Bill Paulus photo

A major employee anniversary, fall planning continues and Kronos is live!

Dear FM,

We’re half way through the summer break, can you believe it? As is customary for FM this time of year, we are completing summer projects and other activities in preparation for fall classes. As President Gabel stated, while fall instructional planning is underway for a portfolio of modalities to conform to physical distancing recommendations in classrooms, we will retain the existing academic calendar for Fall 2020. This means classes are set to begin September 8, the day after Labor Day, as usual. While this time is anything but normal, I encourage you to continue thinking about what you would normally do to prepare for the fall semester and to continue checking items off your list.

Marilyn Zenzen reaches 50 years in FM!
This anniversary is a milestone that not many at the University have reached. In fact, as far back as our records go, Marilyn is one of 75 employees system wide who has reached 50 years or more working at the University of Minnesota. That is certainly something to recognize and celebrate! To help us clink our virtual glasses in honor of Marilyn and this amazing accomplishment, let’s learn about her history and experience of working with FM for 50 years, and how she maintains happiness throughout her remarkable, sustained career.

Marilyn’s career in FM started back in 1970 when a human resources recruiter by the name of Mr. Ford spoke to her technical college class about the employment opportunities available at the U of M. Back then, Facilities Management was known as Plant Services, which included the planning group, telecommunications, accounting, engineering, all the maintenance shops and landcare. Over the years, FM and the U of M campus have changed significantly undergoing constant construction, and Marilyn has adapted well. Getting to where she is now as a Planner/Scheduler was no easy task. Growing up 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis in a small town made moving to the big city challenging but exciting. Marilyn said she would never forget her first day on campus, and how amusing it is now to look back on herself as a young, small town girl coming to the big city and trying to navigate from Morrill Hall to Folwell Hall. “So much has changed,” explains Marilyn, “campus looks very different now than it did since I started as a clerk-typist in 1970. Many buildings have been demolished and replaced with high-tech, state-of-the art buildings that we all help maintain and keep functioning in order to fulfill our mission to provide a safe, reliable and welcoming campus for learning and discovery.”

Working for 50 years in FM doesn’t come without changes and challenges. Marilyn stays positive because she enjoys the comradery of working with others. Marilyn’s favorite part about her job is working as a team because everyone gets to contribute their own unique and different skill sets to accomplish a common goal. She believes it's important to have a positive attitude when working, and to realize that what everyone is doing in FM is important and contributing to a cause. At the end of the day, it's important to know your life is valuable and you have a purpose. 

Marilyn expressed that maintaining a work-life balance, to keep work separate from family, has been important to her. In order to do so, explains Marilyn, it's important to have a schedule for keeping work within work hours and to have variety in your life. As for her, her variety includes water skiing. “I love the summer,” Marilyn informs, “I love the warmth and spending time on the water.” She and her husband share a family cabin and can be found there on most weekends, relaxing on the lake. She feels grateful and blessed for her many years at the U and wouldn’t change a thing. She hopes in the future to be able to travel more, and continue to stay healthy and active.

Join me in congratulating Marilyn on her 50th anniversary of working in FM!

Maintaining work/life balance: Marilyn getting ready to waterski on Lake Namakagon in WI

Kronos is live today!
Kronos for FM is live. Thank you to everyone who has helped and continues to help with this transition to Kronos for timekeeping and payroll. This change affects all of us in FM.

Guidance from Human Resources on response to cases of COVID-19
Clear guidance is available from our Office of Human Resources (OHR) on responding to potential and positive cases of COVID-19. Click this link: OHR’s Sunrise Plan for Return to Campus for a comprehensive plan for the gradual reopening of campus that is consistent with guidance from the CDC and MDH. Specifically pay attention to these two documents for supervisors that I would like all of you to be aware of:

I hope you are all staying safe, healthy and sane. I use sane because the “newness” of COVID-19 may have worn off for many of us - we’re into month five now - and it is taking its toll. It may be hard to see the satisfaction in the work we are doing because there are fewer U community members on campus to experience and appreciate it. Rest assured, there is great value in what we are doing every day, and I always appreciate the work you are doing.

Have a great week!



FM in the News! Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan announce that Nirmal Jain has been appointed to the MN Board of High Pressure Piping Systems. Congratulations, Nirmal.

EAM TRIRIGA kick-off meetings scheduled
An email is going out to TRIRIGA users this week for the TRIRIGA user kickoff. From August 4-7, there will be four sessions in order to accommodate schedules. The EAM team is hosting the kickoff to launch training sessions and give users insight into the transition to TRIRIGA. It’s officially happening! This virtual meeting requires registration - watch your email and sign up for one of the sessions. Please note that District Admin managers are securing locations for many users to view kickoff meetings. The EAM team looks forward to you joining the kickoff!

Wellbeing Program reminder

  • The Wellbeing Program year runs through August 31, 2020. Check out the Wellbeing Program website for updates to the current offerings to get Wellbeing points.

  • COVID-19 fatigue is real! You are encouraged to join our Wellbeing program “power down to power up” FM team to make a point to power down your devices and power up your body, mind and soul this summer! (see details below).

    • The challenge runs Monday, July 20 to Friday, August 14. Registration ends this Friday, July 24.

    • All UPlan employees and spouses are eligible to participate. 

    • Challenge yourself (as a team of one), or create a group and encourage each other virtually. 

    • Track your daily wins at least 20 out of the 26 challenge days to feel great and earn 100 points! All of the Get Active, Eat Healthy and Live Well Track activities qualify toward the challenge.

  • Sign up today! Look for the icon below to join the FM Team!

FM Sunrise Support 
The FM Sunrise Support webpage outlines the services we are providing and guidance in support of the University of Minnesota Sunrise Plan

U of M COVID-19 resources and notes

Latest FM News

We appreciate your hard work!