The Civil Service Council will feature a civil service employee at Illinois State University each month to highlight an exceptional colleague and the outstanding work being done on campus! This month get a chance to learn about and applaud Tom Cotton of Building Services/Grounds Management.

What is your position on campus and how long have you been with the University?

I work as a grounds worker with Facilities Management and I’ve been at ISU for 27 years.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I believe the most rewarding part of my job is the ability to make the campus look as great as it does for all people, whether they be students, faculty, staff, or visitors, and to be able to enjoy the outdoors.

What are your hobbies or favorite past-time?
I like to watch a baseball game or a hockey game on TV and in person when and if we can someday. I’m a sports fan – Go Cardinals! It’s funny…I have three sons – Two Cubs fans and a Cardinals fan and I don’t know how that worked out!

What else would you like others to know about you or your time at ISU?
Of the 27 years I’ve been here, I’ve enjoyed doing the things that we’ve done to campus to make it look better. I’ve also enjoyed being on the Civil Service Council. It was a way for me to get out of just being a worker and not being able to know anybody else on campus. The first three years I was here, I didn’t really leave the area where I worked to see anything else around. Being on the council was a chance to get out and meet more people and become more knowledgeable about the whole campus in general.

If you would like to share with us, please tell us how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your work at ISU?

In terms of the trash on the grounds, that has changed. Without the student body, faculty, and staff here, we get our work done quicker and easier, but I do miss seeing people and the events like football games. For a while, our schedules changed a bit, but we were still on campus. During time we were not on campus, we studied landscaping, and there were some written materials that we could take and read. We were back in late summer 2020.  

More about Tom from Bill Koos, grounds foreman with Facilities Management:
Tom is a valuable and beneficial resource to the Grounds’ Department. His extensive knowledge of how the grounds’ department interacts with the campus significantly contributes to our department’s overall success in meeting daily as well as long-range goals. Tom is not only committed to serving his department, he also is active member of the campus community.

Tom is committed to doing his job well.  He is always willing to take on additional tasks when we may be shorthanded, or we fall behind because of weather conditions. For this reason, Tom contributes to the overall “team approach” in which the Grounds Department operates.  Tom also serves on the Civil Service Council. This helps our department as well in that he shares the information about the meetings he has on a regular schedule. All of us in the Grounds Department appreciate his commitment to not only his grounds worker duties, but his active participation in the campus community as well.