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The Facilities Visionary

A Personal Reflection On Campus Snow Removal

By Mark Feist

FM GM Snow

Martin Vasquez, AU Snow Removal Team

As I looked out of my office window from the second floor of the Osborn Building during the March 5th snowstorm, I reflected on Facilities Management’s snow removal operations and thought to myself how proud I am of our team’s great work.

Most of you know that I rarely hide out in Osborn during snow storms, as most times I’m out and "managing by walking around," or driving with Dave Wilson or some of the plow drivers.
Regardless of the location from which I am observing, it is always rewarding to witness our team work together productively towards achieving a common goal – keeping the AU campus safe.

I am often amazed by how our team rallies together in temperatures well below freezing, wind and sleet and snow blowing on their faces, and where long hours of hard back-breaking work is expected. Maybe the team’s incentive for doing work in blizzard conditions that most others would avoid is the good meals provided to them during the storms. Perhaps it is because of our “Hilton Honors” overnight accommodations, or maybe even the extra take-home pay. More than any other reason, I believe the team’s drive stems from their extreme pride in their work as well as in the university. Their pride is obvious not just in snow removal, but in all that they do – shuttle services, vehicle maintenance, grounds and landscape architecture, zero-waste efforts, and all the different support services.

The AU snow removal team is supported also by Facility Maintenance, Energy Management, Aramark Housekeeping, and the maintenance service coordination/2FIX team.

Thanks to everyone for jobs well done.

P.S. The AU snow removal team was recognized recently by Dr. Kerwin, Doug Kudravetz, and members of the Board of Trustees for "extraordinary work" in clearing snow from campus in preparation for the recent Board of Trustees meeting!

Holiday Shutdown Saves Tons of Energy

By Josey Schwartz and Ravi Raman

Holiday Curtailment Energy Reduction Shown by Dip in Graph

Holiday Curtailment Energy Reduction Shown by Dip in Graph

While many of us expended energy enjoying family and friends during American University’s recent annual winter holiday break, the university conserved tons of energy by closing down - 315 tons (coal equivalent) to be exact. The reduction was the result of the Facilities Management department’s Energy Curtailment program which was conducted between December 24 and January 2.

Initiated in 2012, the program requires university-wide coordination. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment were set to minimal positions in buildings throughout the campus. Windows, doors, and other accesses were inspected to ensure secure closure. All lights, with the exception of safety and emergency lights were turned off. All sinks and faucets also were inspected to make sure there were no leaks.

Director of Energy & Engineering, David Osborne noted, "Winter Break Energy Curtailment is good practice and quite frankly just plain common sense. Most folks shut off appliances, lights, and set their thermostat back at home when they go on vacation, so why would the university do anything less?"

As a result of this comprehensive curtailment effort, the university saved 504,192 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 45,259 therms of natural gas. This means that ten days of curtailment energy savings – more than to 1.8 million kWh – were three times greater than last year’s total annual electricity production from our onsite solar panels.

To put it in another context, AU’s energy savings were equivalent to the same clean air benefits that 482 acres of U.S. forests provide in a year – a forest that size is roughly six times the size of AU’s campus.

The Energy Curtailment program is one of the ways that Facilities Management is able to reduce the university’s energy use and utility expenditures while supporting AU’s other missions like its strategic commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2020.

Energy savings have improved during each of the past four years that the Energy Curtailment program has been implemented. The success can be attributed to the continuous efforts of many students, faculty, and staff across campus. Facilities Management plans to continue its efforts to look for more ways to save even more energy in the years to come.

Employee Spotlight on the Recycling Team

By Celina Ryan

Renovated American University Sky Box Debuts to Accolades

By Maria Lopez

Sky Box

The Athletics department Sky Box underwent a thorough renovation this past fall. The Planning and Project Management Office, formerly Office of University Architect, was charged with the design and construction for the project. The 450-square foot space located above Stafford H. "Pop" Cassel Court was designed to provide a luxurious and comfortable space that would offer prime seating and viewing for all events inside the arena.

The construction upgrades of the Sky Box entailed new carpet flooring;white metal ceiling; four levels of lighting including wall washers, down lights, cove lighting, and sconces;new corian counter ledge;glass partition;furred columns;under-counter laminate wall;bulkheads;upholstered banquette seating;an L-shaped bar counter with fridge, cooler, and cabinet;and new closet and main doors. All metal finishes were coordinated to be chrome.

The furniture upgrades included new stadium seating for 16 people, 8 wood-top bar tables, and 12 faux leather seat stools.

The signage upgrades also were significant and amounted to a large part of the project. A large translucent partition with a transparent AU logo was installed at the far end of the Sky box, welcoming all with a glowing finish. A large AU logo also was affixed on the ceiling tile, visible from the seats below as well as from the courts. Silver metallic logos also were placed above the bar and as a plaque beside the entry door. Stadium seating and wood tables also have red AU logos stamped on them. New red, white, and blue striping was placed on top of skybox back wall as well as the bottom of the front façade, extending to the end of the west side of the arena. Four picture frames also were installed at the back of sky box wall displaying past sport events.

Significant electrical and data upgrades also were made to accommodate data plugs for guests throughout the seating areas as well as two HDTV monitors with cable and internet connection.

The Sky Box opened to a great deal of praise for its new design and capabilities last November 17.

Staff Recognition

Richardson PPM

Jennifer Richardson, Director of Project Management

Welcome Aboard

Mark Cornell, Zone B Electrician

David Lord, Zone D Electrician

Jennifer Richardson, Director of Project Management

Trael Webb, Director of Planning and Project Development

Megan Zanella-Litke, Sustainability Manager





On the Spot Award Winners

Carlos Florez, Shuttle Operations

Celina Ryan, Facilities Training

Janelle Freeman, Zone B

Ransom Schutt, Grounds Maintenance

Martin Vasquez, Grounds Maintenance

Julio Flores, Grounds Maintenance

Carl Spence, Zone A

David Lord, Zone D

Lillian Arneson, Grounds Maintenance

David Wilson, Grounds Maintenance


Save the Date

June 2, 2015 - Facilities Management All-Staff

June 25, 2015 - 3rd Annual Vision BBQ and Cornhole Tournament