Her co-workers affectionately call Karen Spruill the “Mother Hen,” and she said she claims the title lovingly. “I’m always trying to make sure everything is taken care of,” said the 13-year associate of Goodwill Services Incorporated (GSI).
Spruill received recognition for that level of care and commitment in April during an awards presentation at Defense Logistics Agency, Richmond (DLA), where officials presented her with a Certificate of Appreciation.
DLA is a federal government customer of GSI, an entity related to Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia that offers business solutions to governments, businesses and educational institutions. Services include janitorial, logistics, and warehousing, shelving and supply fulfillment. These services are part of the Ability One Program, a federal program that is the largest employment source for individuals with significant disabilities.
Spruill joined GSI in 2004 as a stock clerk at DLA. Today, she is in charge of its HAZMAT materials pharmacy, which houses most of the supplies and chemicals used on the installation. “We order, receive and store everything here: from common household cleaners, hard hats and personal protection equipment, oil, paint, police scanners, sand, tires, grass seeding, even the fish for the pond on base,” she listed.
Her 13 years of experience was evident in helping the installation streamline its pharmacy’s ordering and storage procedures. “At one point, we were using 500 different chemicals across the installation. Not only was that expensive, it was difficult to manage and respond to any spills or safety issues. Now, we’re down to a few dozen chemicals,” she said.
She was also involved in the installation’s efforts to transition to environmentally-friendly materials. “I’m proud that 87% of the materials we use at DLA are bio-based,” she said. In the sign of a true leader, Spruill would not claim the credit for that achievement. “The credit goes to my team. It was a joint mission and they are the ones who made it possible,” she said.
Spruill’s humility is enviable, said Steve Huyck, who oversees GSI as Goodwill’s director of contract services. “Karen cares about people and takes pride in her work. She has so much knowledge about the pharmacy and our mission to assist the installation. She is a stellar performer,” said Huyck.
Huyck attended Spruill’s awards presentation and echoed the praises Spruill received from DLA. “DLA falls under the Department of Defense, so receiving an award from them is a big deal. A portion of her certificate reads, ‘Karen has distinguished herself by putting the needs of others above herself.’ She truly embodies Goodwill’s core values of commitment, integrity and teamwork,” he added.
Spruill said she is thankful for the recognition. “I love my co-workers. I love my job. I wouldn’t trade this for anything,” she said.