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The Facilities Visionary

They're Back - The New Safety Committee

By Leanne Wright


The Facilities Safety Committee was re-launched this past May and is back in action. The group’s mission is to strengthen AU’s safety culture by identifying opportunities for safety improvements and enacting initiatives to tackle problem areas. Members also serve as safety resources and advocates for their co-workers.

Who Are They?
Members of the Facilities Safety Committee represent diverse functions within Facilities Mangagement and were selected individually by their supervisors. Each member contributes unique insight to the working group regarding current practices, safety strengths, and areas of need on campus. These conversations are used to review, modify, and approve written safety programs and improve safety training and outreach provided to FM employees.

Current Members :
Charles Brown, Phil Brown, Bernie Cowger, Wendy Cunningham, Darrell Dupree, Rashaan Evans, Eder Granados, Linwood Hopkins, Damon Jenkins, Stephen Lee, Elizandro Mata, Markus McEaddy, George Merchant, Ana Mirian Lazo, Holly Mussatti, Ermias Negash, Shaun Pressley, Lester Redmond, Celina Ryan, Maria Sanchez and Leanne Wright.

Current Projects:
Currently, the group is creating a safety awards program for all FM staff and is exploring options for improving Lockout/Tagout practices across campus.

Accomplishments (so far)
• Performed heat safety outreach, including safety messages on Four Winds screens and distribution of reusable water bottles to encourage hydration on hot days.
• Hosted online training for all FM employees, including topics on personal protective equipment, hazard communication, lockout/tagout, and confined space awareness.
• Conducted noise monitoring and hearing conservation efforts.
• Offered optional ladder safety training for all FM employees.

Join Them
Committee membership is by supervisor nomination only, but all are welcome to attend and contribute to the meetings. They are held on the second Thursday of each month at 8 a.m. in Mary Graydon Center 245.

Sorting Waste at Osborn

Adventures of the Space Man

By John Mayhan

Rabbit Hole

White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland

The Office of University Architect has a full-time position called Space Management Analyst. Many are not aware that John Mayhan has performed this function at the university for the past 13 years. One of his duties is to measure, record, and report space metrics for the university. It also means he maintains the university's floor plan book. The next time you see a man strapped with measuring equipment and a bunch of floor plans, it's probably John. So just say, "Hello, Space Man!"

John's story began on a sunny day in August 2011 with visit to a corridor in the rear stairwell of Mary Graydon Center. John was on a mission to investigate a door that did not appear in the floor plan book. 

When he found the door, he pulled out his "Magic Key" to unlock it, but to no avail. After making a phone call to Public Safety and a subsequent visit from the "Key Guy," he was finally inside. Once inside, John realized it wasn't any of the places he had imagined.  It was a storage area with boxes of papers –piled almost to the ceiling. Who could possibly be the owner of all these papers? Although he was up near the third floor, there apparently was a moisture concern, as there was a running dehumidifier. Since dehumidifiers need their water dumped from time to time, John assumed that the space was currently in use. After a few additional calls, John found that the space was being used by SOC. He made a few measurements of the room and then visited another area just above the first space which also did not appear in the floor plans. That space turned out to be a mechanical space with HVAC equipment. John wondered if there were similar spaces in the other stairwells that faced the Sports Center Parking Garage. A short walk up the stairs and across the roof led him to yet another undocumented room.  Then on the opposite side of the building, John found still additional spaces tucked away on split levels between the third floor and the roof. In total, John found four additional spaces that day. As he began to head out, he wondered, is it possible that there are hidden spaces in the central stairwell too? A short walk across the roof and down a flight of stairs revealed yet another mysterious locked door. Another rabbit hole? Stay tuned!  

Fall Lawn Care

Arboretum Donors Make a Difference

By Mike Mastrota

Arboretum Tour Roper Park

American University's Arboretum and Gardens received a special gift recently from a local AU alumnus which provided the funds to plant four new oak trees on Freidheim Quad. One of the key features of our quad is the stately oaks that line either side. Over the years, some of these oaks have been lost to utility construction and disease.  This generous gift replaces four of the lost trees. AU landscape architect Mike Mastrota and arborist Stephanie DeStefano worked with the donor to select two Red Oak Quercus rubra and two Scarlet Oaks Quercus cocinnea. Our Arboretum did not have a Scarlet Oak, the official tree of Washington, DC. Students gathered eagerly and watched as the trees were installed one by one by a contractor using a 90 inch, truck mounted tree spade.

The Arboretum also was notified recently that our campus has been selected as a tour location for the Perennial Plant Association which will hold their annual meeting in Washington, DC next summer. We plan to take the association's visit as an opportunity to promote American University's Arboretum to a global group of plant experts. 

Finally, have you had a chance to friend the Arboretum Facebook page? It's a great way to follow all of the Arboretum's exciting happenings on campus.

Shuttle At Your Service

By Alef Worku

AU Shuttle on average transports approximately 1 million passengers a year. The shuttle service starts from south campus at 6:15 a.m. on weekdays and on Fridays, the busiest week day, the buses don't park until 3:30 a.m. - almost 'round-the-clock service.

There are 12 full-time shuttle drivers supported by 13 part-timers who work diligently to keep this Eagle service soaring. However, over the summer not all the part timers were able to commit to their fall shifts leaving four vacancies. Luckily, Shuttle Operations were able to hire three part-time candidates to fill the void. In the meantime, the full-time shuttle operators and supervisors worked extra hours, days, and shifts to ensure uninterrupted service.

In anticipation of the higher ridership trends due to the closing of Nebraska Hall, an extra bus will operate during the morning rush. During evening rush hours, the frequency of the blue route buses was increased so that each bus would run continuously. During the 8 o'clock p.m. rush, two additional buses specifically have been added to service the Nebraska Hall stop adequately.

Additionally, people behind the scenes such as Helen Lee provide enormous support by publishing a shuttle schedule in the transportation brochure, as well as keeping the shuttle website updated at The website disseminates valuable information, including holiday schedules, information about when the last bus leaves Metro, when the first bus leaves campus, when the next bus is due to arrive, and more. 

The shuttle website also has information about downloading the StreetEagle app which allows you to track the AU shuttle bus on your smartphone. Under the heading Where's the Bus?, this website provides a direct link to a StreetEagle Transit Viewer where you can view the GPS location of all AU Shuttles in service on your desktop, laptop, or tablet.

In addition, Shuttle Operations would like to give a shout-out to Ammanuel and his vehicle maintenance crew. The department starts its work day at 4 a.m. by inspecting and providing preventive maintenance to the shuttle buses. Other times, they diagnosis and fix or repair buses, when necessary.  Indeed, behind every great bus is a great mechanic. 

As the AU family continues to grow, facilities expand, and transportation needs outgrow our wildest dreams, AU Shuttle is committed to adjusting and readjusting available resources to provide adequate transportation with a smile as we announce,"Shuttle at Your Service."

Staff Recognition


Michelle Clark, Operations Staff Assistant

Welcome Aboard

David Bui, Zone B HVAC Technician

Craig Bullock, Capital Renewal Manager

James Chase, Operating Engineer 3rd Class

Michelle Clark, Operations Staff Assistant

Bill Green, Facilities Operations Manager

Debra McLaughlin, Materials Specialist

Darnell Washington, Zone A Plumber

On The Spot Award Winners

Juan Allen, Central Plant Operations

Akisha Carter, Financial Resource Center

Michelle Clark, Facilities Operations

Wendy Cunnigham, Facilities Administration

Greg Fletcher, Support Services

Linay Foreman, Facilities Administration

Eyob Kassaye, Shuttle Services

Leon Nixon, Grounds Maintenance

Eric Perry, Grounds Maintenance

Robert Sam, Grounds Maintenance


Jeff Lawrence, Building Maintenance Operations

Honorable Mentions

Juan Allen, APPA Certified Educational Facility Professional (CEFP) and ERAPPA 2015 Scholarship Winner

Marco Candia, ERAPPA Ambassador Scholarship Winner

Tony Hollinger, APPA Ambassador Scholarship Winner

Helen Lee, APPA Educational Facility Professional (EFP)

David Osborne, AEE Certified Energy Manager (CEM)

Kevin Wyatt, MD/DC APPA Scholarship Winner