Mayor Chris Beutler today will present the Mayor's Award of Excellence for January to Fire Equipment Mechanic Robert Poe, a 15-year veteran of the Logistics Division in Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR). The award will be presented at the beginning of today's City Council meeting at 3 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 555 S. 10th St. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.
Poe was nominated by Division Chief Kendall Warnock in the categories of loss prevention and productivity for saving the City thousands of dollars by remounting ambulances and refurbishing vehicles to meet the department's needs.
The two-person Logistics Division is responsible for keeping the entire fleet of fire trucks, fire engines, ambulances and other emergency equipment in working order. They are also involved in the annual testing of equipment for firefighter safety.
Currently, Poe is the Division's only mechanic working on repairs, maintenance and other projects. Warnock said Poe is detailed and has done excellent fabrication work on apparatus. He is the "go to" person for lighting issues and has the ability to make quick repairs.
The Division started the major ambulance remounting program two years ago. The four-month process involves removing the patient care compartment from the chassis, upgrading the lighting, flooring and upholstery and taking care of safety issues.
Compared to purchasing new ambulances, the cost savings of remounting is significant. The last new ambulances cost LFR $164,000 each. The remounting costs about $80,000 with the new chassis.
On another project, LFR acquired the old bookmobile from Lincoln City Libraries, and Poe refurbished it into a rehabilitation unit for emergency personnel. Similar new vehicles cost $300,000 or more. LFR's total investment in the reconditioned vehicle is less than $10,000. The "rehab" vehicle is very useful in treating individuals and in monitoring the blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels of the firefighters on the scene.
Poe's most recent project was to outfit an emergency unit for potential response to Ebola patients. Warnock said Poe completes these large projects in addition to his regular work duties, sometimes working nights and weekends to finish the job.
Poe has also pursued additional training for his position. He has received the Emergency Vehicle Technician certification on many areas of fire apparatus and ambulances.
With these certifications, Poe has become one of just four ambulance certified technicians in Nebraska. Warnock commended Poe for his efforts to improve his expertise and ability so he can provide exceptional service to LFR.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are customer relations, safety and valor. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee's job description. All City employees are eligible for the Mayor's Award of Excellence except for elected and appointed officials.
Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: hr) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Human Resources Department, which oversees the awards program. All nominations are considered by the Mayor's Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.