William Wilcox

William Wilcox

Facilities Utilization Planner, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Author: Kristin Romelhardt
Photographer: Dale Austin

What does the 1953 movie classic “Shane” have in common with the Earth and Environment Sciences’ Camp Davis?  They both take place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming!  When Bill Wilcox was a young boy he saw “Shane” and never forgot the beauty of the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole.  Many years later, when he saw a UM job posting for a position that would allow him an annual trip to Jackson Hole, he knew he had to apply.  Bill got that job and has been a part of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department (previously Geological Sciences) for the last 29 years.  Although Bill no longer packs up the family and travels west to assist with Camp Davis, he does still organize the caravans that take students and faculty to that facility each summer.

One might wonder what keeps a person’s job interesting and challenging for almost three decades.  Bill has no trouble explaining all about the complexities of his job keeping 63,000+ of square foot space in C.C. Little running smoothly.  It involves very diverse job tasks as well as lots of problem solving!  And Bill is not one to sit in his office waiting for problems to come to him.  He is always out trouble shooting – that sticky door, that lock that is difficult, that annoying leak, that broken desk, that hall that needs painting!  However, he doesn’t just deal with all of the small stuff but contributes on classroom design committees, provides input on drawing consultations and site inspections for construction and renovation projects, and acts as liaison between contractors and new faculty in lab setup.  This “loyalty, diligence, and enormous competency,” as one nominator said, has not gone unnoticed.  Another nominator noted “nothing escapes his attention, his response time to requests from faculty or postdoctoral fellows or graduate students is typically the same day, and in doing so he creates the impression of being at work 24/7!”

Bill truly believes that everyone’s problems become his own problems.  That leads directly to why Bill is receiving this Spotlight Award.  Bill believes customer service is his job.  In fact, he makes “a substantial effort to not say ‘no’.”  Personal contact and establishing relationships are very important to him at work and in general.  According to one nominator “Bill is a positive force in the department.  I have never heard him voice any criticism of other staff, faculty or students.”  And “. . . he has always handled things fairly and has always been driven to find solutions that will work for the good of the whole department.”

Living without the distractions of television and cell phone allows Bill time to pursue other passions.  He enjoys reading and says he will never have enough books although his spouse sees that a little differently!  His special interests are history and Christian Theology.  When he is not reading he is gardening outside with perennials, trees, and shrubs and inside with orchids and Chinese Hibiscus.  And last but certainly not least, is the utmost enjoyment he gets from spending time with his toddler grandson whom he gets to see quite often.

When talking to Bill about all he does, he is energetic and enthusiastic!  Bill sums it all up this way which is what may define him both professionally and personally – “My job is to give the best I can do!”

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