Cummings receives top administrative staff honor

Tom Cummings, winner of the 2018 Michael R. Ferrari Award

The fact that the WBGU-TV, University’s public television station, stays on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year is due in large part to the efforts of Tom Cummings, director of engineering and technical services. In addition, Cummings assists the University community and the external community in numerous significant ways.

His many years of dedication and expertise have earned Cummings’ the 2018 Michael R. Ferrari Award from Administrative Staff Council. He accepted the award at the council’s annual spring reception May 15. As the top administrative staff award, it includes a $1,000 cash prize and a reserved parking spot for a year.

“Whether it’s providing the streaming service for important University addresses or events or managing the vastly more complex transition of the station’s signal as a result of the FCC bandwidth auction, Tom brings his considerable knowledge, expertise and organizational skills to the job at hand,” wrote nominator Dave Kielmeyer, chief marketing and communications officer. “He is a calm and steady presence in keeping the station on the air and in handling the various problems that can arise in such a technical environment.”

According to Tony Short, co-manager of the station, “Tom can always be counted on to cover every aspect of the broadcast and IT area. His knowledge of broadcasting and the television station’s computer systems is extraordinarily thorough and his outstanding job performance reflects his understanding and expertise in all of these areas. His professionalism and organizational skills have proved invaluable to the success and the digital advancement of WBGU-TV.”

Cummings’ latest project is leading the move of the WBGU-TV signal from Channel 27 to Channel 22 after the spectrum auction, a nearly $400,000 project that must meet a deadline of Nov. 1. He is working closely with local cable and satellite providers, the FCC, television tower engineers, tower riggers and television broadcast vendors to design the project, supervise the installation and bring everything online.

“Tom is strong in both technical and “people” skills, whether dealing with faculty, staff, students or external partners,” Kielmeyer said. “He adeptly keeps a number of weighty projects going at once while providing a high level of focus and service to each. He models the Ferrari Award criterion of innovation and initiative, always seeking the best solution to problems and bringing together the talents of others to accomplish the goal.”

It’s not only WBGU that benefits from Cummings’ expertise, Short said. When the new Kuhlin Center was being planned and outfitted, Cummings played a major role in bringing the necessary equipment online to implement the facility’s educational strategies, benefitting students and enhancing their experience in the cutting-edge facility.

“Tom also contributed extra time after hours by helping with preparing the building technology and setting up equipment so we could be ready for the first semester in the new building,” said Andrew Charter, media technology specialist. “Tom has continued to contribute by helping instructors and technical staff troubleshoot issues that have been encountered throughout the past few semesters. By helping resolve these issues, classes have been able to progress without interruption and issues have been resolved quicker in some instances than they would have been had he not been available to help.”

He has also led the ESPN3 and athletics video streaming project for BGSU men’s and women’s basketball, hockey, soccer, volleyball, swimming and track events. “Working closely with Athletics, Campus Operations and faculty from the School of Media and Communication, he has operationalized the vision of streaming athletic events to BGSU athletic fans around the world. Many of these athletic productions require large student crews. Tom always takes time from his engineering responsibilities to assist student production employees,” Short said. He also collaborates with instructor Ken Garland to help students in broadcast journalism get experience in sports announcing.

“He continually works ‘above and beyond’ toward a goal of making this a premier institution,” Short said. “It takes many motivated and committed individuals to move this institution forward, and Tom is one of the standard-bearers of this group. To put it simply, he is the person you go to get something done.”

Updated: 05/16/2018 02:16PM