Brandon's Blog: Wolverine Workplace Receives Free Press Award
Chief talent officer Kristin Orlowski with the award

Nov. 15, 2013

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page,, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.

The fans of our 31 University of Michigan teams know about the great tradition of the block M.

We have won more Big Ten and NCAA titles than any other school in the conference. Our men's swimming and diving program along with our ice hockey program have won more NCAA titles than any other school in the nation. Our softball team was the first squad east of the Mississippi River to win an NCAA softball title. Michigan football is the winningest program in the history of college football. Michigan Stadium is the largest sports stadium in North America, and the winged helmet is one of the most iconic team symbols in college football. Our university is regularly ranked as one of the greatest in the world based on our academic excellence. Put it all together and the block M is standard for athletic and academic success.

This is what the Maize and Blue alumni and fans see, hear and read in media reports. What they don't see, hear and read is what the 325-plus people who work as a team in the University of Michigan Athletic Department do to help make these programs successful, and they do it with a purpose and passion.

On Thursday (Nov. 14), the Detroit Free Press recognized the terrific, talented and hard-working people who come to work every day and form the U-M Athletic Department team. For the second consecutive year, the Free Press has honored the effort and the way our team goes about its work. This year, our department earned a fifth-place ranking in the mid-size category for best workplace in the state of Michigan.

To be a team member in our athletic department we demand integrity. We work hard to help all our of varsity teams win championships. We create positive academic and athletic experiences for the Michigan student-athletes as we prepare them to be successful in life. We respect our traditions while believing change is good.

Still, in this fast-paced pressure cooker of big-time college athletics, we create a work environment that allows our athletic department team to pursue lofty goals with no limits on what we believe we can achieve. We work hard to create "wow" experiences for our student-athletes, fans and our department team members.

In an intense industry, it is important to keep everyone in the loop and accountable for our overall success. To accomplish this and keep everyone on the same page, we have four quarterly huddle meetings a year to share the U-M Athletic Department priorities, plans and progress.

The huddle meetings are informative and productive. Our athletic department team works hard to ensure the meeting's objectives are clear and well thought out. We want our team members to participate in the important task of setting objectives and tracking our progress.

At Michigan Athletics, we believe the combination of an exceptionally talented team, strong communication processes, and a unique, positive-energy culture will create the competitive point-of-difference that will be key to helping us achieve the high expectations we have for our department and for our student-athletes.

In return for this dedication, we will do everything in our power to make this a great place to work. We will assist them in growing and improving as people and within their chosen career pursuits. We want the long hours and commitment they make to our department's success to be rewarded with a commensurate amount of unique experiences, celebrations, rewards and FUN!

We constantly remind our student-athletes and athletic department team members that they are part of "The Team, The Team, The Team" as they work together and relentlessly strive to be Leaders and Best in every way.

We are proud that the Detroit Free Press honored the U-M Athletic Department as one of the best workplaces in the state of Michigan.

Go Blue!

Detroit Free Press Article (11/14/2013)
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