eNewsletter from University of Illinois administration
May 2014
Larry Schook, VP for Research, U of I

University research leads to innovations and technological advances that strengthen our local, state, and global economies. The University of Illinois has a strong reputation for innovation and discovery. Our faculty and alumni have given birth to the Mosaic web browser, the light-emitting diode (LED), and the technologies that gave us magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and night-vision technology, just to name a few.

Think about how many jobs around the world were created from these technologies alone. And think about what the world would be like if these pioneering ideas never made it out of the laboratory.

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) advances the economic development mission of the University of Illinois by elevating ideas and innovations into sustainable technologies and businesses. Together, the Offices of Technology Management, IllinoisVENTURES, EnterpriseWorks, and Research Park form a comprehensive model that drives increased technology transfer, company formation, and startup success. Staff ensure that groundbreaking ideas from the U of I make it out of the laboratory and into the marketplace. With the support and oversight from these OVPR offices, hundreds of ideas have been elevated into sustainable business ventures.

...

Kevin Noland: Cash Management, Merchant Card Services, & Ag Property Services
Kevin Noland.

Name: Kevin Noland, senior director of treasury operations
Office: Cash Management, Merchant Card Services & Ag Property Services
Office Reports to: Treasure Operations, which reports to the CFO
In Sum: Management of daily banking activities, credit/debit card processing, and farm management

What exactly does the office of Cash Management, Merchant Card Services & Ag Property Services do?
To put it simply, Cash Management manages the entire University’s checkbook but with much larger numbers than most of us have!  The morning of each business day our team obtains online bank reports listing that day’s expected deposit and disbursement activity and then we make an investment decision based on the total aggregated activity. A large grant may allow us to add to the UI’s short-term investment balance but each monthly pay day requires a significant liquidation of short-term investments to cover the outflow. We track 35 specific types of inflows and 16 types of outflows. Cash flow forecasting is a critically important task that positions us to have adequate liquidity to cover the University’s obligations.

Merchant Card Services works with units across the three campuses to accept credit and debit cards for the goods and services they sell. The UI has a total of 270 merchant locations and 165 web merchants.  Our staff helps units to have reliable equipment and web interfaces so that customers are well served and card data is safeguarded.

Agricultural Property Services manages approximately 12,000 acres of endowment and auxiliary farmland for the University of Illinois. An example of an auxiliary farm is the farmland surrounding Willard Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration required a buffer around the airport and the farming operations provide financial support to Willard Airport’s budget. The APS staff leases these farms to area farmers under cash rent or crop-sharing arrangements.

Do you and your team work with actual cash?
No, but the term “cash management” puts an appropriate emphasis on our daily task of carefully managing the University’s most liquid assets.

How many farms does the University have and are they all used for research purposes?
We manage 45 farm units, located primarily in central Illinois. All are working farms operated to produce income. The University has 31 endowment farm units (the first gift was received in 1923) and their income supports research, scholarships, student loan funds, 4-H programs, and Allerton Park. Four endowment farms have some form of on-farm research. These farm properties managed by our office are entirely separate from the College of ACES South Farms.

What exactly does Merchant Card Services do?
The Merchant Card Services staff works with a diverse group of locations across our three campuses that need to securely accept credit and debit cards for goods and services. These locations include the Illini Union Bookstore, the UIC Pavilion and the Sangamon Auditorium at UIS. The staff also manages regulatory matters related to card data security and helps educate the campus communities about best practices for safeguarding card data.

Are there particular times of the year when your office is most busy?
I am often amused when someone asks if we have anything to do during the summer months when most of the students are gone. There really does not seem to be a slow time for this office. The Cash Management team is here taking care of banking activity every day when the banks are open – the day after Thanksgiving, the day before Christmas, all reduced-service days, etc.

Anything else we should know?
For over 20 years our office has had a “white elephant” gift exchange at our holiday party in December. We have a hall of fame for the most interesting items – strange lamps, bizarre sculptures, a plastic Elvis guitar filled with cheese popcorn or anything else someone happened to find in the attic or at a flea market. We enjoy a lot of laughs at this event!

UA News Briefs
  • Congratulations to the UA employees selected as 2014 DELTA winners. The DELTA (Distinguished Employee and Leadership Team Award) program recognizes exceptional accomplishments, service, and dedication to the University.

  • If you or members of your team would benefit from training on a variety of topics, visit Lynda.com. This terrific resource offers over a thousand video tutorials on leading software topics including Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft products, bootstrap, Drupal, video editing, audio editing, and operating systems. "Soft skills" are also part of the Lynda suite of training programs.

  • In April, the Board of Trustees appointed a presidential search committee and President Easter named the members of the UIC chancellor search committee. Learn more about the UIC chancellor search by checking the search website.

  • UI Health just introduced its new app for scheduling appointments, logging into the hospital patient portal, finding a physician, and maps.

  • University Relations has displays and materials available for use by UA units for events and meetings with outside parties.

  • OVPR recently released another video in its series that explains the innovation and economic development pipeline.

  • The University Payroll and Benefits (UPB) quarterly newsletter includes important information about fiscal year-end processing related to labor distributions for state-funded jobs and updates about the FY15 benefits choice period.
  • University Relations monitors (U of I and higher-education) news so you don't have to. Signup to receive an email alert when the daily clips are posted as a PDF file to the UA website.


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