Phipps and Gradisteanu receive OIT Awards for Excellence

For non-faculty NC State employees, receiving the University Awards for Excellence is the highest accolade. It is recognition by their peers for their outstanding work and achievements.

On March 18, Office of Information Technology (OIT) employees Jill Phipps and Cristian Gradisteanu were honored with unit-level Awards for Excellence during a ceremony at the Duke Energy Hall of James B. Hunt Jr. Library. They and other award winners from campus colleges and units will now have the opportunity to compete for the University Awards for Excellence on Tuesday, June 4 at 2 p.m. in the Stewart Theatre of Talley Student Union. 

The University Awards for Excellence recognizes contributions that are above and beyond an employee’s normal job responsibilities in the categories of customer service, efficiency and innovation, human relations, outstanding state government service, public service, safety and heroism, and the spirit of North Carolina.

“Jill and Cristian exemplify the spirit of going the extra mile to support the campus community,” said Marc Hoit, associate vice chancellor for information technology. “They are prime examples of how to use one’s knowledge and skills to make NC State a better place; Jill serves selflessly on the Staff Senate, while Cristian employs various automation processes to protect the Wolfpack.”

During the March 18 awards ceremony, Hoit presented an SHRA award to Phipps and a non-faculty EHRA award to Gradisteanu.

SHRA Award

An accounting technician in Business Services, Phipps was nominated in the category of human relations.

As former chair and now past chair of the NC State Staff Senate, Phipps led many initiatives at NC State University and beyond. As a delegate to the UNC Staff Assembly, she worked on a resolution advocating for separate bereavement for all system employees. She also encouraged the Staff Senate’s Community Service and Engagement Committee to put together backpacks with school supplies for staff members who had school-aged children and difficulty providing supplies. As a result, she was able to bring backpacks to the NC Cooperative Extension Conference to show appreciation and support for those who, in many cases, seemed forgotten. Phipps became one of the first certified Mental Health First Aid instructors at NC State and a passionate advocate. When the UNC System Office no longer supported the program, she championed the next initiative, Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Training, and was one of the first certified instructors on NC State’s campus. Phipps constantly looks for ways to improve the work environment for NC State staff members and to make their jobs easier. 

EHRA Award 

Gradisteanu of Security and Compliance’s Cybersecurity Operations team was nominated in the category of efficiency and innovation.

Gradisteanu is a proactive developer who always looks for opportunities to provide solutions to his team and others. Gradisteanu has done extensive work on Governance, Risk and Compliance projects and risk management with the Information Security, Risk and Assurance and Vendor Risk and License Management teams in Security and Compliance. He has also worked closely with the ServiceNow team, where he helped to integrate solutions and was integral in enabling API access to the platform to assist in the automation of security tickets and processing.

He has worked tirelessly to automate or enhance some of the most common and repetitive tasks for the Security Operations Center Team (SOC), which handles phishing attacks resulting in compromised accounts. He developed tools such as the automated population of DUO fraud tickets with DUO logs, a bulk policy violation tool used with phishing, and a versatile chatbot tool that can search ServiceNow or the Virtual Computing Lab for a variety of information as well as add blocks to the firewall for identified attacks and threats. The automated tools made the SOC team more efficient and effective in processing assigned tickets. Gradisteanu is currently working on automating tickets in vulnerability management, decreasing the time to send notifications and speeding up the resolution of vulnerabilities.

As OIT Awards for Excellence winners, Phipps and Gradisteanu received a plaque, $250 and eight hours of paid leave.