Stoverink leaves SEMO for Arkansas State job

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Al Stoverink, who spent the past 11 years overseeing major building projects at Southeast Missouri State University, will leave the school at the end of the year to take a similar administrative job at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro as assistant vice chancellor for facilities.

"It's a little fancier title," said Stoverink, who has directed the facilities management department at Southeast. The department has been involved in everything from planning building projects to maintaining campus buildings.

A large, framed montage of photographs of new campus buildings is stacked against one wall in Stoverink's Southeast office, a parting gift from the school. It is a reminder of just how much the university campus has been transformed under Stoverink, who has had a hand in every major building project at Southeast since October 1993.

Dempster Hall, the Seabaugh Polytechnic Building, the recreation fields complex, a new residence hall, the facilities management building and the transitway for the shuttle buses are just some of the major projects he oversaw.

His resume also includes supervision of everything from the renovation of the social science building and the University Center to expansion of the Student Recreation Center and major improvements to the campus power plant that have allowed the university to once again generate some of its own electricity.

Since 1998, Stoverink and his staff have spent many hours planning for development of the River Campus arts school, a project that involves renovations to a historic building and new construction on the grounds of a former Catholic seminary. Stoverink said he'll miss working on the project. Construction could get underway next year. Stoverink said he plans to return for the dedication of the new riverfront campus when the project is finished in a few years.

Right now he's looking ahead to his new job supervising a staff of about 180 employees and overseeing a new residence hall project at Arkansas State.

But he won't be alone. A son, John, who is a freshman at Southeast, is transferring to Arkansas State to be with his father.

"That is going to be a neat opportunity for the two of us," said the elder Stoverink.

Arkansas State's Jonesboro campus has about 11,000 students, making it slightly larger than Southeast.

Stoverink's new job comes with a big perk. He and his family will live in a house on the Jonesboro campus, making for an easy walk to the office.

Southeast officials admit they couldn't match that offer. "Obviously, it is an advancement into a position that pays better than we can," said Don Dickerson, president of Southeast's board of regents.

Dickerson said Stoverink, a graduate of Southeast, will be hard to replace. "He has done a great job. He is a very fine guy. He has really cared about this institution," said Dickerson. "Al is just like family."

Sought by ASU

Stoverink said he didn't go looking for a new job. Arkansas State officials approached him. "It is very gratifying to know you have been sought out," he said.

Still, he said it took some convincing to get him to leave Southeast.

The fact that Arkansas State was looking for someone to manage an already well-run department appealed to him. "It's a matter of fine-tuning," he said.

Stoverink said the public may associate him strictly with construction projects at Southeast, but he has enjoyed helping employees develop their job skills and plans to implement a similar management style at Arkansas State.

He coped with heart problems and underwent heart bypass surgery within the past few years. That forced him to exercise and eat right and better manage the stress of administrative duties.

"I have a very clean bill of health right now," he said.

Stoverink grew up in Cape Girardeau County and started his career in public administration in city government.

He worked as administrative assistant to the city manager in Cape Girardeau in 1978 and 1979. He served as city administrator in Perryville, Mo., from 1980 to 1985 before returning to Cape Girardeau city government in the then-new role of city finance director.

In 1988, he became assistant city manager for the city of Cape Girardeau, a position he held until taking the job at Southeast.

With Stoverink's departure from Southeast, Dr. Dennis Holt, vice president of administration and enrollment management, temporarily will take over some of the facilities management duties until a new director is hired, school officials said.

335-6611, extension 123

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