Exemplary work habits and a deep-seated passion for everything about Algoma University made Bryan Evans the perfect choice for a Service Excellence Champion award introduced last year. The 23-year-old — who was both an alumnus and a student — received a plaque for the honour during on-campus Employee Recognition Day ceremonies in August 2016.
“I was very humbled and honoured to receive the award,” Evans said. “It was a surreal feeling. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I’m a behind-the-scenes guy. I’m shy. Being in the spotlight is not my cup of tea. I’d rather do the work.”
The award recognized a total commitment to customer service while he was employed in the George Leach Centre Athletics Complex. As a GLC Worker/Weight Room Attendant from 2015 until the spring of 2017, Bryan helped community and university users of fitness centre and other recreational features to benefit fully from their experiences.
That employment opportunity, as well as an earlier placement in the Physical Plant department, came about through a Work Study Program administered by Algoma’s Financial Aid Office.
“Bryan is an exceptional individual,” said Mark Kontulainen, the university’s Athletics and Recreation Director. “He is so personable, caring, and hard-working. He was probably the best student assistant we’ve ever had. He’s very diligent and always goes the extra mile. We received a lot of very positive feedback about him from both internal and external members. He always knew everyone’s name, and he always made them feel comfortable and welcome.”
For his part, Evan’s thoroughly enjoyed every minute he was on the job.
“For the past year, I worked in the evening, spending much of my time behind the front desk in the reception area,” he said in April. “Among my duties, customer service was the number one priority. GLC members pay to use the equipment and facilities. Staff are here for them. I’d answer people’s questions, process memberships, and do whatever else needed doing.”
The position allowed Bryan to work in very familiar surroundings.
“I’ve been a GLC member since 2007. My father Derron is a longtime member and he started taking me there when I was 14. So I know a lot of the people. The sense of belonging there is really important to me.”
Evans has also achieved academic success in multiple disciplines during his time at Algoma U.
He began studies in September 2011 and by 2016 held honours degrees in geography and sociology, as well as a GIS (Geographic Information Science) certificate. He recently completed a Certificate in Business.
“Having a hometown university fits right in with my values,” he said. “I love Algoma University in so many different ways. I love the small community. I enjoy going to a class and knowing everybody’s name. And you get the one-on-one interaction with the professors. You can’t put a price on that in my opinion. Algoma U has been the perfect fit for me. I’m very proud of this place. Algoma U has been everything I thought it would be and much more. I’d say everybody there is a wonderful person.”
Such sentiments extend across the family. Derron Evans graduated from Algoma U’s Bachelor of Business Administration program in 1991. Meanwhile, Bryan Evan’s brother Eric will enrol in the Accelerated Computer Science program after completing a chemistry degree at the University of Windsor.
Key influencers on Evan’s academic successes include Dr. Wiliam Osei, Professor and Departmental Chair, Geography and Geology.
“He was the first professor to really have a huge impact on me. His teaching style and passion for the subject really spoke to me. Dr. Deborah Woodman (Sociology) is another wonderful person and an outstanding professor. She was always there for me.”
And Evan’s will continue to be there for Algoma U. He plans to remain closely connected as an involved and supportive alum.
Written by: Rick McGee