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A newsletter header image with an image of Dan Bollman behind the title 'The Details with Dan Bollman'

So much success, so little space!

August 2, 2016

With the close of the MSU 2015-16 fiscal year, I’ve been looking back and thinking about all we’ve accomplished. It’s been an enormously busy year for IPF, and I feel like we’ve all been tested in different ways. Have we been flexible? Have we thought and acted more strategically? Have we lived up to our vision and values to be high-performing, innovative and focused on customer satisfaction?

So I started making a list of all our successes in 2015-16. Pretty soon, the list was so long that I thought, “How am ever going to fit all of this into my next Details with Dan?” The answer? I’m going to try, because every single thing on the list deserves to be celebrated. Here goes.

Inside IPF. It might be easier to ask what didn’t change in IPF’s business structure in 2015-16 than what did! At the beginning of the fiscal year, we were hard at work creating and refining our leadership teams and our new functional organization chart. As a group, IPF business leaders agreed on four strategic objectives to guide our work and went on to work with their teams to submit action plans for the year. Already we’ve seen results directly related to those objectives, including generating significant cost savings by changing some practices in Materials and Logistics (stewardship). Major reorganizations took place in Building Services and Planning, Design and Construction, while other departments saw smaller changes. The IPF Strategic Initiatives area was created. A number of employees spent months coming up with a cohesive plan for restructuring our delivery of IT services and prepared a comprehensive report to share their recommendations with us. And we changed the way we do performance evaluations by embracing the Performance Excellence program. In fact, using Performance Excellence to conduct a high percentage of performance evaluations is another example of actions related to one of our strategic objectives (employee development).

In with the new. IPF and MSU entered a new era in 2015-16—we became coal-free. The switch to natural gas has helped us significantly move the needle on our goals to reduce MSU’s energy footprint. Landscape Services use of iPads in the field has created a cultural shift in the department, as well as greater efficiency. In fact, IPF has shown itself to be a leader in this use of technology, as universities including Duke University, the University of Washington, the University of California/Berkley and others are requesting presentations such as the one Adam Lawver and Steve Troost recently did at the meeting of the International Society for College and University Planning. 2015-16 also saw the launch of ContactMSU—an upgrade to our old call center that encourages one-stop answers through various methods of contact.

It’s what we do. Breslin Center upgrades. 1855 Place. The Grand Rapids Research Facility. Hubbard Hall. These construction projects and others have been (and will continue to be) wonderful examples of IPF’s contribution to MSU’s overall legacy. The Bio Engineering Facility provides new space to bring research teams from different specialties together to create breakthroughs and increase federal research funding. We moved the FRIB closer to completion (10 weeks ahead of schedule!) and MSU closer to having a national resource that will advance the field of nuclear astrophysics. The Surplus Store and Recycling Center broke sales/services records this year, allowing them to give more than $3 million to the university. Finally, one of our worst times was also one of our best times—April 2016. A power outage, flooding, chemical spills and fire tested our preparedness and abilities, and we rose to meet the challenge. I was never so proud of our IPF team!

Awards. From the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council’s Dave Dempsey Distinguished Service Award (for MSU’s Energy Transition Plan and our transition from coal to natural gas) to the APPA Effective and Innovative Practices Award (for our Emergency Response and Business Continuity Program), IPF received a number of awards for our work in 2015-16. IPF Administration staff members received a silver award for the 2015 MSU Community Charitable Campaign; Jennifer Battle received a special Earth Day recognition for her work in sustainability; IPF’s Mike Tracy accepted the 2015 Exemplary Wellhead Protection Program award from the Michigan section of the American Water Works Association on MSU’s behalf; and the League of American Bicyclists recognized MSU with a silver-level Bicycle Friendly University award. Congratulations to everyone at IPF who won an award in 2015-16!

Kudos. Finally, I want all of you to take a few minutes to look at some of the kudos we regularly get about your fellow IPF employees (or you!). Go to News >Features on the Hub, and type “kudos” into the search box. These monthly features highlight people like Marcie Nickols, a plumbing trades helper who was recognized by Holmes Hall for helping them avoid a building water shutdown. Or how about Yvette Green, a custodian who was praised for her hard work and friendly demeanor. Carpenter Rick Kennedy was singled out for his critical thinking and expertise and several folks from Telecommunications (Nick Kwiatkowski, Matt Basgail and Chris Grewe) received a kudo from the Office of Admissions for helping them launch their new web chat feature.

I know this has been lengthy compared to my usual Details with Dan issues, but as I said at the beginning, everything I’ve mentioned deserves to be celebrated. In fact, I’m sure I’ve unintentionally left out many successes, so I’m challenging you to send me the IPF successes you’ve seen during fiscal year 2015-16. Send them to and we’ll get them posted on the website so everyone can celebrate them together. In the meantime, be proud of what we accomplished last year! I know I am.

Until next time,


P.S. Please take a few minutes right now to complete the employee engagement survey (if you haven’t already)! Check your inbox for an email with the subject “2016 IPF Employment Engagement Survey” delivered on August 1. It contains your link to take the survey. Thanks!