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Steven Heinrich, Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award winner

May 9, 2013

Steven Heinrich’s job doesn’t stop when the lights are switched off at the end of the day. As a research maintenance technician for the biology department, if something breaks down at 3 a.m., Heinrich is there to assess the problem and find a solution.

The Mr. Fix-It of Tucker and Lefevre halls, and Tucker and Botany greenhouses, Heinrich is responsible for maintaining all research and teaching equipment — from autoclaves and growth chambers to air conditioning equipment and compressors — used by students and faculty. Heinrich also helps build research equipment for graduate student research projects.

“He fixes everything that needs to be fixed,” said Barbara Sonderman, coordinator of greenhouse facilities, “and he fixes it so well, and builds equipment so well that it hardly ever needs to be replaced or fixed again if he has worked on it. Our department really needs four or five Steves.”

Heinrich gets requests from professors, graduate students and staff, and his to-do list expands daily with new requests to build new equipment or fix old equipment. In an effort to conserve resources and save the department money, Heinrich recycles and reuses materials and equipment parts whenever possible.

In his nine years at MU, Heinrich has learned how to look at a piece of equipment and immediately diagnose whether it needs to be replaced, recycled or rebuilt. Described as resourceful, reliable, efficient and responsible, Heinrich takes his job seriously.

“He takes a lot of pride in his work,” Sonderman said, “and makes me want to take pride in mine.”

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Reprinted with permission from Mizzou Weekly

Related categories:
Awards, Staff