Sparkling campus, and choir, shine on his resume

Sometimes staying in the place you love requires a career change.

After 13 years as a human resources director for an aluminum smelter, 2006-2007 President’s Employee Excellence Award recipient William “Bill” Kelley made the switch to WSU Vancouver when nine smelters closed in the Pacific Northwest. 

“It was obvious that, if I wanted to continue working in the Northwest, I would have to make a career change — and I have no complaints,” said Kelley, WSU Vancouver director of facilities operations. 

Since joining WSU, Kelley and the facilities operations team have been able to lower the wait times on high priority work orders. In a survey of faculty, students and staff, respondents gave positive marks to grounds (93.6 percent), building interiors (96.4 percent), restroom cleanliness (94.1 percent), motor pool (92.2 percent), and overall building, ground and facilities appearance and maintenance (95.5 percent).

In addition to his regular duties with facilities operations, Kelley noticed upon his arrival that WSU Vancouver had no choir — so he started one.

“I thought to myself ‘this place needs a choir,’ and since there was no existing music program I asked the chancellor, and we got a retired choir director to volunteer his time and started a volunteer campus/community choir,” he said. 

For the time being, it is a mix of faculty, staff and students, but Kelley remains optimistic that one day it will be all students.  

“As faculty adviser for our Vancouver choir, I have seen the energy and commitment Bill brings to that group,” said June Canty, director of education programs at WSUV. “He has maintained a high level of enthusiasm and commitment to helping it through its early years, and he brings this same energy and commitment to all he does.”

Through the annual Cougar Pride Days work projects, Kelley has been instrumental in developing a network of walking and interpretive trails, plus a heritage site in the more secluded areas of campus.

At the end of the day, however, no matter your accomplishments, a positive work environment is a must. 

“The culture that’s evolved at this campus is wonderful,” said Kelley. “The cooperation and caring among the staff, faculty and students is great. Everyone is committed in the same objective in growing this campus.”

Proof that sometimes change is good.