Recognizing the Pursuit of Excellence

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Kevin-Spears2By Kevin Spears, CRA, R.T.(R, MR, CT)

It was approximately one year ago that I received a voicemail from Carlos Vasquez asking me to call him to discuss some exciting AHRA news. Immediately my mind began racing: what could this exciting news be?  I will never forget what he said to me and what he asked. He told me that I had been nominated for the AHRA Award for Excellence and selected as one of the 2013 winners and asked if I would accept the award. Two thoughts immediately entered my mind: how could you turn down an award, and did I deserve it?

Carlos explained to me what the award meant, how I was nominated, and that he would love for me to attend the Annual Meeting in Minneapolis to receive my award. I learned that one of my managers had nominated me. For me, just the fact that one of my employees took the time and thought enough of me to nominate me for an award was reward enough (but I did accept the award).

I made the trip to Minneapolis (hard for your boss to say no when you tell him you are winning an award!) and was impressed with all aspects of the Annual Meeting and learned a great deal, just as I had at past AHRA Annual Meetings. I also attended the awards banquet to receive the Award for Excellence, where I got to meet previous award winners and make new friends. The ceremony was very nice, and again I found myself asking, “Do I deserve this? There are so many people who work just as hard as me.” I am not sure I will ever be able to shed that feeling knowing there are many within the AHRA ranks that deserve recognition for their hard work, contributions, and the mentoring they provide to others.

Excellence is something we all pursue in our daily activities. But achieving true excellence in the imaging industry that results in benefits to the patients we serve cannot be accomplished by just one person. It is always accomplished by a team effort, using both internal and external resources to be the best that we can be. My team knows that we win together and we lose together while always learning and planning for our success. I am thankful for each and every member of my team and the contributions they make every day.

The Award for Excellence proudly sits on a shelf in my office and has been a discussion point with my colleagues many times. Those discussions always lead to ideas about how we can be better and how we can use resources such as AHRA’s publications and member forum and the CRA credential to improve, share ideas, and help others. It also gives us a chance to reflect on the accomplishments and wins we have earned as a team and reminds us to celebrate achievements.

For me that is what the award represents: the success of each of my team members and the many wins we have experienced together, with AHRA supporting us along the way through education and information.  I want to make sure I say thank you to my team, to AHRA and its members, and to all those that work in imaging for setting the bar high as we all pursue excellence.

Kevin Spears, CRA, R.T.(R, MR, CT) is the radiology director at Texas Health Harris Methodist Southwest Hospital in Fort Worth, TX. He can be reached at

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