Get to Know the Grants & Contracts Team

Beckman is home to more than 80 staff who help facilitate the research and daily activities of the Beckman Institute. The Grants & Contracts team assists with pre- and post-award grant needs for the Institute, ensuring everything runs smoothly, from the proposal to the final reports. 

Lori Butler
Grants and Contracts Coordinator

When did you start working at Beckman, and where were you before?
I began in August 2000. I have held different positions within the business office on the finance and grant teams. Prior to the University of Illinois, I worked in industry, mainly for a local disk manufacturer for 16 years. Always in the area of finance. I am an accountant at heart.

What are your job responsibilities? 
I moved into my current position in January 2009. I monitor and schedule the day-to-day activities for the Grants team. We maintain pre- and post-award grant functions for the Institute. I assist faculty with proposals, monitor and review account statements, and handle any items that faculty need help with. Customer service is our most important function.

What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy working with the faculty, and I am always excited to hear about the new research that they are engaged in. I enjoy developing budgets and analyzing spending plans. I try to anticipate how I can best serve my co-workers or faculty members. How can we accomplish the goal?

What do you like to do in your spare time? 
I live on a farm and love reading, gardening, and spending time with my husband, children, and their families. This year I will officially become a grandmother. My oldest son and his wife are expecting a little girl. Can’t wait.

How do you start your work day? 
It is different every day. It depends how many fires need tending. I catch up on the emails and check the proposal log for the important deadlines! I have never lacked for something to do here.


Andre Nnoung
Business Associate

When did you start working at Beckman, and where were you before?
January 2013. I worked for the University of Illinois Extension and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

What are your job responsibilities? 
I’m responsible for managing pre- and post-award research proposals and grants, preparing and reviewing documentation for TEM transactions for accuracy, generating monthly financial reports for grants and contracts funds for distribution to faculty, managing subaward contracts, and coordinating semi-annual certification for grant funds in collaboration with Beckman Institute-affiliated faculty.

What do you like most about your job? 
Interacting with colleagues, faculty, and staff within the university.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Reading and watching sports, especially football and basketball games.

How do you start your work day?
I start my day by reading emails, then I write down a to-do list for the day and tackle the shortest task for the day.


Kelli Wendt
Grants and Contracts Specialist

When did you start working at Beckman, and where were you before?
I began working at Beckman in November 2012 after stops in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering and in Grants and Contracts–Post Award.

What are your job responsibilities? 
I assist professors with submitting their research proposals and with post-award responsibilities including reporting to the sponsoring agency and reviewing expenditures on grants.

What do you like most about your job? 
Providing support for professors who do incredible research.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy music, watching college basketball, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.

How do you start your work day?
My day usually starts with checking email and prioritizing the day’s schedule based on grant-driven deadlines. Since no two days are typically alike in Grants and Contracts, there usually is variety to my daily schedule.


John Pirtle
Grants and Contracts Specialist

When did you start working at Beckman, and where were you before?
I started working at the Beckman Institute last year in November 2013. Before Beckman I worked for Indiana Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

What are your job responsibilities?
My job responsibilities include assisting Beckman faculty in submitting grant proposals, preparing budgets, and reviewing information required for grant proposals while working with OSP to submit proposals to agencies. Job responsibilities also include managing grant awards, reviewing and approving expenditures charged to grant accounts, and also preparing monthly financial reports for Beckman faculty. 

What do you like most about your job? 
What I like most about my job is the people that I work with at the Beckman Institute. I enjoy the sincere appreciation that I receive from my co-workers, researchers, and managers.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like heading over to Indianapolis with family to cheer on the Indiana Pacers and Indianapolis Colts.

How do you start your work day? 
I start my work day by checking my calendar and to-do list, focusing on what needs to be accomplished for the day, making important calls, and responding to urgent emails.


Jackie Harden
Grants and Contracts Specialist

When did you start working at Beckman, and where were you before?  
I started at Beckman in November 2013. Before this position, I worked for the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering as an accountant. I’ve also worked in the Grants and Contracts Office.

What are your job responsibilities? 
We do everything related to the financial aspects of Beckman grants and contracts funding—proposal budgets, post-award administration, sponsor reporting, project financial close out, etc. I work mostly with our private sponsored projects and Department of Defense awards.

What do you like most about your job? 
I like the opportunity to work with world-class researchers on their grant proposals. Each proposal is unique and offers interesting challenges.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 
I love to hike, bird watch, cook, read, travel, walk, and train my new dog, a mutt named Danny. 

How do you start your work day? 
First thing—check email for important messages. But after that, each day is different depending on what is going on.

This article is part of the Spring 2015 Synergy Issue, a publication of the Communications Office of the Beckman Institute.