Thanksgiving week is upon us. I'm still in my first year with Facility Services, so I'm still learning a lot about what goes on here throughout the year. This year has been different, I'm sure, since the cold weather struck early. But I've been impressed to watch these crews respond, each according to their responsibilities. For example, Bob's crew, the campus maintenance crew, needed to make sure all the underground sprinkler lines were drained and blown out so they can't freeze and break this winter. They also have to make sure all the snow clearing equipment is ready - brushes on mowers instead of mower decks, snow plow on the pickup, sander box on the other pickup, etc. Finally, they also have to make sure there is plenty of ice melt ready for use, and the equipment to put it out is also ready.
Rolan's crew, the mechanical maintenance crew, has been busy with similar projects, like the water for the concession stand (which isn't a heated building), as well as ensuring heat is working correctly throughout the campus. It seems that no matter what preparations take place, there are always pieces that don't work quite right and deny a room occupant heat, whether it is a residence room or an office somewhere.
I have learned that a lot of our offices end up using zoned heat, meaning groups of offices share a single thermostat. I suspect most of you know who you are (sorry, I don't), but chances are if you are either very hot or very cold in your office and you don't seem to have any way to control it, probably it is controlled from another office. Unfortunately those kinds of fluctuations can be related to anything from an office door being left open or closed, or even the heating and/or cooling being designed for a large open space that has been transformed into offices or smaller rooms.
Dennis' crew, the building maintenance crew, has spent quite a bit of time looking at one leak or another, repairing doors and windows and generally trying to keep the weather out of buildings. Sometimes it is rain that is a problem, sometimes it is snow and sometimes it is just cold air. But none of them are good inside the buildings this time of year.
Kay's crew, the housekeeping crew, is probably the most even in terms of responsibilities, but the winter still affects them as well. All the ice melt, sand (for roads), snow, and often mud (when it warms that much), all tend to find their way into the buildings. Even when people ensure they have clean feet, the traffic flow is heavy enough that most often people are tracking around the stuff left behind from someone who came before.
And I don't want to forget Carol in the stockroom. She makes sure to have all the right supplies on hand at the time they are needed. To me this seems like a bit of a guessing game, but one that Carol has years of practice at and has gotten quite good at. Also, the after-hours assistants have to endure the coldest part of each day (the night), often windy or blowing rain or snow. They still have to check each building at the right time to ensure they are locked, and that everyone is able to be where they belong. And during Thanksgiving break, they keep working. They'll make sure the campus is ready for us to return next week after a long weekend.
As I reflect on this, my message is one of thankfulness. I'm thankful that there are dedicated Facility Services workers who know and do their jobs well. I'm thankful they have taught me so much about what they do and that I've had opportunities to share in their work. And I hope that the spirit of thankfulness and sharing is as pervasive throughout the Graceland community as it is within Facility Services.