessed the breakfast and Tribal Council Chairman Reyn Leno welcomed a large turnout of employees to the awards ceremony.

“I want to acknowledge all of our staff who work very hard for us,” Leno said before pointing out the Tribe’s Maintenance staff for the work they did to get the new Grand Ronde Police Station ready to open. “I want to thank all of you for all of the hard work you do. The work we do, we’re here for the membership. I think you do a great job of providing for our government and our membership.”

Leno also briefed employees on how the Grand Ronde Tribe has prepared for the imminent opening of the Cowlitz casino 15 miles north of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.

“I think council has done a great job with the work of staff to help us make that preparation,” Leno said. “I think we are well-prepared.”

He said the recent $13 million renovation of Spirit Mountain Casino is already paying dividends as the casino made more money over the last two weekends than it usually does on New Year’s Eve.

Other Tribal Council members who attended and congratulated employees were Tonya Gleason-Shepek, Chris Mercier and Brenda Tuomi. Tribal Council member Kathleen George also attended.

Cultural Resources Department Manager David Harrelson also spoke to attendees about Grand Ronde history, including why the Tribe is named after a geographical location and not one of the five major Tribes of the confederation.

Other employees honored were:

19 years: Health & Wellness Center Payment Processing Specialist Sunni Ulestad.

18 years: Social Services Administrative Assistant Tammy Garrison.

17 years: Compensation/HRIS Specialist Becky Mode and Tribal Career Development Manager David DeHart.

16 years: Facilities Manager Tyson Mercier and Cultural Protection Specialist Christopher Bailey.

15 years: Legal Assistant Kerrina Mishler and Cultural Resources Interpretive Coordinator Travis Stewart.

14 years: Post-Secondary Education Program Coordinator Joshua Clift and Nutrition Lead Cook Kevin Campbell.

13 years: Portland Office Tribal Services Representative Lisa Archuleta.

12 years: Staff Accountant Nancy Renfrow.

11 years: Education Department Manager Leslie Riggs, Cultural Resources Administrative Assistant Toni Mercier, K5 Tutor/Adviser George Neujahr, Full-Charge Bookkeeper Debra Nolen and Domestic Violence Relief Advocate Carmen Mercier.

9 years: Construction Supervisor Bart Bryant, Equipment Operator Timothy George, Day Shift Housekeeper Rosie Saldivas, Smoke Signals Photographer Michelle Alaimo, Gaming Commission Compliance Analyst Tyrell Soderberg, Natural Resources Senior Administrative Assistant Michele Volz and Employee Relations Senior Administrator Nick LaBonte.

8 years: Hydrosystem Compliance Specialist Lawrence Schwabe.

7 years: Adult Foster Care Administrative Assistant Candi Buswell, Swing Shift Lead Housekeeper Joseph Grammer, Rental Housing Coordinator Leon Ramos and Early Childhood Education Instructional Assistant Lindsay Ramer.

6 years: 477/Employment & Training Specialist Khani Schultz, Early Head Start Teacher Melissa Phillips, Employment Program Manager Michael Herrin, Dental Assistant Shelby Hoyt and Dental Hygienist Erin Muchmore.

5 years: Youth Prevention Coordinator Cristina Lara, Chinuk Wawa Assistant Halona Butler, Housing Maintenance Technician Gary LaChance Jr., Housing Maintenance Technician Robert Wiggs, Historic Preservation Manager Briece Edwards and Accounts Payable Supervisor Tammy Chavez.

Employees were served a breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, sausage, yogurt, fruit and juices and coffee by members of the Human Resources Department.

After the awards, General Manager David Fullerton and Human Resources Director Patrick Dempsey raffled off door prizes that included an iPod Nano, emergency roadside skit and Vizio 43-inch TV, as well as six sets of tickets to a Portland Trail Blazers game and numerous gas and coffee gift cards.