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Olgie Castillo: “I try to be a doer”

Olgie Castillo portrait

Olgie Castillo has served as management assistant for the Department of Kinesiology for the past four and a half years and for Boise State in multiple positions before that since joining the university first in 2008.

Although she is retiring, she is leaving having made a highly meaningful, little-noticed impact, one that will continue to benefit not only Boise State colleagues and students but Greenbelt and other Boise River visitors, foodies and thousands of drivers and pedestrians.

Let David Klungle, business operations manager for Boise State’s departments of finance and accountancy, tell the story:

“I worked with Olgie at the Ron and Linda Yanke Research Park off Parkcenter Boulevard. That section of Parkcenter is a seven-lane, 35 mph road that people cross for lunch … There were two “stop when occupied” yield signs immediately preceding the crosswalk, but traffic moves much quicker than 35 mph through there and several of us had close encounters with cars not stopping for people in the crosswalk.

“… Olgie began an email and call campaign for a pedestrian light. We (several of the staff at Yanke) encouraged her, but were pretty pessimistic of anything being accomplished. Working with campus security, campus transportation and ACHD, Olgie was able to get a traffic survey initiated, and the findings warranted an enhanced crossing between the Yanke and Red Robin parking lots.

Olgie Castillo stands by the crosswalk light that she advocated for
Olgie Castillo stands by “Olgie’s Lights” on Park Center by the Yanke Building.

“It was nearly 18 months of back-and-forth campaigning, but she got it done. It was a big deal for those of us that needed to cross that road several times a week. When the lights went up, we had Olgie go outside for a photo with “her” lights.

“It’s been 10 or 11 years now, and I’ve always thought of them as ‘Olgie’s Lights.’”

In many ways, Castillo’s work with the kinesiology team most recently has brought her full circle; many years ago, she received her degree in health sciences. Over the years in multiple positions with and through the university, she has directly and indirectly supported students, schools and small business owners.

“It’s been an interesting haul,” she said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working for Boise State, and having (Boise State President) Dr. (Marlene) Tromp at the helm. She fully understands the classified staff.

“From day 1, it was clear to me that she was a supporter of classified employees, and I appreciate her for that more than anything.”

“Olgie’s Lights,” it’s clear, are perhaps only the most tangible example of Castillo’s get-it-done mentality. She was on the president’s first committee to recognize university support staff members (“I thought that was a really nice acknowledgement, for the president to do that, and I felt that my contribution to that group was appreciated and heard.”), and she was instrumental in making sure university employees received training in new finance and hiring software; when word got out that she was learning the new systems for herself, more than 120 university team members contacted her to make sure they also received training for the new systems.

“You cannot always be a follower. There are times in life where you have to help yourself, and find a way to take the initiative to lead.

“I may not always be a leader, but I try to be a doer.”