By Ryan Swanson, Assoc V.P. Facilities & University Architect
January 2017 has arrived and it is a great time to be working together as a team as we start the spring semester. I hope this New Year brings each of you a renewed sense of purpose and joy in our time both at and away from the workplace.
I always find that the holiday break is a great time to reaffirm, recharge, and reengage with family, friends and interests that we all need and cherish. Like many of you, my family enjoyed some great food and exchanged gifts representing a sense of selflessness and commitment to a shared hope in the love we have for each other. I personally broke in a couple of new pieces of woodworking equipment – a new scroll saw and router table. I also had some amazing time out on the mountain bike discovering country roads and lake trails from a perspective I don’t get every day during the year. Admittedly, the bike rides are activities that none of the family cares to join me in when it’s below zero. However, my young kids do really like to assist when we measure, layout, sand, and stain woodworking projects. I hope that each of you also had extended and intentional time specifically set aside both for yourself and with your families to recharge the batteries.
As the New Year starts, I want to encourage each of you to make an effort to hold close and maintain that sense of connectedness with your family, friends and the wide variety of interests that fill you with energy outside of your workday at K-State. The increased sense of energy and joy you had over the break can and should be a goal to carry on through each day through purposeful and intentional activities of balance and perspective.
Stepping back on campus in 2017, we have a lot to reflect upon and a lot of which to be proud. There are truthfully too many events to describe in this article. Some are planned efforts. Others are specific responses to unforeseen events, and yet others are shared with folks outside facilities. All are noteworthy in their own regard.
Earlier this fall, Mid Campus Drive opened as a beautiful pedestrian mall signaling a turning point in the wrap-up of many interwoven campus construction efforts as well as the fruition of much hard work by a truly integrated and collaborative team. These teams included, but were not limited to, Planning and Project Management, Maintenance and Engineering Operations, Custodial, Landscape and Grounds, Accounting, and Purchasing departments within facilities as well as a number of other campus partners outside facilities. You all should proudly wear the badge of K-State pride with confidence and purpose. Together, we accomplished a lot of great work over the past 3 years.
The response our teams had to our first snow event of the year on the weekend after finals was excellent – keep up the great work. Related kudos go out to the highly responsive attention and flood cleanup efforts due to frozen pipes in more than one building on that frigid, below-zero campus night. The very same Sunday evening and early Monday morning, many of your fellow team members in the Custodial, Power Plant and Maintenance Departments – plus departmental staff, EHS and public safety – were called back to campus to what was a disaster of broken pipes, piles of wet ceiling tile, desks, chairs, computers, and lab equipment. These two events back to back really flexed our resources, allowing us all to show our true character and commitment to professionalism as a service oriented Facilities department.
Reorganizations for Efficiency:
Huge thank you to the Business Administrative Accounting and HR/Payroll staff formerly located under the Facilities umbrella. You will always be welcome as part of the Facilities family at K-State. As many of you know the VPAF team (Facilities, Parking Services, Public Safety, EHS, Audit, Finance, and Budget divisions under VP Cindy Bontrager’s leadership) has worked together collaboratively for much of the past semester to stand up a new shared services department from combined elements in all of our collective divisions – including a number of staff from Facilities. Under the leadership of Director Mandy Cole, this effort is already seeing financial efficiencies and a new focus on excellence of core services to all of the VP divisions. The business and accounting team moved from Dykstra to Anderson Hall include Tim, Elke, and Ute – with two open accountant/business office positions formerly assigned to facilities removed for budget savings. Facilities HR/Payroll team members now reporting to shared services – but still physically located in Dykstra – include Cynthia and Janet plus student worker, Madison Nelson. A couple of new faces, Annette and Ann, have actually moved over to Dykstra from other VPAF divisions. Finally, in the near future, Larry McGee’s former position will be filled to lead this new area of HR/Payroll within shared services. Mandy is working in Dykstra on Tuesdays and Thursdays until Larry’s former position is filled so as you see some new faces, please say hello.
In closing, I want to say thank you to everyone in Facilities for the service, leadership and support to the K-State campus. Let’s all resolve to be purposeful in our work and hold a balanced perspective as we face the challenges and opportunities of the New Year.