John Piasecki wins university staff award

December 9, 2021
John Piasecki, winner of the 2021 UMCES Staff Excellence Award

John Piasecki, Appalachian Laboratory Facilities Manager, has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) Staff Excellence Award. The annual award recognizes those staff members who consistently demonstrate a high level of commitment and dedication to UMCES.

“I’m honored to have been selected for this year’s award,” said Piasecki.  “We work as a team at the Appalachian Laboratory, and I truly appreciate being recognized as a valued member of that team.”  

The Appalachian Laboratory relies on Piasecki for an assortment of wide-ranging duties from maintaining Laboratory buildings and vehicles to rescuing researchers and students stranded in the field by vehicle breakdowns.  In addition to performing these diverse duties well, Piasecki also has made significant contributions to the reduction of the Lab’s energy use and costs through updating the HVAC system and transitioning the facility to LED lighting.

“Since 2016, the return on investment from the HVAC and lighting system modifications has been about 635% and grows each year as we continue to benefit from the reduced electricity usage, “ said Heather Johnson, Associate Director of the Appalachian Laboratory.

Piasecki, who joined the Lab in 2010 as Assistant Facilities Manager, often lends a helping hand to faculty and students working on research projects at the Lab, too.

“Besides his wide-ranging duties and contributions to energy and cost savings, John consistently goes above and beyond to facilitate our research activities at the lab. Most recently, he helped our scientists design and construct raised plant gardens for a large experiment studying the influence of genetic vs environmental controls on the growth of red spruce trees, “ said Dr. David Nelson, Professor and Appalachian Laboratory Director. “John is a hard worker and team player who is always ready to offer a helping hand, and this award is a well-deserved recognition of his contributions.”

 Appalachian Laboratory graduate student Claire Nemes echoes this sentiment. “I’m very grateful for John and all he does around the Appalachian Lab, including all the research projects he’s helped out on over the years and the power tools he’s taught me to use on these projects!”

While the award was officially presented during the virtual UMCES Staff Appreciation Day In September, Piasecki was also recently recognized at the University’s spring commencement ceremony.

To learn more about the UMCES Staff Excellence Award, visit