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Posted on May 24th, 2019

Special Thank You To Facilities Services

This was the lovely view I encountered as I stepped out of my car this morning.

Spring has been slow in coming to Northwest Ohio, but this morning our Toledo-area Campus looked like a stereotypical Spring day. As the weather changes on our campuses, I am often reminded of the great work our our men and women in facilities, grounds, and maintenance. When I can, I try to say hello and compliment our colleagues in Facilities about their hard work and dedication to keep our buildings and grounds in great shape. Recently, three items have been on my mind and I want to publicly thank Dave Halsey and Danielle Tracy, as well as Jack Waldman and Brett Young on the Findlay Campus.

  1. Lawn and Grounds Care. This has been an especially wet Spring, which means the grass (and the weeds) are growing at a faster-than-normal rate. This can make mowing and trimming difficult. During my years here at Owens, I have seen a steady improvement in the way our grounds look during the “transition” seasons of Spring and Fall. The perennials, hanging baskets, and mowing/trimming have looked great this season. I realize that some areas of campus (such as the Center for Emergency Preparedness) can be difficult to keep trimmed, but our team members are doing a great job with the available resources to keep our locations looking good.
  2. Setup/Teardown for Spring Commencement. We had over 600 graduates for Spring commencement, and a much larger percentage of the grads actually walked in our ceremony. This is a great trend. We are fortunate to have an on-campus venue that will accommodate our commencement exercises. Many similarly-sized community colleges must move their ceremony to a local sports facility or university (my previous college held commencement at the local hockey arena, and sometimes we had to sit directly on the ice!). Our Facilities crew does such an amazing job of setup and teardown for our event. I asked the graduates to recognize this important work during rehearsal, and I want to publicly thank our great team for this important–and often overlooked–aspect of graduation.
  3. Office Chair Replacement. This item will seem small, but it’s not. As we look to maintain our buildings and facilities, an important aspect of this is what construction folks call “FF&E,” or “furniture, fixtures, and equipment.” Recently Facilities undertook a project to replace a number of aging and/or outdated office chairs. Not only did Jeff Ganues and the Facilities crew perform a great deal of research and due diligence to find the best chairs for the most affordable price, but they also took the unprecedented step of soliciting input on the chairs that would be provided. Additionally, employees who selected new chairs had the opportunity to make a selection between three different models. At my previous college, this would have been unheard of; when it was time for you to get a new office chair, it would simply appear. No options to select from; no opportunity to “audition” the new chair. While one of the three options on display in the Business Affairs Office had slightly different adjustment controls than the actual model, this opportunity to “try out” your new office chair before receiving it was a great example of customer service, and I want to thank Facilities for that.

The various teams in Facilities Services view the internal campus community as “customers,” and they strive to provide great service to us as we go about the important work of the College. Their hard work makes it easier for us to do our jobs. I truly appreciate their work. While those of us who don’t work in Facilities can rightly think of ourselves as “customers” of their services, we must also remember that they are first and foremost our colleagues. A quick thank you or expression of appreciation for these needed services goes a long way. I probably don’t make enough of a point of thanking this dedicated group of employees, which is why I decided to write this blog entry.

Specifically, I want to model a culture where we take the time to appreciate the folks who keep our work environment clean, safe, and inviting for the students and communities we all serve. As you see our colleagues in Facilities on campus, please join me in thanking them for a job well done.

Steve Robinson, Ph.D.
President