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February 16, 2024

19 Outstanding Leaders in Environmental Services Receive the 2024 Diamond Award

Every year, HHS recognizes outstanding leadership in Environmental Services (EVS) and Patient Transport with the Diamond Awards. The name of the award pays homage to HHS’ roots as Hospital Housekeeping Systems and an early logo design that included three diamonds. The winners are selected by EVS executive vice presidents based on operational excellence and customer satisfaction. This year, 13 directors and six vice presidents were awarded. Read below to learn more about what makes these incredible leaders stand out among the rest:

Brett Barron Diamond Award

Brett Barron, Director

“Brett is always calm during chaos. He can maneuver through the peripheral noise and lead his team members to success because of his demeanor.” Executive Vice President Greg Crandell

Armond Benoit Diamond Award

Armond Benoit, Director

“AJ's achievement of the Diamond Award is a testament to his outstanding leadership qualities, unwavering humility, and dedication as a true servant leader. Throughout his journey, AJ has consistently demonstrated the ability to inspire and guide those around him. His leadership style, characterized by empathy and inclusivity, has not only fostered a sense of unity within his team but has also contributed to the overall success of the organization." Executive Vice President Leroy Adams

Calvin Caspers Diamond Award

Calvin Capers, Director

“Over the past seven years with the company, and particularly in the last two years as the director of Neshoba General Hospital, Calvin Capers has developed into a great EVS leader. He has a proven track record with employee relations, customer satisfaction, and quality operations, drawing inspiration from the exemplary leadership of colleagues in the Mississippi market. Leading a team of 33 individuals, Calvin has achieved a remarkable 851 injury-free days and a team member satisfaction score of 99.79%. Our current staffing stands at an impressive 94.59%, and we continue our ongoing efforts in recruitment. In addition, I am delighted to share that we concluded 2023 with an ACR score of 93.21% and a safety appraisal of 96.46%.” Executive Vice President Kendra Johnson

John Coleman Diamond Award

John Colman, Director

“John took a hospital that was 25% down in [full-time team members] and was able to staff it in a matter of months. He has changed the EVS team culture, built relationships with the hospital staff, and improved quality outcomes. We initially thought [the hospital] would move to [another company], but due to the cleanliness of the hospital and the relationships [John has] there, we are currently negotiating a new contract with an organization we have never worked with before.” Executive Vice President Bruce Teter

Stephen Elsenrath Diamond Award

Stephen Elsenrath, Vice President

“Stephen is an exceptional leader. He doesn't shy away from conflict or difficult situations and is a strong operational leader. Stephen holds to his faith, and he allows his faith to lead him daily.” Executive Vice President Leroy Adams

Verna Fisher Diamond Award

Verna Fisher, Director

“Verna is methodical in her approach to each task. She can see the big picture, especially during chaos.” Executive Vice President Greg Crandell

Terry Gouker Diamond Award

Terry Gouker, Director 

“Terry came into a hospital that was ready to cancel our contract. The hospital was 25 full-time team members short, HCAHPS scores were in the 50s, we were receiving daily complaints from nursing, and our wage rates were well below the market. Terry dug in and worked to get staffed, HHS moved wage rates by cutting FTEs until we could get wages funded, and the turnaround was on. For most of 2023, Terry was 95-100% staffed, and HCAHPS moved into the high 70s by the end of 2023. Today, they are at 80. The customer recognized the effort and turnaround, funded wages, and retracted their cancellation decision.” Executive Vice President Bruce Teter

Julius Grant Diamond Award

Julius Grant, Director

“Julius has shown a huge amount of growth within his leadership development, coachability, investment in his team, succession planning within his department, and managing an additional HHS diversification line at the job site. He has phenomenal engagement with his customer, [leading] to successful results at his location. Julius represents HHS values; He truly cares for his team and has a phenomenal work ethic. He is also a safety champion for his division and is always available to assist a fellow director if they need anything. After 18 years of dedication to HHS, supporting in different capacities throughout the years, I am happy to recognize Julius Grant as a Triple Diamond Award Winner!” Executive Vice President Terrance Newson

Dennis Johnston Diamond Award

Dennis Johnston, Director 

“[Dennis is being] recognized for his dedication, operational excellence, and exceptional ability to engage and grow his team. Despite significant challenges, he and his team made dramatic improvements in every metric in 2023. Dennis champions the HHS platform within his account and across our region and is a tremendous asset to our team. I can think of no one more deserving.” Executive Vice President Scott Rafinski

Denisia Jolly Diamond Award

Denisia Jolly, Director 

“Denisia has not only lived the mission daily, and delivered on the vision, but truly has embodied the core values of HHS. She checks off all the boxes and is a shining example of why we do what we do! Denise has a big smile, warm heart, and infectious laugh but don't let that fool you, she does not play! She puts in the hours and gets the results. Her accolades include strong and consistent HCAHPS of 81%, TATs of 55.28 min, 1,457 Safety Days, 1% OT for the year, and 84% retention.” Executive Vice President Kendra Johnson

Dewayne Kirksey Diamond Award

Dewayne Kirksey, Vice President

“Dewayne has consistently demonstrated outstanding performance in forming exemplary client relationships, fostering the development of his leaders, and contributing significantly to the establishment of a positive team culture.​ He has displayed a commitment to excellence, going above and beyond in building and maintaining strong client relationships. Through effective leadership, mentoring, and continuous support,​ he has nurtured a high-performing team that consistently delivers results. In addition to his individual achievements, Dewayne has been instrumental in fostering a positive team culture at John Peter Smith.​ He has actively contributed to creating a collaborative and inclusive work environment with the HHS and JPS leadership teams. Dewayne’s outstanding contributions to client relationships, leadership development, and team culture at John Peter Smith are truly commendable and serve as an inspiration to us all.” Executive Vice President Kendra Johnson

Rose Kjos Diamond Award

Rose Kjos, Director

“Despite significant [challenges] for the last 12 months, Rose has maintained a TAT average of 39 minutes, HCAHPS scores above the 50th percentile, 100% compliance on all Salesforce metrics for 2023, consistent “A” quality campus, and 590 injury-free days!! She is well respected amongst her peers, employees, and the executive team. We are fortunate to have her on our HHS leadership team!” Executive Vice President Scott Rafinski

Ricky Melendez Diamond Award

Ricky Melendez, Director

“Ricky consistently exceeds expectations, not only within his facility but across the entire division. He is frequently the first person his colleagues turn to when they require assistance. His HCAHPS scores consistently surpass divisional goals, with the current month's performance ranking in the 99th percentile and the current quarter at the 89th percentile. Ricky has also cultivated an exceptionally strong rapport with his [hospital] leadership team.” Executive Vice President Terrance Newson

Benjamin Messenger Diamond Awards

Benjamin Messenger, Director

“Ben has had the most consistently exceptional performance in all Transport key performance indicators (KPIs) [in the areas of] volume, transport time, cancellations/delays out of all company locations. He has also impacted every new Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH) transport manager [in their] overall development in operational excellence and customer performance metric communication.” Executive Vice President Sheldon Cash

Willie Nash Diamond Award

Willie Nash, Vice President

“Willie’s operational excellence and self-driven effort for personal growth make him a top performer in the organization. His book of business continues to show as one of the best in the organization, and his ability to mentor leaders for future success is second to none.” Executive Vice President Scott Rafinski

Meredith Nations Diamond Award

Meredith Nations, Vice President

“Meredith leads with empathy and works with a problem-solving mindset. She has transitioned from a director role to becoming a graduate of our MSAP Program and has now grown into a senior vice president for the Florida Group. She is a true asset to the organization and will continue to positively impact the quality of work around her.” Executive Vice President Terrance Newson

Chase Wiges Diamond Award

Chase Wiges, Vice President 

“Chase performed at a very high level in 2023. He improved ACR scores in every hospital for the year. He led in HCAHPS scores [among] my six vice presidents with 73.58, which was also the highest improvement in the overall score of 2.50%. His team executes at a very high level, and his EVS department was named hospital department of the year. His book of business is virtually 100% staffed.” Executive Vice President Bruce Teter

Roxanne Williams Pollard Diamond Award

Roxanne Williams-Pollard, Director

“Roxanne is a proven HHS leader. She is committed to caring for her team and the patients she services daily. Roxanne fosters a culture of sustainability within her team while engaging and inspiring employees at all levels to embrace and contribute to EVS initiatives.” Executive Vice President Leroy Adams

Melissa Yusko Diamond Award

Melissa Yusko, Vice President

“Melissa works hand in hand with her management teams. She does not leave them alone to figure it out or to complete it on their own!” Executive Vice President Greg Crandell

Each award recipient is gifted a financial bonus, a trophy, and an oversized check. They, along with their partner, are also taken out for a celebratory dinner by their leadership team. Congratulations to all of the Diamond Award honorees, and thank you for making HHS proud!

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