The University Record, November 13, 1995

Five staff in Business, Finance units recognized

Five staff members in Business and Finance units were honored at the Distinguished Staff Award ceremony and dinner on Nov. 6.

Those honored for unusual and exemplary service to the University and for outstanding achievements in their work are: Beverly Bricker, supervisor, computer operations in Plant Administration; Cecile Lamb, service foreman in Transportation Services; Nathan Norman, manager of Building Services; Kathleen Rychlinski, assistant risk manager, Risk Management; and Paul Spradlin, director of Plant Extension.

The award, which includes a plaque and cash award, recognizes "the indispensable contribution that staff make to the University's success, and supports and rewards outstanding efforts on the part of individual staff members," according to Farris W. Womack, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Bricker, who was nominated by Jerry Wideman, business manager, Plant Department, has been with that unit for 17 years. She began as a senior clerk and then focused on computers. She became a programmer in 1987 and in 1992 was promoted to supervisor of computer operations, coordinating the operational integrity of critical mainframe computer systems.

Wideman notes that Bricker "demonstrates her unusual initiative by being available 24 hours a day to guarantee that the computer system is always operational for Plant customers and users."

"She always has time to offer assistance to team members in her department to guarantee that new application deadlines are met. In the last 10 years, there has not been a pay transmittal or monthly billing cycle that has been jeopardized. This is largely due," Wideman says, "to Bev's aggressive attitude toward her work."

Wideman also notes that Bricker is "a major contributor to the caloric intake of the Plant Business Office," often providing snacks and treats. He adds that she also is viewed by her co-workers "as vibrant, caring and sensitive toward others."

Better known as Bitsy, Cecile Lamb was nominated by Lisa Hagen, office assistant in Transportation Services. Lamb has been with the U-M for 11 years, starting as a bus operator and transit coach operator, promoted to administrative assistant and, in 1991, to service foreman.

Lamb is in charge of scheduling the daily bus routes, "which we know is no easy task," says Hagen. "She guides the drivers through re-routing, seldom missing a beat. She is considered the

AFSCME authority in Transportation Services for handling contractual issues, and she serves as the program coordinator for commercial driver's license testing for Michigan's Secretary of State.

"Most of the drivers," Hagen notes, "go to Bitsy for advice or problem-solving. Bitsy covers for student drivers by taking their driving shifts when they are unable to work due to educational obligations. She tells them that their education comes first. Because Bitsy graduated from U-M, she serves as a resource for the students by giving them advice about University life and how to survive their experiences at U-M."

Norman, with the University for only two years, "certainly has made his mark," noted his nominator, Jim Christenson, director of Plant Operations.

"From his first day at the University, the staff of his department have felt the dramatic change in climate," Christenson says. "He gives the staff the message that his role is to make them successful. He spends a great deal of time soliciting and carefully listening to problems and complaints from the custodians and supervisors.

"There are now nine M-Quality teams within Building Services to bring the abilities of the staff to the surface. He created a self-directed work team, the Customer Response Team, which markets its own work and functions independently with little guidance or supervision. Recently," Christenson adds, "two additional self-directed work teams have surfaced in the department with great success."

Noting that the custodial staff was "hungry for knowledge," Norman made arrangements with the Ann Arbor Public Schools to conduct GED, reading and math courses for those who wanted additional education and training.

"He is a role model for those who wish to cause positive empowering change in the workplace," Christenson says.

With the University for eight years, Rychlinski was nominated by Diane Tryon, claims representative in risk management.

"Kate has been one of the catalysts for putting the name of loss prevention and claims control in our Risk Management Department," Tryon says. "She was our first loss prevention and claims control representative.

"Kate certainly gets around. Her contributions are widespread. She is involved with the Business and Finance Diversity Committee, the Hospital Safety Committee and the Plant Department Safety Committee, to name a few.

"Kate assists Human Resources in the use of supervisors in Employee Relations Training and she was instrumental in planning of the Transitional Work Program, the Patient Sitting Program and the Confidential Assistance Network. As a result of her efforts, there have been countless tips of fraud, vandalism and misconduct, which has helped to control University financial losses."

Spradlin, who joined the U-M just out of high school in 1952 and has been in his current position since 1971, was nominated by Judith Pitney, director of budget planning for the College of Engineering, and Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr., former provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Spradlin recently has worked with the College of Engineering in its massive building project on North
Campus, guiding them "skillfully and pleasantly through a tangle of big building issues" over the past few years.

"Paul is a problem-solver par excellence and his quiet, confident demeanor makes him superb in conflict resolution," notes George Carignan, College of Engineering associate dean for graduate education and research, who supported Spradlin's nomination.

"For those of us who have been involved in construction projects, this is a major feat. He does all of this with a great sense of humor."

Whitaker notes that "the campus is filled with the physical reminder of Paul's work. We see them and take pleasure in them every day. What we don't see, but what we value equally highly, is the legions of satisfied faculty, researchers, administrators and others with whom Paul has worked."