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Vol 57 No. 14 : July 14, 2005
Vol 57 No. 14 | July 14, 2005

UCES's Owen Named Top Employee for June

Tom Owen, Employee of the Month

Tom Owen, an information processes developer in University College and Extension Services (UCES), was selected by his peers as CSULB’s employee of the month for June. He was recognized in a special ceremony held on Friendship Walk near the University Student Union, which was renamed Tom Owen Lane for the month of June.

President Robert Maxson saluted Owen for his dedication and long-term commitment to the university.

“Tom goes above and beyond and is more than willing to give of his time, knowledge and expertise,” he said. 

Owen said his recognition as employee of the month was an honor. “I was very happy to hear I’d been selected,” said the Long Beach resident, who is a member of CSULB’s class of 1993 with a Bachelor of Science degree in a double major of accounting and information systems.

Owen grew up near CSULB but his road to a university career began when he was a senior at Long Beach’s Millikan High School and his mother worked on campus in Enrollment Services.

“My mom knew people in UCES and asked me if I wanted a summer job. I said ‘Sure.’ That was 17 years ago,” he said.

Owen began his campus career as a CSULB Foundation employee assigned to UCES, eventually transferring to become a state employee for UCES in 1994. He has assumed many roles at UCES, beginning with clerical assistant, then account technician, and finally on to his current position as an information processes developer. “One of my first jobs on campus was working on UCES’ instructor payroll,” he recalled. “That is how I started working with computers. I began to see there were better ways to do this or track that. I decided I enjoyed working with computers as much or more than I enjoyed accounting.” 

It’s his job to keep the software systems running. “I install any new systems and I do the programming of software,” he said. “I’m also in charge of updating and maintaining the UCES Web site.”

He supports the UCES staff and helps them with their system needs. “Any questions they have, I answer,” he said. If a computer is not working right, he fixes it, and if the office needs a new software development, he develops it. “I fill in the holes,” he said. “I help everyone here to be as productive as they can be.”

One of the challenges of his job is to put solutions in terms anyone could understand. “The key is patience,” he said. “I walk them through it. Just because I may have heard a certain question 1,000 times, it is still new to the person I’m helping.” 

When he isn’t solving computer crises, Owen enjoys a weekly bowling match with friends in Garden Grove. “It’s an excuse to get together with friends on the one day a week when everyone knows where they will be,” he said. 

“UCES is a great place to work,” he said. “I’ve been working here for 17 years so I must like it. Everyone here is great to work with. There are a lot of nice people here. I have no plans on leaving any time soon.”

Owen received several gifts including a CSULB sweatshirt, four admissions to the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach, a $25 gift certificate for the Blue Café, two complimentary Whopper sandwiches from Burger King, two admissions to the Aquarium of the Pacific and a $25 certificate for Taco Beach.

Tom Owen and President Maxson

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