Former UHV Employee of Year retires
Charlie Striedel, assistant director of Facilities Services, was ready for retirement at the end of March, but he didn’t get to say goodbye to his friends and coworkers after his University of Houston-Victoria retirement party was canceled.
Striedel, a 68-year-old Port Lavaca resident, retired on March 31 after the university announced the cancellation or postponement of all spring semester events because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He first joined UHV’s staff in November 2004 as a custodial supervisor after working for 15 years for Calhoun County Independent School District.
He came to UHV looking for advancement opportunities. During the next 15 years, he moved up to assistant director of Facilities Services and served as interim director twice. In 2015, he was named the UHV Employee of the Year.
“Charlie was definitely the hardest-working employee in Facilities Services,” department Director John Burke said. “Charlie did everything possible to make sure any event or project ran smoothly no matter the time it took. As long as the job was complete and everyone was happy, Charlie was happy. He will be hard to replace. Charlie’s strong work ethic, positive attitude, caring personality and commitment to UHV will certainly be missed.”
Striedel decided when he first started at UHV that he wanted to retire at age 68, and now he has reached that goal.
“I figured 68 was a good age to retire because there are things I wanted to do after I finished working,” he said. “Now I can enjoy more time with my family, work on a novel I’m writing and eventually travel to the East Coast to see Washington, D.C., and other places.”
In 2015 at 63 years old, Striedel earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from UHV. He had started attending college when he was younger, first studying philosophy, then education. However, neither subject felt like a good fit, so he chose to leave college and start working. After he started his job at UHV, he decided it was time to finish his degree, and humanities fit his interests outside of work.
During his time at the university, Striedel became known as someone who stepped up to help with anything that came up at the university. Although his main duties involved supervising the custodial and Facilities Services personnel, he often lent a hand elsewhere. Sometimes that meant setting up for events, taking care of maintenance needs such as roof leaks, or moving furniture and other items between offices.
“When you’re working in a big place like UHV, there are times when a job is needed, but it doesn’t necessarily fall under a specific person’s area,” Striedel said. “I just started stepping in when people needed help. It was a service that needed to be provided, and I enjoyed doing it.”
For Nancy Gresham, UHV special events coordinator, Striedel’s assistance at events and frequent visits to her office to talk about her event needs will be sorely missed. His focus on making sure everyone was taken care of helped her put on large events such as commencement, the President’s Annual Report & Excellence Awards, tailgates and banquets with much less stress because she knew Striedel would be there to make sure she had the setup and materials she needed.
“Charlie was always right there and ready to help,” Gresham said. “No matter where he was at the time, I could call Charlie and get help, whether that was finding ice or setting up and rearranging tables. UHV events won’t be the same without him.”
Looking back on his time at UHV, some of Striedel’s favorite memories include helping at the university’s athletics events, especially when the university offered a president’s hospitality tent during home baseball games.
Some of Gresham’s fondest memories of working with Striedel at UHV are putting together and running the tailgates at UHV baseball, softball and soccer games, she said. In addition, she and Striedel bonded over a love of books and music. She also enjoyed hearing about his family, including his wife of 45 years, Cassandra; his children Gabriel, a UHV network operations manager; Ben; Daniel; Elizabeth; and Rachel, a UHV alumna; and his grandchildren.
“His grandchildren are the light of his life,” she said. “I appreciate all the wisdom, stories and lessons learned that he shared with me. I wish him well, and I hope he takes all the time he wants to go fishing, kayaking and read all the books he has collected through the years.”
Now, as he starts his retirement, Striedel said he plans to continue supporting UHV as an alumnus and a former employee. The university plans to advertise for a new assistant director after the COVID-19 pandemic has cleared.
“Working at UHV has been an all-around good experience,” he said. “I’ve been given a lot of opportunities here, and I’m grateful for the time I spent there and the friends I made.”
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.