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William Ballard, CASP, and Ronald Martel named 2017 winners of Newton Award

For the first time since the award’s creation, NACAS named two winners of The Robert F. Newton Award for Distinguished Service at the C3X 2017 Annual Conference and Expo in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The recipients were Ronald Martel, Vice President for Student Affairs at Johnson & Wales University; and William P. Ballard, CASP, Associate Vice President for Administration and Facilities Services at the University of Vermont. Ballard is now retired.

“Having had the privilege of knowing Robert Newton and benefitting from his many contributions to our association makes receiving this award most rewarding,” said Martel. “To be recognized by my peers in such a meaningful way is humbling and one of the most outstanding highlights of my professional career.”

The NACAS Awards Committee, which was chaired for three consecutive years by Ballard, was tasked with keeping his nomination a secret. He was unaware that he was in the running for the award until the honor was announced on stage during the Celebration Luncheon.

“I was at a loss for words. Somehow, this one got by me! To my knowledge, we have NEVER given out two Newton Awards in the same year,” Ballard said. “It was particularly meaningful to have the award presented by Ron Martel, the other winner and a friend for 40 years. I will remember that event for the rest of my life.”

The Robert F. Newton Award for Distinguished Service is the most prestigious award recognizing an individual who has displayed extraordinary and outstanding service to NACAS and to the profession. Both Martel and Ballard have had long careers dedicated to promoting the evolution of auxiliaries on their campuses and at other institutions across the country.

“One of the reasons I enjoy my job, and have worked to the ripe old age of 70, is the variety of the tasks I perform each day,” Ballard said. “Working in auxiliary services, and higher education in general, can be challenging at times, but never boring, and always rewarding.”

Martel attended his first NACAS conference in 1982, after which he volunteered to serve as the housing liaison to NACAS, starting a 35-year relationship with the organization. Martel served as the association President in 2013 and the President of the East Board of Directors in 2004. Among several other volunteer roles, he has also chaired the Strategic Task Force, 50th Anniversary Task Force, Annual Conference Committee, and Committee Chair Council.

“The major reason it became my organization of choice was what NACAS was then and continues to be: An umbrella association that affects a plethora of interrelated operations, for which I have been responsible for during my career,” Martel said. “I have always valued the willingness of our membership to provide support and solutions to the various issues we face daily in the field of higher education.”

Ballard has served as President of the East Board of Directors in 2005 and has chaired the Annual Conference Committee and the Awards Committee, along with several other volunteer positions. Similar to Martel, Ballard attended his first NACAS conference in 1982. He says he hasn’t missed one since.

“I joined NACAS once I moved from being a senior staff member in one auxiliary to directing several. The professional development opportunities both at the region and national level have been world-class. I have never left a conference without several ideas to consider implementing on my campus. The networking opportunities have been the best,” Ballard said.

Why work in auxiliary services? To Martel and Ballard, the answer is simple: The students.

“The exciting challenge for us in auxiliary services is to provide attractive and relevant revenue-producing support services that enhance student success,” Ron said. “I believe it is important for institutions to remain competitive. We in auxiliary/ancillary services play a major innovative role as we partner with academicians and administrators to meet the ever-changing needs of our campus constituents.”

And, as an added bonus, Ballard said that working in a higher education environment, where the customers appear to keep getting younger each year, keeps him feeling young.  

“Where else would I have become proficient in social media?” Ballard said. “I could have made more money working in a ‘for-profit business,’ but wouldn’t have enjoyed myself as much.”