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  • CBS2 Steps Forward
  • Welcome to New Staff
  • Contributing to Monday Memo
  • "Keep Calm & Remote On" Returns
  • Profile: Koy Saephanh
  • Question of the Month
Michael Mike Riley
Greetings, Division of Finance and Administration colleagues, 

We’re just a few weeks away from a fall semester unlike any we’ve experienced. The COVID-19 outbreak has yet to loosen its grip, and the university has responded with measures mitigating the spread of coronavirus and protecting the campus community. 
The measures include minimizing the number of people on campus sites, continuing all-remote instruction at the start of the semester, and following steps to protect our health and ensure we don’t put others at risk. Our incredible colleagues in Dining Services, Housing, TAPS and Cashiering are on site, preparing for the arrival of hundreds of students who still are coming to live on campus.
Because of COVID-19's powerful blow to the economy, job security is a common concern. I want to assure you that preserving jobs is a primary goal at UC Merced, and that we’ve taken bold steps to ensure that goal.
Every day, our essential staff and those who have worked remotely for months (and will continue to do so for a while longer) go above and beyond to serve the needs of UC Merced. I appreciate your efforts more than I can say. Most of all, though, I urge you to take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Follow the instructions of local and state health experts. Maintain physical distancing. Wear a face covering. Wash your hands. Until vaccines are available, the best offense is a strong defense. 

Be well and stay safe. 
Michael Riley, CPA
Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
As we navigate all the course changes caused by the pandemic, remember to keep an eye on your inbox for fresh guidance, and check the Campus Ready site regularly for updates, guidance and answers to frequently asked questions. 
The Project Portfolio Financial Management Department (PPFM) is pleased to welcome two team members. Rosie Ricketts comes aboard as PPFM Lead and Nicholas Krapfl as PPFM Analyst. Both joined the team July 27. 
Please take a look at the project page posted on the DFA website for the Center for Business Services and Solutions, better known as CBS2. The center is the next phase of the Administrative Coordination Team (ACT), which, since 2015, has provided centralized administrative support to numerous university departments.

The mission of CBS2 is to offer the established high standards of service and quality to the entire campus. Many members of the CBS2 team have sharpened their acumen through years of service with ACT or with other administrative roles on campus. Together, they will save time and money by streamlining administrative tasks and allowing people to focus more on their departments’ unique roles. 
Personal protection equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, nitrile gloves and disinfecting wipes soon can be ordered from the university’s Emergency Operations Center. Procurement is developing a request form in Bobcat Buy that will streamline the process to request items from central inventory. Procurement also has purchased five vending machines that will dispense 4-ounce containers of hand sanitizer. The machines, which respond to CatCards, will be at key locations on campus later this month. 
Working from home will continue to be pandemic status quo for those able to do so. Human Resources announced that staff telework agreements are extended to Jan. 10, 2021. You won’t have to fill out a form; the extension is automatic. 
Monday Memo, a newsletter to university faculty and staff, launched in April and has quickly become a popular way to kickstart the week. And two Division colleagues are regular contributors. Talent Development Manager Kevin Reyes serves up links to inspirational videos from LinkedIn Learning. Danielle Waite, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Development Center, provides lists of imaginative activities to engage kids at home with their working parents. Check your Monday inbox for the next Memo! 
The 2020-21 Staff Assembly Executive Board has two DFA colleagues: Past President Priya Lakireddy (Contracts Administrator in Procurement) and Secretary Ian Cooke (Administrative Assistant, FAST Team). Congratulations to both! 
“Keep Calm and Remote On,” the popular online conversation about the challenges of working from home, returns with two sessions this month. The webinars are co-hosted by Human Resources and the Office of the Ombuds. Hosts include Talent Development Manager Kevin Reyes and Conflict Resolution Coach Luke Wiesner. Sessions are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 4 and Aug. 18. Virtual seats are limited and previous gatherings filled up quickly, so don’t hesitate to register. 
What’s your job title? Life Sciences Category Manager and Procurement and Contracts. 
What does your job entail? Managing contracts and vendor relationships with Life Sciences vendors and, in a broader sense, research-based vendors and suppliers. Managing the procurement aspects of Life Sciences Commodity within campus as it pertains to different policies and procedures.  
What do you enjoy the most about it? Discovery. We are not always able to go on campus and see the full scope of research happening here. So when many of the larger procurement pieces come through our office, I get to research and understand what the needs are and, in a sense, what the research is about. I am always amazed by the things that are happening, or will be happening, right here in my little town. 
How long have you been with UC Merced? Fifteen months. 
What do you do to relax? Hide in a Huddle Room.  
Where in your home do you work remotely? Office? Kitchen table? I have taken over the dead space in my “dining room” and parked myself with a view of the swimming pool I long to jump into during these hot summer days.  
What’s your comfort food? Laotian papaya salad! Or pho! Savory and spicy.  
What’s your favorite social media platform? I must admit I’m still a Facebook-er. Have been since ’04 or ’05, I believe. UC Berkeley was one of the first universities the platform spread out to in the early days. GO BEARS! 
The zombie apocalypse is here. Who are three people you want on your team?Michelle Obama. Lin-Manuel Miranda (I’m obsessed with “Hamilton.” I could never afford tickets, but I can afford Disney+ with a toddler). Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’m sure we could argue, sing or negotiate our way out of becoming zombies with this group. 
Each month, we turn a spotlight on one of our division colleagues to learn about their lives with UC Merced and beyond. Is there someone you would like to nominate for the monthly profile? Let us know. 
Thanks to those who responded to last month’s question: Have you ever met a celebrity? Details, please. Here’s what we learned: 
Mitch Vanagten, Dining Services: I met former 49ers coach Bill Walsh in 2005 at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton, where I was working at the time. It was a fundraising dinner and I was carving prime rib at the buffet. We chatted about the Niners and what he was doing in retirement. I also met baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays that night. I mentioned that we shared the same birthday, May 6, and he came back later with an autographed baseball for me.
Renie Fagundes, General Accounting: I used to work nights at the front desk at a hotel on Cannery Row and met several. I had them to sign a guest book we had for celebrities. Jodie Foster, Treat Williams, Brooke Shields (stayed with a sheik who rented out the whole floor and paid in cash from a metal briefcase) and John Madden (got to try on one of his Super Bowl rings). I also had a drink with Clint Eastwood at his bar in Carmel (he joined our table one night after work).
Sana Ramzan, Human Resources / Benefits: I met Pakistani actor Faisal Rehman on my flight from Dubai to Pakistan in 2015. I always saw him on TV shows my mom watched while I was growing up and the characters he played always seemed kind. It was nice to meet him in person, and he was just as kind in person as he seemed in his acting roles.

This month’s question: 
What’s your favorite sport and why? Baseball, basketball, football, soccer? Something else? 
Please submit your response by Friday, July 24. Selected answers will be published in the next DFA Update. We look forward to discovering more about our talented team members!
Do you have questions? Feedback you want to share? Something you want to put into the next newsletter? Reach out via our Comment Box or by emailing us at dofa@ucmerced.edu
DFA Update, a newsletter for the Division of Finance and Administration, is published monthly. Follow these links to catch up on news in earlier issues: