by Maddy Dillon, staff writer
Deborah Anstrom, former purchasing supervisor of 7 years, began serving as Interim Director of Facilities Management and Technical Services (FMTS) June 1, shortly after former director Paul Braese, accepted a different position elsewhere. Responsibilities were divided between five teams since the transition came at short notice and at the beginning of summer, the busiest season at FMTS.
Anstrom says everyone is liking the new system and considering extending the structure throughout the academic year.
“I think we’ve already made progress,” Anstrom said reflecting on the work FMTS has completed so far under the new system.
A permanent decision on the structure will be made before the end of the semester. In addition to Anstrom, the team leaders include Jessica Foster, Scott Fair, Paul Bobbitt, and Jason Lackey.
In addition to managing the regular work load that comes in on a day to day basis, FMTS is currently focusing on space utilization. Spaces that are under-utilized are going to be looked at for some crews that need expansion. They are also considering moving affinity crews closer together. For example mechanical, electrical, and plumbing would be moved into one building as opposed to the three separate buildings they are occupying right now. However, this concept won’t be put into effect anytime soon.
“We are looking at a longer range plan, we can at least get it into the system of planning,” Anstrom said.
Anstrom feels the most challenging aspect of this position is time management. Between six standing meetings a week and increased responsibilities, Anstrom finds herself just trying to keep up.
However, Anstrom is excited about the opportunity to have an impact on the organization [FMTS] and the ways crews relate to each other.
“One of my goals for my time in this position is to establish a vision for [FMTS] and its impact on the campus in general,” Anstrom said.
“Rather than us reacting, I want us to be responsive,” she added.
Anstrom feels that it will be a challenge with the amount of work, deferred maintenance issues, and preparing for SACS compliance while trying to have an impact on how the campus is going to look in the next 5 years.
“Trying to get ahead of the curb a little bit is my fondest wish at this time,” Anstrom added.
A search committee for a permanent director has not been formed.
In addition to overseeing FMTS as an entire unit, Anstrom is also overseeing purchasing, customer service, and motor pool. Foster, recycling supervisor, is overseeing environmental commitments and safety in general within FMTS and on campus. Fair, in addition to overseeing building services is currently leading a project for managing storage and furniture needs on campus. Bobbitt, rental and renovations supervisor, is overseeing the construction trades, i.e. campus support, paint crew, locksmith, etc as well as energy efficiency crew. Lackey, design and construction supervisor, is overseeing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing as well as auto shop and HVAC.