- Kirby Ostrander, custodial supervisor for the Kansas and
Burge unions, and Robbie Vannaman, tax analyst for Internal Audit,
have been named July classified and unclassified employees of
Each will receive $500 and a certificate, and both are now eligible
to be named employee of the year.
- Kirby Ostrander
Kirby Ostrander has been at KU since August 1982, when he joined
the staff of the Kansas and Burge unions as a custodian. In 1988,
he was appointed first shift custodial group leader, in 1992
he became supervisor I for Burge Union building services and
in 1995 he was appointed custodial supervisor for the unions.
He is responsible for overseeing cleaning at the Kansas and Burge
unions, and supervises a staff of 13 people on three shifts.
With the continuing boom in the economy, the unions, like many
other campus units, have difficulty maintaining a full staff.
Ostrander's dedication to the job is evident in the long hours
he works to ensure that the work gets done despite staffing shortages.
When hiring, Ostrander has taken care to fill vacant positions
with capable personnel. This has brought the department to a
higher level of performance and helped establish an atmosphere
of cooperation and mutual support.
Ostrander has developed a custodial committee that meets to review
concerns and to provide fellow custodial workers the opportunity
to make suggestions and decisions concerning their jobs. He also
watches for educational and training opportunities that would
benefit his employees and himself.
Colleagues say Ostrander has a keen understanding of room setups
and patron needs and is able to make labor-saving recommendations
so the unions can meet customer requests.
- Robbie Vannaman
Robbie Vannaman began his KU career in 1982 as a program assistant
in Internal Audit. From 1994 until 1996 he served as auditor,
and in 1996 he was appointed to the new position of tax analyst,
reporting to the director.
Vannaman researches, interprets and analyzes federal and state
tax laws, regulations, rulings and cases that may apply to the
university, and shares his findings with the university community.
He helps to develop policies and procedures that will bring university
organizations into compliance with tax requirements.
Frustration is an occupational hazard in the complicated and
ever-changing world of taxation, but it doesn't seem to affect
Vannaman. He likes his work and it shows in the highly professional
and cooperative spirit that he brings to the job. His common-sense
approach to apparently complicated issues and his excellent interpersonal
skills help colleagues find ways to bridge the gap between abstract,
confusing tax requirements and workable policies and procedures
that can be applied in the real world.
Colleagues know that Vannaman's tax expertise and willingness
to help have gained him wide recognition and respect among other
state schools and Board of Regents staff. Vannaman has become
the "go to" guy for tax issues across Kansas universities.
Vannaman also volunteers at the scoring table for every home
basketball game for the men's and women's teams. He also has
served Jayhawk football and helped with the Kansas Relays.