Name: Mike Townsley
Job title: Indiana Tech director of security and facilities operations
Background: Townsley is a graduate of Harding High School. He started at Indiana Tech in 1991 as a maintenance supervisor. He now oversees campus security, building maintenance and grounds.
It's busy inside Mike Townsley's office at Indiana Tech's Warrior Field House.
A radio squawks and a computer alert chimes as the 56-year-old director of security and facilities operations places a set of rectangular glasses on his nose and begins to speak about the 28 years he's spent working for Indiana Tech.
Townsley, who was born in Fort Wayne and graduated from Harding High School, was hired by the university in April 1991 as the maintenance supervisor. His role evolved, taking on custodial services and security, as the university grew. Indiana Tech now contracts out for custodial and security services, but those firms report to Townsley.
“I almost feel like I was born to be in the service industry,” Townsley said. “I'm big into customer service. When I was a young kid, 13 years old, I started my first job and I worked for my father at a gas station servicing vehicles as a gas station attendant and then starting to work on cars.”
Townsley brings that focus to Indiana Tech by treating the faculty, staff and students alike as customers deserving of good service. The university's grown, he said, from about 600 students in 1991 to almost 1,600.
“We're treating them all like customers. We've never changed that from the time I got here,” Townsley said. “They were customers and they're still customers. There's just more of them.”
Townsley is involved in all campus construction projects, providing insight into efficiency and safety as plans develop.
Townsley said he enjoyed working on residence hall designs and found that helping putting together the Snyder Academic Center was the most significant.
Looking at how things have changed at Indiana Tech since 1991, Townsley said he's amazed at the evolution of technology. It's important, he said, to embrace technology, even in areas including facility operations and maintenance. Townsley said when he was hired, the university was just starting to require students have their own computer.
Technological advancements have made daily tasks like preventive maintenance more efficient, Townsley said.
“Now it's just scheduled in these systems and it kicks out a ticket automatically that says, 'Hey, the filters need changing in your furnace,'” Townsley said. “It made our jobs much easier. You still had to get the information plugged into the software but then it's pretty much automated.”
Maintenance requests can be filed online now, Townsley said, which helps workers respond and work more quickly and efficiently.
Campus security has improved as technology has advanced as well. The university uses card swipe machines and has 250 security cameras throughout the campus, Townsley said.
All that new technology improves the experience for students and faculty alike, Townsley said.
“We're not in the classroom, that's not our responsibility, but we need to support the professor in the classroom. That's our customer,” Townsley said.
Although he's not teaching, Townsley said his job allows him to connect with students and have a role in their education.
Townsley's colleagues describe the work he and his team does as no less essential to the university's operations.
“Mike does a tremendous job of managing the building and grounds at Indiana Tech and keeping the campus looking great,” said Tyler Stevenson, the university's sports information director. “He and his staff make sure things are repaired quickly, and he makes sure the campus is safe and secured.”