Employee of the Year 'Embodies Spirit of a Public Servant'

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Employee of the Year 'Embodies Spirit of a Public Servant'

Posted: 10/17/2019
A land surveyor instrumental in coordinating multiple components of capital projects has been named the City of Knoxville’s Employee of the Year. 

Mayor Rogero, Russ Richard, Finbarr SaundersRuss Richard, Survey Project Manager for the Civil Engineering Division of the Engineering Department, is the third recipient of this annual award. Mayor Madeline Rogero announced finalists’ names and presented Richard with the award today at the annual Mayor’s Employee Appreciation Picnic and Benefits Fair.

“Russ truly embodies the spirit of a public servant and gladly serves customers and colleagues with the highest possible standard of service,” Mayor Rogero said. “He performs his daily duties in an exceptional manner and goes above and beyond to effectively communicate all the work that the Engineering Department accomplishes.”

Supervisors and colleagues who nominated Richard acknowledged his work ethic, honesty and willingness to assist fellow employees, citizens and other agencies. 

His primary responsibility is providing surveying services, a comprehensive task that includes property research as well as coordination with professional engineering staff in the development of capital project construction plans. He’s taken on the additional task of assisting in and resolving potential design problems during a project’s construction phase. Richard performs complex on-site design responsibilities related to municipal construction and maintenance projects, all while successfully scheduling his hectic work flow around the schedules of engineers, contractors, inspectors, consultants and department personnel.  

The Employee of the Year finalists were:

• Timmy Joe Collins, Public Grounds Maintenance, Public Service
• Dervy Romero De Papenbrock, City Court Assistant
• Elaine Frank, Office of Special Event
• Renae Groen, 311 Senior Customer Service Representative
• Rebecca Johnson, Zoning Inspector, Plans Review and Inspections
• Russ Richard, Survey Project Manager, Engineering
• Rodney Wilson, Heavy Shop, Fleet Services

Employee of the Year finalists
Left to Right: Dervy Romero De Papenbrock - City Court Assistant, Rodney Wilson - Fleet Services, Mayor Madeline Rogero, Timmy Joe Collins - Public Service, Rebecca Johnson - Plans Review and Inspections; Russ Richard - Engineering Department, Elaine Frank - Office of Special Events, and Vice Mayor & City Councilman Finbarr Saunders


The Employee of the Year program was established in 2017 for non-uniformed City employees by the City Ambassadors, an internal group with representatives from multiple departments focused on customer service and employee engagement. Knoxville Police and Knoxville Fire departments have long-established employee recognition programs. Each non-uniformed department can nominate one employee, and then a review panel of City Ambassadors selects one of those as the overall Employee of the Year.