Spotlight Projects

  • Mz. Carmen

    Mar 01, 2021

    Carmen McNish, lovingly called Mz. Carmen in her role as a transportation technician, was recently recognized by staffers from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), for her excellent customer service, even at 6:30 a.m., before many have had their first cup of coffee.


    I am writing to express my appreciation for one of your employees: Carmen McNish, also known to many as Mz. Carmen.

    Recently I worked with Mz. Carmen to make multiple vehicle reservations for a research team led by Dr. Joy O’Keefe. The multiple-member team was scheduled to take several vehicles to Florida for Dr. O’Keefe’s bat research program. The details were a bit complex, but Mz. Carmen took many worries off our collective plate and made the arrangements look easy (and did so with welcome good humor). Unfortunately, the trip had to be canceled at the last minute and at the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, but Mz. Carmen was ready for us! When alerted that the trip might have to be called off, she provided us with the contact information we needed to cancel our reservations during the weekend and made sure those on duty knew the cancellation was a possibility.

    Dr. O’Keefe also wants to extend her appreciation for Mz. Carmen’s smooth handling of this affair. It really helped to set her mind at ease.

    Outside of this specific instance, I have worked with Mz. Carmen multiple times since I started in the department in August 2019, and I’ve always appreciated her knowledge, helpfulness, and good cheer. Kudos to you, and kudos to Mz. Carmen!

    Lisa Kelly
    Office Support Associate
    College of ACES

    Dr. Joy O’Keefe
    Assistant Professor
    College of ACES

  • F&S is Driving the COVID Testing Effort

    Jan 15, 2021
    At the beginning of 2020, no one predicted that people’s saliva would need regular transportation pickups on campus, but here we are. With an expanded role in the era of COVID-19, F&S drivers are the behind-the-scenes service support for the university’s pandemic testing program. _DSC9721
    Dan Hiser, automotive sub-foreperson, explained that drivers bring new supplies to the testing sites and deliver the completed tests to Veterinary Medicine for analysis, with a roundtrip run completed to every test site every hour of operation, seven days a week. They also pick up students who have tested positive, deliver them to isolation sites (vehicles are decontaminated between trips), and return them to their place of residence when their isolation is over. This fall, they delivered 56 COVID-positive people to residence halls or other designated locations in one seven-week period.
    Additionally, F&S drivers are involved in a study looking at the effectiveness of testing strategies in COVID-19 positive volunteer test subjects, who receive saliva, nasal swab, and antigen tests to use throughout their 14-day isolation. The drivers pick up the samples and deliver them to the research team each day. (Read more about this study at
    Drivers are also transporting critical testing equipment to Bloomington, Chicago, Decatur, Springfield, and Indiana, and they have picked up supplies, such as test tubes, from customs to prevent testing delays. On top of all this, drivers will soon be servicing mobile COVID-19 testing sites, Macie Sinn, transportation clerk, said. These are expected to be operational by mid-December, with sites near Springfield and Chicago, so full-time and extra-help drivers will log even more miles.
    Pete Varney, associate director of Operations, Maintenance & Alterations, Transportation & Automotive Services, thanked other areas of F&S for their understanding when drivers were pulled off other projects. He also praised the drivers for their excellent group effort in supporting the university’s COVID testing. “It’s been a lot of long days, and it looks like it may continue well into next year,” Varney said. “There were a lot of logistics to sort out at the beginning, but the program is running smoothly.” In fact, people on campus may not even be aware of the massive effort involved because the F&S team makes it look so easy. Kudos to all involved.
  • Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity Expresses Thanks to F&S

    Dec 23, 2020
    The Alpha Alpha chapter of Alpha Phi Omega at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign appreciates F&S.
    The largest co-ed service fraternity on the Urbana campus sent dozens of digital thank you cards to Building Service Workers (BSWs). This is the second year in a row APO has sent their thanks to F&S. Pete Varney, associate director of Operations, Maintenance & Alterations, Transportation & Automotive Services.

    "F&S greatly appreciates your offer," said Varney. "We have been 100 percent focused on allowing a safe return to campus since the start of the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic."

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