Reinkordt quietly works behind scenes to maintain campus beauty

· 5 min read

Reinkordt quietly works behind scenes to maintain campus beauty

Amber Reinkordt behind the wheel of one of her favorite pieces of work machinery, a Caterpillar 906.
Courtesy
Amber Reinkordt behind the wheel of one of her favorite pieces of work machinery, a Caterpillar 906.

Editor’s Note — This is part of a Women’s History Month series featuring women who make a positive impact on the campus community through their work as office/service employees. The Women of Service series is organized by the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women. Stories will run in Nebraska Today through March 30.

When Amber Reinkordt is on her game, Huskers don’t know she was there — but they do recognize the beauty of her work.

Be it by shovel, mower or pruner, Reinkordt is dedicated to maintaining and improving the University of Nebraska–Lincoln as an area supervisor with Landscape Services. She has worked as part of the landscape team for 13 years, including a year as a student worker.

“Amber tirelessly works to clean up campus on a daily basis, take meticulous care of the trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials of campus, all while taking the time to diligently train dozens of student workers in skilled labor,” said Ann Powers, a research technician III with Agronomy and Horticulture. “The tasks are endless. The amount of criticism one receives in this role can be high, but Amber’s attitude remains positive and her threshold for a job-well-done doesn’t lower.”

Amber Reinkordt with her husband, baby, in-laws and dogs. The family is standing in front of a stack of Eastern Red Cedar cleared from their land.
Courtesy
Amber Reinkordt with her husband, baby, in-laws and dogs. The family is standing in front of a stack of Eastern Red Cedar cleared from their land.

Reinkordt is also a bit of a superwoman, having continued to work in the labor-intensive work through a pregnancy — though very few Huskers know it because the majority of campus was working/studying remotely due to COVID-19.

“I was pregnant all through the time that campus was closed due to COVID-19,” Reinkordt said. “I spent the spring and summer of 2020 without seeing people that I’ve known on campus since 2006. And, once staff and students returned to campus, I was on maternity leave.”

Powers, who worked on the Landscape Services team for a number of years, said Reinkordt is one of just a few women who have continued the demanding work through an entire pregnancy.

“Whether it is getting up at midnight to plow snow, or taking the time to hand-weed in the gardens, Amber takes pride in her work and her standards for excellence are reflected in her care of the landscape,” Powers said.

The Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women reached out to get to know Reinkordt and learn more about her dedication to students, faculty and staff at Nebraska U. Her interview follows.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m originally from Columbus, Nebraska, and moved to Lincoln in 2006. I met my husband in 2010 and we have an 18 month old son. We live with his parents on a farm outside of Lincoln, where we have cattle, chickens, farm cats, two dogs and a house cat. With the three-generation household, shared farm chores, a pre-toddler, and a somewhat existent personal life, I keep pretty active after work.

I’ve worked for 15 years at the university. I was a student worker at the Dairy Store from 2006 to 2010, and at Landscape Services in 2009. I went to full time in 2010.

What do you look forward to when you come to work?

I look forward to the changes happening not only in the landscape but also campus as a whole. Since our department handles plant installations and removals, we get to see the landscape plans for new buildings. This year I am looking forward to the new veterans reflection area at the Military and Naval Sciences Building.

What is your favorite memory on campus?

I have many. But, one that comes to mind, was watching the Cather-Pound Hall demolition in 2017. It brought a lot of people out to watch, even on a cold day, and just before holiday shut down. I remember there being sundogs that morning, too. It was a historical moment for the university and I’m glad that I was there to watch it with my coworkers and other campus affiliates.

What is your life like outside of work?

My husband, his parents, our friends, and I have been removing the invasive Eastern Red Cedar on our land. We are working with the NRCS under an RCPP grant. We started removing the trees in 2019 and we will be done with removals this spring. I also spend a lot of time walking the dogs out on the farm with my son. I enjoy making cards and writing friends and family; I will find any reason to send something in the mail.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I traveled to 47 states and two countries without ever flying. I took my first plane trip to Tasmania, a 22-hour flight, as part of Paul Read’s study abroad group. I was crossing my fingers as we took off, hoping I wouldn’t have an issue with flying. I learned how to travel internationally and navigate layovers straight out of the gate. Since then, I’ve taken many flights, adding eight new countries. I haven’t traveled since COVID-19 which has been a bit disappointing, but I have so many incredible memories that I can tap into. I’m forever grateful for the places I’ve been.

Amber Reinkordt pauses while planting her family's 2020 garden. Prepared beds are covered to keep chickens from digging up seedlings.
Courtesy
Amber Reinkordt pauses while planting her family's 2020 garden. Prepared beds are covered to keep chickens from digging up seedlings.

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