On the job: Linda Kemplin
Linda Kemplin started as the Extra Help receptionist in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in April 2000 and was hired permanently in Oct0ober 2000. In July 2001, Kemplin moved to the NRES Human Resources Office and was the human resource manager there until a few weeks ago, when she accepted a similar position in the department of crop sciences.
What does your job entail?
As the HR manager, I process visas, coordinate (employee) searches, payroll, process new hires, anything to do with appointments. I’m doing a 50/50 split between NRES and crop sciences while I train a new person for my old job.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety. You just never know when you come in in the morning what that day is going to be like. It’s such a variety of duties that it’s not too repetitious. I talk to a lot of people. I’ve met quite a few characters over the years.
I have to be a little assertive sometimes in encouraging everyone to follow the rules. It can be stressful at times.
It can be very complex working with the university and state regulations and rules and keeping up with all the changes. It keeps my brain muscles strong. It’s a continual learning process.
I’ve been participating in the testing for the new HR module that is going to be implemented with the Banner human resources system.
What were you doing before you came to the university?
My husband, Jay, and I owned a baseball card and memorabilia shop, Upper Deck Sports Cards, in Urbana for 10 years. Right before I came to the UI, I worked in the human resources department at a local heating and air conditioning company.
Are you from the Champaign area originally?
My father was in the Navy, so we moved up and down the East and West coasts. We lived in the Gulf area for a while. I’ve been in the Champaign area for about the last 23 years. I have a 17-year-old son who is starting his senior year at Farmer City this year, and will probably be coming to the UI next year. He’s interested in medicine, specifically pharmacology.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Jay and I have an antique shop, Times Past, in Farmer City. We love antiques and collecting. I collect Coca-Cola items, old pottery, anything that catches my eye. It’s great having an antique shop because then I get to see everything that comes in.
We just got back from a week at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago. We set up a booth at the convention every year and wheel and deal. We specialize in sports memorabilia from the early 1900s to the 1960s.
What kinds of vintage sports items do you have?
We have a life-size wax figure of Babe Ruth that’s pretty unique. He stands in our game room most of the year, but we take him out to the card shows every now and then. We took him to the convention. Everyone who sees him is either fascinated by him or scared to death of him.
We have a lot of Mickey Mantle and Elvis Presley items. One of our first sales at the convention was an autographed photo of Elvis. Elvis is a draw anywhere you take him. We are die-hard Cubs fans and have a lot of Cubs memorabilia.
I’m going to decorate my new office here in old UI photos and memorabilia. I have some postcards from the 1920s and 1930s, and some other things we’ve picked up.
I also like to cook and garden. One of the best ways for me to de-stress is to slice and dice in the kitchen or get my fingers in the dirt. I read quite a bit: Stephen King, mysteries and just ‘fluff’ novels sometimes.
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