“Bernier is devoted in his job and wants everyone at Moraine Valley – students, staff and faculty – to succeed. He demonstrates initiative, leadership and dedication in his work,” said his nominator about Larry Bernier, this year’s recipient of the Robert E. Turner Award.
Bernier is well known for exhibiting a pleasant demeanor while making deliveries across campus. That attitude comes naturally for him because he said the best part of his job is getting out to deliver packages to offices around the college. “It doesn’t matter the temperature or the weather, I enjoy going to other buildings and seeing everybody,” Bernier said. “I think I’m one of the rare employees who gets to see people in many offices each day. I get to really feel the pulse of the campus.”
He started in the Campus Operations department in 2014 and moved to Shipping and Receiving three years ago. However, his connection to Moraine Valley goes much further back. After graduating from high school, he took business classes here. As a teen, he knew he wanted to run his own business, so he started a small restaurant and successfully remained in that industry for over 30 years before deciding it was time to give up the 18-hour days. “When I saw a job opening at the college that I thought I had the right background and aptitude for, I applied and I got it, which was fantastic,” he said. “Moraine Valley is my alma mater, and it’s like a second home.”
Bernier’s responsibilities include unloading packages from the delivery trucks that arrive each day, processing them into the PO and tracking systems, maintaining equipment and vehicles, collecting pallets and other items that can be recycled across campus, and delivering packages to all three campus locations. This year has presented unique challenges as two of the four employees in his department retired at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. So he and Azia Martin, warehouse supervisor, have been handling all the work. “We had to keep our social distance, which is difficult to do when you’re unloading from the back of trucks, but we found a way to make it work with schedule adjustments and lots of COVID rules,” he said.
His nominator highlighted the importance of Bernier’s work and said, “Because packages are delivered to the appropriate department, students are able to receive the lab kits and books they need, faculty can teach with the materials they need and departments can continue to run efficiently.”
Bernier appreciates having the opportunity to help others. “Knowing students are getting what they need to learn and faculty are getting what they need to teach is a great feeling. We believe we are a critical piece of the hub that helps get the mission of the college accomplished,” he said, adding he was surprised when he learned he was receiving the Robert E. Turner Award. “I go to work every day with a smile on my face. I like coming here to work with so many wonderful people. Why do you get an award for doing something you really like? That’s unusual, but I am grateful,” he said.