October 10, 2013
Travel Service keeps SIU moving forward
Hundreds of talented employees contribute to the success of our university every day in ways that may not always be apparent.
Travel Service literally keeps us on the move – across the campus, throughout the region, and beyond. The 15-member staff is responsible for servicing an amazing 481 vehicles – including farm equipment, police squad cars, boats, and even a cherry picker. The staff, which includes six certified and two master-certified technicians, handles everything from such routine maintenance as oil changes and wiper blade replacements, to complete engine overhauls.
That kind of “in-house” expertise is critical to everything we do -- from teaching, research, and community service, to maintaining and improving our physical facilities, to campus safety.
I am one of their many satisfied “customers,” because I appreciate their efficiency and professionalism. Whenever I talk with Transportation Clerk Tina Bruce, I can tell how much she enjoys contributing to the success of our students, faculty and staff. She is committed to providing amazing service -- a commitment shared by every member of the Travel Service staff.
Tina knows a thing or two about the importance of customer service; she owned a retail business in Carbondale for more than 26 years before joining the SIU family three years ago.
“People like to be treated with respect, and it’s easy to give,” she said with her ever-present smile.
She also has to be an effective communicator, because she works with departments across the campus to schedule such regular services as oil changes. If there is an issue with a university vehicle, such as a dead battery, Travel Service responds. Tina also is the liability insurance agent, handling all the details in the event of an accident involving any of our vehicles.
Travel Service also is our rental “agency.” Faculty and staff can rent one of 40 vehicles, including a growing number of energy-efficient cars, trucks, vans and even buses, to attend meetings, conferences, student recruitment events, and conduct field research. Students frequently travel with faculty and staff members to off-campus activities that offer important learning and networking opportunities.
As Tina likes to point out, “Our cars are cleaner than what we personally drive.”
The department also provides much-needed services to students with physical disabilities. The Assisted Van Transport Service is available free of charge and offers transportation to and from campus.
Tina is especially fond of the 50 students who work in Travel Service every semester. They provide important assistance, washing cars, helping with parts, working in the shop and front office, and assisting with the rental fleet.
“It’s like a huge family,” Tina said. “When they graduate, I don’t let them leave without a big hug.”
And just as they are gaining new knowledge in the classroom, the students are learning valuable lessons about customer service from Tina and the Travel Service staff.