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The Facilities Visionary

Revamped Project Move-Out Proves to Be a Success

By Helen Lee

Project Move-Out

Move-out is a busy time for everyone at American University. Students are focused on their final exams and packing is not usually the highest priority. Parents are focused on helping their kids move out, and get quickly in and out of campus, past the long traffic lines that often extend out to Glover and Rockwood Gates. It’s an overwhelming time for AU’s staff as well, as they make sure that campus is ready for commencement, while also dealing with cleaning up the residence halls once student have left.

Often in the midst of this move-out season, we forget what happens to those left-behind items, becoming an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” scenario. Unfortunately, typical of many universities, these perfectly good items are discarded and sent to the landfill. This was the case at AU until Housing and Dining Programs (HDP) initiated a program called Project Move-Out. They began collecting usable items and holding a community sale prior to the students leaving for the summer. 

In 2014, Zero Waste, FM Recycling Staff, and ARAMARK Housekeeping partnered to reduce what the university sends to landfills by collecting and recycling many of the usable items left behind by the students. More than 10,000 pounds of clothes, shoes, and textiles were collected and sent to Community Recycling. This year, thanks to Jessica Balerna, Student Government’s Director of Sustainability, a revamped Project Move-Out program was launched. Jessica’s vision was to collect all items suitable for reuse and either donate to local charities or re-sell to students during student move-in. Offering the items for sale at student move-in made perfect sense. The items collected are often those that students need to purchase as they settle into their residence halls.

Jessica and Zero Waste coordinator, Helen Lee, spent all winter through early spring preparing to revitalize Project Move-Out. They met and partnered with Housing and Dining Programs, Public Safety, ARAMARK Housekeeping, Community Relations, UPS on campus, and coordinated with FM CRDM to factor in the upcoming Nebraska Hall renovation project. On the student side, Jessica successfully recruited 17 student volunteers from Student Government, RHA, ECO-Sense, and Office of Sustainability’s Green Eagle program.

When Project Move-Out began officially on May 1, FM Recycling Supervisor Darrell Dupree and his staff installed containers for collection in each floor of the ten residence halls and collected items daily and moved them to a central location. Support Services provided crates and two pods for storage during the summer. ARAMARK Housekeeping provided cleaning supplies and liners, while helping to contain the donations by bagging up the items. Even through the weekend, HDP provided support by granting access through the One Card office and helping to communicate to the residents of Project Move-Out. 2FIX work coordinators relayed messages of special items that needed to be picked-up to staff and student volunteers. Led by Jessica and Helen, the student volunteers worked day and night in Anderson 2U and Leonard Chancery to collect, clean, test, sort, and pack items into the storage pods.

Students, staff, and contractors displayed a tremendous level of teamwork and dedication to the success of this year’s Project Move-Out. In fact, four 30 yard pods were filled with items that will be sold to students at a lower cost during Project Move-In or donated to local charities. The revenue generated from the revamped Project Move-In Sale will cover the FM labor expense required for next year’s move-out via FSR . Students also have organized the Zero Waste Student Club that will continue the new Project Move-Out program. Thanks to all staff that supported the effort.

For pictures of Project Move-Out, please visit:

American University Wins Recognition for Leadership in Energy Management

By Josey Schwartz

Innovator Group

American University’s stature as a leader in sustainability continues to grow. The university earned the number-two spot in the Sierra Club’s latest Coolest Schools rankings, and the seventh spot in The Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Colleges list. A big part of these rankings are driven by the University’s leadership in energy management.

AU’s Energy & Engineering (E&E) staff has been hard at work on building-in intensive energy data collection and analysis capabilities into its energy program. The effort includes the installation of utility submeter equipment that allows E&E’s energy analysts to get a closer look at how the campus uses energy and establish benchmarks at the building level for each utility.

AU’s Chief Engineer, Juan Allen, explains, “We’re now in our third year and final phase of installing submeters which are a vital part of our energy management program. Submeters allow us to make better decisions about energy conservation priorities and enable us to predict, measure, and verify outcomes with much greater accuracy.”

For AU buildings with complicated systems and high energy use intensity, the E&E team has commissioned ASHRAE Level II Energy Audits to provide a comprehensive understanding of what’s going on “under the hood” to uncover not-so-obvious energy conservation opportunities. The technologies, reduction strategies, and operational efficiencies used in improving the most complicated buildings can be modified to implement in other buildings across campus. Some ECMs even lead to discoveries about opportunities that can be applied to campus systems as a whole.
E&E’s energy conservation measures are recognized frequently by various energy-industry arbiters, including the DC Sustainable Energy Utility. In 2014, the DCSEU awarded more than $68,000 in financial incentives to AU for mechanical and lighting efficiency projects. For 2015, AU has at least six projects in development that are eligible for financial incentives from the DCSEU.

Sightlines Inc., an independent facilities solutions consultant that serves more than 450 higher education clients, recently completed its evaluation of AU. Sightlines’ account manager Jaclyn Murphy noted that AU’s conservation efforts are “certainly impressive compared to the Sightlines database,” of universities, and that AU is outperforming its peers in reducing energy consumption. The most significant finding in the Sightlines report is that “Despite campus growth [of buildings and total gross square footage], normalized utility consumption has decreased…”

Last summer Director of Energy & Engineering, David Osborne, accepted the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships “Business Leader for Energy Efficiency” award for its efforts. In addition to energy reductions and becoming more efficient, AU is winning recognition for efforts to switch to clean, renewable energy. Earlier this month, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce selected AU as a finalist for Tech Innovator of the Year in its 2015 Greater Washington Innovation Awards.

Also this month, in an Earth Month speech at AU on April 20, 2015, Director of the DC Department of the Environment, Tommy Wells, noted that he is attempting to emulate AU’s green power capital purchase with private companies in the District.

AU Assistant Vice President for Facilities, Vin Harkins, said, “Our Facilities Management slogan is to be ‘The Leader in University Facilities’ and we work really hard to live up to it. Our team has innovative energy conservation project ideas for years to come.”

Campus Beautification Day Wrap-Up

By Mike Mastrota

CBD 2015

Everyone welcomed the first signs of spring this year, especially since it seemed like it would never get here. With winter weather lingering for an unusually long time, our Facilities Operations Grounds colleagues went directly from plowing snow to Campus Beautification Day (CBD) preparations. 

Under the leadership of Mark Feist and Katherine Kirlin, the CBD Project Team began meeting in January to plan the 22nd annual Campus Beautification Day. Despite the need to use the rain date, the event was a success, both as a community building experience and as a way to have the campus looking its best for Freshman Day. We welcomed more than 250 volunteers who planted 135 trees and shrubs and in excess of 5,000 perennials. They also spread 645 cubic yards of mulch across our campus. Earl Eutsler from the DC Urban Forestry Division presented AU President, Neil Kerwin, with a plaque commemorating the sixth consecutive year that AU has been a Tree Campus USA member. Thanks to all of the Facilities management staff that helped make this event a huge success.

Director's Corner: Facilities Operations

By Tony Hollinger

Anthony Hollinger

Having now been a member of the American University team for just over two years, I continue to be encouraged by the increasing collaboration across operating units. New and enduring partnerships during a period of such high activity demonstrate AU’s earnest desire to achieve and maintain an “A-rating” for campus-wide operations management.
Awareness of this “A” performance goal continues to be evident not only by the well-cared-for condition of existing facilities, grounds, and campus programs, but also by our collective efforts to elevate AU to the operating mindset and capabilities that will fulfill the vision stated in the 2008 Strategic Plan, presented conceptually in the 2011 Campus Plan - Leadership for a Changing World.

The goals stated in the strategic vision document and the projects-level plan require the best contributions of all current and future members of the campus community family. One specific and critical type of contribution needed is the effective leveraging of technology to enhance campus operations management. In the course of planning and directing the management of our facilities’ operations, it is evident to me that AU invests significantly to provide the assets and opportunities for us to deliver on this critical success factor. I have been pleased to see how individuals and functional units are working to maximize AU’s return on this investment every day.

One asset that has proven to be especially beneficial is Facilities Operations’ Integrated Work Management System (IWMS) whose core objective is to “enable computerized facilities maintenance management.” The AiM platform – the foundation of AU’s integrated work management system – is the engine of 2Fix, FM’s customer service management system. 2Fix is vital to the planning and delivery of daily Facilities Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services. The 2Fix system has served AU well, and the AiM platform has capacity to drive even better service. Achieving better 2Fix results depends largely on the campus community’s (especially the FM Team’s) commitment to establish a solid understanding of the technology platform’s usage requirements for highly successful facilities operations.

The FM Team continues to make a concerted effort to deepen our knowledge of the AiM platform’s capabilities, so we can better articulate the requirements to leverage this system in support of campus-wide operations. One example of this effort is the success of our project to implement “AiM Mobile.” This system capability now enables mobile, electronic downloading of information related to daily corrective work assignments and timecard management, preventive maintenance tasks, and inventory transactions. In addition, it also enables the more efficient uploading of information for faster, more efficient follow-on work and budget management.

FM continues to work closely with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to not only execute projects like the “AiM Mobile” implementation successfully, but also to ensure that there is a shared commitment between our groups to better understand and leverage the multiple ways technology can be used sensibly to improve facilities operations management.

This last point is especially important as AU’s facilities assets and programming increase in volume and operating complexity. The key to most effectively leveraging technology’s use in operations management campus-wide remains effective communication between PEOPLE within AND between campus operating units.

Arboretum Brings High Profile Events to Campus

By Mike Mastrota

Flowers in Arboretum

As our Facilities Management staff prepares to host several high level events this summer and fall, American University Arboretum and Gardens continues to make a name for itself in the Washington area and beyond.

In June, the AU Arboretum and Gardens proudly hosted the Horticultural Society of Greater Washington Volunteer Luncheon. The special event brought to our campus more than 250 Washington-area residents who volunteer in public gardens throughout the region. Thanks to Facilities Management staff Mark Feist, Paul Davis, Stephanie DeStefano, Mike Mastrota, Greg Wright, and Jessica Lubell for providing Arboretum tours. In addition, Mark Feist and Mike Mastrota made a key note presentation highlighting the transformation of the American University campus grounds.

On July 16, the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) will hold their annual Field Day on the AU campus. Geared specifically for landscape professionals, the event is expected to attract 300 participants. Activities will take place primarily on the main quad and will include a trade show and educational sessions, some of which will be facilitated by Facilities Management staff.

AU is thrilled to have been selected as one of the tour stops for the Perennial Plant Association’s national symposia in Baltimore in August. The Perennial Plant Association’s visit to AU will provide the university with a unique opportunity to show off the campus Arboretum for a bus load of horticultural professionals from around the globe. In addition, thanks to the successful submission made by Paul Davis, AU Arboretum staff will attend the symposia to accept an award honoring the Kogod landscape.

Mid September brings another special event to the AU campus. DC Mayor and AU Alum, Muriel Bowser, along with Director of the DC Department of the Environment (DDOE) Tommy Wells will hold their first Tree Summit on the AU campus. In a recent visit and presentation to the AU community, Wells acknowledged that AU was selected for this important meeting largely due to their demonstrated commitment to the environment and, in particular, the retention and expansion of the city’s tree canopy. He suggested that the city can use the AU campus as a model to teach other city landowners and developers about the techniques and values of sustainable land management.

These types of opportunities are consistent with AU’s strategic goals, as each event helps promote the university to an expanded audience and garners the attention and respect of others.

A big thank you is extended to our Facilities Management staff, as these opportunities and achievements would not be possible without their dedication and commitment.

Safety Minute: 5 Keys to Defensive Driving

By Kevin Wyatt


A vehicle collision occurs in the blink of an eye. In a split second, our lives and the lives of others can be changed dramatically forever. Driving requires our undivided attention. With today’s technology, there are many distractions at our fingertips – especially our cell phones. Even hands-free devices can divert our attention away from the road.
Although during the summer there is less pedestrian traffic on the American University campus, the risks of an accident are still present. AU has many visitors and younger students who may be less familiar with vehicle traffic patterns and they too may be distracted by a mobile device.
To make the campus safer for vehicles and pedestrians, during the spring semester this year, Markus McEaddy and Kevin Wyatt trained more than 90 FM staff on using the Smith Driving System. Staff members who took the training have given overwhelmingly positive feedback. In fact, one staff member who took the training even informed her insurance company and received a discount on her premium.

The Smith System’s five key instructions include:

Key #1 Aim high in steering
• Lead the vehicle properly with your eyes
• See and evaluate relevant information from distant objects
• Adjust eye lead distance to speed
• Keep vehicle rolling by adjusting for conditions
• Ensure that eye level remains elevated around turns and corners

Key #2 Get the big picture
• Maintain proper distance between other vehicles that are consistent with road and weather conditions
• Make and execute decisions early
• Avoid being boxed in unnecessarily
• Ensure that vehicle speed is neither too fast nor too slow for conditions
• Use knowledge of routes to make driving smoother and more economical

Key #3 Keep your eyes moving
• Scan mirrors frequently
• Scan major intersections before entry
• Move eyes at least every two seconds
• Check mirrors prior to slowing or stopping the vehicle
• Avoid staring while evaluating relevant objects

Key #4 Leave yourself an out
• Maintain proper space around the vehicle
• Adjust to avoid unsafe intrusion by other drivers
• When stopped, leave appropriate space in front of vehicle
• Remain in your lane to minimize danger and maximize space and visibility

Key #5 Make sure they see you
• Communicate through eye contact with other drivers when conditions suggest the need
• Engage turn indicators early to give other drivers ample time to react
• Maintain appropriate speed and give indication when changing lanes
• Brake early to activate brake lights
• Position vehicle to see and be seen

For more information on the Smith System or driver safety, contact Kevin Wyatt or Markus McEaddy, both of whom are certified Smith System trainers. Also remember, cell phone use while operating university-owned vehicles is strictly prohibited. Safe travels!

Summer Break Construction & Facilities Projects

By Michelle Clark

Terrace Dining Room

TDR Picture from OCL

TDR Dining Area Renovation (May 12 - August 18)
Renovation of the server area will include redesign deli, grill, and pizza stations. Stations will match the design and décor of the Friend of the Farmer station. Community tables also will be added as part of the renovation. As Phase 1 of the renovation is already complete, Phase 2 will be completed by mid-August. Project Manager: Onyel Gibson, (202) 885-1147,

Butler Tunnel – New retail venue (current – August 18)
The Subway located currently in the Eagles Nest will move to the old Hair City location. The new location will provide more of a Subway ambiance and additional seating. Project Manager: Onyel Gibson, (202) 885-1147,

Old Nebraska Hall Renovation – Building Closed (current – August 7)
Project involves cosmetic finish upgrades to common areas and lobby, the residence advisors apartment, and residential suites on the original south wing. Work includes maintenance repairs on fan coil units and interior light fixture replacements. Thirty five kitchens will be replaced, as well as all new millwork, counter tops, sinks, and appliances. Project Manager: Kelvin Richardson, (202) 885-2029,

Greenberg Theater – 4200 Wisconsin Ave (mid-June – August)
Project involves the upgrade and replacement of the HVAC system in the Greenburg Theater shop, offices, and production booth, including:
• Installation of a new DX system with humidity control in the Control Room
• Installation of a fan speed controller to projector exhaust in Control Room
• Installation of FCU to serve corridor near Control Room
• Installation of two recirculating filter units in Shop
• Installation of de-stratification fan(s) in Shop
• Installation of split ductless system in Offices 123 and 124

Work is being coordinated with theater staff to afford access to the area and avoid conflicts with the theater’s operations. Project Manager: Tony Cortez, (202) 420-9267.

Hamilton Building – Conversion of HVAC System (June – August)
Project will involve a full HVAC replacement, from an existing DX cooling system with central plant-supplied radiant steam heating system to a VRF system with a dedicated outdoor air handler that handles all HVAC requirements. It also will include minor repair of affected finishes from demolition. The entire project is expected to last two to three months. This schedule is compressed significantly so as not to affect staff, faculty, students, and classes. Project Manager: Tony Cortez, (202) 420-9267.

Natatorium – Replacement of wall sound panels (August 12-14)
Project entails replacement of sound panels in the natatorium, as the color has faded from the chlorine use in the area over the years. The project currently is on schedule and panels have been ordered from Acoustical Solutions and are being fabricated for delivery. They are scheduled for installation on August 11. Project Manager: Darrick Adkins, (202) 885-3575,

Jacobs Fitness Center-Strength & Conditioning Room (August 2015)
Project involves installation of new lighting, flooring and base, paint, wall decals, and film on the glass wall and entry doors. The down lights will be replaced with new 2' x 2' light fixtures. The new flooring will be one inch thick to help absorb the weight of the exercise weights. Project Manager: Darrick Adkins, (202) 885-3575,

Beeghly – Replacement of 25 lab hoods and cabinets (current – August 8)
Project replaces fume hoods in designated labs on the second and third floors in rooms 201, 203A&B, 207, 208, 212, and 303. The project has scope increases that require the purchase and installation of additional fume hoods for room 303. The existing hoods were abated because of the chemicals used in the experiments. New controls and duct work will be installed. Project Manager: Eder Granados, (202) 885-2331,

Butler Pavilion – Room 408 – Interior office enclosure (June)
Project involves the installation of ALUR Modular Wall to create private office space within the Office of Campus Life. The modular wall is environmentally sustainable and allows daylight through to inner office space and offers sound privacy. This project is on currently on schedule for installation during week of June 29, but may be moved to week of July 13. Project Manager: Anna-Maria Vincent, (202) 885-1107,

Ward 300 – Conference Room AV and finished upgrades (June)
Project involves renovation of the Dean's Conference room. Work includes updated lighting, window treatments, and in-floor power for the conference table. Project Manager: Onyel Gibson, (202) 885-1147,

Ward 311 – Conference Room AV and window treatment upgrades (June)
Project involves renovation of a classroom and training room. Work includes updated AV equipment and new carpet and paint. The room will include a re-purposed storage unit, which will be used as curio/buffet. Project Manager: Onyel Gibson, (202) 885-1147,

WCL-Tenley – Rebuild for WCL (campus closed until November 2015)
Live webcam and more information can be found at:

Staff Recognition


Mark Cornell and Cesar Caicedo, Vision BBQ 2015 Cornhole Champs!


Carlos Rugamas, Operating Engineer 6th Class, Central Plant Operations
Almasi Sabir, Electrician, Zone A, Building Maintenance Operations


Janelle Freeman (Building Maintenance Operations) for taking the initiative to clean up and properly dispose of the waste materials and waste material area in Asbury
Ransom Schutt, Martin Vasquez and Julio Flores (Grounds Maintenance) for snow removal work on Jacob's Field to ensure it was ready for practice
Carl Spence and David Lord (Building Maintenance) for making sure electrical service was available and safe due to the snow for Founders Day on the Quad
Lillian Arneson and David Wilson (Grounds Maintenance) for ensuring all the snow was properly removed and electrical service could be provided for Founders Day on the Quad
Jerome Jimason, Lester Redmond and Sam Yankson (Building Maintenance) for stepping up during Van's absence to provide proper coverage and support to the campus, especially in preparation and support of commencement.


•5 Years - Darrell Dupree, Carrington Smith, Sean Wilson
•10 Years - Ricardo Escalante, Doug Fairley, Linay Foreman, Markus McEaddy
•15 Years - Abdenbi Bouzhar, Bernie Cowger, Bill Johnson, Toan Le, Claude Perera, Dennis Smith, Rob Van Hoek
•20 Years - Reggie Mayo, Lester Redmond, Sam Yankson
•25 Years - Marilyn Muir


•Safety Excellence Award - Reggie Mayo
•AU Leadership Institute Graduates - Tony Hollinger, David Osborne, Tony Williams
•Perennial Plant Association Merit Award for Landscape Design - Paul Davis
•Rejuvenating a Campus Landscape Pays Surprising Dividends presented at the 2015 Smart and Sustainable Campus Conference - Mike Mastrota
•Measure Success panel at the College and University Recycling Coalition - Helen Lee