Posted June 18, 2013 by Beth Goad 

Facilities Management is Ongoing

When I started my first professional role as facilities coordinator in 2005, I was quickly introduced to the excitement and challenges that come after a new construction project. From that front row seat, I came to know firsthand what it meant to be in facility management. We dealt with most facilities issues in-house, so I learned how to manage a paint crew, communicate with a contracted custodial service, and many other skills I hadn’t developed while working in student activities.

One of my favorite things about working in a new building was the sense of pride the student employees took in it. They were genuinely excited about the offerings the new facility had and quickly let full-time staff know when concerns arose, be it a weeping wall or broken exterior door. It wasn’t until I moved to my next professional role in a more than 35-year-old building that I realized how much having student pride in a building impacted my job as facility manager.

I was stumped as to how to create buy-in and instill a sense of pride in the student employees when it came to letting me know about something that needed to be fixed. When I inquired about a missing door or burned out light, they often replied, “It’s always been that way.”

So I tried to introduce small things, like being a stickler for wearing their staff shirts. I hoped it would create both camaraderie and provide a better sense of customer service, making them stand out.

I worked with the student building managers to reconsider how we use space in the building. I asked them what equipment would make their job easier and looked for opportunities to request such items. Storage spaces were reorganized and better utilized. The design team updated signage throughout the building, making way finding easier. We were able to get a new table for a meeting room, allowing the room to accommodate more people.

The term "renovation" had been used during my interview in 2008, but no plans had been made for when the much needed renovation would happen. Each year we hoped to get a date, and just last year, we were told the renovation was scheduled with its first phase this year. I’m happy to say a renovation is underway as I sit in my displaced office space (for which I am more than willing to relocate temporarily).

Although the renovation may still be going on when students return for classes in September, I look forward to reopening the main entrance and lounge spaces. The renovation impacts areas primarily used by students and will also change foot traffic through the building.

This is an exciting time to put the knowledge, skills, and abilities into practice as outlined in the skill set of Building Design and Construction. Even before the construction began, I worked with our building managers to rearrange storage spaces. Due to the renovation, we have relocated our main office and will make a plan for when to move back and how to prepare for the students’ return in September while the renovation is not yet complete.

How do you and your staff work to keep your building updated and something of which to be proud?

Beth Goad

Beth Goad is the Associate Director, New Student & Family Programs at Bridgewater State University.

Comments

Hi Beth, thanks for sharing! I am the Operations Manager of the Student Union at The University of Akron, and I believe we share the same love for our jobs. I work with a large student staff as well, and there is nothing more satisfying than to see the students take ownership of the building and pride in their work. It makes my job so much more enjoyable and also easier day to day. Our building is coming up on its 10 year anniversary and we are often complimented on the great shape it's in. We also maintain and clean our facility in-house, so to hear that we are doing such a good job when folks come to visit from other campuses is always music to our ears. Thanks again for sharing your viewpoint, it's always great to hear from someone who does a job similar to mine and who enjoys it just as much as I do! I wish you the best with all of your renovations and a great upcoming school year! Jenn Venuto
Jennifer Venuto
jsv11@uakron.edu
Comment posted 06/19/2013 9:27 AM
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