2022 Marc Murray Award Recipient

Samantha Lewis

Editor’s Note

In 2011, a dear friend and colleague, Marc Murray, passed away after living with Leukemia for more than seven years. The man he was and the way he chose to live his life left an indelible mark on those who knew him. 

Marc’s profound character shaped the earliest ‘Keeters who would establish the company’s first set of values. It’s no surprise there’s an award in Marc’s name — he was the walking embodiment of all those core values they identified. 

As time passes, Marc’s legacy continues to guide us, even those of us who never knew him personally. Each year we take pause to honor and remember Marc, and reflect on individuals who shine a similar light. 

The individuals introduced in this post were nominated and voted on in 2022. However, due to scheduling, the award was not given out until 2023. Never-the-less, we want to ensure the nominees and honoree get the recognition they deserve.  

Read on to learn more about the Marc Murray Award, the nominees, and this past year’s annual award recipient. 

About the Marc Murray Award

In the past, the award has been announced in September, which is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month. Following the ceremony, employees are encouraged to attend the Light the Night Walk, an annual event Terakeet has sponsored since 2015.

Now, as a fully remote company, we meet virtually to share memories of Marc, announce the nominees, and once elected, celebrate the award honoree.

Terakeet employees pose for a photo at the Light the Night Walk.
Marc with family and friends at an LLS Light the Night walk.

Our nomination process allows our employees to recognize colleagues who, like Marc, demonstrate all of our company’s values. The top five most nominated employees go on to the final round where employees again vote to elect the annual recipient of the Marc Murray Award. The award is considered one of Terakeet’s highest honors. 

The 2022 Marc Murray Award is the 8th year we’ve presented this award. In those eight years, 187 different people have received votes and 22 people have been nominated. 

When asked to nominate candidates for the award, employees consider who best satisfies the following criteria: 

  • Demonstrates our five core values 
  • Exhibits the “ultimate company person” spirit
  • Exhibits a “whatever-it-takes” attitude
  • Gracefully manages adversity
  • Is a genuine and optimistic person

Facts about this year’s award

160 people voted to elect nominees

197 people voted to elect the recipient

5 final nominees

“Dedicated,” “friendly,” and “kind” were words used to describe all of this year’s nominees.

2022 Marc Murray Award recipient

Dan Heil

We are proud to announce this year’s Marc Murray Award goes to Director of Business Operations, Dan Heil! This May, Dan celebrated his 8th year with us at Terakeet. The 2022 award marked the 6th consecutive year that Dan has been nominated for the award. That’s a pretty incredible track record throughout his time here. 

You don’t have to work with Dan to know his kind and genuine nature. For some, he is known for his long-standing involvement in a Terakeet tradition called Keyword Friday

At the end of each week, Dan would round people up to come play this game. And it didn’t matter if he knew you or not — he’d tell you the rules and how easy it was before you had a chance to accept or decline.Dan has given a lot to the company throughout his many years here and gets involved in many ways outside his role. If you live in the Syracuse area, you might have seen him on the mic at the Ugly Sweater Party fundraiser for our employee-run charity, Cause for the ’Cuse, a pillar aspect of our local and national community impact.

Check out what his colleagues had to say about him:

“Dan is just an overall kind individual who makes everyone feel welcome. He is so selfless and involved in so many things that give back to the community.”

“After working closely with Dan for the last six months, I have personally witnessed him exhibit all of the criteria listed. He is clearly passionate about Terakeet and 100% deserving of this recognition.”

“A Terakeeter through and through. He lives our core values and has worn so many hats at Terakeet that he thoroughly understands the company. Both a high performer and a cultural superstar.”

“Dan personifies the person and employee that any company would cherish. He’s giving of his time and expertise, he’s kind and has shown through years of commitment to CFTC that he cares about others and his community. He has been nominated numerous times in the past.  Dan’s time is now!”

“Dan is someone that I’ve been chasing ever since my first day at Terakeet. Over the years, he’s shown me what it means to be a leader, exhibiting the very best qualities that someone in his position should have. Though we don’t work together anymore, he takes the time to listen and provide mentorship to me when I need it. He has been a champion of the CFTC mission and is probably the biggest reason why this charity has reached the point we’re at today — able to help so many in need.”

When asked about what the award means to him, Dan had this to say:

“First and foremost I think about Marc’s enduring fingerprints on the company. It shows just how uncommon and impactful Marc is and was to so many people here. To me the biggest honor has always been just being nominated. We have so many incredible people here that deserve recognition. To receive the award, there is no better feeling and I can only think of the community around me here that has helped me navigate my career. I sincerely hope I can live up to a sliver of what Marc brought to this company.”

Congratulations, Dan! We’ve been rooting for you — you know what they say, 6th time’s the charm.

Other 2022 Marc Murray Award nominees

Joining those who have been nominated and considered for Terakeet’s highest honor is the impressive group of people listed below. I’m not sure how we were able to choose just one winner!

Meet the nominees:

Ashley Timms

Ashley Timms — better and affectionately known as “AT”— has now been here at Terakeet for three years. When you hear those two letters, ‘Keeters know exactly what to expect: a shout-out either from her or celebrating her wonderful work as a Content Manager. 

AT’s colleagues used these words to describe her:

  • Courageous 
  • Encouraging
  • Fun-loving
  • Giving
  • Innovative
  • Knowledgeable
  • Motivating 
  • Sensible
  • Sharp
  • Warm

Jim Plonkey

His fans may have just finished observing Plonktober, but we also celebrated him this May when he reached his four-year Teraversary. Technical SEO Director, Jim Plonkey, better known as Plonkey, often comes to Circle-Up with very meaningful recognition to share — it’s no wonder why he always has a lively team rallying around him.

Take a look at the words our team used to describe Plonkey:

  • Impactful
  • Innovator
  • Intelligent
  • Knowledgeable
  • Communicative 
  • Detail-oriented
  • Phenomenal
  • Role Model
  • The Wizard of G-sheets

Caitie Lyden

Vice President of SEO, Caitie Lyden, celebrated her 7th year with us here at Terakeet back in February. Some may know her as Clyde, but Caitie’s propensity for excellence is how she’s also been dubbed “The Queen.” You’re never going to see her sweat under pressure, just get ready for her to roll up her sleeves and keep the kingdom running.

Check out which words people used to describe The Queen herself:

  • Inclusive
  • Tough
  • Warm
  • Brave
  • Competent
  • Tenacious
  • Inquisitive
  • Outstanding
  • The Badass Boss Lady

Kim Heffernan

As of this past May, our Chief Financial Officer, Kim Heffernan, has been here at Terakeet for nine years! With her brilliance and unwavering dedication, she has been a driving force behind our success. 

Her professionalism and drive are exceptional, as is her friendly nature and ability to help us all understand financial jargon. And I’m not just saying all of this because she keeps us on track to pay the bills! 

See what words the team used to describe our CFO:

  • Brilliant
  • Confident
  • Dependable
  • Driven
  • Knowledgeable
  • Professional
  • Inspirational
  • Badass
  • Sharp AF
  • An icon

We thank everyone who took the time to remember Marc and his character, and to reflect on the values our company holds dear in his memory. Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees and sending love always to “our main man Marc Murray” and his family.