Speed School shows off new business center

Speed School shows off new business center

Speed School Business Center Manager Laura Netwon cuts the ribbon during an open house.

by John R. Karman III

The J.B. Speed School of Engineering on Tuesday unveiled its new business center, a shared-service space where employees handle a wide range of human resources, financial, accounting and grant-related tasks.

The center, which brings together unit business managers from the Speed School’s eight academic departments and its office of academic affairs, is located on the second floor of the Vogt Building in space that previously housed an open computer lab. It officially opened last month and has 10 staff members, led by business center manager Laura Newton.

The center shares space with the Speed School’s information technology operation.

John Usher, Speed School’s associate dean for administration, planning and faculty affairs, oversaw the creation of the business center. He said its formation will allow the school to significantly improve the quality and timeliness of business processes, provide better accountability to those served and meet the university mandate to improve financial controls.

“It’s been a good thing to centralize and get all these people together,” Usher said.

The new center also will serve as a pilot study, according to Usher, for UofL to examine how it might implement similar shared-service operations across the university, as part of UofL’s 21st Century Initiative. And the creation of the center was called for in the Speed School 2020 Strategic Plan.

Speed School Dean Neville Pinto noted that the need for a shared-service center was identified in late 2011, and plans for the space were developed in the past year.

He called the center an example of the university’s “responsible stewardship” and said it will enable the staff there to “do things more efficiently and effectively.”