What 13 A&F employees are working on right now

Spring is here and A&F is hard at work on some major projects. From developing a robust mobile app to giving a voice to victims of crime, click through the slideshow below to see what 13 of your A&F colleagues are working on right now. Descriptions are typed out below for anyone having trouble reading the signs.

A big thank you to the staff members who let us take their photos and to those who helped coordinate the photo shoots!

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In order of the slideshow:

MaryAnn Davenport, Management Advisory and Compliance Services: “Working with external auditors on various audits. Conducting reviews to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance”
Brian Raley, OTS Instructional Services: “Coordinating the design and installation of classroom technology in TU’s Northeastern MD building”
Larry Holbrook, Donna Auvil, Sherry McKendry, Kelly Crispo, Nick Gingue, Paul Thomas, Jerri Sumwalt, various departments: “Planning and coordinating the Employee Appreciation Picnic”
Lisa Taylor, Construction Services: “Renovations to Burdick Hall”
Phillipa McQueen, James Andrew, and Jeff Russell, Parking and Transportation Services: “Reaching Our Goal of 95% On-Time Service”
Debbie Reid, Glen Dining Hall: “Preparing for Nutrition Month at the Glen”
Zeeshan Aslam and Steve Kettinger, OTS Information Systems, “MY TU Mobile Student & Faculty/Staff Self Service Mobile Application”
Frank Hubbard Butler, Office of Public Safety: “Building the campus-wide Chemical Inventory Database”
Robert Rankin, Event and Conference Services: “Prepping SECU Arena for yet another event in an ever expanding schedule!”
Corporal Kia Williams, TU Police Department: “Preparing for National Victims’ Rights Week”
Michael Scribner and Julie Leary, OTS Client Services: “Repurposing decommissioned lab & classroom computers on campus for those in need”
Kerry Spence, Facilities Planning: “Refurnishing the Kinesiology Department in Burdick Hall”
Michael Noll, Office of Human Resources: “Effective Supervision Program – Consistent theory and application training for TU Supervisors”

 

What’s your big project this spring? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Photos and article by Lindsey Morgan

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Meet the staff: Bob Campbell

AVP of Fiscal Planning & Services Bob Campbell

The products of A&F’s efforts are visible everywhere on campus, but the people behind them often aren’t. Associate Vice President (AVP) of Fiscal Planning and Services Bob Campbell is one of those people. Not only is he responsible for several key campus projects; he’s also a contributor to the community feeling within the division.

Bob started working for A&F in 1985 as retail operations manager in the University Union, then worked his way up to Auxiliary Services’ director of finance and systems. In that position, Bob worked on major contracts, including those with Pepsi, and oversaw technology for the department. When Joe Oster became Vice President of A&F, Bob was tapped as the interim AVP of Auxiliary Services, and late last year he became AVP of Fiscal Planning and Services. In short, Mr. Campbell has played many roles in helping the campus run smoothly over the past 29 years. He says he’s enjoyed being a part of the division since the beginning.

“A&F has a lot of good people doing good work,” he said. “It’s a great group of people who are passionate about TU. I also enjoy the A&F events that are unique to the division.”

Bob and I briefly digressed from the interview at this point, discussing the great environment A&F has. We both agreed that the division is not just a bunch of number crunchers who log their 40 hours and leave; A&F employees are genuinely interested in each other. It’s this sense of community, Bob says, that makes his current position a “dream job.” Campbell is interested in both business and technology, and the position allows him to indulge both interests. And most importantly, he believes in the importance of what he’s contributing to.

“The product of what we’re working on is student success and graduation. We’re not working on Wall Street—the result of my work is something meaningful. I can’t ask for anything more.”

That said, when I asked Bob if his current position is his only dream job, he smiled.

“If I could swallow a magic pill that improved my golfing abilities, I’d become a pro golfer,” Bob said. “In reality, though, the dream jobs are here. I work towards something meaningful in a great environment.”

What’s a dream job without a little fun? Bob has, no doubt, created myriad memories with the division during his tenure at TU. His most memorable occurred at a Fourth of July parade with Joe Oster and Ralph Valle.

“We rented a limo and did a spoof of Bill Clinton. Joe Oster wore a Clinton mask and waved to the crowd while Ralph and I dressed as secret agents. The crowd loved it, and we were invited back.”

With such experiences, I am not surprised that Campbell lists his job as ideal. I was also not surprised to learn at the end of the interview that Bob is a family man; it makes sense that someone who places so much importance on community would also value family time. When he is not at work, Campbell visits relatives and spends time with his wife and kids. And, of course, he takes time to enjoy the outdoors by golfing.

What’s your most memorable moment at TU? Tell us in the comments section below!

By Tyler New

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Osler bridge: a timeline of progress

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The creation of the pedestrian walkway above Osler Drive took a great step forward this month as workers installed the main steel components of the structure. In less than a week, the project went from being two disconnected foundations to a full-fledged bridge—thanks to the round-the-clock efforts of contractors and Facilities Management staff taking advantage of the Osler Drive closure during spring break.

While traffic impacts aren’t over yet, Construction Services Director Scott Guckert says the main inconveniences are behind us.

“There will be intermittent lane closures as the project goes on but we don’t anticipate needing to close the entire road again,” Scott said.

The bridge is part of phase two of the Campus Site & Safety Project. In addition to the creation of the bridge, the project will also restore the Towsontown stream and construct a pedestrian walkway from Linthicum Hall (near the beach) along Cook Library to Newell Hall. The project is scheduled to be complete this September. For more information on the project, go to the Current Construction website.

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A fond farewell to an OTS friend

Brenda Yarema and Alex

Brenda Yarema with her husband Alex.

OTS Network Project Engineer Brenda Yarema will be retiring from TU as of April 1, taking with her decades of institutional knowledge and insight. Though her retirement is well-deserved, she will be greatly missed.

Brenda started working at TU more than 20 years ago spending much of her time in Academic Computing and the Office of Technology Services (formerly known as CANS). Her work has contributed to the success of many OTS projects including, but certainly not limited to, the installation of the original TU network, the refresh of the current campus data network, wireless network installations and the development of TU’s current VoIP phone system.

Active in the Council of University System Staff (CUSS) and the Towson University Staff Council (TUSC), which she chaired for three years, Brenda unabashedly participated in important shared governance issues pertinent to staff on campus and across the state.  Brenda can also be credited with co-creating and implementing (alongside other dedicated TU staff) the first Staff Development Conference.  She has been a tireless advocate at the Maryland State Legislature and has worked on several state and national political campaigns.

Brenda’s future plans involve a trip to Poznan, Poland to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) this summer. Brenda and her husband Alex spent part of last summer there and loved the experience so much that they signed up for a second trip. In the short term, the couple plans to pack the car and hit the road, touring states they didn’t have time to visit when they were working full time.  They look forward to being free spirits for a while—traveling with no plans and no agendas.

“It has been a pleasure to work these past twenty plus years at Towson University,” Brenda said. “I am truly grateful to have worked with many professional people, for the many personal friendships I have made, and the numerous favorable opportunities I have encountered. It has been a great place to work.”

Best wishes to Brenda in her retirement and many thanks for 20 years of great work.

Did you work with Brenda? Leave her well-wishes for retirement in the comments section below!

Written by Joanne Bracken

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Personnel Announcement

Wondering what’s going on in the division? Look no further—upcoming events, recent new hires, and next month’s birthdays are listed below. If you’d like to contribute an item to the personnel announcement, e-mail adminfinance@towson.edu.

Announcements

Procurement Administrative Assistant Angela Rehrmann will retire March 31 with approximately 25 years of service. Warm wishes to Angie for a happy and healthy future!

In The News

Towson U holds drills to prepare students for major emergency
4 universities innovating at their campus bookstores
Towson U posts lowest on-campus crime rate in decades
Towson U, Baltimore County collaborating on Cross Campus Drive improvements

New Hires

Join us in giving a warm welcome to these new A&F employees:

  • Matthew Busler - plumber, Facilities Management 
  • Frederick Rauh - carpenter, Facilities Management
  • Karen Johnson - police officer, TUPD 
  • Dominick DeRemigis -carpenter, Facilities Management 
  • Michael Snider - project cost estimator, Facilities Management 
  • Bradley Hoebeke - carpenter, Facilities Management 
  • Michael Tirschman - electrician, Facilities Management 
  • Justin Clark - mechanical assistant, Dining Services

 Events

CAB’s Country Concert featuring “Cowboys and Angels” singer Dustin Lynch will be held in the Union tonight at 8 p.m. The event is open to the public; tickets for non-students are $15.

Dr. Holly Gilbert from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center will discuss and show some of the dynamic phenomena that occur on the sun at the next Saturday Morning Science event, April 5 at 10 a.m. and noon.

The 2014 Employee Appreciation Picnic will be held Friday, May 30 from 4 to 8 p.m. on Burdick Field. Save the date!

Birthdays

April 2 – Michael Devoe, Facilities Management
April 3 – Mike Franklin, Auxiliary Services
April 3 – Lucy Slaich, Fiscal Planning & Services
April 4 – Tim Byrnes, OTS
April 5 – Mark Temmel, Facilities Management
April 7 – Lisa Taylor, Facilities Management
April 9 — Karen Mullaney, Auxiliary Services
April 11 – Steve Wingerd, Facilities Management
April 11 – Brian Cooney, OTS
April 11 – Virgil Lemaster, Facilities Management
April 12 – Donna Taylor, OTS
April 12 — Valerie Brown, Auxiliary Services
April 13 – Barry Pina, Facilities Management
April 14 – Jeff Koerber, OTS
April 14 – Carol Watts, OTS
April 15 – Cheryl Webb, Budget Office
April 15 — Lindsay Guckert, Auxiliary Services
April 15 — Darren Hess, Auxiliary Services
April 16 – Kim Dugent, Fiscal Planning & Services
April 17 – Craig Fringer, Office of Public Safety
April 17 — Thomas Judd, Auxiliary Services
April 18 – John Propst, Facilities Management
April 19 – Julie Leary, OTS
April 20 – Benjamin Berry, Facilities Management
April 21 – David Mayhew, Facilities Management
April 22 – Adela Lombardi, Facilities Management
April 23 — Margot Van Den Berghe, Auxiliary Services
April 23 — Meredith Brown, Auxiliary Services
April 23 – Ruth Schmidt, Auxiliary Services
April 24 – Dana Hall, Auxiliary Services
April 26 – James Norman, Facilities Management
April 27 – Marie Weber, Facilities Management
April 28 – Rich Sullivan, OTS
April 28 – Jay Taffel, OTS
April 29 – Eric Cannizzo, OTS

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Saying goodbye to Benefits Manager Dave Curtis

If you’ve ever wondered if your career can make an impact, look no further than the video above. Faculty and staff from across campus jumped at the chance to offer appreciation and well wishes for Benefits Manager David Curtis, who will retire today after more than 25 years with Towson University. In his time on campus, Dave made a lasting impression on colleagues and customers alike.

“The most rewarding part of my job is the people,” Dave said, and that attitude shows in Dave’s willingness to go the extra mile for faculty and staff needing benefits help. Alongside Benefits Specialist Gail Price, he’s held employees’ hands during open enrollment and been our go-to guy when life takes big turns: Marriage. A new baby. Retirement. An illness in the family. Dave’s friendly consults help alleviate stress during times of major change.

But here’s the thing about truly liking what you do—it makes the thought of retiring bittersweet. Dave says he has to remind himself to stop second-guessing his decision and instead focus on his retirement goals. He wants to spend more time with his grandchildren, take a stab at walking the Appalachian Trail and plan a river cruise through Europe. But that said, his passion for Human Resources makes him doubt he’ll be able to stay out of the field entirely.

Though excited about his future plans, Dave says he will miss watching the university grow and change. He’ll also miss seeing his colleagues every day, and joining them for a weekly tradition:

“I’ll miss $5 Fridays at The Glen,” Dave says with a smile. “But I will figure out a way to get the staff discount – you mark my words!”

Dave, I wish you the best of luck in your well-deserved retirement! Thanks for all of the years of help and hard work.

Do you have well wishes or words of thanks for Dave? Share them with him in the comments section below!

Written by Lindsey Morgan

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Crime on campus reaches 19-year low

Newly-released Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics show that crime on Towson University’s campus is at the lowest point in nearly two decades.

Total part I crimes are down more than 14% from 2012 despite growth in overall enrollment and an increase in external events held on campus. The university had one violent crime and 117 property crimes for a total of 118 part I crimes in 2013—the lowest number since 1995. Crime statistics from 1995 – 2013 are available here.

Part I crimes are criminal offenses that universities are required to track and report, including robbery, assault, theft and other categories. Within the University System of Maryland, TU has had the lowest number of part I crimes per capita for the past five consecutive years. USM crime comparisons for 2013 will be available this spring.

The statistics aren’t the only good news for the TUPD. Last month, the department received the Governor’s Crime Prevention Award for the 29th consecutive year—more than any other college or university in the state. This summer, they earned a national CALEA accreditation that is given to only 6% of law enforcement agencies nationwide. The accreditation required a 358-point review, at the culmination of which the reviewer noted, “This agency was found to be second to none.”

TUPD Officers accept the Governor's Award for Crime Prevention.  Left to right: Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Deputy Secretary Carroll Parrish, Police and Correctional Training Commissions Executive Director Charles Rapp, TU Police Chief Bernie Gerst, TU Police Officer Kia Williams, and Maryland State Police Superintendent Marcus Brown.

The TUPD receives the Governor’s Award for Crime Prevention.
Left to right: Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Deputy Secretary Carroll Parrish, Police and Correctional Training Commissions Executive Director Charles Rapp, TU Police Chief Bernie Gerst, TU Police Officer Kia Williams, and Maryland State Police Superintendent Marcus Brown.

In today’s world campus safety is a multifaceted and ever-changing effort. Kudos to the TUPD on these hard-earned successes in crime prevention and enforcement.

Written by Pam Gorsuch

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Behind the scenes of a TU snow day

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 As a student waking up to the Valentine’s Day snowstorm, I had two reactions: “Yes! No class!” and “How am I going to leave my dorm to eat? What if I need to go somewhere?” I am not interested in trekking through the snow as if I am an intrepid explorer in a remote, snowy region of the world.

As I was worrying, A&F was jumping into action. More than 125 individuals made their way to campus during the storm, employing snowplows, shovels and snowblowers to make the campus safe to traverse. Approximately 19 inches of snow blanketed the walkways and roads on our 328-acre campus, so the job was no small task. It required a combined 6,500 man hours over a period of just five days.

Snow removal does not slow when TU is closed or when it’s a weekend. Walkways must be cleared quickly so students can get to dining halls; accommodations must be made for weekend events. And this all must happen while staff focuses on preparing the main campus to reopen. In the wake of the Valentine’s Day snowstorm, A&F staff had to quickly prepare SECU Arena and the surrounding parking lots for two weekend basketball games and a gymnastics meet, plus relocate campus buses and equip them with a supplemental power supply to keep their engine blocks warm.

“It was extremely challenging to handle while trying to open campus at the same time,” said Landscape Services Manager Paul Thomas. “Many people think all we did was remove snow but life on campus does not stop just because of a storm.”

The need for mail delivery also doesn’t stop because of a storm–and this storm just happened to fall during Postal Services’ busiest time of the year. Knowing that many students were expecting flowers and other perishable  packages for Valentine’s Day, the Postal Services team jumped into action. Their office is typically closed on weekends, but Erin Durange, Dave Hahn, Lori Frantz, Leslie Lewis, Ron Clark, Valerie Brown and Terry Mullen came in the Saturday after the storm to process 491 packages. Thanks to their work, students were able to receive gifts from loved ones and see their Valentine’s Day flowers while they were still fresh–things that mean a lot to students who are away from home.

The A&F employees who put the needs of the student body and campus life ahead of their own personal comfort should be both thanked and recognized. I was especially grateful for the timely snow removal when I needed to eat breakfast, and I am sure that other students were grateful when they received their Valentine’s Day gifts. The efforts of these individuals aptly represent the hard work of A&F employees, and I am not surprised that these individuals stepped up to the plate when it mattered most.

What did you do during the snowstorm? Share with us in the comments section below!

Written by Tyler New

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9 tips for filing stress-free tax returns

You may have heard that there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean either of them are easy! We asked A&F tax guru Mary Fortier to share some of her tips to make this year’s filing a little less stressful. Her great ideas below…

Mary Fortier

By Mary Fortier


The 2014 tax season opened on January 31, 2014 and will stay open until April 15, 2014. While taxes can seem complicated, it’s important to file every year because failing to do so voids the normal statute of limitations for tax audits, putting you at a long-term risk for time-consuming (and headache-inducing!) audits. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned to help take the stress out of tax filing.

What to consider before you file:

  • You should always file your federal tax return first, then your state return.
  • Before filing, make sure you’ve received all your tax reporting forms (such as W-2, 1099, 1098-T).  If you’re missing one, contact your employer (for your W-2), financial or educational institution to get it.
  • If you plan to use a tax preparer in Maryland, make sure they are registered with the Maryland State Board and have a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). This is required to prepare Maryland tax returns.

When you’re ready to file:

  • If you’re preparing your own tax return, take a look at the IRS’s Publication 17, which walks you through filing your 2013 federal taxes. There are also specific category guides which are helpful with individual needs, such as if you’re separated or divorced, make charitable contributions, or have sold your home.
  • The state of Maryland has similar tax filing guides and information here.
  • If you learn better by listening, the IRS has a range of helpful YouTube videos that offer tax advice on topics like what do do when your W-2 is missing, how to use the Education Tax Credit, and when you will get your refund.
  •  If you’re still struggling for answers, the IRS FAQ page and MD FAQ page are helpful, or you can call 1-800-829-1040 for federal tax questions and 1-800-MD TAXES for Maryland tax questions.

If you’re running late, or have a problem with your return…

  • If you can’t make the April 15 filing deadline, apply for an extension to avoid problems with the IRS.
  • If you submit your tax return and then realize you made a mistake, complete Form 1040X to amend the return.

And finally, some great free tax prep resources…

  • You can file your MD tax return for free using iFile.
  • If you make less than $58,000 a year, the Free File Alliance will allow you to e-file your federal tax return for free using brand-name tax software.
  • Also, the Baltimore Cash Campaign provides free tax preparation services for individual and families with incomes under $52,000.
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Personnel Announcement

From retirements to A&F in the news, the personnel announcement is your resource for what’s happening in the division. If you’d like to contribute an item to the announcement, e-mail adminfinance@towson.edu.

Did You Know

University Fleet Coordinator Deb Boettcher is retiring today after 30 years with the university. Stop by the General Services conference room between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. today to wish her goodbye! We will miss you, Deb!

Announcements

The TUPD has received a $10,000 grant from BG&E to place basic life support kits in the department’s vehicles. This is the first corporate grant given to the TUPD.

Events

TU is participating in RecycleMania from February 2 to March 29. The competition pits more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide against one another to see who can have the highest recycling percentages and the least amount of waste. Results will be announced in April.

In The News

Towson’s SECU Arena Fills Niche In Baltimore Region
Towson U Pilots Solar Charging Stations

Birthdays

March 2 – Brian Fritsche, Financial Services
March 3 – Leroy McKee, Facilities Management
March 6 – Sandy Erhart, Bursar’s Office
March 6 – Jack Stark, OTS
March 7 – John Roth, Facilities Management
March 8 – Ginger McGeehan, Facilities Management
March 8 – Dwayne Wilson, Facilities Management
March 9 – Teri Cromwell, OTS
March 10 – Nicole Cosentino, OTS
March 10 – David Sies, Facilities Management
March 11 – Clay Minor, Facilities Management
March 11 – David Hahn, Postal Operations
March 13 – Jeannie Deckelbaum, Auxiliary Services
March 16 – Mary Dunaway, Human Resources
March 16 – Terry Mullen, Auxiliary Services
March 20 – Victoria Napper, Financial Services
March 21 – Thomas Boettcher, Postal Services
March 21 – Bryan Lopata, Facilities Management
March 24—Joe Sabbat, Auxiliary Services
March 25 – Emily Centeno, Postal Services
March 25—John Dinsmore, Facilities Management
March 26 – Jeff Barnes, Facilities Management
March 26—Ken Keady, Facilities Management
March 26 – Dave Steurnagle, Facilities Management
March 27 – Rafael Montoya, Facilities Management
March 28 – Lee Warner, Bursar’s Office

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