Two Oakland University employees, both OU alumni, were named on the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2017 at the State of the County Address on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
Alex Delavan and Shaun Moore were among 400 nominees under the age of 40 who were nominated for their successes and efforts toward bettering Oakland County.
With an undergraduate degree in accounting from Central Michigan University, Delavan found himself at OU to pursue a master’s in business administration with concentrations in financing and international business.
Before being hired at OU, he was the manager of government and technical affairs at Delphi Automotive, where he helped save or create around 300 jobs. At one point, Delavan was transferred to Ohio, but still held onto his house in Michigan, driving four hours each way on weekends for a year and a half.
In 2013, Delavan was hired to be director of sponsored programs in the Office of Research Administration at OU, and he represented the university in Washington, D.C. the next year.
“I believe that Alex has the potential to do really good things for the university,” said Shamon Murdock, a grant and contract officer who has worked with Delavan since he started at Oakland.
As director of sponsored programs, Delavan is responsible for administration of the $15 million to $18 million spent by the university on research each year, as well as for orchestrating the transfer of inventions by OU faculty members to the outside world.
“I’ll never forget the day that I saw this job posted,” Delavan said. “I was a year and a half into that drive, struggling beyond belief, and I texted my best friend and said, ‘I found my next job.’”
That same year, Delavan took on one of his greatest personal accomplishments, completing every one of the items on the Detroit Free Press’ 2013 list of 101 things to do in Detroit.
According to Delavan, he drove 3,400 miles over about 50 hours to accomplish the list.
“I saved one special one for last,” Delavan said. “It was ‘Be a kid again at C.J. Barrymore’s,’ and so I had a giant 101 party, and I had family, I had friends. I had the actual writer of the list [who] didn’t know I was doing this until that moment, and she came and showed up at the party, and now we’re good friends.”
Delavan has also worked with nonprofits such as Cityscape Detroit, which oversees Detroit SOUP, a program in which participants pay $5 for a meal while they listen to and vote on proposals by people who wish to better Detroit. The individual or group that gains the most votes receives the night’s proceeds toward their proposal.
“I’ve learned that I’m a lot better with my brain than I am with my hands,” Delavan said. “I always said that if I ever joined Habitat for Humanity, there’s a lot of people that will help them build a house, but there’s not many people that will help them write a grant.”
While working at the Applebee’s across from campus as a freshman at OU, Moore was waiting on staff from e-Learning and Instructional Support and was offered a summer internship in the department.
He hasn’t left since.
Fifteen years, four degrees and one on-campus wedding later, Moore has worked his way up from student employee to the director of e-LIS.
“I can’t imagine where I would be if I didn’t go to OU,” Moore said. “It has impacted my life in just about every way.”
As director of e-LIS, Moore’s responsibilities revolve around the oversight of Moodle and researching new technologies.
Current e-LIS projects include a virtual reality lab and Kubi, an iPad-holding robot that will allow online students and those unable to attend class to video chat in. Kubi will be piloted in summer 2017.
Moore holds bachelor’s degree in English and French, a master’s in English and a Ph.D. in educational leadership, all from Oakland.
“I think he’s only had a one- or two-semester break from being a student until he got his doctorate degree, so I think that that speaks to how he wanted that to be a consistent part of his lifestyle,” said Moore’s wife Christina, who works in OU’s Center for Excellence and Teaching.
Described as a lifelong learner by his employees, Moore also studies Spanish, German and Russian.
“He’s a very detail-oriented person, and he wants to know every working part of anything that we’re working on,” said Dan Arnold, manager of support services in e-LIS. “And if he doesn’t, he takes it upon himself to find out.”
Along with the full-time position as director of e-LIS, Moore is a mentor for undergraduate and graduate students at OU, and since 2009 has been a lecturer both in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric and the School of Business Administration.
In his personal time, Moore is the bass player in a band called Stroller Coaster, along with John Coughlin and Nic Bongers of e-LIS. The group uses original music that they describe as progressive punk rock.
“We’ve done stuff like the OU basketball game Star Wars night,” Moore said. “Sometimes, we’ll call them ‘the Moodle-troopers,’ since we’re the Moodle people, so we’ll have like a little ‘M’ that we’ll wear on our chest with it.”
Moore also took third place in Oakland’s 2016 English Flash-Fiction Contest.
“If you’re in the mindset that good things happen to good people, then this is certainly a deserved recognition,” Arnold said.
Other OU alumni who made Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2017 include Matthew Baumgarten, Derek Dickow, Jessica Knapik, Andrew Kurecka, Samantha Mariuz, Emily Paula and Danielle Zuccaro.