Campus Closeup: Rynee Heise
Rynee Heise (Health and Human Performance) credits the birthday gift of an answering machine she received from a brother for landing a coveted job at NMU nearly 25 years ago.
When she first moved to Marquette in 1983, Heise was confident she could secure a banking position because she had worked for two banks in the Soo. But her ideal goal was to get in at Northern. It did not pan out initially, so she worked as a secretary at MFC First National, then spent a few years at Frei [Chevrolet]. She later served as a phone bank supervisor for Sen. Mitch Irwin’s 1988 campaign. Irwin and his wife were Heise’s dorm parents at Lake Superior State College, where she earned a clerk typist degree. She occasionally babysat their son.
“After all that, I was about to interview for a secretary’s position in Big Bay when my husband let me know there was a message on our home answering machine about a temporary job at Northern,” she said. “It was totally out of the blue. I was really glad I had that answering machine to get the message or—who knows—they might have called someone else.”
Heise was hired as a temporary employee in Purchasing while two staff members were recovering from surgeries. A permanent opening surfaced a short time later in the Development Fund office (now the NMU Foundation).
“I heard there were a lot of applicants, so I felt fortunate to be hired as a clerk. I processed donations that came in and took care of the affinity clubs for theater and sports—basically worked with money. I was pregnant when I started there. After my daughter Emily was born, I took about 10 months off to be with her and when I was scheduled to return to work, it turned out my job was open again. A student had filled in for a while before a staff member was hired. That person was leaving as I was getting ready to come back. The timing worked out great.”
Six years later, Heise shifted to Financial Aid as a student loan clerk and front desk backup. A brief stint in Accounts Payable followed before she became a Student Services Representative. Heise spent 14 years in that capacity before she took advantage of a promotion opportunity with the School of Health and Human Performance in November.
“It was a big change because most of my other NMU positions were clerks and dealt with money; this is secretarial,” she added. “I mainly assist Mary Jane [Tremethick], run reports, prepare contracts for adjuncts and contingents, update the school’s website and do payroll. I hadn’t done any of that before, so I’m still getting use to it and have more things to cycle through and learn. It’s not as much about customer service, so I don’t get to meet students and parents as much. I do miss that part from my previous jobs.”
The Detroit native has moved around Michigan over her lifetime and likes to travel beyond state borders as much as possible. This desire took root after her freshman year in college, when her dad called to tell her about a $50 round-trip Greyhound fare to El Paso, Texas, and she boarded the southbound bus. She has since visited other U.S. states—most recently celebrating her daughter Emily’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas—and traveled with her husband, Bob, to Europe.
Other favorite spare-time activities include biking, walking, reading, movies, water parks and bowling. Heise is a cat lover. Her pet Bruno recently passed away, but she still has Guido (named for the late Congress Pizza owner, Guido Bonetti).