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FACILITIES FOCUS September/October 2011


WHAT WE DO at the phys plant COVER PHOTO | Connecting campus | University Operator Nancy Sehlke directs calls from the Telecommunication Systems dispatch office.

COVER STORY | Operators/Dispatchers | 2 Find out what happens on the other end of the receiver with Telecommunication Systems.

FEATURE | Special Collections rescue | 3-4 Phys Planters’ quick action saved rare, valuable material in Library Special Collections.

AT A GLANCE | U2 success

| 5-6

Outstanding efforts of Physical Plant employees helped a landmark concert go off without a hitch.

AROUND THE ‘PHYS’ | BPO to DSS | 7 One of our departments changed its name to better reflect its services.


Library Special Collections rescue Page 3

AROUND THE ‘PHYS’ | Survey results | 8 Learn how your feedback will help us improve Facilities Focus. Photo by Holly Balentine


 Sheryl Shay, maintenance mechanic II (left), and Tim Dennany, maintenance mechanic II, inspect the fan shaft in the sub-basement of the MSU Main Library.

KUDOS | 10



STUDENT EDITOR Holly Balentine New MSU employees receive one electronic notice for the online version of Facilities Focus. To receive an electronic notice for each issue, subscribe to our list serv: e-mail with “SUBSCRIBE PHYSPLANTNEWS <your name here>” in the body of the message.


Facilities Focus is published for all Physical Plant employees. It is also distributed to campus customers and key business contacts. Our goal is to recognize the Physical Plant staff’s accomplishments and activities. If you have questions, comments or corrections, contact us at or via phone at 517-432-3629 or 517-432-0235. This newsletter is printed with soy ink on 100 percent recycled paper (100 percent post-consumer). Please recycle in “Mixed” recycling bins. | twitter: MSUPhysPlant | find us on facebook |


Telecom staff do more than lend an ear Holly Balentine | Student Editor


n times of question or crisis (or even if you don’t know who to contact), the University operators/dispatchers in the Physical Plant’s Telecommunication Systems department are the people to call. The University operators/ dispatchers are on duty 24/7 with a broad level of knowledge about University services and the ability to direct people to buildings and events. They play two major roles for the University: answering or directing University calls and dispatching for the Physical Plant Division. Students, parents and visitors call the operators/dispatchers with a variety of concerns. The team answers questions or directs callers to the correct contact. Requests have included advice for international students stranded at airports, questions from family members of MSU students, procedures for the death of a farm animal and the score of an ongoing football game. More urgent concerns come through the lines as well. Nancy Sehlke, University operator, told an anecdote that stuck out in her mind. “There was a lost 4-year-old boy on campus for Small Animals Day one year. I radioed all bus drivers and service personnel that were working on campus to be on the lookout for him. We found him and returned him to his very grateful mother.” The other role the team plays is maintenance dispatch for the Physical Plant. Operators/dispatchers receive trouble calls and implement the procedures used to deal with those calls: identifying the specific issue, starting the billing process and calling the correct crew for action. In addition, the operators/ dispatchers call customers back after maintenance projects to ensure all needs were met. Since operators/dispatchers tend the phones 24/7, they initiate Physical

Photo by Kayla Riis

 University Operator Bernie Wright works with multiple computer monitors so he can access information without delay. The University operator/dispatcher position requires extensive knowledge about MSU and all Physical Plant departments in order to dispatch information to the proper party.

Plant emergency procedures and coordinate crucial communications. In cases of severe weather like tornadoes, they monitor conditions and warn Physical Plant crews of threats to provide for their safety. In addition to daily operations, the employees provide a critical role in communicating with the Physical Plant teams during campus happenings such as sporting events and concerts. According to Customer Service Manager Angela Knauf, the position of University operator/dispatcher is a very specialized job. Employees must have a lot of knowledge about MSU and about Physical Plant departments to dispatch calls to the right crew. Operators/dispatchers must be able to multi-task well, cross-reference many sources of information and use multiple technologies at once to do their jobs. In light of their reliability and efficiency, Knauf thinks that the operators/dispatchers have an excellent work ethic. “They want to do what’s right for MSU, so they have a strong service commitment.”

Telecom by the numbers 24 / 7 operation 12 staff members Staff longevity from six to 43 years, with 286 combined years of service Dual role as University operator and Physical Plant dispatch 36,267 dispatch calls last fiscal year 152,975 University operator calls last fiscal year 20,340 trouble calls opened for Physical Plant via dispatch


Read more about the unique calls our staff fields online at:

September/October 2011 | 2


Photo by Holly Balentine

 Tim Dennany, (left), and Sheryl Shay, maintenance mechanic IIs, check the shaft of the supply fan in the sub-basement of the MSU Main Library. Shay realized the shaft had sheared off when she checked the belts pictured here.

Building Services employees save Library Special Collections Quick action and extra effort on the part of several Phys Planters prevented the loss of a prized compilation of books in the MSU Main Library’s Special Collections.  Story by Holly Balentine


he morning of Monday, July 25, Sheryl Shay, maintenance mechanic II, expected nothing more than an average day. She responded to a call from Dave Bentley, refrigeration mechanic II, to replace the belts of the supply fan in the basement of the MSU Main Library. As Shay turned the fan sheaves to position the belts, she noticed something was wrong. The fan became increasingly difficult to turn. She realized that the fan shaft was


sheared off. Shay notified Rich Lilly, metals skilled trades supervisor. They met with Ken Crowell, Maintenance Services manager, to discuss the circumstances and how they should expedite repairs. They formed an action plan to repair the equipment and simultaneously keep the environmental conditions ideal for Special Collections. Special Collections, housed in the basement of the building, contains a

variety of rare and precious material. Some of the books are hundreds of years old, meaning they are also fragile. According to Peter Berg, associate director for Special Collections and Preservation, “The worst thing for [these volumes] is wild swings in humidity and temperature. When we lost the air conditioning during that hot period, we became very concerned that there could be a mold outbreak or that it could exacerbate the condition of the paper.”

A portion of the Special Collections area is a vault containing the rarest material such as first editions of Darwin’s “Origin of Species,” Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and “[books pertaining to] the history of our civilization that are extremely important,” Berg said. Due to the library setup, the main areas still had air conditioning while the vault containing the most precious material did not. Berg called it the “worst possible scenario.” The ideal environmental conditions for the collections are 45- to 55-percent humidity and a consistent temperature between 60 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The outdoor air temperature that day was 87 degrees. After a plan was formed, Lilly contacted the refrigeration shop. Sue Alchin, Central Control planner/ inspector/analyst I, and the refrigeration crew (Gary Allen, refrigeration mechanic II, Dan Feldpausch, refrigeration mechanic II, and Josh Henry, maintenance assistant II) delivered portable A/C units to the site. These units are kept in Physical Plant storage for critical areas of campus in case of mechanical failure. On second shift, Bill Colter, electrician II, provided cables and connected the units to an electrical panel for immediate use. Mike Ouderkirk, second shift operations skilled trades supervisor, received the news that the second-shift crew would be needed as soon as he got to work that day. He called Pam Hebeler, preventative maintenance worker, and Bill Zlotek, maintenance assistant II, to come in as soon as possible, which was outside of their normal work hours. Those two, as well as Nate Gauf, maintenance assistant II, worked into the night, staying as late as 10 p.m. to run for materials and keep an eye on everything. Meanwhile, in the sub-basement of the library, the 1,000-pound fan wheel that measures approximately 5 feet in diameter was secured to hold it in place so the shaft could be removed and repaired. Upon removal of the shaft, Tim Dennany, maintenance mechanic II, worked tirelessly to fabricate a new shaft. The process over the next three

Photo by Holly Balentine

 The ideal environmental conditions for the collections are 45- to 55-percent humidity and a consistent temperature between 60 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The outdoor air temperature during the supply fan malfunction was 87 degrees.

“The worst thing for [these volumes] is wild swings in humidity and temperature.” — Peter Berg, associate director for Special Collections and Preservation

days included ordering steel stock, milling areas of the shaft to fit the fan wheel, assembling bearings, and arranging the belt sheave properly. Steve Smith, maintenance mechanic II, and Kevin Bolles, plumber II, set up rigging equipment for use to remove and replace the fan shaft. The shaft was ready by 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28. The fan and bearing crew reinstalled the shaft that evening. The HVAC unit was up and running by 8:30 p.m. Due to the rapid response of Physical Plant employees, the temperature in the Special Collections vault never reached more than 75 degrees and the humidity stayed less than 60 percent. Berg was thankful and impressed by the work. “[The Physical Plant workers] did a wonderful job. It was really remarkable how quickly they responded.” Ouderkirk expressed his appreciation as well. “In time of need, they all stepped up and got the job done. I think it shows the employees take pride in what they do and are concerned about the wellbeing of campus.”

Photo by Holly Balentine

 Peter Berg, associate director for Special Collections and Preservation, displays a rare book from Special Collections. The vault contains the rarest material such as first editions of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ and Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass.’

September/October 2011 | 4




Physical Plant employees prepare the way for the concert of a lifetime.  Story by Holly Balentine, photo by Kelly Ardito (special to Facilities Focus) FACILITIES FOCUS

Photo by University Relations

 Beginning weeks before the U2 360° Tour, Physical Plant employees worked diligently behind the scenes to prepare for the big day. Employees made cuts in the stadium wall to accommodate the famous steel structure rising 150 feet over the rotating stage floor. Meanwhile, other workers prepared the stadium for the influx of concert-goers.


icture one of the most famous rock bands of all time performing at a landmark venue that incites waves of pride in Spartans and visitors alike. When U2 came to Spartan Stadium on their 360° Tour, the MSU Physical Plant worked hard to make sure the concert’s preparation and aftermath were handled smoothly. Work for the event started weeks ahead of time in many realms of planning. Engineering and Architectural Services commissioned cuts in the wall of Spartan Stadium to accommodate a massive claw stage structure. Landscape Services workers removed irrigation heads in the field. On the administrative end, Division Support Services worked tirelessly to arrange finances for everything from HVAC costs to the price of stadium alterations. Telecommunication Systems assessed and installed new communication needs such as cabling for the performers and wireless ticket readers. Beginning 10 days beforehand, staff from Building Services checked the stadium’s plumbing and restroom

supplies. They transformed space to meet needs by placing beds in first-aid rooms and converting locker rooms to office space for U2’s crew. Custodial Services helped to accommodate the visitors. Employees prepared Munn Ice Area for off-duty truckers and crew members to shower and eat. They set up tables and chairs to create dining areas and cleaned the showers throughout the process. During the show, multiple departments were stationed in press boxes and around the stadium. The group included on-site plumbers, an electrician, and an elevator mechanic. Building Services staff secured nearby buildings at the correct times to prevent trespassing. The trouble truck, an on-call truck that responds to emergencies, was on duty along with a designated dispatcher from Telecommunication Systems. As the concert drew to a close, 40 Custodial Services workers waited in the tunnel beneath the stadium to start sweeping the floors immediately after the encore. The team worked until about

2 a.m. cleaning the area. Cleanup efforts continued through Tuesday afternoon to get the stadium back to normal. All departments of the Physical Plant came together to make this night happen. The Physical Plant received several kudos (see page 9) praising its efforts.

Visit the MSU Physical Plant Division website for a comprehensive list of Physical Plant employees who were involved in assisting with the U2 concert:

P To learn more about all the latest happenings around the Physical Plant, visit:

September/October 2011 | 6


Department name changes from BPO to DSS Holly Balentine | Student Editor


he Business and Personnel Office recently changed its name to “Division Support Services” (abbreviated DSS) to more accurately reflect the various functions of the department. The employees of the department chose the title by democratic vote. First, suggestions for new names were accepted and compiled into a list format. Next, all department employees were allowed to vote for one new name option. The winning title was Division Support Services. Barb Wilber, Division Support

Services manager, said, “Since this department provides services that reach beyond the areas of personnel and business, it was time to make the change to our name.” DSS includes offices with duties in several specialized realms: Business Operations, Communications, Computer Applications, Computer Systems, Construction Contracts, and Human Resources. Despite the new name, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and other contact information for all DSS staff remain the same.

 Pictured above is one of the Division Support Services visual identity markers. Employees are able to purchase apparel with the new identity through Spartan Linen Services.

1970 Data Processing and Computer Programming came on 1968 the scene as department functions This department between 1970 began with the and 1975. name Personnel The use of and Telephones computers and in 1968. The processing of departmental data was a very responsibilities different animal were primarily at that time from telephone the information services and technologies we training programs. use today.

1983 2006 By June of 1983, the department was dubbed Business & Personnel Offices. At that point in time, the two functional areas of the department were Cost and Procedures and Personnel.

The services provided by this team have expanded even further in the last five years. In 2006, BPO added Communications to the palette of services.

2010 FRIB Construction Contract Administration expanded the service center yet again in 2010.

A look back, from BPO to DSS FACILITIES FOCUS

What parts of Facilities Focus do you typically read? Check all that apply.














A sample of the feedback received from the survey.

Newsletter survey results prompt action Moving forward All current Physical Plant employees will receive an e-mail notice that the electronic version of the newsletter is on the website. There will be newsstands placed around the Division (in the main building as well as the outlying buildings) with a limited number of printed copies. Single copies will be delivered to the Custodial Services work rooms in University buildings and the Landscape Services work rooms on campus. Retirees who requested to receive the electronic version of the newsletter will receive an e-mail when it is available online. Those retirees who did not provide an e-mail address will continue to receive the printed version. New employees at MSU, who used to receive one printed copy, will now receive one notice about the electronic version. They may sign up for future notices if they would like to join the e-mail listserv. MSUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s deans, directors and chairs of individual colleges, offices and units will receive an e-mail notification when the newsletter is available online. Those who have subscribed to the newsletter listserv will receive an e-mail notification when the newsletter is available online.


hank you to all who took part in our recent readers survey. We appreciate all of the feedback, and we are already implementing changes based on your responses. In cooperation with the MSU Vice President for Finance and Operations Office, the Physical Plant is a pilot partner in a University initiative to decrease the print runs and associated environmental costs of printing University publications in favor of electronic formats. This does not mean Facilities Focus is going away. We will continue to provide both printed and electronic versions of our Division newsletter for our readers. Facilities Focus serves two functions: to communicate with current and former members of Team Phys Plant, keeping them abreast of the Division news, and to promote the excellent work done by Phys Planters to a broad external audience that might not be at all familiar with the Physical Plant. Our redesign, now in its second year, created a smaller publication with more photos and allowed us to publish it on a more frequent basis than its previous incarnation. This is only one step in our plan to decrease the print runs and associated environmental costs of producing Facilities Focus. Stay tuned for more updates in the future. Go Green! Karen Zelt Communications Manager MSU Physical Plant September/October 2011 | 8


New Hires | Promotions | Retirees* As of October 1, 2011 New Hires

Shelly Adams, custodian I David Anderson, electrician I Michael Bulock, electronics mechanic I Andrew Fisher, trades helper II Brian Guadagnini, custodian I Catherine Huddy, planner/inspector/analyst I John LeFevre, engineer/architect IV Raul Limas Jr., custodian I Jeremy Nobach, electrician I John Pline, electrician I Larry Ramos II, electrician I Ronald Rushing, skilled trades supervisor Mike Schultz, electrician I Kevin Wise, electrician I Brian Witgen, electrician I


Photo by University Relations

Congratulations, U2 folks! Physical Plant employees did such excellent work for the U2 concert that several people took the time to congratulate them in writing. Here are excerpts from some of the notes received.

Michael Armbrustmacher, electrician II Daniel Bell Jr., high voltage electrician II Erik Buckley, high voltage electrician II Gordon Clark, trades helper II James Davis, high voltage electrician II Daniel Hanses, high voltage electrician II Larry Lowrie, high voltage electrician II Daniel Lundquist, high voltage electrician II Stuart Neils, planner/inspector/analyst I Larry Schneider, high voltage electrician IIpower plant Joshua Sego, operations supervisor I Ronald Simon, electrician II Walter Smiley, high voltage electrician IIpower plant

Holly Balentine | Student Editor


Mike Brand, performing arts director, and Diane Baribeau, performing arts associate director: Bringing a show of this magnitude to our campus and community is pretty incredible in itself. Then, top that off with pulling it off successfully with the combined efforts from all of you. These shows come with logistical challenges and last-minute changes. Putting it all together took a tremendous amount of teamwork, cooperation and patience. At every turn we were met with smiling faces ready and willing to assist in any way possible. When U2 took the stage and the crowd’s roar took over, the pride and sense of purpose was present in our staff and we hope you all felt that as well. So a big Sparty thank-you from the Wharton Center staff to all of you and your staff. You should all be proud of what was accomplished.

Cheryl Bixler, custodian IV Marvin Litwiller, skilled trades inspector Carl Sodman, telecommunication mechanic II

*Facilities Focus makes every effort to contact all retirees for our regular “A look back” feature.


Remembering Physical Plant employees Amado Carrasco Abrigo of San Antonio, formerly of Lansing, died Sept. 10 at the age of 83. Abrigo worked at the Physical Plant from 1978 until 1991 as a custodian III. FACILITIES FOCUS

Lou Anna K. Simon, president of MSU: MSU came together to create a truly world-class and memorable event for the concert­­-goers, the participants in the African summit and the entire community. The new partnership with One will pay dividends for our academic programs in the months and years ahead. Thanks again — a shining moment for team MSU. Ginny Haas, director of Community Relations at the MSU Office of Governmental Affairs: I was just talking to Vic Loomis, mayor of East Lansing, and he said congratulations to MSU — from his vantage point it was “picture perfect.”






Social Media

SALUTES We are using social media to keep students, faculty and staff abreast of all things Physical Plant. Visit our Phys Plant pages on:

Building Services Larry Hall, electrician II, received the following e-mail from Gus Gosselin, director of Building Services: Yesterday, at lunch, I ran into Bill Latta, assistant vice president for Administration, who wanted me to know that he appreciated the help that you provided him on Sunday afternoon to assemble a bookshelf. Your excellent customer skills are appreciated as you help all of us to be the service provider of choice to our campus customer base. Please keep it up! Deb Russell, structural/paint skilled trades supervisor, received the following e-mail from Kaye Mueller from the Lear CareerCenter: I just wanted to pass along how much I love my desk — it looks wonderful. Everyone in the office has come in today to let me know how much they like it as well. Thank you for helping to make it happen and a huge thank you to Nick Rowe (carpenter II) who helped me to create my vision. He was awesome from start to finish. He is an asset to your team. Dean Geisenhaver, structural planner/inspector/analyst II, received the following e-mail from Eileen Wilson, assistant dean for Undergraduate Education and Academic Services. I just want you to know Steve Rondeau’s (carpenter II ) work has been exceptional. He is terrific to work with, is a true craftsman and is prompt. Please let him know he rocks in the eyes of Business Undergrad/UAS. Thanks for everything you have done for the fourth floor Eppley Center renovation. It is truly world class.

Landscape Services Landscape Services Manager Gerry Dobbs received the following e-mail from Will Gasper, Ferris State University grounds manager, regarding the Professional Grounds Management Society seminar: I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful job you and your crew did last week. It has been a very long time since I have enjoyed myself as much as I did last Thursday and Friday. You and your staff were wonderful hosts, and I greatly appreciate all that you did for all of us attendees. The following “tweets” are taken from the Physical Plant Twitter account (@MSUPhysPlant). The bolded text are the names of the Twitter users who sent the tweets. @NikiRudolph: Love @MSUPhysPlant! My tables are 4 hours early, and, as always, staff are so helpful. @KaraEyde: Sad that it’s my last day working at @MSUPhysPlant, but so happy with the experiences I have had here! #MSU @CrazyMSULady: Hi @MSUPhysPlant !! Looking forward to seeing you in September. ;) #GoGREEN @MSUHenryCenter: @MSUPhysPlant We will see you tomorrow for the Professional Grounds Management Society Conference! Looking forward to it! @MSUAA: Shouts @MSUPhysPlant! I have great empathy for Stadium Tower custodial crew. Working hard getting ready for U2 on Sunday. @internatstate: @MSUPhysPlant Three cheers for #MSU Phys Plant! When we say Go Green, you say __________________ ! @MSUTriGeek: Captain Construction looks happy to celebrate construction awareness day! @ MSUPhysPlant @aquandiary: #MSU earns ‘bike friendly’ campus award. As a cyclist I say, THANKS! to @ MSUPhysPlant & @msubikes @lynnegoldstein: @MSUPhysPlant The wonderful smell & look of the clusters of lilac bushes!

September/October 2011 | 10

Physical Plant Division Physical Plant Building, Suite 119 East Lansing, MI 48824-1215


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Facilities Focus September/October 2011  
Facilities Focus September/October 2011  

Facilities Focus is published for all Physical Plant employees. It is also distributed to campus customers and key business contacts. Our go...