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Director’s Choice

Outstanding Service Awards

ACEMS has a tradition of awarding ‘Recognition’ awards at its annual retreats. Throughout most of its life, this occurred following a nomination process that took into account various types of activity: ‘Impact and Engagement’, ‘Outreach’ and ‘Outstanding Achievements’ and the geographical spread of the nodes. In 2021, for the Centre’s final retreat, I decided to make `captain’s calls’ for the winners of the Outstanding Service Awards. This was admittedly from a personal point of view, based upon my perception of a members’ contributions to ACEMS over an extended period. I did it because some member’s contributions were so significant that they needed to be recognised in this way.

I ended up presenting six such awards to recipients who consistently demonstrated leadership above and beyond their official role, and delivered exceptional service during their time with the Centre.

The ACEMS members who received Director’s Choice Outstanding Service Awards were, in order of the time that they joined ACEMS,

  • Kerrie Mengersen, Deputy Director
  • Emily Duane, Chief Operating Officer
  • Tim Macuga, Communications and Media Officer
  • Tim Garoni, Deputy Director
  • Minh Nguyen, Finance Manager
  • Rosanna Verde, Outreach Business Officer.

Kerrie led one of the two Expressions of Interest that were merged to form ACEMS. She is the only person to serve on the ACEMS Executive throughout the whole of its existence. Her leadership, especially at the QUT node, has been unparalleled. I’ve admired her particular ability to deal quickly and efficiently with issues before they become problems.

Emily started as ACEMS Administration Officer and finished as its Chief Operating Officer, while having three children along the way. Throughout my time as Director, she provided excellent advice and led the Centre’s dispersed professional staff team very effectively, heading off any issues so that very few came to my attention. Emily has a great attention to detail and is thorough in everything she does. The fact that she has a background in the mathematical sciences (she has a PhD in Operations Research) has also been a great asset.

Tim Macuga joined ACEMS from North America knowing very little about mathematics and statistics and a lot about newsrooms. He leaves as one of the premier communicators of our discipline in the whole country, having dragged many ACEMS members, including me, with him along the way. He is now taking a role in mentoring other centre media officers.

Tim Garoni was part of one of the original Centre of Excellence Expressions of Interest that were merged to form ACEMS. Unfortunately he wasn’t originally in the list of Chief Investigators in the merged Centre. This was remedied at the first opportunity. Tim ended up as a member of the Executive. As Director, I really appreciated his `can-do’ attitude – when a task needed doing, Tim was always there to do it.

Minh joined ACEMS from a University of Melbourne position based at Austin Health in 2019. It didn’t take her long to make herself indispensible as the fount of knowledge on all matters financial. She also took on the extra responsibility of managing the ACEMS Retreats and acting as Chief Operating Officer when necessary. I’m very pleased that she has gone on to secure a position as Centre Manager of the University of Melbourne Graeme Clark Institute, a position that she richly deserves.

Rosanna was the last of the Outstanding Service Award recipients to join ACEMS. Because she has business development talents that most of the rest of us don’t have, she made a huge difference when she arrived especially with respect to putting on the National Science Quiz under COVID restrictions, the marketing of MathsCraft and the establishment of the ACEMS Public Lecture Series and its smooth transition to a highly-successful virtual series during the pandemic.