North Central College - Naperville, IL

Building

During some rare “down time,” Mike Hudson is sorting through metal studs that he rescued from the Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center. “I’m a scavenger,” says the College’s director of the physical plant. “We might need that for framing up some classrooms. And I also saved some black piping, which will make a great coat rack for the basement of the A.A. Smith House.”

Frugal, creative, tireless—a leader who is both hands-on and handsoff— Hudson had a central role in helping pull off the scheduled opening of the concert hall on September 30 for the Gala Preview. It was a feat that required some 20- hour days orchestrating contractors and building inspectors through myriad construction issues. “I’d do my regular job and then in the evenings I’d go to the Fine Arts Center and sweep floors, clean areas that were ready to paint, haul out debris, whatever needed to be done,” says Hudson. “I’d go home and lie down for an hour or two and then come back and do it all again. My wife and family were incredibly supportive.”

In May, it became apparent that the September opening was going to be a challenge. Hudson and Paul Loscheider, vice president for business affairs, devised a plan for a weekly walk-through with city building and fire inspectors. “We wanted to avoid any surprises at the end,” says Hudson, adding that the building received final approval for occupancy at 3:30 p.m. the day of the opening. (The offices and classrooms in the rear were ready for the opening week of classes September 15.)

Over the summer months, Hudson typically manages a lengthy list of maintenance projects, but the summer of 2008 was especially hectic. The Harold and Eva White Activities Center received a major remodeling; a new chiller plant was constructed outside Kroehler Science Center; and several residence halls were undergoing roofing, sprinkling system installation and recarpeting. In addition, leased apartments and lounges had to be readied for a record number of incoming students

“My five team leaders had to assume duties that I typically would have done because I was at the Fine Arts Center or at other projects,” says Hudson, who oversees more than 30 employees. “Fortunately, the people I supervise do a great job. And I’m also fortunate to work at a place that becomes such a part of you that you constantly worry about it and want it to succeed.”

When reflecting on leadership, long days and the rewards of his job, Hudson credits his father’s strong work ethic along with his boss, Paul Loscheider. “When your boss works as hard as he does, it’s easy to work to that level. And my department is lucky because we see our work turn into something physical that other people can enjoy. The Fine Arts Center is something people will enjoy for 80 to 100 years, hopefully longer.”

North Central Now Annual Report 2008

01/12/2008