2020 USS Employee of the Year

USS EOTY Nomination, Housing and Dining Services
Thad Pultz, Maintenance and Repair Technician II, Marlatt Hall

Feb. 10, 2020 — The Department of Housing and Dining Services nominates Thad Pultz, maintenance and repair technician II, for the honor of University Support Staff Employee of the Year.

Our primary motivations in nominating Thad for this award are a hope to share his unique ability to embody the K-State Principals of Community with our campus partners, and to show our appreciation to him for assisting our efforts as a department to create comfortable, welcoming living spaces that support students in their academic endeavors.

At Housing and Dining Services, we play a unique role in that we offer students a place of rest of refuge in which to recharge from classes, clubs and other activities. To do this, the places that serve as their homes-away-from-home must be safe, accessible and, most importantly, well-maintained and in good working order. When Thad arrived at Marlatt Hall a year ago, he immediately began to tackle a long list of needs that were in danger of threatening the hall’s ability to serve as such a refuge.

Principles of Community

While completing work orders at Marlatt is Thad’s main duty as maintenance technician, it serves as just a small portion of what he accomplishes on a day-to-day basis.

To his supervisors, he is a dependable, talented technician who has managed the impressive feat of completing more than 3,000 work orders in his short time here. He’s one of those rare employees who care for the building they maintain like they would their own home. Thad works harder than just about everyone at Housing and Dining Services. He wants to learn about every aspect of his building to keep it in order and operating at its best. The turnaround in Marlatt is incredible.

To his peers, he’s friendly and helpful. Along with his incredible work ethic, he continues to maintain a positive attitude and is courteous to co-workers and students alike.

To parents and families, Thad is one of the first faces they encounter at K-State, and he provides a feeling of reassurance and belonging. On Move-In Day, he could be found laughing with parents and family members as they lofted beds or needed something repaired. It is not just his quick response that sets him apart — it is ultimately that he takes the time to get to know every person he meets and he strives to make connections with all of them.

But it’s what Thad is to students that prompted us to nominate him. Marlatt houses approximately 600 students on seven floors, and Thad wants to know and help them all.

Perhaps most notable are the extra lengths he goes to in order to make international students feel at home. With Marlatt Hall’s relatively high number of international students, Thad has even taken the time to learn several different greetings and questions in multiple languages to make sure every student feels welcome and supported. He embraced our staff and student body wholeheartedly from the start, and his care for this community can be felt throughout the building.

Once, an international student didn’t own a winter jacket, so Thad brought him one from home.

Others are also taking notice: Thad recently won the national Support Staff Recognition Award through the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International, and the staff and students of Marlatt threw him a surprise party.

When he isn’t busy responding to work orders or addressing building concerns, Thad can be found investing time into building relationships with students. He reaches across language barriers with international students, swaps family history stories with parents and family members, and even trades old Elvis Presley vinyl records with students. He calls Marlatt a home and the people inside are his family – he looks after his family, cares for his family, and builds memories that will last a lifetime with his family. It’s evident that the students and staff who interact with Thad are forever changed for the better, and it is our hope that he recognizes all of the contributions he brings to a field that often goes unrecognized. Thad is the heart of the Marlatt staff team in many ways, and we cannot thank him enough for the light, care, and compassion he brings to the building.

A few of the things our students have had to say about Thad

“Thad always is the happiest person in the room no matter how hard he is working. He is one of the most dedicated people I have ever met but also is so enthusiastic about the work he does. He cares so deeply for the students here and wants to help them in any capacity possible. On top of being one of the busiest persons I've ever met he also has found the time to learn everyone's name and quickly at that!”

~ Haley Richards, Junior

“Thad was one of the first faces I saw coming into Marlatt. His smile and friendly face made me feel immediately at ease coming into college. Every time I see him, the conversations we have brightened my day, and led me to be happier and friendlier.”

~ Sophie Austin, Freshman

“Thad is one of the coolest maintenance guys I’ve ever met! Whenever I work at the front desk and Thad comes up to me, I know I have to allot about 10 minutes (at least) to chat with him. He’s always sharing the coolest stories about his family and I love how he considers everyone in Marlatt his family. I don’t think there’s a single person he doesn’t know in our building because he always takes the time to get to know everyone. Thad is seriously like the cool uncle to everyone in the building.”

~ Chloe Setiawan, Sophomore

Nominator: Matt Engelbert
Supervisor: Harold Higgins