He’s the first to admit that working in higher education wasn’t part of a grand plan.
“It was a fluke,” says Josh Le Vesque. “I spent a lot of time in community college, aimlessly wandering and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I kept going to school while working. When the housing market crashed, I was working for a building supply company. A friend of mine told me about an opening at the University of California, Riverside.”
After three years at the University of California, Riverside, campus store, Le Vesque moved to Chapman University in Orange, where he is now special projects administrator in the office of the executive vice president.
What are a few of your special projects at Chapman?
Recently, I supervised the implementation of a vendor system called UniversityTickets, after a lengthy RFP process. Every day, we have dozens of events—from NCAA Division III athletics to our robust performing arts program. With one of the top film schools in the United States, we have a lot of film screenings and productions. Our goal was to get everyone on one system that would uniformly satisfy all of Chapman’s patrons.
This system allows students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the community to visit a Web site and receive their tickets electronically. They don’t have to print out anything. They can show up at the game or production, and the usher can scan the tickets from their phones.
Any other assignments?
I have been fortunate to work on many. When I came to Chapman in 2010, we had just acquired CollegeNET’s 25Live. Since then, I’ve trained about 600 staff members and students on the system, which allows them to request facilities for events they want to host on campus. In one stop, they can request a particular room, specify catering and audiovisual needs, and order tables and chairs. Once their events are approved, they can post them to the campus calendar.
I also worked with our student leadership to bring the Zipcar program to our campus, which allows students to borrow vehicles on an hourly basis.
How have students responded to Zipcar?
Very positively. We have an extremely high utilization rate, especially on weekends and evenings. Let’s say you’re a student living on campus and want to go to the beach or visit Disneyland for an afternoon. Or you need to make a quick trip to the grocery store. You borrow one of the cars for an hour, bring it back, and have no obligations for insurance, car payments, or parking.
What’s your operating style?
I like to understand not just the “how,” but also the “why.” So I ask a lot of questions.
Tell us more about yourself.
I’m recently married. My wife, Bri—a reporting analyst in the advancement division—was hired a few months after I started here and we met at a lunch with colleagues. We live in a university-owned home, and I literally walk across the street for work. I’m also a graduate student at Chapman, working on my MBA with an emphasis in finance.
And what do you do for fun?
Bri and I both enjoy Disneyland. We go there occasionally and walk around for a few hours. We’re people watchers.
Your favorite ride is…
…Pirates of the Caribbean, one of the old classics.
I notice you’re on WACUBO’s professional development committee.
Yes, I am honored to serve. I think it is important for business officers to get involved with their regional associations. You can benefit from sharing experiences.
How should NACUBO and WACUBO interact with each other?
By keeping an open dialogue among leadership, so the message to policy makers in Washington effectively communicates the positions of regional as well as national interests. NACUBO is the public face for business officers at the national level. The regional bodies meet the unique needs of particular states and regions. It’s important to have both.
MARGO VANOVER PORTER, Locust Grove, Virginia, covers higher education business issues for Business Officer.