Employees Recognized for Service
NMU’s newest retirees, along with employees who have reached years-of-service milestones, were honored at the faculty and staff recognition luncheon on April 14. Awards were also presented to distinguished teams, technology innovators and individuals recognized for excellence in service. This year’s event featured an intergenerational aspect, with a father and son on separate award-winning teams. John Timonen (Plant Operations), a steam plant operator and control technician, was among those honored for transitioning the Ripley Combined Heat and Power Plant to a new system. John Timonen Jr. is a student employee who was honored with the Jamrich Hall custodial staff.
The Ripley CHP team led the effort to shift the plant from a gas-fired to a solid fuel operation. Pictured with NMU President Fritz Erickson are (from left) Greg Shirtz (Plant Operations), Gisele Duehring (Facilities), Dave Raikko, Joseph Mattson and Hilmonen (Plant Operations). Other members not pictured are Mark Burns and Dave Dahlstrom (Plant Operations). The addition allowed the plant to not only produce steam for the campus’ heating, cooling and hot water needs, but for the first time, to produce electricity. This new operation was a significant change and presented a learning curve for all team members. They accepted the challenge and the university was able to meet its goals of diversifying the fuel portfolio and utilizing a local renewable resource. “Throughout the rigors of learning the operational details of the new unit, the team had the utmost concern for the plant’s customers by keeping the plant operational under all circumstances,” said Gavin Leach (Finance and Administration). “The team has also used this opportunity to educate students by allowing them to tour the addition and participate in formal construction reviews and class design projects."
The Jamrich Hall custodial team's goal was to improve the overall cleanliness of NMU buildings and to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for students, faculty and staff. Staff members "volunteered to learn, refine and implement a new cleaning practice that has not only proven successful, but has exceeded expectations," Leach said. "A high-performance cleaning method was embraced and has set the standard for all other buildings on campus. Student employees play an integral role performing specific tasks associated with the overall process and staff have provided exceptional leadership to student employees by demonstrating how to embrace change through hard work and a positive attitude. This group’s positive energy will provide great momentum in implementing this change across campus." Pictured with Erickson are (from left) Paula Supanich, Liam O’Day and Pam Phillips (Plant Operations); student worker John Timonen Jr.; Beyonca Gravedoni and Allen Squires (Plant Operations); and student worker Kayla Albright.
A technology innovation award was presented to staff members involved in electronic transcript ordering and delivery. Pictured with Erickson are (from left): Kathy Dawe, Kim Rotundo and Kimber Olli (Registrar). Other members not present were Tony Bertucci (Business Intelligence–Information Services) and Donn Wolf (Information Technology and Technical Services). This team developed a process that allows current and former students to order transcripts online using an electronic signature, and the ability to request electronic delivery of a transcript through a secure portable document file. Prior to implementation, students and alumni were required to submit a signed, written request, which meant if the request was not made in person, it was required to go through the U.S. Postal Service. The process took at least three days or more. After implementation, the time from placing an order to delivery averages about five minutes, typically without staff intervention. The team came up with this streamlined approach that has made it faster and simpler for students, alumni and staff to process and receive records.
A second technology innovation award was presented to those who implemented the audio-visual design for Jamrich Hall. They worked with project architects to design and install a state-of-the-art AV system for the new academic building that enhanced the university’s ability to foster collaborative learning. The wireless technology installed in this facility provides a simple and easy way to access and share information throughout the building. One of the keys to the system is its infrastructure. As a direct result of the team’s expertise, every classroom incorporates a wireless AV system that at the time of its installation was not known to exist anywhere in higher education. "It was the NMU team that convinced hired professionals that this technology was adaptable to classroom design and has since been adapted at other universities," Leach said. "Through extensive product research, teamwork, and a willingness to adapt to new and emerging technologies, the team delivered a system that is unmatched in higher education." Pictured with Erickson are (from left) Jeff Koval (Learning Resources), Matt Smock (AIS Instructional Design and Technology), Scott Smith (AIS Instructional Design and Technology), Dave Maki (Information Technology and Tech Services), Eric Smith (Learning Resources), Ronny Paris (Information Technology and Tech Services) and Pat Lakenen (Learning Resources). Other members are Andrew Beaulieu (Learning Resources), Don Duquette (Information Technology and Tech Services), John Marra (Information Technology and Tech Services) and Bryant Varney (AIS Instructional Design and Technology).
Individual employees honored for excellence in service were (left to right): Ben Constance (Facilities), for working after hours as a preventive maintenance specialist and interceding prior to the failure of critical equipment to avoid major damage; Carolyn Lawrence (Dean of Students), for her commitment to the personal development and success of students with disabilities and for improving customer service, legal compliance and program development and efficiency in that area; Steve LaBar (Engineering and Planning), for improving the use of existing facilities and the safety of building occupants, increasing operational effectiveness in select service areas and managing the fire alarm replacement project in 13 campus buildings. Kevin Stulz (Admissions), for his commitment to learning new technical platforms so that he can communicate effectively with vendors, technicians and end users; Sandy Haavisto (Controller), for her effort to learn about the operations of campus departments so that she can create custom solutions to make NMU operate more efficiently; Luke Guindon (Public Safety and Police Services), for designing an electronic lock system that allows WNMU-TV managers to remotely secure areas of the facility as situations arise and enables Public Safety staff to unlock or secure doors on-site, from a computer, or anywhere that has an Internet connection; and Keith Greising (AIS-Library) for playing a significant role in the development of a new rubric for the student, employee and supervisor relationship in AIS and contributing to a successful review of the Archives’ secondary sources and monographs recorded in Olson Library’s online public access catalog. Not pictured is LuAnne Crupi (Graduate Education and Research), who was honored for helping with the implementation of the curriculum, advising and program planning for graduate students and their advisers.