The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Marcus Hayden, Ronald Cambra and the UH Cancer Center Administrative Leadership Team have been selected as the university’s nominees for the Governor’s Awards for Distinguished State Service. The award honors the state’s executive branch employees and managers who exemplify the highest caliber of public service and dedication to serving the people of Hawaiʻi. There are three awards—Employee of the Year, Manager of the Year and Team of the Year.

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Governor’s Awards for Distinguished State Service Employee of the Year nominee Marcus Hayden, center, with Regent Michelle Tagorda and UH President David Lassner.

Employee of the Year nominee: Marcus Hayden

Marcus Hayden serves as the fiscal manager for the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). He was brought into CTAHR several years ago to help reorganize and manage fiscal operations. He hired and developed a customer service oriented team, made efficient and productive changes to fiscal processes and helped the college regain control over its budget.

Hayden’s efforts not only improved morale and created a positive work environment, but also helped CTAHR navigate the P-card moratorium and improved services to the many CTAHR units on five islands.

He has been praised for working out difficult solutions in a congenial and respectful manner. CTAHR Dean Nicholas Comerford said that Hayden never says “we can’t do that,” but rather, “we will find a way to make it work.”

His colleagues consistently describe his demeanor as calm, steady and professional, and he is always willing to go the extra mile.

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Governor’s Awards for Distinguished State Service Manager of the Year nominee Ronald Cambra, center, with Regent Michelle Tagorda and UH President David Lassner.

Manager of the Year nominee: Ronald Cambra

Ronald Cambra serves as assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate education at UH Mānoa. He manages the overall operations and resources for undergrad programs, and was an early champion for a number of highly successful initiatives—the STAR degree tracking program, 15 to Finish and mandatory advising.

Cambra oversaw the consolidation of program sheets and templates so that students, advisors and academic departments can all have the same clear understanding of degree requirements.

Under Cambra’s leadership, UH Mānoa increased its four-year graduation rate from 16 percent to 32 percent. UH Mānoa has been nationally recognized for its success in degree completion projects.

As a manager, Cambra’s team describes him as fair, consistent, realistic yet ambitious and democratic. He has gained his team’s appreciation by encouraging them to seek professional development opportunities and promoting important work-life balance for everyone.

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Governor’s Awards for Distinguished State Service Team of the Year nominee: the UH Cancer Center Administrative Leadership Team

Team of the Year nominee: UH Cancer Center Administrative Leadership Team

Namrata Gurung, Nana Ohkawa, Francis Blanco, Cathy Zhang, Michelle Kau, Kate Bryant-Greenwood and Todd Cullison. Not pictured: Wendy Richards, Kornelia Szauter and Cliff Martin.

This team is being recognized for its efforts in supporting the mission of the UH Cancer Center by improving operational efficiencies and productivity, supporting faculty researchers and achieving mission-based objectives.

They creatively and enthusiastically worked together to reduce annual expenditures by generating departmental budgets and adhering to them. They supported increased community outreach and engagement and established more collaborations with community organizations. And they ensured critical support for faculty during last year’s National Cancer Institute designation renewal efforts.

UH Cancer Center Director Randy Holcombe said, “Righting the ship required renewed dedication, willingness to look for new ways to address old problems and selfless dedication to the overall mission of the center.” This is a “can-do” group that Holcombe said he is honored to have on his team.