Thursday, November 08, 2018

UIS Superintendent of Grounds Brian Beckerman wins the 2018 CARE award

Brian Beckerman, superintendent of grounds for Facilities and Services at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been awarded the 2018 Chancellor’s Award to Recognize Excellence in Civil Service (CARE). Chancellor Susan J. Koch announced the winner of the award during a breakfast on November 8, 2018.

The award is the highest honor annually awarded to a Civil Service staff member at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Beckerman has been part of the UIS grounds staff for the past 18 years. His nominator describes him as a “self-starter and consummate professional with a tireless work ethic.”

In his role, Beckerman is responsible for managing 746 acres of University property, including water habitats, natural and synthetic turf sports fields, gardens, trees and native grass areas.

“No matter the weather and more often than one would think - no matter the time of day or day of week, Brian gets the job done,” said his nominator. “He truly understands the need for the campus to always look like we’re ‘open for business’ and the importance the campus’ image has on recruiting and retaining students, faculty and staff as well as visitors to campus.”

This past summer, on his own initiative, Beckerman led his grounds team in the building of a pond for Japanese Koi on the east side of the quad. As the Governor's Mansion completed a large scale makeover of their landscape and no longer had a place for their 14 Koi, he saw the opportunity and worked with the Governor Mansion’s staff to have them donated to UIS. The pond includes a small waterfall, stream and wide variety of water garden plants.

Over the past year, Beckerman reorganized the grounds unit, which has streamlined work assignments and oversight. According to his nominator, Beckerman excels in is his attention to detail in the budgeting and management of funds allocated to his department.

“Brian’s efficient and cost effective use of very limited resources, use of recycled materials (e.g. old cigarette butt containers, reuse of demolished concrete, tree waste into wood chips, etc.) and equipment have ‘stretched the dollar’ enabling significant improvements to the University’s grounds despite significant reductions in state funding,” said his nominator.

Beckerman recently started a program to reinforce the campus’ roadway shoulders with compacted gravel to lessen the deterioration of the asphalt edges and to improve appearances. He’s also led the effort to plant 86 new trees on campus over the past year, reconstruct the sand volleyball court in Rec Park, re-landscape and develop the east side of University Hall and assisted in the installation of benches on the quad.

“I am greatly honored that someone thought enough of my contributions to nominate me for this award,” said Beckerman. “I have been here for almost 19 years and I'm not sure I will ever really want to retire. UIS is an amazing place!”

Other Civil Service employees nominated for the award include: Melisa Hatch, Human Resources associate; Chris Hilscher, culinary worker for UIS Food Service; Nikita Hutchings, customer service specialist for University Student Financial Services & Cashier Operations (USFSCO); Connie Komnick, assistant program director for the Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center; Carol Marshall, admissions & records representative; Jamie McGill, building service foreman; Pam McGowan, staff clerk for the UIS Graduate Public Service Internship Program; Erich O’Connor, program coordinator for Brookens Library; MarieJoy Roberts, program/student advisor for the Accountancy Department; and Justin Rose, program/student advisor at the Diversity Center.