Patrick Laughlin 2021 - Quarter 1

The Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management proudly awards, Sergeant Patrick Laughlin, the first  Employee of the Quarter for the 2021 year.

Pat has been with the department since September 2007. Commander Holler recently issued Pat a Letter of Appreciation that describes him best:

On behalf of the Command Staff, this letter is intended show our appreciation of your continuous hard work and dedication to our department. 

Daily you go above and beyond your role within our department.  You can be counted on to handle a variety of situations efficiently and effectively.  You continue to be a driving force of good within our ranks and your leadership is dearly valued.  On top of that, your consistent good nature and passion to do what is right is a model we can all learn from. 

A short memo almost seems too minor of a way to show our gratitude and appreciation, but it is a message that needs to be delivered.  With that being said, we will never underestimate your importance to our organization and your value is immense.

So, thank you for being you and please keep doing what you do! 

Pat can be described a “go to guy” for our department and that combined with his personality makes him beyond valuable to our organization.  



Heather Peffer 2021 - Quarter 2

The Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management proudly awards, Heather Peffer, as the Employee of the Quarter for the 2021 year.

Heather has been a loyal member of the EH&S staff since 2003. She continues to excel in numerous key functions for EH&S, including triage of concerns forwarded to EH&S, safety training, safety audits of laboratories, and support of the EH&S website and the new electronic lab management tool.

She remains quick to volunteer for new assignments and exceeds expectations for completing those assignments.

Notably, her stellar representation of the EH&S Department has led to numerous applicants from across the University seeking to join the EH&S team. Many of these applicants have gone on to successfully serve in EH&S positions. During the pandemic, Heather successfully lead a Pandemic Safety Ambassador Network of 245 staff members from over 100 departments across the entire University.

EH&S is proud to honor Heather for her outstanding service through this recognition as Employee of the Quarter in the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management.


Sergeant Kevin McDowell 2021 - Quarter 3

The Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management proudly awards, Sergeant Kevin McDowell, as Employee of the Quarter for the 2021 year.

Kevin has been with the department since August 1996.  Kevin is a solid, consistent performer who also is a leader on SERT (Special Emergency Response Team).  He often steps up to help the shift out when needed.

Sergeant McDowell was recently issued a Letter of Commendation for his response to an emergency call involving a suicidal female. Sergeant McDowell took swift action to rescue and provide mental health support and resources to help, placing the health and safety of others first.

Not only is Kevin a valued employee in our department but also an important member to the Pitt Community.  His dedication and loyalty to the department and the University are much appreciated.

Stefanie Coburn 2021 - Quarter 4

The Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management proudly awards, Stefanie Coburn, as Employee of the Quarter for the 2021 year.

As Pitt was navigating through the early stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, EH&S Laboratory Safety Specialist, Stefanie Coburn was serving on a Pitt EH&S team performing contact tracing to notify faculty and staff of potential exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals. She was also involved with establishing the Pandemic Safety Ambassador Network for Pitt. In August of 2020 when EH&S was asked to assume the contact tracing for students in addition to faculty and staff, Stefanie was recruited into a leadership role for the newly-formed Contact Tracing Team.  Stefanie interviewed and selected candidates for the Contact Tracing Team; she developed and executed the training of 14 Pitt graduate students selected for the Team; and she hosted weekly stakeholder meetings to standardize processes and share information.

Pitt’s Contact Tracing Team remains exceptional in their work with contact tracing performed seven days a week for 15 months. Over 99% of potentially exposed affiliates have been notified by the Contact Tracing Team within 12 hours. The Contact Tracing Team has executed over 10,000 calls while managing over 3,600 Pitt affiliates isolated or in quarantine as a result of COVID-19. EH&S and all in the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management are proud to recognize Stefanie for her contributions to Pitt’s response to the pandemic and the excellence demonstrated by the Contact Tracing Team.

Stefanie Coburn joined the Pitt EH&S staff in 2018 after working as a research specialist and laboratory manager at Pitt for ten years. She currently holds the position of Safety Training Coordinator in EH&S.