The Transylvania Times -

County Announces Top Employee, Department Head


Last updated 1/13/2019 at 2:50pm

Pam Newman, County Employee of the Year and Kevin Shook, County Dept. Head of the Year

Pam Newman has been named as Transylvania County government's 2018 Employee of the Year, while Kevin Shook was named as Department Head of the Year.

Newman has been employed with Transylvania County for more than 20 years and has served in her current role for the past 11 years.

Prior to transitioning to Social Services (DSS), Newman worked in Child Development for nine years and worked with EMS and the Tax Administration Office in the late 1980s and early 1990s before taking a break to be a stay-at-home mom with her three young children.

Newman graduated from Brevard High School and Blue Ridge Community College.

She is passionate about serving the citizens of Transylvania County and has demonstrated that in her years of service working for the county, according to a press release from the county.

Most often when people think about Social Services, they think about the employees that provide direct services to clients or specific programs that are administered through Social Services, the release said.

What is often overlooked is all the hard work and efforts required behind the scenes to keep the organization moving forward, the release said.

Things such as ensuring payment is made to a mechanic so that the client can get to work, to the electric company so power is not cut off, to the grocery store so a family does not go hungry, to foster care providers serving the children in DSS custody and many more services are provided through the Social Services Agency.

Making sure all these types of payments are processed and get to the appropriate location in time is a complex and time-consuming task, the release said.

The process does not end here. There are other administrative tasks, such as processing timesheets and state and federal reimbursements, which require Newman to have an extensive knowledge of each DSS program area to provide appropriate coding of employee time and services, and all are performed with extreme accuracy.

The implementation of a new statewide tracking system NCFAST has added many new administrative responsibilities, but Newman always ensures accuracy, agency integrity and deadlines are never compromised, the release said.

Newman demonstrates sound fiscal management of state, federal and county funds, which can be seen in the excellent state and county annual audits.

Newman takes pride in all she does and is a very dedicated hardworking employee.

Her patience and willingness to assist others when needed has earned her the admiration and respect of her fellow employees.

Although positions like Newman's can often be forgotten and are not glamorous, they are necessary to make an agency function smoothly, the release said.

"It is a pleasure to have someone like Pam working for our agency," said DSS Director Darrell Renfroe. "Pam is a dedicated, hardworking employee who sets a great example to others. She is the type of employee who everyone can count on to get the job completed on time without hesitancy and with accuracy. We are glad that she has this opportunity to be recognized for her everyday accomplishments."

Kevin Shook

Shook is the director of Emergency Management and Communications.

He has 34 years of experience in emergency services and has worked for the past 27 years as a department head for Transylvania County, where he has been a tremendous asset, the release said.

Shook was the county's first communications director, assisting with the successful planning and implementation of the county's 911 Dispatch Center.

In 2018, Shook researched and prepared a plan to improve radio communications for emergency services re-sponders countywide.

This included develop-ing an RFP for the design, building and installation of a VHF multi-site simulcast radio system.

The system has been successfully bid and installation has begun.

The system will provide a dramatic improvement to law enforcement, EMS, and fire and rescue, allowing responders to use a single frequency countywide, with the most up-to-date technology, the release said.

Last year, Shook agreed to act as the interim Animal Services director.

Shook demonstrated an ability to quickly learn and evaluate new methods, leading to improved Animal Services policies and procedures, the release said.

The result is a live release rate of 98 percent through November.

His success in leading the department as an interim director culminated in a departmental re-organization plan that positions the Animal Services department to be successful in the future, the release said, including continued reduction in euthanasia rates and increased live release rates.

One example of Shook's dedication and commitment happened during the recent snow event.

On Sunday, Dec. 9, Shook received notification that the generator at the Toxaway Mountain Tower had malfunctioned.

Shook had already been working the storm for more than 24 hours but responded to Toxaway Mountain, where he hiked approximately 3 miles in the snow to repair the generator and to ensure that the Toxaway Mountain Radio site stayed on-line.

"As his supervisor and an observer of Kevin's daily work ethic, this simply did not surprise me," said Assistant County Manager David McNeill. "I cannot say enough about Kevin's dedication and commitment to this county and its citizens. He consistently goes the extra mile.

"His areas of responsibilities are broad and range from managing the county cell phones to overseeing complex radio and computer systems and oversight of multiple departments.

"His importance to the county is sometimes lost in the small things he handles, but his dedication, commitment to excellence and genuine care for this community coupled with his knowledge, expertise, experience, dedication and work ethic make him an invaluable asset to the county."


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