Past Employee Recognition Winners

One of Kent County's Core Values is to provide high-quality service to internal and external customers. It is with great pleasure we acknowledge these employees for living out this value.

Employee Recognition for Quality Service

Please join us in congratulating these Kent County Employees for earning the Employee Recognition for Quality Service Awards. If you know a Kent County employee who is deserving of this recognition, please complete a nomination form.

Nominate an Employee

2023

  • Quarter 2

    One of Kent County's Core Values is to provide high-quality service to internal and external customers. It is with great pleasure that we acknowledge Zorimar Johnson and Michelle (Shellie) Sutherlin for living out this value.


    Zorimar Johnson

    Zorimar Johnson

    17th Circuit Court - Probation Officer Supervisor

    Zorimar's high-quality service has made a meaningful impact within the 17 th Circuit Court. The individual who nominated Zorimar wrote:

    "Zorimar is always willing to assist Spanish-speaking guests by interpreting for them to help staff to understand what our guests need. This morning, Zorimar went above and beyond in providing excellent customer service by escorting the guests to the Legal Assistance Center, to ensure the employees there would understand what paperwork the guests required to meet their need. Zorimar is always pleasant and patient, listens intently to guests and asks for clarification when needed. She is a true asset to the Circuit Court - Family Division."

    It also worth mentioning that Ms. Johnson was also selected as the Quality Service Employee of the quarter in 2011 for providing excellent customer service to Kent County customers. We thank Ms. Johnson for her consistency in providing a high level of customer service throughout the years.


    Michelle (Shellie) Sutherlin

    Michelle (Shellie) Sutherlin

    Clerk/Register of Deeds - Clerk III

    Shellie's high-quality service has made a meaningful impact on the external customers of Kent County. The individuals who nominated her wrote:

    "I write you this morning to extend my sincere thanks for a job well done and to acknowledge one of your people. Mrs. Shellie Sutherlin truly makes the business at the Kent County Clerk's Office function effectively!"

    "She helped us to see two emergency CPL's to fruition in a timely manner. Mrs. Sutherlin not only managed the State Police background check which can be a daunting process in real time, but also followed back up with me when I had an issue with the standard CPL. She was efficient, super warm and truly empathetic of our predicament. She is a credit to the county and quite frankly, restored my faith back in government processes. I am a former veteran of the United States Army and we would joke that everything was a, "hurry up and wait" situation. Notwithstanding, her professionalism is second to none and I wanted her to be acknowledged for how she runs her desk and the county's business. Everyone always emails with problems, but she made my day!"

    Another nominator wrote:

    "I had the pleasure of visiting the Kent County Clerk's office yesterday to submit my completed "dba" form. I am writing to commend your office for the ease and transparency of the process. The form was astonishingly simple and straightforward. The office was spacious and well organized and the clerk, Shellie Sutherlin, was cordial and efficient. It was a plea sure to see a government office run so well. Thank you."

    Please join us in congratulating Zorimar and Shellie for being recognized as Kent County's Employee Recognition for Quality Service award recipients.
  • Quarter 1

    Katelyn Kikstra

    Katelyn Kikstra

    Waste Reduction Educator, Department of Public Work

    Ms. Kikstra is a Waste Reduction Educator with the Department of Public Works and is recognized as one of the Kent County Quality Service Employees of the 1st Quarter. Katelyn's high-quality service has made a meaningful impact within her department and within the community. The individuals who nominated Katelyn wrote:

    “[Katelyn] is a Waste Reduction Educator for the Department of Public Works. To increase outreach efforts, we have conducted a few after-hour tours for special groups and visitors. In a recent request from the Creston Neighborhood Association, we agreed to provide the group one of these tours. Though we’ve done a few of these tours, this one was unique in that some of the members of the group indicated they were part of the local environmental justice group. As a possibly controversial group, Katelyn and I continued to present to the group like any other tour that comes to the facility. During the presentation, the group had lots of questions regarding the history, operations, emissions and so on. They even had an interesting discussion regarding chemical smells in the Black Hills neighborhood where it sounds like the group seemingly participates in door-to-door activism. Together, we put those concerns to rest by our responses and discussions around how, despite this being a solid waste processing facility with over 3000 tons of waste just feet away from the parking lot, there is no recognizable smell on the grounds. Further, we drove the message home when we went up on the charging floor with little noticeable waste smell there. This diverse group had both young and elderly, quiet and outspoken folks but in all cases, we simply answered their questions and enjoyed a pleasant discussion. There were no rude comments, no arguments and the group departed enthusiastically and grateful for the opportunity to see the plant. During tours where we present, Katelyn provided DPW related information regarding our other services Katelyn is an incredible asset in our Department in helping to share and educate visitors, residents and guests in the handling and management of waste for Kent County. She's a Rockstar!!!”


    Amanda Lake

    Amanda Lake

    Clerk II, Kent County Veterans Services Office

    Ms. Lake is a Clerk II with the Kent County Veterans Services Office and is also recognized as one of the Quality Service Employees of the 1st Quarter. Amanda's high-quality service has made a meaningful impact on the external customers of Kent County. The individual who nominated Amanda wrote:

    “Amanda worked with me to fill out an application for assistance for vehicle repairs. When it was determined that KKVA could not help with total cost of repairs, Amanda went out of the way to further assist me with other available resources that we could go to with chances of teaming up with KKVA in covering repair costs. Amanda has been nothing but friendly, helpful and she has always had time for me. Initially, I failed in securing the money needed to fix my vehicle. Amanda continued to go out of her until I received the funding needed to get my vehicle repaired.”

2022

  • Quarter 4

    Kory Drake

    Kory Drake

    Ms. Drake is a Surveillance Officer with the 17th Judicial Circuit Court - Family Division and is recognized as one of the Kent County Quality Service Employees of the 4th Quarter. Kory's high-quality service has made a meaningful impact within her department and within the community. The individuals who nominated Kory wrote:

    "Kory has been consistent in going above and beyond for our communities, families and especially our youth who she works with directly while working as a Surveillance Officer. Every Christmas (pre-COVID) and this past Christmas, Kory buys gifts out of her own pocket along with some donations and opens a Santa Shop here at 1565 Cedar Juvenile Services. This gives our youth who have no funds an opportunity to buy Christmas presents for loved ones free of charge. The youth who are selected have demonstrated good behavior and compliance with Surveillance and the rules of their probation. This opportunity has been a HUGE success for our youth as I have seen it firsthand when our kids get gifts for loved ones and sometimes themselves. The aftermath of hearing how grateful the kids and families are for the gifts is truly remarkable. In addition, Kory also provides Christmas baskets to families who may need essential items such as food, clothing, gift cards, laundry detergent and diapers. Again, she does this out of her own pocket. Kory does an outstanding job in working with our families and always demonstrates professionalism. Kory does a lot of work in ensuring she can provide happiness to the best of her ability especially during the Holidays."

    About Kory

    Number of years employed by Kent County

    "17 years."

    Hardest thing I've ever done

    "Attend funeral services for one of my youth on surveillance."

    Three people (alive or dead) I'd invite to dinner

    "My mother, Beverly A. Drake (may God bless her soul); Maya Angelou; and former president Barack Obama."

    You'd be surprised to know that

    "I enjoy party planning."

    What I like most about working for Kent County is

    "The support you receive when you want to do non-traditional things for or with our youth. As well as open door communication. Every supervisor I have had would always take the time to sit down and listen."


    Katelind (Kate) Dubridge

    Katelind (Kate) Dubridge

    Ms. Dubridge is an Office Administrator with the County Clerk/Register of Deeds Office and is also recognized as one of the Quality Service Employees of the 4 th Quarter. Kate's high- quality service has made a meaningful impact on the external customers of Kent County. The individual who nominated Kate wrote:

    "I'd like to say how much I appreciated the unique help Kate has offered me in a genealogical search. My project has been years long and stemmed from the murder of my great-grandmother, who was shot to death in 1902 in Grand Rapids. Because of my contact with Kate this story has become more of a family story than a murder story. In 1992 after my father's death, a cousin gave me the Dutch names and birth/death dates of the three brothers in my family who had emigrated to America. My great-grandmother became the wife of one of these brothers and the murder victim of a second. The identification of these brothers, their wives and children, I believe came from her bible. I have the bible, but someone removed that page. Kate worked in collaboration with me, accounting for the information I have accumulated over these years and being thoughtful about county document inconsistencies, until substantiated details emerged. This inclusive approach went above any expectations I had for sorting and verifying individual lives via these documents. She offered referral to other Michigan county clerk offices, one of which led me to an archive at Western Michigan University, revealing a divorce decree drastic in its personal nature. Another murky area for me, not having grown up in a church of Dutch origins, was what appeared to be doctrinal divisions between these earlier generations. Kate offered a contact person in the Christian Reformed Church, who gave much clarification to my questions. This topic may have played a part in her death. Thank You again for the opportunity to relate my experience with Kate. I look forward to future contacts with her, and the clerk's office, as I continue to write about this small but significant time in my history."

    About Kate

    Number of years employed by Kent County

    "14 years."

    Hardest thing I've ever done

    "Starting over in 2020 in so many aspects, but I have proven to myself time and time again, I am more than capable of anything!"

    Three people (alive or dead) I'd invite to dinner

    "My deceased grandpa, Anthony Bourdain and my boyfriend so he could meet both those people too!"

    You'd be surprised to know that

    "I love to bake - I am always trying new recipes and projects to bring in and share with my department and others."

    What I like most about working for Kent County is

    "The people - I have made so many friends out of co-workers and colleagues, plus a pension doesn't hurt!"

  • Quarter 3

    Adam Zawisza

    Adam Zawisza

    Mr. Zawisza is a Financial Systems Administrator in the Fiscal Services Department and is recognized as one of the Kent County Quality Service Employees of the 3rd Quarter. Adam's high-quality service has made a meaningful impact on an internal service department of Kent County. The individuals who nominated Adam wrote:

    “Adam identified and helped our Benefits area to implement changes that will cut our time entering wellness incentives by half and will save significant time in our entry of new Flexible Spending Account enrollments for 2023! As part of an ongoing upgrade of our HRIS system, Adam has been proactive in investigating opportunities for HR to benefit from system enhancements to be more efficient and effective in our work. Adam has gone above and beyond to help HR, and we are very grateful for this support!”.

    About Adam

    Number of years employed by Kent County

    "Six years, this January 30th."

    Hardest thing I've ever done

    "In recent memory, it was processing thousands of COVID-19 Grant Payments."

    Three people (alive or dead) I'd invite to dinner

    "My wife Emma, Pavel Datsyuk, Nick Lidström"

    You'd be surprised to know that

    "I love snow. My wife and I do the Heikki Lunta Snow Dance each winter hoping for more snow in West Michigan. I enjoy clearing all the sidewalks on my street after each snowstorm."

    What I like most about working for Kent County is

    "All of the great people and all of the projects that I have gotten to be involved with."


    Brittany Richardson

    Brittany Richardson

    Ms. Richardson is an Office Administrator with the Medical Examiner's Office and is also recognized as one of the Quality Service Employees of the 3rd Quarter. Brittany's high-quality service has made a meaningful impact on the external customers of Kent County. The individual who nominated Brittany wrote:

    “A close friend of mine lost his son a couple of weeks back. I was tasked with finding and retrieving his personal items. This turned out be a challenge. I contacted the Medical Examiner's Office and was greeted by Brittany. I explained the situation and she was incredibly helpful. She even called the funeral home to confirm the items were where they were supposed to be. Obviously, I was rather shaken up by the recent events. Having someone who was that proficient, caring and helpful really made that terrible situation slightly more bearable. This might seem insignificant, but under those circumstances it is immense. Brittany was pleasant during an unpleasant situation. She was polite, professional and did what she said that she would do.”

    About Brittany

    Number of years employed by Kent County

    "My 1-year anniversary is January 3, 2023."

    Hardest thing I've ever done

    "Realize its ok to not be perfect at all times and to embrace those imperfections."

    Three people (alive or dead) I'd invite to dinner

    "My Maternal Grandmother, Beyonce, and Whitney Houston."

    You'd be surprised to know that

    "I'm a homebody, I love to cook and spend time with my family."

    What I like most about working for Kent County is

    "Working in the Office of the Medical Examiner. I wholeheartedly enjoy speaking with the families/friends of the deceased. In doing so, I gain the opportunity to learn more about their loved one and provide comfort and/or resources during their time of grief."

  • Quarter 2

    Tara Beatty

    Tara Beatty

    Ms. Beatty is a Senior Human Resources Specialist in the Human Resources Department and is recognized as one of the Kent County Quality Service Employees of the 2nd Quarter. Tara's high-quality service has made a meaningful impact on the retirees of Kent County. The individuals who nominated Tara wrote:

    “I just want to express my appreciation to you for helping me with the issue with the hospital. It brings me much comfort and security knowing that you and the entire retirement services department are there to assist with any issues that arise. Thank you, you're AWESOME Tara!”.

    Another retired Kent County employee wrote, “I have really appreciated your assistance and advice over the years. You are good at what you do. Always kind and quick to respond. Thanks again for all of your help!”.

    About Tara

    Number of years employed by Kent County

    "20 years on October 28, 2022."

    Hardest thing I've ever done

    "Train for a 10k run."

    Three people (alive or dead) I'd invite to dinner

    "My grandma (who passed away my senior year in high school), Bruno Mars and Jimmy Fallon."

    Fun Fact

    "I recently moved to Sparta after 21 years in Kentwood."

    What I like most about working for Kent County is

    "The amazing group of people I work with in HR and the friendships I've made both inside and outside of my department. And of course, administering our wonderful pension plan!"


    Danielle Harp-Beckley

    Danielle Harp-Beckley

    Ms. Harp-Beckley is a Senior Docket Clerk with the County Clerks-Courtside Office and is also recognized as one of the Quality Service Employees of the 2nd Quarter. Dannielle's high-quality service has made a meaningful impact on the external customers of Kent County. The individual who nominated Dannielle wrote:

    “During the course of one week I had to contact the Kent County Circuit Court Clerk's Office several times and each time I happened to speak with Danielle. Danielle went above and beyond to assist me each time and provided solutions to my issues. I truly could not have completed my job without Danielle doing such an amazing job. Thank you, Danielle on behalf of myself and the law firm that I represent!!”

    About Danielle

    Number of years employed by Kent County

    "5 ½ years"

    Hardest thing I've ever done

    "While pursuing my secondary degree, maintaining full time employment."

    Three people (alive or dead) I'd invite to dinner

    "Inell McKinney, my grandmother; Helen Harp, my mother; and Michelle Obama."

    You'd be surprised to learn that

    "I have a really good sense of humor"

    What I like most about working for Kent County is

    "The people I'm fortunate to work with each and every day."

  • Quarter 1

    Iyana Goodson

    Iyana Goodson

    Ms. Goodson is a Corrections Officer with the Kent County Sheriff's Office and is recognized as the Kent County Quality Service Employee of the 1st Quarter of 2022. Iyana's high-quality service has made a meaningful impact on the residents of Kent County. The individual who nominated Iyana wrote:

    "Iyana is always helpful and courteous when asked about specific inmates who are in COVID isolation. When an inmate is in isolation, they cannot leave the facility. If they have an outside appointment it is helpful to know when the inmate will be eligible for release from isolation. COVID-19 has certainly made getting some inmates out to court a frustrating project, but Iyana with her quick and helpful answers is always right there to help. Iyana is a great asset to the jail and classification in particular. Even when COVID-19 numbers were at the worst in the jail, I could still count on Iyana to answer all my questions about inmates in isolation. I appreciate her help immensely!"

    About Iyana

    Number of years employed by Kent County

    "15 years on August 20th"

    Hardest thing I've ever done

    "The hardest thing I have done and still have to do daily is accept the fact that I am not in control of what happens in my life. I have a purpose in life, and it requires me to walk by faith and not by sight no matter how hard it is."

    Three people (alive or dead) I'd invite to dinner

    "I would invite Beyonce, the Obamas and Fannie Lou Hamer to dinner."

    Fun Facts

    "I actually like to hike, snorkel and be outside. But only if it is not too hot and there are not a lot of bugs!"

    What I like the most about working for Kent County is

    "Being a liaison working with Inmate Services and Programming. I have taken the knowledge I gained over the years and have applied it to my current role. I have realized that I can have an impact on helping someone to better themselves. I like that my job is ever-changing, and I get to be a part of that change."