Archive | June, 2011

Meet the Staff- Parking and Transportation Services Manager Kenny West

Last fall, TU’s shuttles provided more than 200,000 rides and the campus carpooling program saved staff more than $2,000. Kenny West, Administration and Finance Manager for Parking and Transportation Services, has been a driving force behind improving the safety and efficiency of these types of programs.

Kenny’s passion for transportation developed during his freshman year in college at the University of Maryland College Park. Kenny took a part-time job driving for the school’s transportation department and enjoyed the department’s work. Following his graduation with a Bachelor’s degree in criminology/criminal justice, he decided to stay in the field and took a job at TU as the Operations Manager for Parking and Transportation Services. As the office grew, he was transitioned to his current position.

In his current role, Kenny takes care of general finances such as invoicing, major acquisitions and contracts, and also develops policies and manages written citations. He assists in organizing alternative transportation systems such as para-transit and MTA Transit as well as roadside assistance and carpooling programs when necessary. He also manages the costs and legal obligations associated with parking permits, citations and school-wide transportation requests.

“The most recent project that I’ve taken on is the virtual parking permit,” Kenny said. “Over the past several months it has become my pride and joy.”

Kenny and his colleagues from multiple campus departments worked to bring the virtual parking permit system to campus this May. The system, which goes into effect this August, uses license plate reader (LPR) technology to enforce permits, eliminating the need for costly print permits and reducing enforcement time. The system also allows students to charge their Bursar’s account for parking permits, something students have long requested. Kenny and his staff worked intently to compile the policies, rates and registration processes related to the new permit system and meet the students’ needs.

“I find it motivating to see a resulting product from long hours of hard work. Take the virtual parking pass for instance; these services came about because of team work and a drive to better accommodate students and make a difference on campus,” Kenny said.

For more information on the virtual parking pass, go here.

 

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Summer Vacations: Paradise in Aruba

As the spring semester came to a close and summer was rapidly approaching, Financial Services Project Specialist Eric Martinez needed a change in scenery. Eric and his close friend Matt headed to La Cabana Resort in Aruba for 8 days in the Caribbean.

“The experience was amazing. Relaxation was never so easy. We would go back and forth from the beach to the pool every day. The people were so welcoming and accommodating,” Eric said.

With crystal clear water and moderately warm weather, Eric and Matt enjoyed feeding the colorful island fish, watching parasailers and jet skiers, and taking in the island sunset every evening. They also loved the delicious local cuisine, which they shared with other vacationers from Maryland that happened to be at the same resort.

“It was the perfect getaway,” Eric said.

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Cisco Trailer Brings Tech Demos to Campus

Cisco’s technology road show came to Towson University last week, offering faculty and staff hands-on demonstrations of the latest educational and administrative technology.

The demonstrations were held inside Cisco’s telepresence truck (pictured on the right) and focused on smart board integration, personal telepresence units and video portals. The technologies—specifically video-focused telepresence, which allows users in different locations to connect face-to-face in real time—make it easier for employees to communicate with colleagues and committees, and for faculty to communicate with students inside and outside of the classroom. According to Director of Information Technology Support Centers Matt Wynd, the telepresence capabilities are becoming more and more important as the university expands throughout the region.

“As Towson University’s campus becomes less centralized, the conversations surrounding the potential of telepresence have increased in frequency,” Matt said. “The road show included several telepresence scenarios that allowed participants to get a sense of how these technologies could help solve specific communication challenges that the university is experiencing.”

According to Associate Vice President for the Office of Technology Services Jeff Schmidt, the technologies presented at the demonstrations will be of particular importance for programs with remote sites, such as those offered at the HEAT Center in Hagerstown or the forthcoming satellite campus at Harford Community College. The nursing program has already purchased some of the technology, and it’s being considered for inclusion in the Towson City Center building recently leased by the university.

The roadshow was attended by approximately 60 guests who each have a stake in campus technology. The demonstrations enabled them to experience the telepresence capabilities in a way that would otherwise only be possible at Cisco’s headquarters, several hours away from campus. Matt says that such an experience is an invaluable part of understanding the technology.

“One of the great benefits of having the Cisco telepresence road show visit campus is that immersive telepresence technology is difficult to form an opinion about unless you are able to actually participate in a demonstration,” Matt said. “Even the term ‘immersive telepresence’ can only really be appreciated when potential users are given the chance to experience it in person. We are fortunate that Cisco provided us that opportunity.”

For more information on campus emerging technologies, go to http://www.towson.edu/adminfinance/ots/ or attend one of the emerging technologies workshops.

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TUPD Uses New Technology to Increase Public Safety

The use of License Plate Recognition Systems (LPR) is a growing trend in law enforcement nationwide and Towson University’s police department is joining the Maryland State LPR network to increase public safety. The implementation of LPR systems is on the rise due to the system’s capacity to maximize the use of an officer’s time and allow police departments to increase efficiency and recognition of violations. In March of 2011, the TUPD was awarded a License Plate Recognition System and funded by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention through the Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.

“LPR systems have existed for several years and the technology has steadily progressed to improve the system’s capabilities and the efficiency it can provide for law enforcement agencies,” TUPD Colonel Joe Herring said.

The system utilizes Optical Character Reading (OCR) technology, which operates similar to a computer scanner. The system records characters on tags and other readable text such as traffic signs and wording on commercial vehicles with 95% accuracy. It can read both reflective and non-reflective plates, and detect and run registration plates under even the worst weather conditions.

Currently, Towson University is activating a mobile system with two camera units mounted on the rear of a TUPD vehicle. The cameras connect to the vehicle’s laptop and GPS system. Each unit actually consists of two light-sensitive cameras: one that reads in the daylight and another that adjusts to the low levels of light at night. The cameras are able to capture readings from two lanes of traffic on both the right and left sides of the vehicle. The system reads the captured images off of a vehicle’s registration plate and transmits the information to a statewide database where it is compared to all registered vehicles and the State’s “hot list” of tags being flagged for offences such as being a stolen vehicle, having a stolen plate, and being associated with a wanted person or someone with a suspended or revoked license. If there’s a problem with any of the plate numbers, the system delivers feedback to the officers through visual and audible alerts. When an alert sounds, the officer must find the license plate identified, accept or decline the alarm and determine an appropriate action based on the urgency of the offence and the location of the vehicle.

“A moving or occupied vehicle that triggers an alarm gives us more incentive to approach the owner than vehicles sitting unoccupied in a parking garage, unless the alarm is notifying us of a serious offence. Also, some alarms need further investigation before taking any affirmative measure. For example, there may be multiple owners of one vehicle and the previous owner’s license may be the one triggering the alarm,” explained Sergeant Sam Hannigan.

Towson is expected to officially begin regularly using the LPR systems early this summer, pending the completion of training for its officers by the Maryland State Police Department. Once the system is up and running smoothly, the TUPD can continue pursuing future projects involving LPR, including fixed-placement of cameras at entrance and egress points on campus. The TUPD is currently awaiting the installation of fixed location cameras at the entrances to Emerson Drive. The department has applied for a grant to install additional fixed location cameras at the new main campus gateway and hopes to include other major access points to campus in the future.

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Picnic Recap

The 2011 Employee Appreciation Picnic was held Friday, June 3 on Burdick Field. TU employees and their families gathered under sunny skies for food, drinks, games and giveaways. The event was sponsored by Auxiliary Services and planned by the TU Picnic Committee, whose volunteers did a fantastic job of organizing and staffing the event. The committee is chaired by Executive Administrative Assistant Jerri Sumwalt, and its members include Lori Armstrong from Alumni Relations, Donna Auvil from the Budget Office, Robin Boord from Copies Plus, John Dahlquist from Athletics, Stacy Elofir from the University Store, Susan Fata from Event & Conference Services, Rene Florendo from Facilities Management, Brian Fritsche from Financial Services, Deneice Fusco from Human Resources, John Latteri from Athletics, Phyllis May from Financial Services, Joe Oster from Auxiliary Services, Rod Petrocci from Dining Services, Rebecca Prell from Auxiliary Services, Warren Riefner from Facilities Management, Chris Shoul from Dining Services, Valerie Smith from the Chemistry Department, Paul Thomas from Facilities Management and Renee Watkins from the Chemistry Department.

A photo recap of event is below. To join the Picnic Committee, e-mail Jerri at jsumwalt@towson.edu.

 

A sign marks the entrance to the picnic location.

University Store Director Stacy Elofir hands out raffle tickets alongside AVP for Auxiliary Services Joe Oster.

Budget Coordinator Donna Auvil and Administrative Assistant Rebecca Prell work the cotton candy/popcorn stand.

Children of TU employees play in sand brought in for the event.

 

HR Specialist Jennifer Stano brought her husband and daughters to the picnic.

 

Amie Voith, Special Assistant to Vice President Sheehan, with her fiance and their daughter Macy.

 

Financial Services employees Linda O’Connor, Bill Meagher and Cathy Mattern grabbed a bite to eat.

TUPD Corporal Larry Bell spent time with his family at the picnic.

PeopleSoft Specialist Deanna Martinez with her husband Dennis and their daughter Rachel.

Facilities Management Driver Barry Pina and University Key Coordinator Jenny Weiner spent time at the picnic.

Contract Administrator Barbara Hufnagel with daughter (and TU alumna) Chris.

ECS staff joined Bursar Thom Ruby at one of the picnic tables.

Ellen Libao and Accounting Associate Phyllis May with their children.

University Store staff sat together at the picnic.

Lorraine Hart and her husband.

Donna Auvil’s children, Nick and Hannah.

TUPD Sergeant Frank Remesch, Captain Jerry Foracappo, AVP for Facilities Management Roger Hayden and Corporal Rick Saylor.

University Budget Coordinator Angie Hall with husband Mike.

Facilities Management Financial Transaction Coordinator Adela Lombardi with her granddaughter.

Children line up for the picnic’s bounce tent.

 

In the last several years, the picnic has attracted a larger number of employees than ever before.

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TUPD Takes on Law Enforcement Challenge

The Towson University Police Department is always up for a challenge, and now they’re being awarded for it. Earlier this month, the TUPD received one of the top honors in the 2010 Law Enforcement Challenge, which awards Maryland police departments for their efforts in achieving statewide law enforcement goals (the competition was previously known as the Chief’s Challenge). The challenge focuses on traffic safety with an emphasis on enforcement and outreach related to Maryland’s occupant protection laws, impaired driving prevention, and aggressive driving deterrence.

The TUPD received second place in the university category for their efforts in educating students on the dangers of driving under the influence, the importance of using seat belts, and the negative outcomes of aggressive driving. According to TUPD Officer Kia Williams, traffic safety is an issue that effects nearly everyone on campus.

“In terms of law enforcement, traffic safety is one of the most prevalent issues on our campus,” Kia said. “Nearly everyone who comes to campus is a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, so it’s important that they’re aware of and abiding by traffic safety laws in order to make the campus a safe environment.”

In the past year, the TUPD’s traffic safety programs have included seat belt checkpoints, Towerlight ads on the dangers and consequences of drunk and impaired driving, safety workshops and tabling, and the use of the TUPD’s Facebook page to communicate traffic and general safety messages.

The Law Enforcement Challenge is co-sponsored by the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, the Maryland Sheriff’s Association and the Maryland Highway Safety Office. College Park took home first place in the universities category.

For more information on the Law Enforcement Challenge, go here.

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Meet the Staff –University Budget Office Director Cathy Mattingly

As Director of the University Budget Office, Cathy Mattingly oversees the use of more than $350 million in TU funds each year. She allocates funds, oversees departmental spending, and manages the constant push-pull between the desire for more funding and the need to keep the university within budget. It’s a big job for a small office, but Cathy handles it well, partially because she’s gotten used to it. Cathy has worked at Towson University for more than 30 years.

Cathy started working at Towson in 1978 as an administrative assistant in a department similar to what is now Financial Services. With the support of her supervisor—the late Associate Vice President Ron Garrison—Cathy took classes in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.  At the same time, she started taking on more and more responsibility in her office, and after she graduated in 1989, she was promoted to assistant to the AVP. In her current role as Budget Office Director, she’s now responsible for many of the tasks once completed by her former mentor.

“If it wasn’t for Ron I wouldn’t be in my job now,” Cathy said. “I was lucky to have the support of the people that I worked for, and to work with people who really valued education. Ron was one of a kind.”

Cathy has witnessed a lot of change during her time here—and not just in the different positions she’s held. She’s weathered economic downturns like in the early 90’s, conquered the switch from FRS to PeopleSoft, and seen the university grow to more than 21,000 students. Despite the year to year changes, Cathy remains focused on one overarching goal.

“Each fiscal year brings a new experience…no year is the same,” Cathy said. “But we’ve always come within our budget.”

Achieving that goal is quite the feat: each November, the Budget Office begins preparing the internal budget for the following fiscal year, which doesn’t start until July. She and her staff distribute budget information to each of the university’s seven divisions and ask them to prepare budget requests based on the external (legislative) budget at that time. The departments submit these plans to the Budget Office in February, at which time they’re compiled and submitted to the Resource Planning and Allocation Committee (RPAC), who prioritizes the various requests. This prioritized budget list is sent to the university’s president, who makes the final decisions about what gets included in the budget and then sends the information back to Cathy and her team.

Once the Budget Office receives the final budget information from the president, they distribute it internally to each of the divisions, whose internal staff makes independent decisions on how to distribute their allocated funds. Each divisional budget officer creates a budget plan around their target and submits it to the University Budget Office by June—just in time to be reviewed and loaded into PeopleSoft for the fiscal year. Cathy and her team must then ensure that the university stays within its spending authority, which has proved to be a challenge under recent economic conditions.

“The past two years when we’ve had budget cuts we’ve had to hold out 4% of the divisions’ budget but were able to release it later – two percent at a time,” Cathy said. “We can usually find a way to make things work.”

As if the budget process doesn’t already sounds rigorous, imagine having to do it for three different budgets! The aforementioned process is followed for the stateside, self-support, and auxiliary budgets, which are managed separately. These are all just the internal side of the budget—Cathy and her team also work on the external or legislative budget for the university—which is planned out a full year ahead of the internal budget.

“There are times when I’m working in three fiscal years at one time,” Cathy said. “Right now, we’re working to close up the 2011 budget, preparing the 2012 budget internally and working on the 2013 budget externally!”

Though the job can be tough, Cathy says she enjoys the challenges, and is able to overcome them thanks to the support of a great team of colleagues.

“I love the people that I work with,” Cathy said. “If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have stayed here so long.”

by Michael Machin 

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Personnel Announcement

Wondering what’s going on in the lives of your colleagues? Check out the information below to find out. If you’d like to contribute an item to the personnel announcement, e-mail adminfinance@towson.edu.

June Birthdays

All birthdays listed are based on the contributions of divisional staff. If you would like to have a birthday added to or removed from the list, please e-mail adminfinance@towson.edu.

June 3 – Bob Cave, OTS

June3 – Jim McAllen, Facilities Management

June 5 – James Andrew, Auxiliary Services

June 6 – Tom Durange, Facilities

June 7 – Leif Karlsen, Facilities

June 9 – Troy Lingelbach, Facilities

June 9 – Vicki Shifflett, Fiscal Planning and Services

June 10 – Richard Herbert, Auxiliary Services

June 10 – Ryan (Marc) Stephan, Auxiliary Services

June 12 –Joan Doremus, Auxiliary Services

June 15 – Lou Ciotola, Auxiliary Services

June 15 – Wade Keeney, Facilities Management

June 15 – Stacey Poe, Fiscal Planning and Services

June 20 – Mike Fouche, OTS

June 21 – Scott Luebben, Facilities Management

June 21 – Pam Mathias, Auxiliary Services

June 21 – Amy Rinnier, Human Resources

June 24 – Freddie Samuels, Facilities Management

June 26 – Mark Behrens, Facilities Management

June 27 – Kris Phillips, Facilities Management

June 28 – Chris Walker, OTS

June 28 – Cyndi Zile, Fiscal Planning and Services

June 29 – Curt Pendleton, Facilities Management

 

News and Announcements

Summer casual dress has begun! Business casual dress will be permitted for Towson employees beginning Tuesday, May 31 and ending the first day of fall 2011 classes, Wednesday, August 31.

The University Store’s spring sale is going on until June 4.

 

Honors and Awards

Joyce Gibson and Julie Hall, both of Financial Services, completed the University Business Certificate, one of four noncredit certificates offered by the Office of Human Resources. This certificate is designed for university employees responsible for business functions.

Michele Kreider, Procurement, completed the Workplace Professional Certificate, one of four noncredit certificates offered by the Office of Human Resources. This certificate is designed for developing the skills of our support staff.

Eric Martinez, Financial Services, won the Mr. and Mrs. Allen Gaddis Award for Writing in the 2011 Towson literary awards. The Gaddis Award is given to the best essay submitted by a Towson undergraduate. Congratulations, Eric!

Events

Rain or shine!

The faculty/staff picnic will be held on June 3rd from 4 to 8 p.m. on Burdick Field. Everyone must enter from the side of Lot 11. This event is free to all faculty, staff and university associates and their families. Food and refreshments will be served; a cash bar will also be available at your expense.

 

 

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