Rodman beautified the Adams State campus with smiles and flowers

(06-09-2009)

To efficiently operate Adams State College, multiple jobs must be performed with skill and care, and Deanna Rodman exemplified this idea. From assisting students with tuition payments to planting bulbs and coordinating Facility Services employees' vacations, Rodman was detail orientated, maintained a strong work ethic and won the admiration of her colleagues.

"I have never followed money. I am fortunate to have been able to work where I liked and move when I was ready for a change." Retiring this spring, her 30 year career on campus included six different jobs.

As a cashier in the Business Office, her first position at Adams State, she met and befriended Beatrice "Bea" Martinez, student business services director. "It just doesn't seem possible, but I have known Deanna for 30 years now," Martinez said. "When it came to doing her job, she was efficient, knowledgeable and precise, but above all, she provided outstanding customer service to our students. The thing I remember most about Deanna is her infectious laugh and her beautiful smile. Deanna was a fun co-worker and we had some great times back in the day."

You might say it was a family tradition, dedicating a career to Adams State. Rodman's father, Lee Ruark, started the campus security force in 1967, after 18 years as a state patrolman. He retired in 1985. Her mother, Arlene Ruark, retired from the Adams State Bookstore in 2002, after 28 years with Adams State. Her father passed away soon after retiring from Adams State, Rodman said it is another reason to retire now, while she is still young.

Shannon Heersink, benefits coordinator, describes Rodman as meticulous, reliable, attentive, thorough, dependable, consistent, and tireless. "Deanna is always helpful, beyond what is expected of her. She is one of the hardest working people on campus and I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with her and learn from her."

Green thumb and inviting smiles

A bright smile and "Home and Garden" flower beds come to mind when thinking of Rodman. Erik Van deBoogaard, associate vice president for Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, supervised Rodman as a groundskeeper and her final position as administrative assistant for facilities services. "She literally weathered all types of conditions, cold, snow, and sun." In 2001, she came in from outside. "She has taken care of me, supervisors, and other facilities staff." Van deBogaard moved to Grand Junction about six years ago and recently returned. "Having Deanna here gave the department and me stability. This stability cannot be underscored too heavily; it is huge and appreciated by me and the facilities staff. ASC has had a dedicated, hard-working employee in Deanna, and she will be sorely missed."

A "Renaissance" employee, Rodman accepted challenges willingly. When the college first developed a Human Resources Department, Rodman accepted the position as payroll clerk. One day posting request for a grounds keeper, she told her co-worker, "I could do that." Anyone who worked on campus during Rodman's reign over the flower beds remembers how well she could "do that...I still get compliments and comments about my work with the flowers."

Modestly, she claims Leslie Box Garcia, a non-traditional, work-study student, and mentors Ben Fuji and Jim McDaniel, added to the success of her gardening. Every spring, Adams State's flowerbeds burst with color and design, as Rodman prepared the soil and planted 250 to 300 dozen flowers, with the assistance of Fuji and McDaniel, before their retirement. "They were both wonderful and fun to work with, we made some great memories."

Melanie Jeppeson, administrative assistant for Human Resources, said she always appreciated the job Rodman did on the flower beds around campus. "They were always spectacular and I looked forward to seeing them." It is the same sentiment shared by many on campus, including Maria Valdez, accounting technician III for the business office, "I remember envying her green thumb whenever I saw her flower beds."

However, the warm planting and harvesting seasons are brief in the San Luis Valley, and all groundskeepers are expected to shovel snow in the wintertime. "I never could enjoy a snow storm," Rodman said. She knew it meant hours behind a shovel, this lead to her final job for Adams State, the administrative assistant for Facilities Services.

Another facilities employee, Jacqueline Vigil, material handler II, has known Rodman for 12 years. She describes Rodman as kind, considerate, and friendly. "She (Rodman) brings out the best of people," Vigil said.

Rodman is ready now to turn her attention to her own yard and family. "I have an eight-year-old granddaughter who is growing up way to fast." She plans on spending the first six months of retirement enjoying her early morning coffee at a leisurely pace with no demands or schedules; afterwards she might look for a part-time job she can enjoy.

She appreciated her co-workers and the students. "My only regret is I never went to college," Rodman said. But who knows, she now has the time.

By Linda Relyea