Civil Service Distinguished Service Award winners announced for 2020
Stacy Albright of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Vincent Allen and Brian Graves of Facilities Management; Jason Hartzler of the Student Insurance Office; Kim Ummel of Event Management, Dining and Hospitality; Travis Meadors of WGLT; and Theresa Wiese of Admissions have each been awarded a Civil Service Distinguished Service Award. Rachel Hatch of Media Relations was named the Civil Service Esprit de Corps winner.
The winners will be honored at the Faculty/Staff Appreciation Luncheon during The Founding Celebration at the Bone Student Center on February 19.
Stacy Albright, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Stacy Albright has dedicated 24 years of service to the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at ISU. She began on March 1, 1995, as a secretary III. She worked her way up as secretary IV, staff secretary, and office administrator. In her current position, she serves the entire department, handling scheduling, work orders, and all the administrative tasks associated with the graduate program (a master’s degree in world languages) and the 12-15 graduate assistants who teach 100-level languages courses. In this role, Albright is an advocate for her graduate students, consistently looking out for their interests, including handling international applications and serving as a source of support for students coming from other countries and learning to navigate the bureaucracies of a U.S. university.
Albright completes numerous other tasks that keep the department functioning smoothly and she is a welcoming presence at the University. She is responsible for assuring that master’s (MA) applications are reviewed in a timely manner and for processing graduate assistant (GA) paperwork; organizing and presenting at orientation for graduate assistants; organizing the master’s comprehensive exams and reassuring nervous students about the process; and carefully reviewing course schedules to be sure that whenever possible graduate courses do not conflict (or conflict as little as possible) with GA teaching schedules. She also supervises student workers, often developing collegial relationships that last beyond their graduation.
Albright was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Scott M. Eliot Award for Outstanding Staff (Civil Service) in recognition of her excellent service. Above and beyond her service to her department and students, she has served on textbook committees, the CAS civil service staff committee, and on the five-year Chair Review Committee for current chair Bruce Burningham. She has carried out the duties of her position all while raising a child as a single mother and then helping her son raise his two children as a single father. Outside of work, Albright serves on her church’s hospitality team and volunteers at her grandchildren’s school. She works with the single moms’ ministry at her church during the “Single Moms’ Morning Out,” an all-day Saturday event.
Vincent Allen, Facilities Management
Vince Allen was hired in 1988 as a building service worker (BSW) at Illinois State University and has been with Facilities Management for 32 years. He is a graduate of Illinois State, who completed his degree in 1991 while working full-time as a BSW. Allen is now the assistant director of Campus Services, where he oversees the Building Services, Grounds, and Recycling departments. He has been in the positions of foremen, supervisor, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. Allen has brought new programs to Building Services like team cleaning, wood floor finishing, and outside window washing.
Campus organizations and committees that Allen has been involved in over the years are Tree Campus USA, RSO Advisor for Revolutionized Health & Wellness, Quality Resource Team, Department Wellness Ambassador, Commencement, Labor Management team, and Department Health & Safety member.
Allen enjoys playing basketball, ping pong, chess, and card games. He has coached middle school track & field for 16 seasons, officiated football for eight seasons, and coached youth girls’ basketball and youth boys’ football. He has been in the Leadership McLean County program and is a current board member of the Ecology Action Center. Through various church organizations, Allen has helped with Habitat for Humanity, Midwest Food Bank, and community beautification projects as well as toy and clothing drives.
Brian Graves, Facilities Management
Brian Graves, an electrical foreman at Illinois State University, has 33 years of electrical experience. Graves began his career in 1986 when he joined the IBEW Local 197 Electrical Apprenticeship program. Upon completion of his apprenticeship, he began working in the commercial field and has worked for numerous contractors completing many projects throughout the Bloomington-Normal and surrounding areas.
In April 2010, Graves was hired at Illinois State University in Facilities Management as an electrician. In 2016, he was promoted to foreman and now directs and coordinates the largest craft trade shop in Facilities Management, which includes 15 full-time and several extra help electricians. Graves’ focus has been to create awareness of the quality work available at a reasonable cost throughout campus. Recent projects include the creation of temporary cybersecurity classrooms at Williams Hall, new classroom and faculty/staff spaces in Fell Hall for the INTO partnership, and a variety of upgrades at the Center for Visual Arts. Graves’ personal favorite place to work is Ewing Manor where he provides maintenance services.
Outside of work, Graves is active in the surrounding community. He volunteers at Ewing Manor in the gardens assisting staff with planting. Annually, he participates in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge, raising money for Special Olympics.
Jason Hartzler, Student Insurance Office
Jason Hartzler has been an employee at Illinois State University since 1990, first working in the Student Insurance Office as a student worker from 1990-1993. He continued at ISU in Student Insurance in the benefits counselor and insurance specialist series from June 1993 until becoming the interim insurance manager in June 2009. Hartzler was chosen to be the insurance manager in July 2010.
Over the last 28 years, Hartzler’s work has greatly benefitted students, leading the way for ISU to have the best insurance coverage at the most affordable price of any state school in Illinois, and one of the best plans in the country. The Student Insurance plan is a Platinum Plan, the highest rated plan under the Affordable Care Act. As insurance manager, each year Hartzler works with an outside consultant and continues to retain Aetna as the student insurance carrier which enables the insurance unit at ISU to administer the plan which includes processing the claims and providing the plan’s customer service on campus. ISU is the only school in the country, with a fully funded plan, that processes claims. Administering the plan on campus dramatically decreases the cost of the insurance premium for the 73 percent of the student population who elect to keep this insurance. In addition to processing the claims for the student insurance plan, Hartzler also helps the athletic department administer the insurance policy available to student athletes.
Hartzler is well known throughout college health for his knowledge of student insurance and he regularly communicates with other universities’ student insurance managers to discuss best practices and options. He has been active on multiple committees across campus over the years, most recently serving on the Student Health Services Executive Committee. He is a huge supporter of ISU Athletics, and has season tickets to men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and football, regularly hosting a large tailgating event with each game.
Travis Meadors, WGLT
Travis Meadors recently marked 13 years of service at WGLT, the university’s NPR member station located in Old Union. Spending his first two years at the front desk answering phones, running the bills, and interacting with listeners, local business owners, and everyone on the GLT staff on a daily basis, helped him learn quickly about all facets of station operations and prepared him well for promotion to broadcast technologist and CAS-IT associate in 2009. Working closely with mentor Mark Hill, GLT’s chief engineer, Meadors moved to first on-call for technical emergencies and assisted in numerous challenging projects over the years including replacing GLT’s satellite dish (destroyed by heavy winds in November 2013), repairing and replacing the main broadcast antenna twice, migrating the station’s web operations to NPR Digital, installing new traffic and news content systems, and virtualizing the station’s file and applications servers.
In 2017, Meadors was named operations coordinator for WGLT, a position straddling the rapidly-merging fields of IT and traditional broadcast engineering. In 2019, ISU and WGLT agreed to take over operations for WCBU, Bradley University’s NPR affiliate, while at the same time moving WCBU out of Jobst Hall (soon to be demolished) and rebuilding the station at a new location on the Bradley campus. Now coordinating operations for both WGLT and WCBU, Meadors was instrumental in the planning and execution of this complex project to preserve public radio service for listeners in the greater Peoria area.
On November 6, WCBU, now a joint service of ISU and Bradley, began broadcasting from Morgan Hall at Bradley, extending ISU’s outreach and local news service to new communities in Central Illinois. A native of Bloomington-Normal, Meadors served five years in the U.S. Navy as a journalist and public affairs specialist. In 2014, he fulfilled a lifelong goal by earning a bachelor’s degree in studio arts from Illinois State.
Kim Ummel, Event Management, Dining and Hospitality
Kim Ummel has worked at Illinois State University for the past 23 years starting in 1997, first as a secretary for the director of what was then Campus Dining Services, later being promoted to catering supervisor in 2015, followed by a promotion to senior events administrator in 2018, and then to her current position as assistant director in 2019. Even if colleagues don’t know Ummel by name, they have probably seen her at events throughout campus and all year round. Ummel is a testament to teamwork–She not only assists the Office of the President with essential details for events such as brainstorming menus, setting up space, creating unique decorations, and serving food for the Office of the President, but she also works on other major occasions such as ISU Welcome Week, Homecoming, Commencement, and the Founding Celebration, as well as events that take place in the Bone Student Center such as weddings, meetings, and conferences.
With every event Ummel facilitates, she collaborates with colleagues from all over ISU. She also connects with people in the community when she supports events for local and statewide organizations that are meeting on campus. Ummel strives to construct beautiful and practical venues for events to take place and provide top-notch service. She also coaches her mostly student staff to provide the best service possible. Ummel represents to the public that ISU is not only the place for higher education, but also a remarkable community resource.
Ummel lives with her husband, Rodney Ummel, on the farm where she grew up in Cooksville. She has three children and six grandchildren. When she is not spending time with family outside of work, Ummel researches innovative ways to set up food and decorate events. She will often gather and share ideas by searching online, looking through magazines, observing what restaurants and other venues do, and attending crafts fairs, wedding shows, and professional conferences. Ummel’s greatest passion is creating memorable events that make customers’ and family members’ visions come to life.
Theresa Wiese, Admissions
A lifelong resident of Normal, Theresa Wiese started her career at Illinois State University in September 2004. Over the last 15 years, Wiese has been proud to be part of the Campus Visit and Events team with the Office of Admissions. As supervisor of the Admissions Tour Team, Wiese has guided the growth of the Admissions Tour Team from a staff of 20 to the current staff of nearly 100.
Her responsibilities include hiring, training the Admissions Tour Team staff, and managing the Admissions at the Atrium at the Bone Student Center space for daily visits. The students on the Admissions Tour Team are the frontlines of the campus visit experience and a key component of the University’s recruitment efforts. To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Admissions Tour Team creation, she led the efforts for a reunion weekend with more than 50 alums in attendance.
Wiese has been active in the Bloomington/Normal community with various organizations including The Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Dreams are Possible, and Junior Woman’s Club. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is an organization that she and her family strongly support.
Esprit de Corps Award
Rachel Hatch, Media Relations
Rachel Hatch started her career at Illinois State in 2011, as a writer with Media Relations. Promoted to assistant director in 2015, she is the editor of the online, campus newsletters Report and Identity. She also assists several teams and initiatives, including the Climate Task Force Implementation Team, the Homecoming Steering Committee, the Identity Editorial Board, the Strategic Plan Coordinating Team, the Illinois State University Speaker Series, and the Culturally Responsive Campus Community (CRCC) Conference. She completed Illinois State’s Leadership Initiative program in 2013.
Hatch has served as an ex-officio member of the Civil Service Council for two years, creating and editing the online and print versions of the council newsletter, OpenLine. As editor of the monthly newsletter, Hatch is not only promoting the work of the Civil Service Council, but also getting the word out about news and events pertinent to all civil service staff at ISU.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the YWCA McLean County, where she assists with communications. She is a longtime member and volunteer for the Association for Women in Communications. Her interviewing skills are also helping to paint a more complete picture of our past and present as she works with the McLean County Museum of History’s LGBTQ+ Oral History Project.