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June 11, 2021

Team Member Spotlight: Jenny Uythoven

Jenny Uythoven has known the military way of life ever since she was a little girl. She’s a self-image002-jpgacclaimed “military brat” who spent her childhood traveling across the globe with her family from station to station. She even met her husband on base, which led to her transition from a military brat to a military wife. 

Jenny loves military life, so it’s no surprise that she decided to begin her career at Sheppard Airforce Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, 35 years ago. 

“I started as a fill-in housekeeper for the dental clinic and then moved full time,” says Jenny. She worked in the clinic for four years until an opportunity opened up in the linen department. She quickly jumped at the chance to advance and held her position there for nine years. 

But that wasn’t enough. Jenny wanted to step up into the role of a manager. To do that, the government requires a Certified Environmental Services Executive (CESE) certificate and allows one year to take the courses. “I took [the courses] in five months and passed. If you pass it, you get a pay raise, and I’m getting that pay raise!” 

Jenny has 22 years of management experience, and when HHS won the EVS contract at Sheppard Airforce Base in 2019, she seamlessly transitioned to join the HHS family as director of environmental services. 

Vice President of the Government Division Jordan Shoop commends Jenny, “Not many times I’m impressed, but [Jenny] is the real deal — and what a legacy. She has so much knowledge and is a fantastic manager.”

Leadership Built on Trust 

Jenny manages a team of 14 and believes that trust is the key to her department’s success. “I think trusting one another and knowing that that person is always there to help you is important.” 

Jenny has built that trust with her team by stepping up and helping as needed. “If I’m shorthanded, I’m out cleaning an area. [My team] always knows I’m willing to pitch in if they need help.”

Her willingness to get her hands dirty is a win-win. Not only does it help build trust, but it provides an opportunity for Jenny to see if an area has changed or if the time allotted is still sufficient to thoroughly clean an area. 

Executive Director Ben Evans recognizes Jenny’s leadership, “I can't pretend I go way back with Jenny, but in the short time that I've worked with her, and having visited recently and seen the way she leads a crew, I'm just struck by the fact that she's such a professional. In awe, really. She makes it look so easy. She's been through the ranks, knows what it takes, and has the respect of her team. She is proof that if you gain the trust of your employees, they are there to work with you, not against you. Housekeeping is one well-oiled machine in that building. And it certainly helps that she's happy to lend a hand whenever and wherever it's needed.”

Advice from Jenny

Throughout her years of service, Jenny has learned that to be successful you need communication.

“You don’t always have to agree with one another, but you need to communicate. We are all in the same boat and all want the same thing [for the department]. Just communicate. Everything can get solved if you communicate.”

How can you take Jenny’s advice and implement it into your work?

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