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Duo from Tallassee receive high honor at AU

By Michael Butler

There are approximately 12,000 employees at Auburn University. A select number receive the distingquished honor of "employee of the year." Nominees are named on a monthly basis throughout the year. This month, two of the four recipients are from Tallassee.

Auburn released the names of this month's honorees on April 27. Kelly Steele and Tyler Lynn join Clynt Lovelace and Andrew Thornton as those recognized.

Steele is a payroll specialist in Human Resources. Lynn does property management in Student Affairs.

"Kelly always goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist our employees," Steele's supervisor Ashley Fetner noted. "(She) is the most efficient person I have ever met. The volume of work she can complete in a short amount of time is remarkable."

Steele, who started at Auburn in 2016, will receive her five-year pin as well this year. She talked about her position and receiving the Spirit of Excellence award.

"We process 62 payrolls a year, paying over 17,000 people in 2021. We also make sure all benefits and taxes are coded correctly. We are a source for employees who have questions regarding benefits, taxes, voluntary retirement and mandatory retirement plans.

"It is a huge honor to be recognized by Auburn University with such a large pool of deserving employees. There are many emotions/feelings; shocked, humbled, honored, proud, embarrassed (I don’t like being the center of attention).

"Most of all I’m grateful to not only be recognized for this award but to work in a department with people who genuinely care about each other. Payroll has had many changes through my 5 ½ years here but the one thing that hasn't changed is everyone working toward the goal of getting the job done. We each take turns sharing the load, having each other's back, being the sounding board or being the one doing the sounding."

April Recipients (left to right): Lynn, Thornton, Lovelace, Steele

Steele talked about being among two Tallassee recipients.

"Auburn University employs people from a large radius of surrounding areas due to the great benefits and opportunities offered.  That two of the four recipients of the Employee of the Year award are from Tallassee is unique but not surprising because Tallassee is full of hard working people who care about others."

Fellow winner Lynn started at Auburn in 2017.

"I handle all plumbing, electrical and mechanical applications in food services and maintenance in dorms across campus," he said.

As for Lynn's response when hearing the news...

"I was shocked. It's a blessing to work with such a great company and people. I'm very blessed and humbled to receive this award."

The Spirit of Excellence recognizes employees in the departments of service/maintenance, secretarial/clerical, techical and administrative/professional. Each also receives a $3,000 check.