April 24, 2017
Facilities Management
Bill Paulus


Congratulations Les Potts

Dear FM,

It is with great pride that I announce the exceptional achievement of one of our own. Les Potts, Landcare Superintendent, has been presented the 2017 President’s Award for Outstanding Service. This award recognizes service and commitment to the University community well beyond the regular duties of a faculty or staff member, and it is awarded to only a handful of employees across the University system each year. The following excerpt from Les’ nomination speaks to his incredible impact at the University:

“It is no exaggeration to say that literally every student, faculty and staff member, and visitor to our clinics, athletic venues and other events has been in a position to appreciate Les’s work to transform and enhance our magnificent campus.

Our Landcare Department takes year-round ownership of all campus grounds, from snow removal in the winter, to thousands of bulbs planted for spring blooms, to the rich green lawns of summer. Our campus has developed a shining reputation for being welcoming, functional and beautiful in every season, which is largely attributed to the leadership, dedication and outright hard work of Les Potts. The University consistently ranks among the top campuses in the country. Most recently rated #1 in the 18 Most Beautiful Campuses by, our grounds are a point of Gopher pride.”

Kathleen O’Brien, former vice president for University Services, also recommended Les:

“During the 70s to 90s, the University operated in a culture of austerity … The physical appearance of the Twin Cities campus suffered. When he became President, Mark Yudof challenged the University to recognize the importance of appearances … Landcare, under Les Potts leadership, took up President Yudof’s challenge. It instituted “Beautiful U Day”—supported University departments in cleaning out their closets, refreshing the flower beds and including all University community members in the effort.

Les Potts leadership brought enthusiasm not only to Landcare, but across the University.  The University culture changed, the community recognized that looking good was important; it meant we took our place, ourselves, our University and our work seriously … As the University evolved from “Beautiful U” to a commitment to sustainability, again Les Potts and his Landcare unit have been leaders in advancing a “green” Twin Cities campus.”

Les started at the U in 1977 as a gardener at the Landscape Arboretum and in 1981 he was hired to work on the St. Paul Campus Grounds Program. In 1986, Les became the Grounds Superintendent, a position he still holds today. Les retires from the University this week, so please join me in congratulating him for receiving this elite honor, thanking him for 40 years of outstanding service and wishing him well in his next adventure.

I know Les would be the first to point out that our beautiful campus is the result of many people working together and doing their part every day - which I completely agree with. But this week, Les, there’s no passing the spotlight to someone else like you usually do… it’s all about you!   

Have a great week,


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Bill Paulus the interim AVP for FM
Bill Paulus is the interim Associate Vice President for Facilities Management. He regularly publishes memos to communicate information and issues that affect FM staff.