MTL News

MTL Associate Directors go the Infinite Mile

May 11, 2006

MTL Associate Directors Samuel C. Crooks and Vicky Diadiuk were named among 21 others recipients as winners of the School of Engineering's annual Infinite Mile Award. The awards ceremony, held on Wednesday, May 10, 2006, honored several teams and individuals from the School of Engineering to a full crowd, with the ceremonies presided over by Dean Thomas L. Magnanti and Assistant Deans Sheila Kanode and Donna Savicki.

The Infinite Mile Awards was established in 2001 by the Institute "to encourage broad-based recognition for MIT employees. The program itself is meant to provide opportunities to recognize and reward members of MIT's administrative staff, support staff, service staff, sponsored research staff, and, when appropriate, faculty and academic staff." The School of Engineering's 2006 award categories were for Excellence, Sustained Excellence, and Team Excellence. Crooks and Diadiuk received the Infinite Mile Award for Team Excellence.

When presenting the award to Crooks and Diadiuk, Dean Kanode stated that "Together Sam and Vicky stay abreast of the competition, visiting peer organizations and returning with a multitude of ideas for improvement, as they continuously, in partnership, seek ways to maintain MTL"s premier status as one of the most complex, versatile, and productive micro fabrication facilities of any university in the world."

The full text of the award citation is quoted below:

Excellent team work is characterized by this Steven Covey quote "Strength lies in differences, not in similarities". So it is with the team of Sam Crooks and Vicky Diadiuk, staff Associate Directors of the Microsystems Technology Labs. Sam is a businessman and Vicky is a Principal Researcher. One nominator says he cannot think of a better example of how two people with different backgrounds and skill sets can come together to make an organization run smoothly. MTL is an interdepartmental laboratory that supports Microsystems research encompassing work in circuits and systems, MEMS, electronic and photonic devices, and molecular and nanotechnology. Their research is enabled by a set of shared experimental facilities, as well as a vibrant industrial consortium, and supports the research of 350+ students and staff who are sponsored by contracted research, exceeding $40M annually, much of which involves cross campus projects and multiple university partnerships.

For the past seven years, Sam and Vicky together have served as ambassadors for MTL, both inside and outside MIT where they add significant value to MTL industrial relations. In fact, the leadership acknowledges that several million dollars worth of donations and savings can be attributed directly to the productivity of this working team. Along with the faculty associate directors, they engage in strategic planning, and then Sam and Vicky take the collective vision, develop it into reality, and see to the daily execution. Vicky is characterized as having exceptional technical depth and a driving energy that inspires her technical team to achieve excellent performance. She manages to balance the needs of over 400 students using the facility, and is always engaged in upgrading and expanding the capabilities of the, not one, but three labs she operates with her technical staff of around 20.

Sam is characterized as having an uncanny ability to maximize the utilization of MTL resources by identifying funding opportunities and finding new money where faculty never even thought of looking. We learn that Sam uses his deep understanding of Institute policies, procedures, and finances, to think creatively about how to effectively manage the administrative and financial matters of the Lab. Together Sam and Vicky stay abreast of the competition, visiting peer organizations and returning with a multitude of ideas for improvement, as they continuously, in partnership, seek ways to maintain MTL"s premier status as one of the most complex, versatile, and productive micro fabrication facilities of any university in the world. Sam and Vicky we are pleased to present you with this SoE Infinite Mile Award for Team Excellence.


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