Newly installed as assistant dean for planning and administration in the School of Social Sciences, Mike Delo ’91 sits on a big, yellow “stability ball” to straighten his back when working at the computer.
It’s quite a different position from where his UCI career began 30 years ago: in the mail room – seriously. He has climbed the proverbial ladder from delivering campus mail, serving as manager of central records and mail services from 1980 to 1987, then director of parking and transportation services, where he stayed for 17 years until moving to social sciences in April.
A stronger example of dedication and stable leadership would be hard to find in any organization. Delo met his wife, Carol, along his mail route when she was employed in the Career Center. In June, the couple will celebrate 29 years of marriage, during which they raised a UCI family. Their oldest son Bill ’00 is a social ecology alumnus. Second son Ben is a junior in social sciences. Delo himself has a UCI bachelor’s degree in social ecology and, at age 50, he looks forward to another decade at UCI.
School of Social Sciences Dean Barbara Dosher is fine with that. “We are very lucky to have Mike as assistant dean. He has consistently exhibited personal leadership and effective financial stewardship, and has an enviable track record in supporting staff.”
Known for his good-natured personal style, Delo also has a deep sense of how the campus operates and an institutional memory that connects him with the right “go-to” people for any project.
He’ll need it for the challenges ahead, adds Dosher. As assistant dean, he’s in charge of a tightening budget that includes administrative expenses, staff salaries and the physical resources of the school. He’ll also oversee construction of a new social sciences/social ecology building.
While director of parking, Delo was involved in building three parking structures and planning a fourth, in addition to streamlining permit procedures and handling the inevitable complaints. “I made an effort to listen and accommodate requests, but it’s just as important to have a logical reason when the answer is no,” he says.
“Mike is a ‘broad-bandwidth’ manager,” says former boss Wendell Brase, vice chancellor of administrative and business services. “He has been a key contributor to A&BS initiatives that received nationwide recognition for administrative best practices. And his management perspective has extended in valuable ways well beyond parking operations.” So it’s no surprise that Delo is now establishing a firm footing as an academic business officer.