March 25, 2011 5:45 AM
Bobby Thompson, a heavy equipment operator in Tulane Facilities Services, literally has worked in the trenches at the university. Thompson is one of two employees honored for 45 years of service at employee recognition events this week. The other 45-year honoree is George Cole, an animal care technician at the Tulane National Primate Research Center.
Thompson drives a backhoe to dig around the foundations of buildings, particularly when steam lines need repairing. “I remember when we dug all the pipes out from under the Tulane Stadium before they demolished it [in 1980],” Thompson said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes.”
Thompson said he is “a little country boy from Mississippi” who learned to drive a tractor on his daddy’s farm before learning to drive a car. He participated in a training program called Job Corps that led to his Tulane job.
Cole said the primate center also has changed a lot since he started working there, with more and more buildings and medical research. He would like people to know “how important this research is to mankind. There are a lot of things that wouldn’t have been cured without this work.”
At the uptown event on Monday (March 21) for staff members who celebrated 2010 anniversaries of five to 45 years, Tulane President Scott Cowen said, “I always say it’s three things that make a great university — people, programs and place.”
The Tulane Workforce Management Organization also threw luncheon parties on the health sciences campus downtown and at the primate center to recognize a total of 305 staff members universitywide with 4,230 combined years of service.
Each honoree received a certificate and a commemorative Tulane award pin in a shadow box. Those celebrating 10 years and above also received a catalog from which to choose a gift. The 25-year celebrants will receive a special chair.
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