Facilities Management appreciates clients

by Ken Eisinger

During his third week as a custodian in 1973, Skip Staenkhe rushed a woman from Ford Hall to Boynton Health Service after her water broke.
He didn’t think twice. The 25-year custodian in Facilities Management said he felt it was a part of his job.
Staenkhe’s work for the employees he serves continued Tuesday as he grilled bratwurst and hot dogs at their first annual Facilities Management Zone 5 Customer Appreciation Day.
Staenkhe and other Facilities Management workers who maintain buildings in the College of Liberal Arts assumed more visible roles at the picnic.
At the peak of activity, more than 120 people ate and mingled on the grass behind Scott Hall.
Facilities Management employees and office workers escaped the heat in the shade of a yellow and white tent and under a huge oak tree near Elliot Hall.
Marshall Skule, director of Zone 5, organized the event to show appreciation for their clients’ business.
Zone 5 includes many College of Liberal Arts buildings. It is one of the smaller zones in terms of square footage, Skule said.
About 120 employees maintain the 30 buildings encompassing Zone 5 between Weisman Art Museum and University Avenue.
“Everybody in our zone fully realizes that without the customers there is no need for us,” Skule said.
Being a janitor is a public service, Staenkhe added. “We have to be invisible in many ways to get the job done.”
Karen Duncan, the registrar for the Weisman, said she felt “very pleased and gratified” by the event.
Several building officials said the event helped ease existing tensions from the past.
Bill Lampe, Weisman director of building and technical operations, accompanied Duncan to Customer Appreciation Day. Upon arrival, they waved at several familiar Facilities Management employees. They described the service they receive as stupendous.
Duncan noted that as a high-profile building, Weisman Art Museum demands extraordinary maintenance. Congregations of people visit the museum each day, which make constant cleanings a necessity, he said. Preserving paintings and displays also require keeping humidity and temperature constant.
“Weisman demands a lot and we get it,” Lampe said in appreciation of the services.
Craig Jones, an electrician and Facilities Management employee for five years, sat on a nearby stoop chatting quietly with his coworkers.
Jones said the event allowed him to talk to his customers without concern for time constraints.
“A positive working atmosphere relates to a comfortable social atmosphere,” Jones said.