Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


Marti Moon reflects on her 50-year-career at the University

Posted: May 3, 2016

Marti Moon reflects on her 50-year-career at the University Marti with her family in 2014 after she received the Judith A. Pitney Staff Service Career Award

In 1966, a teenaged Marti Moon took a job as a secretary in the University of Michigan Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL). 50 years later, Marti continues to work for SPRL and the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering department.

How did the University earn Marti’s loyalty for 50 years?

“It’s the people, definitely the people,” Marti says. “And the joy of serving...I’ve been given a servant's heart.”

In the 1960s, Marti believed she would put her servant’s heart to use as a homemaker, and perhaps volunteer with the elderly because she had a passion for it. Her plans were reinforced by her late husband, Norm, who was of the mindset that his wife would not work outside the home.

When Norm was drafted, Marti realized their plans were going to change. Her sister-in-law was working for the University at the time, and she encouraged Marti to interview for a job. That interview was with George Carignan, who was the Space Physics Research Laboratory Director at the time. She got the job, and served as his secretary for 18 years.

In 1981 Marti was promoted from secretary to office manager. In 1991, she moved from clerical work to facilities work.

“I didn’t choose my job, my job chose me,” Marti says of working in facilities. She says that her supervisor in 1991, Phil Brooks, wanted to promote her. The College told him that the only way he could do it would be if he gave her a role in facilities. So, he gave her one.

At the time, Marti was supervising the clerical staff and felt like the “mother hen.” It was hard for her to leave that position, but she says “I’m glad that door opened up.”

Today, Marti is the facilities manager for the department. In a nutshell, she supervises all renovations, repairs and building maintenance issues in the Space Research Building. It would take many more paragraphs to describe everything Marti does for the department!

Marti’s hard work has been recognized by the College of Engineering a few times. In 1992 she received an Excellence in Staff Service Award and in 2014 she received the Judith A. Pitney Staff Service Career Award.

Over the years, a few experiences have stood out, including shaking Carl Sagan’s hand, hosting an exchange student for three months and attending a colleague’s wedding in North Carolina.

Another experience that stands out, but in a different light, is the 1992 East Wing expansion.

“We had to move the faculty out before it could be built. That was a challenge,” Marti says. She explains that while moving people out was difficult, moving them back in was harder. It’s impossible to find a plan that pleases everyone, since everybody has their own preferences for office and lab space. While it was a challenge, it was also a new experience, and that’s something that keeps the job interesting for Marti year after year.

“No two days have ever been the same,” she says.

The department hopes to keep things interesting for Marti for many years to come!

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