Celebrating OPP’s Recent Apprenticeship Completions
Recently, a group of OPP apprentices completed their four-year apprenticeship program. Because of this, we would like to congratulate elevator technicians Brian Grubb and Matt Lessman as well as heating and ventilation technicians John Miller, Corey Runkle, Howard McGonigal, and Jason Whitford. Each employee that applies for one of the posted apprenticeship opportunities must go through a lengthy selection process involving a review of educational transcripts, a formal exam, and an interview. Those that are successful are then offered the opportunity to participate in a Pennsylvania Registered Apprenticeship program. Both the elevator and heating and ventilation programs require apprentices to spend four years -- or 8,000 hours -- on the job learning from fellow journeyman. They are also required to complete at least 144 hours of related instruction relating to Math, English, and Technical Trade-related theory. These six apprentices did an outstanding job in this endeavor and were presented with a certificate from the state along with celebratory remarks from Associate Vice President Ford Stryker and Teamsters President Jonathan Light. Once again, we would like to commend them on their extraordinary work.
Keeping Customers Cool
Kris Wentling, real estate specialist, wrote to thank Bill Mauk for his work to keep those in Benedict House cool and comfortable. "The A/C system here in Benedict House has been an issue for the last few years and finally died this spring. Bill was integral in getting new units ordered and installed to have us back up and cooled off before the heat of summer arrived. During the course of his 3+ weeks in our building, he kept us continually up to date on the status of our project and once completed, proceeded to share information with us on how the units work and how to adjust the temperature settings if necessary. On top of the installation of our faulty units, Bill went above and beyond in making repairs to other aspects of our system that would help the efficiency of heating and cooling in our building. He also plans to make recommendations back to OPP for other ways to improve our overall HVAC system in the future. Bill’s diligence and expertise in handling this project make me feel confident that we will be sufficiently heated and cooled for many years to come."
A Snow Removal Shout-Out
Nadine Davitt, Jeff Dice, Matt Wolf, and Brian Phiel recieved a shout-out this year,"for their leadership this winter cleaning and clearing the snow and ice." To read more about their recognition, visit Penn State News.
Kudos To The Wood Shop
Glorie Josephs, receptionist/facilities coordinator wrote to thank OPP for their work. "Thank you to Chad Alterio and everyone in the wood shop for the beautiful finishing work on our Robb Hall wood round table and University House railings. The table looks brand new and our historic University House is now safer with the sturdier railings. It’s a pleasure working with you and Chad – we truly appreciate the careful attention to details and first class service!"
Thrilled With The Landscape
Bruce Grinder, user support specialist, wrote to share compliments of Shawn Wood who works in landscaping on Ag Hill. "My team and I work in the Ag Admin Building, and we enjoy and appreciate that Shawn keeps our area so attractive, and that he is always so pleasant and courteous.
"Yesterday we were talking about the area again and one of our staff sait to me, 'Of course we always look great -- this is a high visibility area with cross-traffic and the dorms and especially the Creamery. I bet that Penn State always puts their best landscaper on Ag Hill.'
"So there you have it! By the unanimous decision of some Ag Admin staff, we believe Shawn to be the best landscaper at PSU. I know people are prone to writing to supervisors when they are mad, but we wanted to write to share how happy we are to have Shawn in our area."
A Successful "Take Your Sons And Daughters To Work Day"
Jennifer Fluery wrote to OPP about her positive experience: "This was my first year taking Mike to the ‘Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day’. I just wanted to let you know how fantastic I thought the OPP Shops tour was. I believe it was Brooks Meyers and John Lyons, and they were wonderful. Due to extenuating circumstances we had to leave before the stadium tour, but I really hope to do that next year."
John Bechtel also wrote to praise the event: "I just wanted to thank you all for organizing this event. Jack had a great time and looks forward to next year. At the end of the day he said, ‘I think I want to do what you do, Dad’ – pretty funny. I am not sure he knows what I do exactly but this was a good opportunity to share a ‘typical’ day with him."
Gary Helsel also wrote in about the experience: "I wanted to let you know how awesome this program was this year. My kids really enjoyed it. Thank you. Everything was great!"
Compliments To Landscaping
Kathy Kleiner wrote to OPP to compliment landscaping crews on their fantastic job this spring: "I just wanted to compliment the landscaping crew here at University Park! I walk extensively all around campus and the flower beds and containers are splendid! You and your crew do a fantastic job of keeping the campus looking pristine!"
Congratulations To Craig Dubler
As part of the "National BIM Guide for Owners" Committee, John Messner, Charles and Elinor Matts Professor of Architectural Engineering; and Craig Dubler, Penn State Office of Physical Plant Facility Asset Management program manager and instructor in architectural engineering, received the National Institute of Building Sciences Honor Award. To read the complete story, visit Penn State News.
Kudos To Custodial
Jim Caltagirone, Director of Alumni Relations and External Relations for The Graduate School wrote to praise Greg Corbin and Albert Darpino for their hard work: "On behalf of my colleagues in the Graduate School, I am writing to praise Greg Corbin and his fellow team member Albert for the outstanding effort they put forth on Saturday, March 25, to prepare the Kern Graduate Building Lobby for the annual Doctoral Alumni Recognition Luncheon. Both Greg and Albert were extremely conscientious as they ensured that the lobby would look spectacular for our nearly 100 guests from throughout the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico...and the lobby certainly did! Greg and Albert are not only positive reflections on your unit, but the entire University. Please know that their efforts were recognized, valued and appreciated."
Cheers From The HUB
Brad Wagner, a Facilities Supervisor, wrote to thank Connie Brumgard and Area 4 for their hard work in the HUB. "I just wanted to send an email out and give a big thank you to Area 4 and Connie Brumgard. The HUB has been a very busy building the last few months and with that, like always, we have had some issues. Connie Brumgard and her crew at Area 4 have done an excellent job maintaining our building and working with my staff. We are very fortunate to be in the Area 4 district and you should be very proud of your staff. Thank you always."
Keeping Things Clear
Rob DeMayo, director of Transportation Services, wrote regarding the March 14 snowstorm."Thanks for the help with the Fleet lot yesterday, and thanks for the help keeping CATA services runnings. The GM at CATA also forwarded their gratitude to those who were involved in clearing route pathways."
Great Job on Snow Removal
Sue Merritts, assistant manager for North, West and White Course Housing, wrote regarding the snowstorm on March 14. "Please know the staff is appreciated for their hard work through the night and into the day. I managed North Halls on March 14 and shovelers were working when I came in and the walkways were in incredible shape. Thank you for a non-appreciated job...as the snow melts and everyone forgets what you do."
A Satisfying Commute
Kristen Hanna wrote to Christina McGinley to thank OPP for successfully removing the snow near Innovation Park. "I just wanted to send a note of thanks for clear conditions this morning. I was delighted when I got here this morning, and happy to be headed to Innovation Park and not the other way, which – judging by the traffic jam – looked to be the real doozy today. Thank you, Chrissy, and everyone else who helped make for a smooth morning."
Cheers from a Tricky Intersection
Peter Aeschbacher wrote to OPP to thank snow removal crews for their efforts in clearing up the snow at the intersection of Atherton and Curtin. "Thank you for your help! As I reached the intersection after yesterday’s snowfall, I thought fondly of the plowing crew. Please extend my thanks to them for the great work!"
Kudos from Coach
Penn State Head Football Coach James Franklin acknowledged OPP in his Feb. 1 press conference. "I want to thank the people that work on this campus because it's amazing to me how many people talk to me about how beautiful the campus is, how clean the campus is. That's OPP. That's all the people that work on campus, cleaning things up, shoveling sidewalks, picking up trash."
Cheers from IST Red Lot A
Kent Matsueda wrote to OPP to thank Dave Libreatori, Howard Bone and Kalen Brown for their efforts in Red Lot A during the Jan. 31 snowfall. "I drove in this morning thinking that the Red A lot was going to be a mess. I knew there would be people parked all over the lot because of the snow.
"I was dumbfounded when I pulled in to see every car lined up as usual.
"Then I saw these gentlemen working hard shoveling every single lane line and I can tell you that it made all the difference. I've been parking here since I began working at IST in 2011 and this was the best snowy-day parking."
Barb Duclos, an administrative support assistant from Facilities Resources & Planning, wrote to Matt Wolf to thank his team for their work clearing the snow."Hi Matt – Just a shout out to you and your crew for getting us dug out from the snow and ice this morning. All of us on Elm road really appreciate it! Thanks so much. Glad to be another day closer to Spring!" Russell Barton also wrote in to compliment the crews on their work: "Great clearing and prep around the Business Building this morning. Thank you."
A Successful Groundbreaking
Lynn Tressler, Executive Assistant to the Dean (College of Engineering) wrote to thank those present at the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Groundbreaking."On behalf of Dean Elnashai, I would like to pass along our sincere thanks for those in attendance and/or involved in the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Groundbreaking event on Friday. While the weather was a bit challenging, everything else came together beautifully. We are truly grateful for your participation."
Courteous and Quick Service
Tammy Steiner, Engineering Services, wrote to Buildings & Grounds to praise the work of Linda Shawley. "She is a great employee who, when called regarding plumbing down in 113, is always very courteous, quick responding and informative. She always has a chipper attitude and let's you know what is going on, when she will return and what is being done if further work is to be conducted. The entire suite in Room 113 really all agrees what a nice and hard working person she is. She is a great employee for Penn State and OPP!"
A Prompt Response
Sandra Del Pilar, administrative support assistant with the Population Research Institute, wrote in to say thank you for the prompt response to an issue with the heater in Oswald. "Stan Mayhew came to check on the heater and while it seems to be working, he indicated he would come back to check it again and may need to change the thermostat in the room. We appreciated his quick response." Dave Brown, Area 2 Supervisor, also shared, "Stan is certainly one of the most conscientious employees I've supervised, and he genuinely takes pride in his work and assignments."
Safety Kudos to the Labor Crew
George Benko, utility safety coordinator, shared his compliments to the Labor Crew, specifically in regards to their attention to safety. "I spent a few hours with the Labor Crew watching them move a large and heavy table. I was quite impressed with the teamwork and communication between the guys. They all discussed the best plan of attack, and even though there were a few ways to move the table, they all decided to proceed with the process in which they were used to. Everyone had their proper PPE and the tools were available. Each was cognizant of the risks and stayed out of the 'line of fire.' During every step of the move, the team talked the plan through so that everyone was aware. The Safety Office appreciates their efforts toward safety."
Beautiful Fall Landscapes
Derek Kalp, landscape architect, shared his compliments to the work the landscape crews have done this fall. "The fall planting in the pot at OPP is very well done. I've had tons of comments on the fall display at the Inn too. I also have to mention the work done at the Arboretum with the wreaths and gourd displays, which have been stunning. Those are just some of the highlights. Your crew has been doing an amazing job."
A New Attraction at Millbrook Marsh
Robert Brooks, professor of Geography and Ecology, wrote to OPP in regards to work done at the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center. "It was a pleasure to work with everyone from OPP. Their suggestions and diligent efforts were essential for delivering what we know will be a very popular educational and wildlife attraction at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center. Every day that I'm there someone stops by and wants to know what we're doing, all with positive reactions. We wanted to sincerely thank Nadine Davitt, Mike Brown, Derek Kalp, Steve Maruszewski, Fred Espy, Jason Stover, Chris Taylor, Bob Warner, Scott Shoemaker, Norm Parks, Nate Haupt, Don Hassinger, Kyle Gallardy, Steve Kutches and Vince Benner, as well as anyone else involved that we've missed."
Margaret Buban, director of Finance & Business Operations at Penn State Brandywine, wrote to praise the work of Andy Ritter.
"Andy brought up an excellent point related to the Verizon Small Cell initiative and possibly changed the direction of the project. As a point of reference, VZ Wireless folks were pushing the potential to icnrease data coverage area on campus and our problem with cell service is 'voice' signal strength. Andy realized what they were pitching and asked the necessary questions. If it wasn't for him, no one else would have realized the program they were 'pitching.' Andy is excellent and serves the campuses well! Today, his service was exceptional!"
Gold Star Work
The individuals who call Ihlseng Cottage home during the work day wrote to OPP to thank the crew who completed work at their building. The members of the crew were Alan Shaffer, Greg Corbin and Mark Kopchik."We are tremendously impressed with everyone who helped to get the tubs cleaned in Ihlseng. They did a great job clearing the pipes and spent a great deal of time and effort trying to clean out the paint. These men deserve gold stars!"
Anne Riley wrote to OPP to express thanks to the crew, including Paul Cox, Scott Smith, Rob Knapik and John Daulby, who worked on the railing at Ridge Riley's Bridge in Alumni Gardens. Anne is Ridge's daughter. "Thank you so much for the beautiful railing work on the bridge. I am just so delighted."
Making Whitmore a Success
Joe Keiser, assistant head for Chemistry Department, wrote to OPP commending Rob Bloom, who was the point-person for the Whitmore Lab renovations project. "Rob's help was critical to all facets of the project. He has served very effectively as the interface between OPP, the Chemistry Department, Stantec, Barton Malow, and the Greenberg contractor. Throughout the project, Rob demonstrated his knowledge and ability to work effectively with a wide range of people in a kind and pleasant manner. Rob was fast and helpful with all explanations, and I was impressed by his ability to keep up with the constant barrage of meetings, emails and decisions.
"I was impressed and surprised by Rob's willingness to oversee not just the big decisions, but also by his willingness to get involved with some of the small details. One part of the project that Rob got very involved with was the design of the first floor AV system. Not only was Rob involved in the detailed design discussions, but he also came to Whitmore on the first day it was used to make sure everything worked well.
"Another area in which Rob became involved with the details was the furniture selection committee. Rob arranged for the furniture meetings roughly every two weeks and he started them early so decisions could be made in a relatively relaxed manner. He participated in nearly all of these meetings and was an enormous help with thinking through the details.
"Throughout the project it was clear that Rob wanted to hold the line on expenses, but he also wanted quality. In October of 2014, we were debating about the trade-offs between 5' vs. 6' wide hoods in the organic labs. After a special meeting on this topic Rob wrote, 'Thanks to all of you for taking the time to prepare for and participate in yesterday's meeting. I think we've come to an acceptable compromise between energy usage and safety, while still retaining the six foot hoods in the project. Once this project is complete, my hope is that instead of just being a facility that is tolerated, Whitmore LAb will be an example of this balance for not only Penn State, but other institutions as well.'
"In the end I think Rob's hope has been achieved. I believe that Whitmore is a model for effective and efficient instruction in chemistry. The Chemistry Department has a lot of people to thank for this, but one person in particular who deserves credit for the success of this project is Rob."
Hansel Honored with Game Ball