University News

Massey Awards honor service of 6 employees

The recipients, including a team that helped launch the Carolina Together Testing Program, will receive recognition for their contributions at an in-person event.

Clockwise from top left: Amir Barzin, Susan Fiscus, Amy James Loftis, Mark Moon, Stacy Davis, Trevaughn Eubanks.
Clockwise from top left: Amir Barzin, Susan Fiscus, Amy James Loftis, Mark Moon, Stacy Davis, Trevaughn Eubanks. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Six Carolina employees will receive the 2022 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award, one of the most prestigious distinctions for faculty and staff, at an awards luncheon on April 23.

Established in 1980 by the late C. Knox Massey ’25 of Durham, the award recognizes “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions” by University employees.

This is the first year since 2019 that the University has bestowed the Massey Awards in person. Three of this year’s recipients are part of the team that built and operated the Carolina Together Testing Program, which was critical to the return to in-person classes and on-campus activities.

“The efforts of Carolina’s employees to further this University’s important work during an ongoing global pandemic are awe-inspiring,” said Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “The six recipients of this year’s Massey Awards exemplify the dedication, hard work and range of skills of all our colleagues. I am humbled by their contributions and grateful for all they do for the University and the people of North Carolina.”

The winners, selected through a campus-wide nomination process, each receive a $10,000 stipend and an award citation.

This year’s recipients are:

Amir Barzin

Assistant professor, School of Medicine’s family medicine department, medical director for UNC Health Virtual Care Services and the UNC Health Clinical Contact Center

Barzin has been at the forefront of Carolina’s response to the COVID-19 global health crisis. He led UNC Health’s Respiratory Diagnostic Center to deliver rapid testing early in the pandemic, all while continuing to provide exemplary care to his patients. He then served as director of the Carolina Together Testing Program, leading campus COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. The campus testing effort has been the most important factor in enabling Carolina to stay safe and resume more normal campus operations. He also has provided critical health communications to the University and to the state of North Carolina throughout the pandemic. Barzin’s tireless efforts and commitment to the CTTP, to the University and Chapel Hill community, and to the state of North Carolina have been nothing short of extraordinary. He receives the Massey Award as part of a team, along with his CTTP collaborators Susan Fiscus and Amy James Loftis.

Stacy Davis

Facilities manager, College of Arts & Sciences’ Earth, marine and environmental sciences department

Davis joined the Carolina’s Institute for Marine Sciences in Morehead City in 1996 as a research vessel captain and, since 2011, has served as facilities manager. The institute was established in 1947, basically as a fisheries-based operation. Since Davis joined the team, however, nearly three dozen tropical cyclones have ravished the North Carolina coast, forcing the IMS to expand its focus to address critical issues of environmental, climatic and economic change. The institute exploded in growth — without major new construction or renovation — and Davis and his small crew keep the place running through skill, hard work and a can-do attitude. He regularly faces breakdowns of electric power, air conditioning and other infrastructure issues, often camping out to provide 24-hour support to his research, teaching and administrative colleagues. He spares no effort to make faculty, students and technicians feel safe and comfortable. Davis has been a key player in helping put IMS on the map as a top-rated, globally recognized marine facility — an invaluable resource for the state and nation.

Trevaughn Eubanks

University program specialist, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations

A proud Carolina alumna, Eubanks has spent her entire professional life on campus. As the former administrative manager for the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, she worked with multiple directors and helped realize the vision of a permanent home for the center. As executive assistant to the vice chancellor for finance and operations, she provides a cheerful and calm presence while effectively managing tasks ranging from ensuring a Carolina Board of Trustees member receives a prompt response to an information request to scheduling a month’s worth of budget discussions with dozens of vice chancellors and academic deans. But she really shines as a mentor and cheerleader for numerous staff, colleagues and subordinates, who see her as a model of success, as a gentle guide to the nuances and quirky aspects of the Carolina culture and bureaucracy and as the epitome of professionalism. Dedicated, team-oriented and selfless, Eubanks makes it her mission at Carolina to see, hear and encourage every staff member, student or guest she meets.

Susan Fiscus

Past director of the Retrovirology Core Laboratory, School of Medicine’s microbiology and immunology department

Fiscus retired in 2014 after 25 years of service. Six years later, in October 2020, she returned to service and joined Amy James Loftis to tackle an immense challenge — building the UNC COVID Surveillance Lab, a high-capacity PCR testing facility, from the ground up in less than 11 weeks, a job that often takes years. The lab is a critical component in the CTTP. Drawing on her unique experience, Fiscus helped establish partnerships with temporary talent agencies and procured space, supplies and automated molecular diagnostic testing equipment. She obtained critical Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments certification for the lab and created standard operating procedures to ensure safety and accuracy. The surveillance lab allowed the CTTP to become the University’s frontline of defense against a disease that has killed nearly 1 million people in the United States. She receives the Massey Award as part of a team, along with her CTTP collaborators Loftis and Barzin.

Amy James Loftis

Clinical research laboratory specialist, School of Medicine’s microbiology and immunology department

Working with her longtime mentor, Fiscus, Loftis helped build the UNC COVID Surveillance Lab, a key part of the Carolina Together Testing Program, from scratch in less than three months. She drew on deep experience in developing and establishing high-quality testing labs at global sites, such as Liberia, with limited resources. She meticulously focused on the specifications for spacing, technical requirements and lab management of space and supplies and purchased refrigerators, freezers and biosafety cabinets. Once the testing facility was up and running, Loftis managed a team of 2,530 people, working at times around the clock to streamline the lab process — analyzing samples, verifying results and getting those results to people quickly. Despite the intense pressure of the challenge, Loftis took time to make her team feel valued by feeding them, introducing games and writing thank you notes to let them know how much they were appreciated. She receives the Massey Award as part of a team, along with her CTTP collaborators Fiscus and Barzin.

Mark Moon

Grounds supervisor, Facilities Services

If you’ve stepped on campus, you have seen Moon’s passion for Carolina — in the sidewalks freshly cleared of snow, beautiful flowers by the Old Well, power-washed buildings and chairs on the field at Commencement. He takes pride in his work and ensuring the more than 700 acres of campus make a good first impression. The pillar of Grounds Services for more than 25 years, Moon never says no to anyone who asks for help and is always willing to roll up his sleeves to get a job done. Last October, Moon led the overnight effort to flip Kenan Stadium from a home football game to the first-of-its-kind fall 2020 Commencement ceremony. A true leader, he makes everyone around him better. He cares deeply about his colleagues, working to further their personal and professional development and, as co-chair of the Facilities Services Safety Committee, improving workplace safety. Twice he has served as the department’s interim director while continuing to manage his own shop.

Look for profiles of each Massey winner at TheWell.UNC.edu in May.