Like most UNLV employees these days, Jill Zimbelman is working remotely — doing her job while sharing a workspace with her husband, Kelly Zimbelman, operations coordinator for Student Affairs maintenance. She says making that work requires being aware of each other’s conference calls and using professional courtesy. She has worked at UNLV since 2012, but her lifechanging Las Vegas moment actually took place four years earlier at one of the most iconic places on the Strip.
Coming from Minnesota, the warm weather drew my husband and me to the Southwest. UNLV was in the process of establishing a technology transfer office, so it was a perfect fit for me. Since 2012, I have worked in technology transfer, as an executive assistant for the vice president for research, and now in export control, all within the Division of Research and Economic Development.
I am the university’s export control officer. Federal regulations control the export of items, information, and software for reasons related to foreign policy, economic interests, and national security of the United States. Some of my duties include reviewing international travel; conducting restricted party screens on foreign national students, faculty, staff, and visitors; technology control plans; and international shipments. I am also the secretary for the Association of University Export Control Officers executive board.
Is this what you thought you’d do when you grew up?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an orthodontist! But I also knew I wanted to do something challenging, important, and demanding while helping others.
My a-ha moment
My dad would always say, “Get an education, a good job, and have a better life than I’ve had,” and I took that to heart. I had no idea how I would pay for college, but I have always been determined. My ah-ha moment came to me when I decided to enlist in the Army for the educational benefits, but I gained far more than I ever could have imagined.
I was a non-commissioned officer (NCO) in the U.S. Army and am an Iraq war veteran. I attended Winona State University (in Minnesota) for my undergraduate education, followed by five years working as a data/operations coordinator in technology transfer at the Mayo Clinic. I double-majored in business administration and human resources management at Winona State, I have an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and a graduate certificate in higher education from UNLV.
What can’t you get done remotely that you most want to do?
I am fortunate to work with a lot of culturally diverse people who appreciate one-on-one time, especially when meeting for the first time. While working remotely has many benefits, I prefer introducing myself to faculty and staff in person to establish trust.
What do you miss most about campus?
I miss my colleagues and the sense of camaraderie the most. We work hard but we have a lot of fun doing it. Living in Las Vegas, many of us have relocated from other areas and colleagues quickly become part of the family. When we return to campus one of the first things I’m going to do is decorate my colleague’s office for her belated 40th birthday!
Passions outside of work
I love learning, professional development and networking, volunteering, and staying active. I enjoy encouraging co-workers and friends to be a part of philanthropic endeavors or leadership classes. I love being a step-mom, grandma, and aunt, and I enjoy my visits back to Minnesota and North Dakota to spend time with family and friends.
A book, movie, or TV show to recommend while people are home
I like This is Us because it reminds me of my childhood in the 80s. There is tragedy, sibling arguments, and illness but love and family always prevail in the end.
The best part of working at UNLV
Being a part of a culturally diverse population that is embraced and respected.
The coolest thing I’ve done in Vegas
My future husband and I came to Vegas in 2008 on vacation and got married in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. It was just the two of us. It was the best decision I ever made!