2022 Employee of the Month News

January 2022 Facilities Employee of the Month – Joseph Illig


Nominated by: Steve Vollmer, Director, Facilities Management Operations

Joe Illig, our plumbing supervisor, took the initiative to monitor the Peterson kitchen and see if anything else could be done to minimize any remaining gas odor (an ongoing problem with the kitchen).  He determined that even when all the pilot lights were lit, a very small amount of gas was still coming through the valves on the range tops and out of the burners.  Because the amount was so small, it didn’t ignite and burn off, allowing it to be detected as an odor.  He and his techs pulled each and every gas valve core, cleaned them all, greased them with gas valve grease and re-installed them.  This not only properly seals the valves, it also makes them operate more smoothly which will be appreciated by the instructor and her students. 
Joe stopped in the kitchen this morning after finishing all the valves yesterday and the odor of gas was undetectable!  This doesn’t mean there will never be an odor in the kitchen again; a pilot can still go out and cause one.  But, this is a great find by Joe’s detective efforts and should help the issue greatly. 

In addition to this, Erich Miller, our grounds manager passed along the following nomination for Joe:

Joe exemplifies the meaning of a collaborative effort.  Often times, there are projects around our campuses that require multiple trades/shops to work together toward a common goal.  In my experience with Joe, every single time his skills and knowledge are requested for projects that involve my department, he has jumped in with both feet and displayed nothing other than a can do attitude and the flexibility to work longer, harder, and judiciously by my side.  A few project examples are:

  • Eagle Bank Arena “mud room” leaks and concrete v-ditch swale/new stormwater infrastructure
  • ICA & Game Day water main break at grounds maintenance facility
  • CDC new outdoor concrete patio (irrigation re-routing and upgrades)
  • FFX Campus irrigation repairs, campus wide.
  • Over the course of the last several years, the existing zones around the FFX Campus have either been destroyed by construction, left in need of numerous repairs, or simply shelved due to the huge amount of time needed to assess existing deficiencies and to actually make the necessary repairs. This includes a large amount in the Residential Housing areas too, which is pretty diverse. 
  • Joe and his team have taken on this task, and seem to have a personal goal of restoring all of the areas to operating condition. I admire his drive and ethic on this. 
  • Inclement weather
  • While it was only this past winter that I really took notice of this, but Joe has displayed a strong work ethic and team effort to help whenever called upon for snow removal operations, etc.
  • He has also taken on the brine making operation by setting up a new pump/mixing station, and manning the process and distribution of brine. We had an unusually “icy” winter and the brine operations helped in numerous occasions.
  • One last comment…on Mother’s Day (a Sunday, don’t forget) I was needed to be on campus to ensure mowing, etc. was getting completed before a week-long outdoor graduation ceremonial period. At 8:30pm, almost dark, I got my mower stuck on the far side of the west campus with no vehicle or tools close by to get out of trouble. I was able to contact Joe, who was responding to another issue at the Krasnow Bldg.  He had already left campus, but stopped what he was doing, and turned back to come and help me.  No one else was here.  He put his personal agenda on hold, to help me out.  If not for him, I would not have been able to finish the job that day, which was imperative.