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Staff Mingle at Keystone's Beach Party

By Robin Mackar
January 2009

Trombonist Dick Sloane
Trombonist Dick Sloane was dressed for the occasion with a straw hat and loose shirt. Everything about him proclaims that it's "summertime, and the living is easy." (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Molly Vallant and Cynthia Smith
Good friends Molly Vallant, left, and Cynthia Smith share a lighter moment under the shade of trees adjacent to the building. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Chefs Rob Levine and Tom Hardee
Hard working chefs Rob Levine, left, and Tom Hardee engaged in a little horseplay as they fed ravenous carnivores and selective vegetarians alike. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Scott Masten
Scott Masten braved an unforgiving sun as he landed his croquet mallet squarely on the ball. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Helen Cuny and Jane Lambert
Helen Cuny, left, and Jane Lambert took a well-deserved break from their work supporting the NIEHS Institutional Review Board to enjoy the picnic. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

In a second major effort to give NIEHS staff in the Keystone Building a lunchtime opportunity to get to know their neighbors better, volunteers from the three floors organized a beach-themed cookout on June 4. The "Wish I Were at the Beach" event proved to be even more popular than the building's inaugural "Keystone 2009 Meet and Greet Tea Party," held January 26.

"These events provide an opportunity for staff from throughout Keystone to get to know each other better, and share food and fun with people from the different floors and divisions," said Judy Hanson from Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), who helped organize the event.

Approximately 200 people participated in the afternoon social, with many showing up in beach shirts and toting lawn chairs to mingle with their colleagues under the tents pitched on the grassy area on the side of the 530 Davis Drive building. Attendees were treated to the sounds of the "2 Brass Squared" Band comprised of Dick Sloane from the office of Employee Services, Mike Humble from the Division of Extramural Research and Training, Roger Callahan from the Facilities Operations Branch and retired NIEHS staffer Doug Bristol.

Everyone indulged in grilled burgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers cooked to perfection by Rob Levine of the Computer Training Branch and Tommy Hardee from the Office of Acquisitions. A wide array of salads, sides, snacks, drinks and the typical over abundance of desserts were also available.

"The turnout for this event was terrific," said Dona McNeill, manager of Employee Services and a lead organizer for the event. "Staff really pulled together to make it happen, and we keep hearing from people who hope we can do more of these events."

The volunteers who organized the event, including Molly Vallant, Denise Lasko, Diane Spencer, Martha Barnes, Charlie Tate, Robin Mackar, Judy Hanson, Jackie Osgood, JoAnn Sutthill, Alma Britton, A'tondra Carrie, Jenn Evans, Cynthia Radford, Dona McNeil and Richard A Sloane, were praised and thanked by colleagues from throughout the building.

"Such great team building events wouldn't occur without such volunteerism, and they go a long way to boosting morale," said Nigel Walker, Ph.D., of the National Tpxicology Program, whose comment echoed those by others in the Institute.

(Robin Mackar is the news director in the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison and a regular contributor to the Environmental Factor.)

Cynthia Radford and her grandchildren
Cynthia Radford helped turn the event into a family affair as she posed with her grandchildren. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Craig Wladyka, left, and Heather Nichols
Whatever Craig Wladyka, left, and Heather Nichols were discussing over lunch, it probably wasn't information technology. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Trumpeter Mike Humble
If he'd lose the company cap, trumpeter Mike Humble - with his mellow shades and cool demeanor - could pass for a musician on break at a real jazz festival. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

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