Maricopa County employee Michele Castañeda-Martinez has received the 2019 Tom Manos Outstanding Service Award.
Each year, the award is given to an employee who lives up to the example set by the former county manager, Tom Manos. This person anticipates the needs of others; gets results whether given credit or not; actively volunteers in the community; and has a positive attitude.
Michele is Maricopa County Public Health’s vital records manager. While working as a manager for 16 years, she has coached staff to help them grow professionally. She developed a way to process applications 33% faster and reduce customer wait time by 40%. She’s known as THE expert in vital records.
“We have many talented and dedicated employees at Maricopa County,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, District 3. “Michele is a great example of a leader who takes initiative, embraces change, utilizes new technology to increase efficiency and improve customer service, and empowers those around her to do the same.”
Michele is also known for deeply caring about those she serves. She taught herself Spanish so she could eliminate a barrier to connecting with people.
“At times of great need, in situations of life and death, Michele has created an environment, and mentored a staff, that delivers for the public,” said Maricopa County Manager Joy Rich. “Her work is an example of what can happen when we put ideas into action and truly put customers first.”
“Under Michele’s leadership, the team at Vital Records often goes above and beyond to ensure the needs of the community are always put at the forefront,” said Max Porter, acting director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “Recognizing Michele for the great work she does for Maricopa County is also a reflection on her whole team.”
Michele addressed the Board of Supervisors and her colleagues as she thanked Maricopa County for the honor:
"It's award enough to have been nominated and considered among such esteemed colleagues, and it's award enough to be able to get up everyday and serve this great community because that's what it's all about: being a public servant, being available, and serving people through both the best times in their lives and some of the worst, so it's a gift. Thank you very much."