Facilities Coordinator/Manager, Geological Sciences Camp Davis
Author: Cathy Conway-Perrin
Photographer: Photo courtesy of Christopher Malvica
“How do you find one person to fill a position with the following duties and qualifications?” asked one of Christopher Malvica’s nominators. The position in question is the Program Coordinator for the University’s Camp Davis Rocky Mountain Field Station. The duties include “administrative and operational activities….” as well as “program marketing, student recruiting, admissions and financial aid, staff recruiting and supervision, meal planning, food service, transportation services, facility and landscape maintenance, vehicle and equipment repair, construction planning and oversight, computer and network support, risk management, emergency planning, first aid, and procurement.” In addition to that daunting list of responsibilities, this person is also expected to be available 24/7 in Jackson, Wyoming, from May to September of each year, and must have experience in an academic camp setting. Most of us would have thought it impossible to find all of these qualifications in one person, but then most of us haven’t met Chris Malvica.
Before joining the University of Michigan, Chris had gone to nursing school and worked in a hospital setting for quite a while. He also supported himself by working as a chef for the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Eventually his interests shifted and he became a skilled electrician. He couldn’t have guessed at that time that his unusual skill set would land him an amazing job that would utilize all of his talents.
Chris’s nominators describe him as “dedicated to the Program and to the University,” and “a highly innovative problem solver,” who is a “jack of all trades.” Whether it’s preparing a delicious meal for campers and staff or making sure the Camp complies with complex state, local, and University regulations, Chris is on the job, working “literally anytime day or night when he is needed at Camp Davis.” Chris’s nominators point out that it is partly due to his contributions that enrollment at Camp Davis has quadrupled since its early days; the Camp now hosts upwards of 130 students each summer.
When Chris is not in Wyoming, he’s working here on campus in the Earth and Environmental Sciences department, preparing for the next session at Camp Davis. Chris’s Michigan home is in Chelsea, where he lives with his wife. He has two daughters who recently graduated from Michigan State University.
Asked what he likes most about his work at Camp Davis, Chris cited the location, the diversity of the students, and the fact that every year is different. Fortunately for the students, faculty, and staff, there is one thing that will be the same, at least for the near future: Chris Malvica will be there. With his unique blend of knowledge and abilities, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect Coordinator for Camp Davis.