Employee of the Year


The Employee of the Year Award is for an administrative faculty member who embodies Mines’ mission, produces quality work, and consistently displays characteristics valued and appreciated through their every-day job expectations.

Below is the list of the Employee of the Year winners:

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Traci Case
Mechanical Engineering Technical and Operations Manager

Traci Case graduated from the University of Texas (B.S. Chem Eng, 1990) and the Colorado School of Mines (M.S. Env Sci and Eng, 1997).  She served five years on active duty in the US Army where she led a platoon in the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado.  For 20 years, she served as a project manager and the Research Services team manager at the Water Research Foundation, a non-profit research collaborative for water, wastewater and stormwater research.

Recognition:  On occasion you come across an extraordinary individual that exemplifies the heart and soul of an organization. Traci Case is just such an individual. Leading by example, she lifts the entire Mechanical Engineering (ME) department to a new level through her hard work, dedication and generous spirit. Traci is a champion for those who report to her. She makes sure to highlight their achievements across the community.  Traci is active in the community and volunteers for civic organizations, making her a valuable asset to Mines as a visible representative. The magnitude of her accomplishments and her importance to not only the Mechanical Engineering Department, but to the entire campus cannot be overstated. Even with all her accomplishments, and the central role she wholly throws herself into, Traci is humble and never seeks to draw attention to herself. Traci embodies the very highest in character you desire from an employee, co-worker, supervisor, instructor, alumna, and representative of Mines.​


The Courage Award was created in the Spring of 2021 to recognize the extraordinary efforts that were required in order to respond to the difficult situations caused by COVID-19, which necessitated unprecedented actions, creativity and dedication.  This award is not given annually, and is reserved as a way to recognize those whose actions demonstrate a commitment to the Mines community in the face of unusual, and hectic circumstances.

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Barb O’Kane
Director for Environmental Health and Safety

Barb joined the Colorado School of Mines in the fall of 2013, and has 20 years of Environmental Health & Safety experience. The EHS Department’s current focus is on increasing EHS training offerings to the campus and helping evaluate and control risks associated with the work we do. She is a huge proponent of collaboration and learning, and believes in a risk and fact-based approach to health and safety.

Recognition: Barb has been tirelessly supporting the health and wellness at Mines during COVID by helping orchestrate the work of our CRIT team. She has been amazing, a real gem, with a positive attitude through it all. Barb’s leadership, commitment and truly selfless sacrifice for the health and well-being of the entire Mines community is particularly meritorious. She has been nothing short of extraordinary during this marathon and as such that is why AFC has awarded her the special 2021 Courage Award.