McGhee Creates the Right Chemistry at NSM to Earn McElhinney Award, University Honors Other Outstanding Staff Members

Fred McGhee’s work ethic and dedication to the University of Houston rise above the norm.

McGhee blends patience, outstanding managerial skills and innovative thinking to create a more efficient College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, where he works as director of business operations. His accomplishments have not gone unnoticed.

Recently, McGhee received the coveted Charles F. McElhinney Distinguished Service Award, the university’s highest staff honor. The award includes a $3,000 stipend.

"It was such a great honor to be recognized with this award," McGhee said. "It made me think about all the wonderful people I've worked with over the years in places such as accounts payable, state accounting and the budget office. My mother was extremely proud upon hearing the news, as were my wife and kids."

McGhee, who relocated from Georgia to Houston to attend Texas Southern University, started his UH career in 1994 as part of the then-business administrator's program. He went on to receive his Master of Business Administration from UH-Victoria.

When McGhee was offered the job, he was considering pursuing a doctorate, "But, I also had an interest in administration, so I thought UH was the perfect place for me to accomplish my goals," he said.

In 2000, he moved to the NSM as financial manager. A year later, he was promoted to his current position, where he continues to excel.

"Fred continues to impress both the faculty members and the administrative staff with his ability to implement new ideas and standards that help to push us forward into becoming a Tier One university. I see no limits on what he can accomplish for the college and the university," a supporter wrote in his letter of recommendation.

Another supporter noted that under McGhee’s leadership the college "has made record-breaking advancements in classroom technology, department administration and research initiatives."

McGhee's other initiatives include creating single e-mail accounts for multi-level document approvals, developing online forums for staff to help each other solve problems and submit suggestions for improvements and replacing share drives with SharePoint, a web application platform, for document workflow and approval.  
McGhee's university ties goes beyond NSM. His wife, Katina, is part of Enrollment Management project team. Their son, Dominique, is a student in the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

"Right now is a wonderful time to be a part of the UH family, especially as a staff member," McGhee said. "We have tough economic times ahead of us, but our leadership continues to press forward and to focus on excellence. That attitude is permeating throughout the campus, the UH System and the community.  

"Whenever, I wear my Cougar red shirt or my staff ID, people stop and ask me questions about UH, or they just want me to know they attended the university or they are alumni. So, the best part of my job is not any particular task but being a part of the transformation that involves so many dedicated, intelligent and hard-working people."

UH also recognized the following outstanding staff members.
Staff Excellence Awards
  • James Aguanno, office assistant 2, Residential Life and Housing
  • James Brown, optometry technician, College of Optometry 
  • Roxanne Buxton, researcher-exercise physiologist, health and human performance department
  • LaSaundra Cotright, business administrator, chemistry department
  • Nora Fisher, housekeeper, Residential Life and Housing
  • Zulema Flores, executive secretary, mechanical engineering department
  • Scherezade Mama, research lab supervisor, health and human performance department 
  • Rebecca Perez, administrative assistant, curriculum and instruction department

George Magner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising
  • Kevin Simon, director of undergraduate studies, Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management

New Professional Advising Award
  • Edward Manouelian, adviser, College of Liberal Arts and Social Science

Francine Parker