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Business and Finance Honors Nearly 2,000 Years of Service

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    By Melissa Cabezas
    UM News

    Before the rise of the internet and personal computers, Walt Bechtel, Grant Basham, and Gerardo Ordaz began their careers at the U. They’ve seen a lot of changes and created many cherished memories. And while they may have started at the U in different places, they all agreed that they kept coming back each day because of the opportunity they were given to be part of something so important.

    Not one of them expected to be here for 35 years, but all secretly hoped they would.

    The three were among the 120 employees honored December 5 for their dedication and service to the U during the Division of Business and Finance Long Service Awards Ceremony. The annual celebration, hosted by Jacqueline Travisano, executive vice president for business and finance and chief operating officer, honors employees celebrating 10 or more years of service to the University.

    “Today, we honor 120 people who have given almost 2,000 years of service to the University of Miami,” Travisano said. “As the newest member of Business and Finance, this is truly inspiring to me. It further validates my decision to join the University of Miami family.”

    Travisano’s remarks resonated with Bechtel, as he recalled his first days at the U. “Once I arrived I felt really honored and privileged to be here,” the assistant vice president for information technology said. “In many ways I thought: how long can this run go? I hoped it would go a long time, and 35 years is a long time.”

    In addition to their commitment and dedication, Long Service Award recipients are also applauded for their exhibition of ’Cane pride. “RSMAS is a great place to work,” says Basham, noting his open work space. His family, including three children who graduated from the University, are also season ticket holders for Hurricanes football.

    “I am so proud and grateful for the opportunity to work at UM,” said Ordaz, who did not speak English when he joined UM. He attributes his career here to his first manager who provided him with an English-to-Spanish translation book. “I am very grateful for the opportunity he gave me.”

    “The University is doing some really amazing things,” said Bechtel, who believes that the sense of community at UM is a perpetual pick-me-up. “I’ve had the privilege of leading so many people and learning so much from them.”

    And while they didn’t all have the opportunity to answer the infamous “When-will-you-retire?” question, Ordaz’s answer seems to sum it up for all of them.

    “The day my car doesn’t start or my hands start to shake, that will be the day I stop coming to work at UM,” he said.

    View the photos from the Division of Business and Finance Long Service Awards Ceremony.

    Is your department honoring its long standing members? Send your story to [email protected].


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