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School’s values pull alumnus back to IWU

July 6, 2018 GMT

If a security alarm goes off at Indiana Wesleyan University’s Fort Wayne Education Center, Nathan Emrick is likely to get a call.

If you’re hoping to host an event at the 16,000-square-foot site, Emrick may be the one you’ll talk to.

His job: managing the facilities and operations at the local campus at 8211 W. Jefferson Blvd., not far from Lutheran Hospital.

The local campus is one of more than a dozen education centers the university has developed in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky that now offer adult and graduate programs.

“I like the autonomy I think the most, and the responsibility as well for the facility, for the finances and managing the structure itself,” Emrick said.

Indiana Wesleyan was established in the 1920s as Marion College. 

Emrick was drawn to the university because of its values.

“It wasn’t the education field as much that attracted me as it was the organization itself,” he said, referring to the Christ-centered connection.

The opportunity to interact with other business professionals was also appealing.

“It was a good opportunity for me to grow as well and network,” Emrick said.

He sees his job with the university as “a steward and a servant in a way.”

He wants the community to become more acquainted with the local education center, its facilities to host conferences along with providing adult education.

In Fort Wayne, Indiana Wesleyan is part of a community with a wealth of higher-education options : Ivy Tech, Indiana Tech, the University of Saint Francis and Purdue Fort Wayne. 

Emrick wants to capitalize on what he sees as a niche.

“We focus on adult education for people who are working or raising families and don’t have a degree and want to go on and finish that education,” he said. “That helps us to compete in a very competitive market.”

While helping to facilitate the public’s use of the education center, Emrick acknowledges that he is otherwise “kind of behind the scenes in a lot of ways as operations people usually are.”

Emrick usually has a 9-to-5 work schedule, but his responsibilities sometimes require flexibility, such as with evening or weekend events.

“Sometimes things happen and you’ve always got to be on call and ready,” he said.

Occasionally, a security alarm goes off if a staff member sets an alarm without realizing someone is still in the building. Or, a door might have been left ajar and a strong wind blows it open, triggering an alarm.

“We’ve been blessed to not actually have any real security threats,” Emrick said.

Managing the basics of facilities and finance keep Emrick on his toes, but he also puts effort and energy into relationship building.

As the university books more events for its conference center, more people may become aware of the university’s local course offerings and enroll. Emrick likes that potential.

He has set some personal conference revenue goals and said he has already reached one benchmark this year.

While pushing and promoting the IWU brand, Emrick is also willing to be patient.

As the education center becomes more prominent, Emrick knows he will be reaching some personal goals, too.

“I just want to grow to increase my confidence in myself and become a better servant leader,” he said. “And then wherever that takes me in the future, that’s God’s plan.”

lisagreen@jg.net