She shoots guns, rides a Harley – and she bakes cookies and runs circles around the competition with a Hula Hoop. And when Alice Dilts isn’t on the firing range, riding the range or in front of the range in her kitchen, she’s a building service foreman at the Illini Union. Shortly after graduating from Centennial High School, Dilts worked at the UI in accounting for nine months, then left to pursue other opportunities before returning to the university and working as a clerk in the Purchasing Division for three years. Dilts joined Housing Facilities Building Services in 1989, where she worked for 16 years before joining the Illini Union as a building subforeman. She has been in her current job for about two years and is a member of the Staff Advisory Council.
Tell me about your job.
The building service workers that work on the 4 p.m. to midnight shift do about 80 percent of the set-ups in the building, so we get the meeting rooms ready, clean the rooms, sweep the carpets. We set them up for meetings, receptions, theater style, whatever the instructions are on the set-up sheet. We have a crew of five people every evening. We work a lot with the student groups that have evening events.
I like working with the students and the various registered student organizations that have events in the building. It’s a learning process for them, learning how to organize an event.
How many events do you handle?
We could get up to 1,000 a month during a busy time.
What’s the biggest challenge in your job?
Making sure that everything is ready to go on time. And I have to be pretty organized. We have what we call ‘turnovers,’ where a room has to be cleaned and rearranged between two events that may be only an hour apart. We can run into problems if the first group runs late and the next group shows up early. It can be a big challenge getting it done properly and quickly.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
My husband, Joe, and I both have Harley-Davidson motorcycles. We’re members of the Harley Owners Group. This summer, we rode out to Montana to visit his family. From Billings, Mont., to where my in-laws live in Stevensville, we rode through four or five mountain ranges. We headed south and came back on a different route. We did some sight-seeing on the way back, and I think we crossed the Continental Divide four times.
I do bead work. My mother-in-law and I took a beading class and made jewelry with Swarovski crystals while we were there. I used red and purple in mine because I’m the queen of the Gauche Cloches Red Hat Society chapter in Champaign. We meet once a month for dinner and sometimes go to other activities. I went to a 1950s party recently at the Beef House in Covington, Ind., and took second place in the Hula Hoop competition.
I’m also a member of the Faculty-Staff Firearms Training Program. You go through training and then you can go shoot at the Police Training Institute firearms range. We also have a membership at the LeRoy Rifle and Pistol Club.
I like to read mysteries: Janet Evanovich, Kathy Reichs, Rita Mae Brown, J.A. Jance. I keep a running list of books to look for at the library.
Joe is a Housing maintenance inspector and was a building maintenance foreman before that. Our daughter, Krystal Grace, is a coordinator for Housing Administration.
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