Environmental Factor, August 2007, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Lab Media and Glassware Employees Recognized
By Lillian Gu
When the Media and Glassware Unit staff showed up in D250 for a mysterious "mandatory meeting" on June 22, they were greeted with a scrumptious meal of Southern style BBQ beef, grilled chicken and coleslaw. Evergreen Consulting, the company NIEHS has contracted to manage media and glassware, provided the catered meal to thank its employees for their hard work and dedication.
During the luncheon, the unit's employees received certificates for their years of service. While Evergreen has had the contract only since 2005, some of the Media and Glassware staff have been around for much longer, including Media Technician Sara Holmes with 25 years as a contractor with NIEHS and NIEHS Project Officer Jennie Foushee now in her 35th year of federal service.
Evergreen President Heath Carroll had approached the Media and Glassware Units Project Officer Jennie Foushee and Assistant Project Officer Essie Jones earlier with the idea for the surprise luncheon. As NIEHS employees, Foushee and Jones could not offer any government funding for the luncheon, but they were glad to help plan the event and keep it a well-guarded secret for two weeks prior to the luncheon.
"We were truly surprised," said Project Manager Yvette Nurse-Parrish, who had no idea of what was about to take place. "I said, 'Maybe he's going to do a safety meeting.'"
According to Foushee, the Media and Glassware Unit, located on the first floor of D-module in Building 101, is crucial to research at the Institute. "Without Glassware and Media it's impossible for research to be completed," she explained. "The unit is responsible for making sure the glassware is thoroughly cleaned, processed, sterilized and ready for use, as well as that all media protocols are followed and completed as required."
Investigators can request media 24 hours ahead of time through the online Media Ordering and Tracking System, known as MOATS. Foushee approves work requests for the department, where the media is prepared, and samples are incubated overnight and delivered the next morning. Evergreen staff also collect glassware twice a day from the labs and bring it back to the department to be cleaned.
The glassware is machine washed, inspected for residues and breakage, covered with foil and re-shelved in the D-module mall area, where lab technicians can pick up the type of glassware needed. Glassware for use with tissue cultures is also autoclaved, a sterilization process using super-heated steam to kill bacteria and other organisms, and sealed.
The department's employees take a lot of pride in their work. "Our thing is to ensure quality - that the glassware is ready when they need it, how they need it, where they need it to be," commented Nurse-Parrish. "My responsibility is that the quality of Media and Glassware is maintained."
The Media and Glassware Unit processes more than 20,000 pieces of glassware and prepares approximately 25,000 media and buffer solutions each month.