Minnesota West Community & Technical College Vice President of Administration was recently awarded the 2016 Chancellor’s Award during the 2016 Chief Financial Officers conference held in December in St. Paul and recognized for significant contributions and outstanding efforts. The award recognizes leadership for excellence in financial management and facilities management. It also recognizes the significant contributions and outstanding efforts of special employees at Minnesota State colleges and universities. Laura King, Minnesota State Vice Chancellor – Chief Financial Officer notes, “Lori created new financial models that improved efficiencies, increased resources, and led to better services for students and staff. She has served on countless system wide committees, most recently as one of the two CFO Representatives on the Long Term Financial Sustainability work group.”

Minnesota West Community & Technical College Vice President of Administration was recently awarded the 2016 Chancellor’s Award during the 2016 Chief Financial Officers conference held in December in St. Paul and recognized for significant contributions and outstanding efforts. The award recognizes leadership for excellence in financial management and facilities management. It also recognizes the significant contributions and outstanding efforts of special employees at Minnesota State colleges and universities. Laura King, Minnesota State Vice Chancellor – Chief Financial Officer notes, “Lori created new financial models that improved efficiencies, increased resources, and led to better services for students and staff. She has served on countless system wide committees, most recently as one of the two CFO Representatives on the Long Term Financial Sustainability work group.”

Lori Voss comment about her career at Minnesota West, “My role has always been one of making behind the scenes process more and more efficient – with the goal of providing a better student experience. The college (originally Canby, Granite Falls, Jackson and Pipestone) was in its infancy when I was hired. The role had yet to be fully defined, but started with business office activities, soon followed by human resources and facilities. We operated as a school district at the time, but received aid only from the State Technical Board and tuition/fees.”

The single, most dramatic change(s) were in 1995 when the “Mega-Merger” into the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System occurred. Changes spawned by this merger were:

· Changes in cash management – locally managed & invested funds to funds held in the state treasury

· Change in the registration system (that’s about all it did at the time) from a locally developed product to ISRS

· Change in the accounting system from the same system used by local school districts, managed through the Southwest/West Central Service Coop, to ISRS with our data hub housed in Mankato

· Change from negotiating labor contracts with local unions to being under the umbrella of either state or Board of Trustee negotiated contracts In 1997, the four campuses of Southwestern Technical College were merged with Worthington Community College to form Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

“The changes with this merger, for me were minor, but for students and the college, were massive. Along with being part of a larger state-wide system, students in our region were now served under the umbrella of a college that offered both technical and liberal arts programming, expanded opportunities for arts and athletics and a far greater offering of student services. Academics would soon be offering general education ITV courses to all of our campuses which would quickly be followed by online education offerings.

This expansion of programming provided access to a broader audience – something that would provide for an educated workforce, available for employers in our region of the state.” Minnesota West President Dr. Terry Gaalswyk adds, “Lori has worked tirelessly to contribute to the financial sustainability not only of the college but the system as a whole.

Lori has announced her retirement this spring and I am delighted that we have this occasion to thank her for her leadership, her focus on students and her service to her college, her region and the state.”