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The Facilities Visionary

Facilities Visionary 2013 Summer Softball Team

Welcome David Dower

By Mike Mastrota

David Dower - Assistant Vice President, Planning and Project Management

Filling the shoes of Jorge Abud is a huge task. Abud had been with American University for 33 years and was well respected throughout the community. He retired in March of this year leaving the position to be filled by someone who could take on the massive responsibilities as well as a construction project that was well under way. That might be enough to scare some people away. Luckily for AU, David Dower, a seasoned real estate and university development professional, viewed the task as a challenge worth tackling.

With a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a master’s degree in Urban Affairs, David began his career on staff at Harvard University. He spent several years in Massachusetts working at both Harvard University and Williams College. Next, David switched to the west coast and took a job as the Vice President of Planning and Construction for Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California.

David and his family missed the east coast and were looking for the right opportunity to move back. When the opening at AU came to his attention, David knew that he could handle the demands of the job.

David started at AU on April 15 and spent April 16 meeting lots of people and experiencing Campus Beautification Day for the first time. He still is learning how to get around campus and trying to remember the various building names. To help familiarize himself, David parks his car in the morning and then rides an AU shuttle or simply walks to all of his meetings throughout campus. This gives him a chance to learn the lay of the land and meet new people along the way. He notes that everyone he has met shares a willingness to work through issues effectively. He believes that it is important that during this busy time we should all work together to get the job done.

In the four short months since arriving, David has taken the helm of the four major capital projects that are under construction currently, including Cassell Hall, Nebraska Hall, McKinley renovation, and 4401 Connecticut Avenue. David notes that his initial impression of AU is that the current pace of work is not our normal mode of operation and he senses the tensions of getting these projects completed on schedule. He says that he looks forward to September when things will ease a bit as construction of the two residence halls is completed and the buildings become occupied.

David looks forward to having more time in the fall to get to know the people in each of the offices. Right now, like all of us, he is trying to put out the daily fires that arise unexpectedly, and has not had much of a chance to look ahead to schedule future social events.

When things settle down, David plans to look at all of the tools that we use such as PM Web, our spreadsheets for project development, and our standard contracts. He wants to determine our “best practices.”

One fire David already has battled is the RFP and contract for the East Campus project. David has a great deal of experience with contracts and values their importance. He made several needed improvements to the AU contract that will help protect the university.

David pointed out that he approaches projects from a different angle than some managers. He stresses that scoping, budgeting, and scheduling are important and the status of each project should be watched carefully at all times to have a successful outcome.

In his spare time, David has begun looking into the local housing market and is anxious to settled down and reunite with his wife and two daughters who are still back in California.

If you see David on campus, take the time to introduce yourself and welcome him to American University.

Another New Face, Welcome Tony Hollinger

By Stephanie DeStefano and Helen Lee

Tony Hollinger - Director, Facilities Operations

As a resident of Northwest Washington, DC for the past 10 years, Tony Hollinger was familiar with American University. His wife is an AU alumna and people he knew worked at AU, and spoke highly of the work environment and the exciting challenges and opportunities for the staff. Such a scenario fit well with Tony’s past fast-paced career experiences and, now that he too works here, he feels fortunate to have the opportunity to serve the university as the Director of Facilities Operations.

Despite having only limited direct experience in a university setting, Tony believes his background - which he calls “pleasantly diverse” - makes him uniquely qualified to contribute to AU’s continued success. He brings discipline, organization, and leadership from his time as a Marine officer who served in Desert Storm. He understands customer service excellence from working with the Walt Disney Company, and he honed his skills as a business manager during his time with Comcast. Tony also understands what it is like to face unexpected daily challenges from his experiences of starting an internet company. Tony believes that the role of Director of Facilities Operations will allow him to leverage his career experiences to build relationships, communicate effectively, and provide excellent customer service.

Growing up in the Philadelphia area as one of nine children, Tony describes himself as a “life-long learner.” He says he was fortunate to get a scholarship at a young age which helped him attend a private school through high school. From there, he was nominated to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he played four years of varsity football for the Midshipman. After serving in the Marines, Tony left the military to attend the Harvard Business School, where he earned a Masters of Business Administration degree.

Tony’s work leadership philosophy starts with establishing his own personal standard of excellence. He believes setting high standards and working towards a common goal with like-minded colleagues is vital to success in any endeavor. One of the things Tony already likes about his facilities management role is that the position “is not boxed,” as his role is ever evolving with organizational change and campus-related changes. Tony sees change as an opportunity for improvement and notes that often what appears to be a crisis is really another opportunity to excel.

He is excited about being a part of one of the most dynamic times in the history of American University. He notes that no one person will make the university successful - it will take every person in every function to create the foundation and sustain long-term success. Tony looks for reasons to enjoy coming to work every day and looks forward to the many positive activities and interactions a university campus presents.

When not at work, Tony enjoys spending time with his wife and their six-year old son. Tony notes that his interests are as diverse as his background, as he loves to draw, watch movies, and listen to music. One day he hopes to transfer his “Guitar Hero” mastery into equal ability on the real instrument.

Please join us in officially welcoming Tony to American University.

Director's Corner - Office of Sustainability

By Chris O'Brien

Director of Sustainability Chris O'Brien

Honoring AU’s history of practical idealism, commitment to public service, and global outlook, the Office of Sustainability has been working with partners from all corners of campus to green our facilities and to enable sustainable practices by the people who use our buildings and grounds.

Greening the American Dream at AU means integrating sustainability into how we design, operate, and maintain our buildings, as well as how we live, work, and recreate in them. Accordingly, our sustainability programs address each of these aspects. In the coming year, we will design, construct, or open four new buildings and two new campuses, all designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. We also will prepare to seek LEED certification for the four existing buildings grouped around the south quadrangle. Additionally, we just learned that the School of International Service building has earned a Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) two-star certification. This building was among a select group to participate in a worldwide pilot of the SITES program.          We are proud that our persistent efforts have culminated with this outstanding recognition as a sustainable site.

All of these green building efforts involve staff from the Office of the University Architect, Construction Management, Facilities Management, and Auxiliary Services – everyone has a role in this exemplary commitment to sustainability.

Of course, buildings are more than physical structures. They create an environment for communities of people. So our sustainability efforts must extend beyond the bricks and mortar and into the everyday practices of the students who dwell in our residence halls; the staff who work in our offices; the faculty who conduct research in our labs and teach in our classrooms; and everyone who enjoys campus amenities, such as the library, the museum, shuttle services, and our award-winning campus grounds.

Our Green Eagle and Green Office (GO!) programs are designed to do exactly that. For the fourth year, the Green Eagles will work to model sustainable living for their peers in the residence halls. Last year, Facilities Management, Auxiliary Services, Office of Finance and Treasurer, Office of University Architect, and Construction Management all earned GO! ratings for greening their offices. This fall, these engagement programs will catalyze even more campus members into higher levels of sustainable behavior through an interactive, real-time, web-based platform that will prompt sustainable practices, and help people share green tips while competing for recognition as green campus leaders.

Thanks for all you do to Green the American Dream. With your help, we look forward to making this AU’s greenest year ever.

A History Lesson: Dunblane and Capital Hall

By Kristine De Leon

Tenley Campus

Dunblane and Capital Hall are two of American University’s oldest buildings. Despite major renovation to Tenley Campus, these two buildings will be maintained to ensure their historic value.

In 1818, Clement Smith, a wealthy Georgetown merchant purchased a 55-acre property, which is now known as Tenley Campus. It was not until 1839 that Dunblane, formerly known as Dunblane Hunt, was built under the direction of a wealthy Virginian man named John Mason.

In 1888, Dunblane Hunt was bought by Anastasia Patten, a gold rush heiress. In 1894, it was purchased by the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. After the purchase, Immaculata Seminary, currently known as Capital Hall, was constructed in 1904 by Brennan Construction.

Immaculata Seminary housed elementary, secondary, and postgraduate programs. In 1955, a separate building was built to house the college dormitories and classrooms. Two other buildings were also built for common use. Due to financial reasons, the Immaculata property was sold to American University in 1986.

Tenley Campus housed the School of Professional Extended studies, OLLI, University Communication Marketing, College of Arts and Science, as well as the Washington Semester Program. It has become a desirable location for students due to its close proximity to Tenleytown and the metro.

LEED Green Building Certification for Existing Buildings

By Emily Curley

When the phrase “LEED Certified” is mentioned, often a new building equipped with endless features comes to mind. Those features could include the latest technologies, sustainably-forested and recycled materials, and high-end efficient systems. Although these features help modern buildings meet sustainability goals, the “greenest” building is the one that already is standing. Most of the buildings that are around today will still be here in 2050. Therefore, maintaining and operating them more efficiently is the key to reducing our climate impacts. Thus, the Office of Sustainability, in partnership with FM, OUA, Housekeeping, and Purchasing, have been working in a timely fashion to achieve LEED certification for nearly all of the buildings owned by American University.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building rating system that recognizes high performance in environmental and human health. This building rating system is for all building types including existing or new commercial buildings, homes, schools, and neighborhoods, although most LEED certifications have been awarded for new buildings. In fact, within the higher education sector, 94 percent of LEED certifications are for newly constructed buildings.

American University seeks to turn the tide on that figure as one of the only three campuses nationwide to use a LEED Volume program which will bulk-certify existing buildings, and to integrate LEED best practices into standard operations. From Anderson to Watkins and the recertification of three-year old SIS to 117-year old Hurst building, the next several years will see efforts to increase energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste diversion, and indoor environmental quality in 25 of our existing buildings.

Clark, Roper, Gray, and McCabe are the first four buildings being targeted for certification. Stay tuned!

Orange Fever

By Helen Lee

Organic waste collection bins

Orange organic waste bins are lined up for installation in McDowell Hall

Although the campus is quieter, “Orange fever” for organic waste collection continues to spread at American University during the summer season. This past spring, AU’s residence halls installed more than 150 new organic waste containers in lounges and kitchens. The containers have begun to appear in academic and administrative buildings as well.

Next time you walk into Bender Library or the School of International Service building, you will be greeted by familiar green and blue bins now joined by a brand-new orange bin at every Zero Waste station. These stations consist of four bins with a brand-new, easy-to-use design that have been placed conveniently in all major traffic areas for students, faculty, and staff to dispose their leftover lunch, napkins, or that empty coffee cup from the Davenport. The bins are part of an effort to minimize the amount of waste being sent to landfills and to help maintain our cutting-edge sustainability practices.

Thank you to everyone in the campus community for helping us as we strive towards our goal of Zero Waste. Thanks especially to our housekeeping, grounds, and facilities staff for making this innovative effort possible.

Campus Beautification Day, a Zero Waste Event

This April, the AU community joined together to celebrate the 20th annual Campus Beautification Day. More than 300 passionate Eagles volunteered their time and energy from 8 a.m. until noon to beautify the natural scenery at AU. Eagle volunteers, identifiable by their grey volunteer attire, celebrated two decades of campus beautification. In addition, campus members worked their green thumbs in AU’s arboretums and gardens to plant, mulch, and beautify the campus. The day wrapped up with an annual free barbeque at the Woods-Brown Amphitheater that produced zero waste to landfills or incineration. Orange organic and green recycling bins were installed to help us make the event a Zero Waste event.

Project Move-Out

Every year during student move-out, thousands of usable clothes, shoes, toiletries, food, and small household items are thrown away. Instead of sending these usable materials to the landfill, American University partners with local charities to salvage materials and donate to those in need. Collection took place on the quad and in the residence halls from April to May and a community sale of those items was held prior to student move-out. At the sale, all items were priced to move for under $10. All of the proceeds went to local charity Mentors of Minorities in Education’s Total Learning Cis-Tem (M.O.M.I.E’S TLC), a D.C.-based nonprofit committed to improving the educational experience of at-risk children in D.C. neighborhoods. Close to 4,000 pounds of material was diverted from a landfill and 100 pounds of unopened food and toiletries were donated to the Capital Area Food Bank.

With the spread of organics collection and community-led projects like Campus Beautification Day and Project Move-Out, we are reminded that throw away certainly does not mean ­go away. These efforts show that American University is nearing its goal to campus-wide Zero Waste.

Employee Spotlight On Josey Schwartz

By Maria Lopez

Josey Schwartz

Joseph Schwartz, or Josey, is the Commissioning Coordinator for the Office of Energy and Engineering in Facilities Management.

Q: Where are you from and what is your background?

A: I grew up in a military family which led me to move around quite a bit. By the time I finished my undergraduate degree, I had moved a dozen times. I was very fortunate that my father was assigned to multiple tours overseas because it allowed me to spend most of my upbringing in Italy. I am mostly Italian, a quarter Filipino, and a tad bit German as my last name suggests.

Q: What is your experience with construction and what companies have you worked for?

A: Prior to my employment in the Department of Energy & Engineering, I worked in positions dealing primarily with campus sustainability. Prior to E&E, I worked on sustainability campaigns for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), the City of Berkeley, University of Maryland College Park, the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) and AU's Office of Sustainability.

Q: How did you hear about AU and how do you like working for AU so far?

A: I was accepted into Kogod for the Master of Science in Sustainability Management (MSSM) program before I began my career here at AU. I greatly enjoy both my academic and professional careers at AU. It's a very special thing to me that I'm able to do meaningful work for an employer I respect, and in support of a mission I truly believe in. What's more, I get to do so with intelligent and caring people whom I look up to and continually learn from.

Q: What is it exactly that you do at AU?

A: Commissioning can be seen as a rigorous quality control process that ensures that any given project or equipment is optimally running as designed. Moreover, commissioning focuses on system synergies. On a campus like AU where many of the buildings and pieces of equipment are tied into one another say, through the sharing of utilities or AU's building automation system (BAS), etc., commissioning is a critical part of efficiency in operations which allows Facilities Management to keep operating costs down and reliability up.

Q: What is your family like and what are your hobbies?

A: I'm extremely close with my family. I'm the youngest of three children. I have one brother and one sister. My hobbies are many. I do all types of exercise and love sports. I read a lot of non-fiction books and magazines and my most passionate hobby is home brewing. I'm obsessed with all things related to craft beer!

Q: What is something we would never suspect you do or happened to you?

A: One thing that I never expected to have the opportunity to do is watch a Supreme Court argument. Because of my enrollment in the MSSM, I've not only gone twice, but I had reserved seating both times. Another thing I would have never thought I would have the opportunity to do is to go to a global summit on climate change like I did last summer when I attended Rio+20. I was able to secure an accredited pass, which provided me with great access to areas of the conference that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to experience thanks to AU and the MSSM Program.

Q: What's your favorite thing about AU?

A: My coworkers. They're a fantastic varied bunch.

Q: What would you change?

A: The plants and other outdoor greenery on the campus are incredibly beautiful and well maintained. I'd love to see more living plants brought indoors.

The First Annual Vision Team BBQ

By Ashlee Banks

It was a sunny day, soft music playing in the background, and the smell of BBQ was in the air. People gathered wearing comfortable attire to suit the occasion. Laughter was heard, smiles were seen, but cubicles and assignments were out of sight. This was not a typical work day for Facilities Management and Planning and Project Management. On June 20, the Vision Team hosted a cookout on Jacobs field on the American University campus.

More than 80 staff members from FM and PPM were in attendance. Although deadlines for special projects were quickly approaching, most staff members managed to shy away from work-related conversations. “There wasn’t any shop talk,” stated OUA employee Pamela Wright. “No one was talking about work, everybody was relaxed.”

FM and PPM staff enjoyed a menu of appetizing cuisine, including BBQ chicken, macaroni and cheese, grilled corn on the cob, veggie burgers, beef burgers, hotdogs, and green beans. The menu was planned and prepared by Akisha Carter and Abdul Harris of the Vision Team. In addition, beverages such as water, lemonade, Sprite, and Coco-Cola also were in abundance for employees.

Entertainment for the day was “ONE, TWO, THREE strikes you’re out in the OLD, BALL, GAME!” Softball. FM and PPM staff joined in an eventful ballgame. The winner of the first annual Vision BBQ Softball Tournament was the "Blue" team. The Blue team consisted of Shaun Pressley as Team Captain, Matt Caraker, Greg Fletcher, Paul Girvin, Vin Harkins, Ilir Jaho, Paul Jimason, Maria Lopez, Andrew Ortega and Tony Williams. OUA intern Ben Charpentier said, “Softball was the highlight of the cookout event, I had so much fun.” Charpentier was on the losing team, but had an amazing time playing with and against some of his coworkers.

This was the first cookout hosted by the Vision Team and they hit a home run with this event. “It was a huge success, everyone is looking forward to next year,” said Wright.

When Does the Next Shuttle Bus Depart?

By Mark Feist

This is a common question asked by millions of riders daily. Whether an individual is awaiting the arrival of a metro bus, airport shuttle, van or limousine, riders want to know what time the next departure will be. The American University Shuttle Operations Team has zoned in on a solution that will always have this commonly asked question answered. Beginning in fall 2013, American University will publish a minute-by-minute schedule for its Blue and Red bus routes.

Providing safe and reliable transportation in a timely manner has always been a priority for the Transportation Operations and Maintenance Team. Three years ago, the team was able to install a GPS tracking system on all AU shuttle buses. This enabled the team to capture data and reports that analyzed the timing of shuttle buses and monitored the efficiency of route schedules. Now American University has created a new inventive way for tech-savvy commuters to access the newly published shuttle bus schedule. Publishing a minute-by-minute bus schedule is expected to enhance an already improved operation.

Riders now can download the free app “streeteagletransit” onto a handheld device to track AU shuttle buses in “real time,” in addition to viewing alerts and shuttle bus schedules. The upcoming shuttle bus schedule for the fall semester will outline the pick-up time for the Tenley Town Metro stop, Blue and Red routes; the Washington College of Law stop, Red route; and the Letts/Anderson (south campus) stop, Blue route.

The Transportation and Maintenance Team also has been working hard to ensure the safety and efficiency of AU transportation. During the course of the past three years, in an effort to make AU shuttle buses more reliable, the team has replaced five of the nine AU shuttle buses.

Visit for more information

Clawed is Facilities' Very Own Jeffery Atkins

By Celina Ryan

Ilir Jaho with Jeffery Atkins as "Clawed"

Q. Jeffery, how long have you been a mascot?

A. 22 years – since 1993.

Q. What’s the most fun about being a mascot?

A. The disguise, the discreet nature of the work, no one knows who you are!

Q. What was your most memorable experience being a mascot?

A. Game One at the opening of the new Nationals Stadium in 2005. As the Eagle Screech, I hatched out of the egg to 40,000 screaming fans. The applause was the highest high I ever had in my life.

Q. Wow, that’s pretty impressive. You were Screech?

A. Yes, the Eagle was a brand new character. It was a new team with new ideas. I created Screech’s personality. I was him for three years.

Q. What other professional mascot work have you done?

A. Let’s see, 22 years is a lot of sweat. I was Screech (Washington Nationals), Chuck E. (Chuck-E-Cheese), Globie (Harlem Globetrotters), Junction Jack and Orbit (Houston Astros), and a few others.

Q. And now you are here at AU! What was it like to get in Clawed’s costume during Staff Appreciation here at AU this May?

A. It was very hot! It was fun to get the staff excited, especially because they weren’t expecting me there. Energy was high and we got plenty of pictures.

Q. Are you planning to act as Clawed and develop his personality?

A. It is my time to retire now from putting on a mascot costume of any kind. My wish is to get good talent into Clawed. I have offered to help AU Athletics find the right fit for Clawed and play a mentorship role. I haven’t really heard too much about Clawed’s character before. I want to help Clawed get to the next level…with a comical and energetic personality. It takes great skill and it’s not for everyone. You have to always stay in character and every single motion is exaggerated.

Q. What has being a mascot meant for you during the past 22 years?

A. It is always great to have a diverse background and side talent. This work has allowed me to be a go-getter and achieve personal success. People think being a mascot is just about getting into a costume. Oh no, it’s so much more than that.

AU Wins Energy Efficiency Award

David Osborne (right) accepts award on behalf of American University

The Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) recognized American University as a 2013 Business Leader in Energy Efficiency. Nominated by the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU), AU was honored for its green building policies and continued efforts to advance campus-wide energy efficiency.

With assistance from the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU), AU completed a major lighting retrofit to modernize Bender Arena, home to the university's NCAA athletics programs and host to commencement exercises, concerts, and world renowned speakers. Click here to read the full story.

Staff Recognition

Juan Allen (far left) graduates from the APPA Leadership Academy

Welcome Aboard:

  • David Shepherd in Material Supply.

Staff Promotions:

  • Doug Fairley - Assistant Director, Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance
  • Akisha Carter - Financial Specialist, Finance Resource Center
  • Abdul Harris - Account Specialist, Finance Resource Center

Congratulations Graduates:

  • Juan Allen - APPA Leadership Academy
  • Emily Curley - Masters of Arts, Global Environmental Policy
  • Celina Ryan - Masters of Science, Organizational Development

LEED Green Associate Certifications:

  • CJ Lucas
  • Jessica Lubell
  • Helen Lee
  • Claude Perera

Honorable Mentions:

  • Tam Bui - LEED AP O&M certification
  • Evan Karagiannis - Master Plumber license
  • Sean Wilson - Elected to Staff Council
  • Michelle Frederick - President-Elect for ERAPPA