A Huskie You Should Know: Spotlight on Operating Staff

A Huskie you should know: Spotlight on operating staff
Featured civil service employee: David Pevonka

Pevonka–building services worker, NIU starting pitcher and trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange

David Pevonka

  • Dave Pevonka, a building services worker at the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center (BAVC), has an interesting story to tell about his past. Some NIU faculty and staff may remember him from when he was an NIU student; he was a starting pitcher and a corporate fitness major from 1980-1983. He spent 17 years as a trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange prior to working at NIU.

A Huskie baseball player from 1980-1983, he is one of the elite group of Huskie baseball players who is an all-time letterwinner for his pitching skills in 1981. The corporate fitness student didn’t graduate because he was offered an opportunity at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

“The photo is a time snapshot of one of my favorite moments at the CME during my 17-year career. Not only did I get to shake President Bush's hand twice, but I also received an autograph and according to the secret service agent he rarely gave autographs.”

The photo was included in the official press release from the White House and was published in a number of major newspapers.

“I still follow the market because some things you can’t get out of your blood.”

After Pevonka’s career as a trader at CME, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives (financial contracts) marketplace, he started a new career at NIU Building Services.

“He pays attention to the detail of the brass walkways, elevator and door handles,” said David Haas, Director of Advancement in the College of Business, “ It’s an important task often over-looked.”

Pevonka says that he doesn’t do anything differently from the other Building Services personnel, but it’s more noticeable because of all the brass in the BAVC. He always strives to do his best in order to have a positive outcome.

“It's hard on 56 year old knees sometimes but when you make the seal in the middle of the main hall shine, it creates a feeling that the donors are being given the honor and respect for all that they have given to this fine university.”

 Haas said that the BAVC staff are appreciative of Pevonka’s dedication of a job well done.

“Our guests, which include two admission tours per day, walk into this building thinking that it is brand new every day.”

“I love the challenge of not knowing who or how many people will be stepping through the doors each day,” Pevona said, “I want families of possible future NIU students to have a good impression and leave with a good impression of NIU through their positive experience at the BAVC.  If we can encourage families to commit to NIU, than we have accomplished our goal.”

“My biggest success story is having received the opportunity to work at the BAVC. The building staff are very professional and great to be around. It’s a pleasure working with a very competent event manager, Terry Stack. She has shown me many things that have helped my productivity. I have to give credit to my past and present supervisors, foremen and crewmembers for showing me the ropes.”

Pevonka says that one of the bonuses of the job is the personal relationships he has with some NIU VIPs.

“There’s no better feeling than being respected as a human being and a member of the NIU family and not a number or a job title.” He continued, “It’s also a great feeling to have President Baker walk up to me, give me a firm hand shake and ask, ‘What’s new, Dave?’”

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