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She's the Tops

Barbara Richards’ nine years of service captured her first-place honors in this year’s President’s Classified Employee of the Year competition.

People  |  Jul 28, 2016  |  By Diane Russell
Barbara Richards

President's Classified Staff Employee of the Year Barbara Richards. (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Photo Services) 

Barbara Richards is a native Las Vegan through and through.

The Valley High School graduate worked in Las Vegas’ entertainment and hotel industries before finding her way to UNLV. Once here, she said, she had no desire to leave.

What brought you to UNLV?

I got my associate’s degree in business from CSN. I wanted to pursue a bachelor’s degree, so I came to UNLV. I decided to switch course and study criminal justice. I earned my BA in 2006. While I was studying here I fell in love with UNLV and decided I wanted to stay and work here. I started in April of 2007.

What jobs have you had on campus?

I have worked in the Hotel College the whole time. First I was an administrative assistant III. Now I am an administrative assistant IV.

What are some of your job duties?

I have complete responsibility for managing the college academic class schedule. I act as liaison between the college and the registrar for all aspects of the academic class schedule. I also compile, organize, and analyze lots of data for the reports I prepare.

What advice would you give a new employee?

I would research your new work environment, learn the landscape of the environment, come to work with a smile, ask questions, and be interested in adding value. Take pride in your work and make the job your own. I manage many reports — reports I built because I saw that they were needed.

Tell us about your first job.

I was born into an entertainment family. My father was a stagehand and my mother was a professional ice skater. My first job after I graduated from high school was as a showgirl. My very first show was City Lights at the Flamingo. Then I danced for 10 years in Jubilee at Bally's. I was an understudy principal dancer. And, yes, I wore 30-pound headdresses and walked down flights of stairs in heels without looking down.

I have all these different lives. Later I was the compensation manager in human resources at the Mirage for 12 years. My sister, Bobbie Barnes, worked in HR with me there. Now she works with me here in the Hotel College. She’s the director of career services and internships.

If you were starting over and had to choose a new profession, what would it be?

I would be a geologist. My favorite classes were the geology classes I had to take. Now I read geology books for fun. I’m into rocks. If you come into my office you’ll see my display of interesting rocks I have found. 

Tell us about your work with the Classified Staff Council.

I was elected to the council eight years ago. My main duty is representing my college on the council. In 2009 I was elected chair of the Employee of the Month Committee and still serve in that role. Since 2010 I also have been a member of the Parking Advisory Committee.

I can’t make it through the day without…

Looking at the view of Las Vegas from my fifth floor window in Beam Hall. I have the smallest office, but the best view. I can see campus, the Strip, and the mountains.

What would your dream vacation be?

I just returned from my dream vacation. I love Mission Beach in San Diego. I just want to ride bikes and hang out at the beach.

A book or movie to recommend?

Remember that I was a dancer. Some of my favorite movies are musicals — Dirty Dancing, Fame, Chicago.

What the Person Nominating Her Had to Say

Finley Cotrone, lecturer and director of enrollment management, College of Hotel Administration

"Barbara exhibits behaviors one might expect in the hospitality field. She is friendly, supportive, competent, confident, flexible, and has a great attitude! Barbara is an excellent problem-solver who has an unparalleled ability to multi-task and prioritize. She is great at the "normal" administrative assistant tasks, but her expertise lies in the 'duties as assigned' category." 

  • She is the liaison between the college and part-time instructors from contract preparation to onboarding and support during the semester.
  • She completes all summer teaching contracts for our college.
  • Barbara is a scheduling enthusiast. She works directly with scheduling to make sure we're good university citizens and works to maximize the available space.
  • She is currently training me on the art of the scheduling and has trained both my predecessors.
  • She is a trusted support to the assistant dean. In this capacity she runs faculty workload reports and communicates the results to university leadership.

Additional Nominees for the Award

  • Theresa Boucher, Lee Business School
  • Delores Brownlee-Conn, University Libraries
  • Cassandra Davidson-Bryant, Academic Success Center
  • Anna Drury, Lee Business School
  • Theresa Farmer, Office of Decision Support
  • Cherisha Gaitor, Campus Life, Facilities and Operations
  • Ivana Goga, College of Fine Arts
  • Brian Hedrick, Facilities Maintenance Services
  • Karen Kita, formerly of the School of Music
  • Sheridan Mahabir, School of Dental Medicine
  • Monica Maley-Sidwell, Facilities Management
  • Angela Martinez, Office of Alumni and External Relations
  • Ruth McKoin, Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Monica McNeely, Academic Success Center
  • Sophie Parise, College of Liberal Arts
  • Elaine Rojas, Controller’s Office
  • Jim Stinar, Campus Life Facilities and Operations