Congratulations to ITS Assistant Director and TechTransfer Director Laura Melendy and Connected Corridors Program Manager Zema Katsnelson for their recent selection as UC Berkeley Excellence in Management Award recipients. Melendy has been the ITS Assistant Director for nine years, TechTransfer Director for 18 years, and the Learn2Launch Executive Director for seven years. She also earned her MS in Transportation Engineering at UC Berkeley ('94). Katsnelson joined the PATH team in 2019 as the Program Manager for Connected Corridors.
Nominations for the award are submitted by a supervisor’s direct reports and must match the University’s selected theme for the year. This year’s theme was “Leading in Difficult Times” and highlighted the importance of managers showing resilience, adaptiveness, and intentional engagement around diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Melendy was nominated by her ITS and TechTransfer teams and Katsnelson was nominated his Connected Corridors team. Both Melendy’s and Katsnelson’s nomination letters provide clear details on why they are each outstanding at what they do: providing unparalleled support and encouragement to their staff, all of whom had to make the difficult transition to working from home last March.
“Laura Melendy has proven her mettle as an exceptional supervisor to her direct reportees and as a leader to our staff, both in her role as Assistant Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies, and in her role as Director of TechTransfer. She has responded to this extremely difficult post-Covid19 year with resilience, adaptability and grace, actively supporting the morale and dignity, and sense of belonging in her teams. In doing this, Laura has embodied many of the principles of our community: honesty and integrity in our research and administration; affirmation of the dignity of all individuals to strive and uphold a just community; civility and respect in personal interactions; active participation and leadership in addressing pressing issues; and support of equitable access to opportunities for learning and development. She has infused our community with a sense of calm, and she has been a source of strength and dependability for our unit.”
“As the Project Manager [for Connected Corridors], Zema has multiple Zoom meetings per day, many with people outside of PATH. No matter the audience, Zema is there, with his video on, ready with a smile. His cheerful demeanor is contagious and he is supportive and appreciative of everyone around him. He truly believes in his team and the project. Especially with our funding challenges, I know Zema is advocating for the team every chance he gets. He truly believes in his staff, and our project, and he is not shy about expressing his utmost support for both. Zema is resilient, inclusive, compassionate, adaptive, and promotes his team’s well-being and work/life balance. He is also supportive, kind, encouraging, and light-hearted, much needed qualities for this crazy year. He has risen to meet the many challenges of the pandemic, as well as our project.”
Melendy and Katsnelson will be honored with the other recipients at a virtual awards ceremony on May 4. Congratulations Laura and Zema and thank you for your continued commitment to excellence!