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October 2019 - News & Views

Hello OPP,

It's one of my favorite times of the year as the weather changes. I’ve been enjoying football, and of course the chance to get out a little for archery season. 

I recently had the opportunity to kickoff the Big Ten and Friends Conference as well as speak at the Smart Campus Summit. What an honor to be able to showcase all the great things we are doing to reduce our greenhouse gases while improving our overall energy use and efficiency. A big thanks to our folks who helped make those two important events happen! Both highlight our enduring commitment to sustainability and energy savings. It's exciting to be a part of an organization that truly values those efforts and really strives to lower our carbon footprint.

I also want to take the time to remind us all of the importance of incorporating a safety mindset and the need for our leadership to be at the forefront of our efforts. I’d like to challenge all of our OPP leadership to get out and about in your areas; talk about safety, see how our folks are doing, and of course recognize your folks for all the great things we are doing across the board. 

I've talked about core values before and as many of you know, integrity is of high regard to me. This month, I want to highlight respect and what that value means to me. It is important to me that everyone feels like they can come to work and do their job in a welcoming environment. I can't stress enough the importance of being respectful professional each and every day. We have a great group at OPP, so let's continue our culture of respect!

On the safety front…please be careful while out driving. It’s almost that time of year for the roads to ice up at night. And of course, with my 16-year-old daughter getting her driver's permit, it seems like a good time remind folks to always be safe when traveling around campus, whether on foot or in a vehicle. Please stay alert!

Best,

Bill

September 2019 - News & Views

Hi OPP,

It’s been an exciting kickoff to the school year. Last week I had the chance to present both the Henning and Willard projects to the Board of Trustees, who approved both projects. These two projects address facilities with significant maintenance issues and will modernize our College of Ag Sciences and Bellisario College of Communications. Thanks to some thoughtful approaches to recapitalization, we have already started the demolition on both facilities and will get the new construction underway shortly. Additionally, we are nearing the final stages of schematic design for the College of Engineering facilities that will replace Hammond and the Engineering units…what an exciting time for our physical plant. Finally, on the new facilities front, we opened the new Steam Services Building, which is a tremendous improvement to our own facilities. Thanks for all those folks who helped pull this across the finish line!!!

Football season started with three home games in a row and we, OPP, responded fantastically. Thanks to all of you who help make game day a success. With more than 100 folks engaged on game day, it’s too hard to mention every one of you but wow…what an effort to make this a success! We have folks from custodial crews, elevator crews, heat/vent, scoreboard, and of course tailgate cleanup, plus many others. Just last year we had over 50 tons of recycling material collected from our home football games. Great jobs, folks.

Now we are just a few weeks away from opening day for archery season, and yes, I did manage to get a doe tag in the second round. I’m excited and hoping to find a few days to sneak into the woods in October. As many of you know, safety is a big concern for me so please take the time and extra steps to have a safe hunting season!

Another exciting effort I had the privilege to be part of was the recent groundbreaking in Franklin County for our offsite solar PPA which shifts our purchased electric from fossil fuels to solar generated electricity. This project will account for 25% of Penn State’s state-wide electricity requirements for the next 25 years and lower our greenhouse gas emissions by 57,000 metric tons, which is the equivalent of taking 12,100 cars off the road each year…wow, what an impact!

I just want to say a personal thanks to all of you out there making things happen…it’s greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Bill

August 2019 - News & Views

Hi OPP,

It's hard to believe summer is coming to a close. With that, though, brings exciting times ahead. It won’t be long until the football team is back on the field and students are back on campus. I always love the energy that fall brings and the start of the new school year.

Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to get outside and spend time with family this summer. We’ve spent a lot of time with summer swim team and now that fall weather is coming and doe licenses have been issued (didn’t get one), that means archery season is just around the corner. Now’s the time to start hanging your tree stands and checking your trail cameras! Please be safe as you get out in the woods to look for those secret spots. I know it’s sometimes awkward, but I always use a harness in the tree…you should too!

A big thank you and shoutout to all those who came together to support Sherri Ebeling, a member of our OPP family, during her time in need. After Sherri unfortunately lost her home to a fire last year, some of our own offered expertise and helped build her a new home, which she moved into in June. This is a shining example of living our core value of community! See more from Sam Bertolino in the "Cheers" section below.

I spent the day with the directors during a staff retreat on July 26 over at the stadium. I wanted to share my appreciation to each of them as they always display a commitment to excellence and dedication to Penn State. We have a great leadership team here that is engaged and supportive. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to them.   

Lastly, at the end of July, we welcomed Margaret McMinn, who will be serving as our interim Human Resources Strategic Partner. We’re happy to have Margaret on board to serve the OPP family! A huge thank you and congratulations to Christina Gatehouse as she transitions to a great opportunity with Intercollegiate Athletics. As many of you who know Christina, you know she is a Penn State superfan and now working in the job of her dreams…congrats, Christina!

Cheers,

Bill

July 2019 - News & Views

Hello,

Fourth of July is right around the corner, I want to wish everyone the best as you celebrate our Independence Day but remind you to be safe in your activities. The University puts on a great show with the Central PA 4 th Fest including fireworks, 4K race, a parade and free cake and hot dogs for all! I encourage you to enjoy the festivities and appreciate the commitment of our crews who play a vital role in the preparation and execution of 4 th Fest.

Speaking of commitment, we recently recognized our 30-35+ years of service recipients with a luncheon and I wanted to extend that thank you to those who were unable to attend for their years of service and commitment to excellence here at OPP.

This month continues to bring changes, the on boarding of our new Marketing Communications Specialist, Trey Miller on July 15 and a farewell to our Human Resources Strategic Partner Christina Gatehouse on July 22. Also, if you haven’t had a chance make sure to introduce yourself to our new Assistant Vice President, Mark Miller.

For me, this month I am looking forward to some vacation time with my family and hope you are also able to take some time to enjoy family, friends and the beautiful weather we have been having lately.

-Bill

June 2019 - News & Views

Hello,

The warmer weather finds us out and about engaging in more outdoor activities. While you enjoy the outdoors please remember to take precautions and remember that safety is paramount no matter what activity you are engaged in. Me personally, I’ve been enjoying fishing with my family and I’m looking forward to some camping over the summer. I’m hoping

I can get in a trip to the beach as well. 

This month will also bring Mark Miller to Penn State. He will be joining us on June 17 th as the new Assistant Vice President for Physical Plant. Mark will be making the rounds to meet as many of you as possible, please take this opportunity to say hello and extend a warm welcome. 

On a more somber note, OPP experienced the loss of Zach Peterman, Planner Estimator in Work Control recently, Zach was well regarded here in OPP and also an avid fisherman. Please continue to keep the Peterman family and all who knew Zach in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

-Bill

May 2019 - News & Views

Hello,

To all who played a role in preparing for commencement, the campus looks great and has a tremendous impact on recruitment and retention for both students and faculty...and a lasting impact on our whole community. I’m proud of the work we do to transform the campus from the harsh winter to a beautiful environment just in time for commencement…well done!

I enjoyed seeing so many of you at Spring Celebration, it was a great chance to celebrate our accomplishments this year, and enjoy the fruits of our labor, We Are ... providing excellent facilities services to Penn State! For those that couldn’t make it, we shared some exciting news at Spring Celebration which is the hiring of our new Assistant Vice President for Physical Plant, Mark Miller from the University of Nebraska. Mark will join us mid-June and will be a great addition to our team.

This spring and summer bring a very busy schedule as summer construction gets into full swing. Construction season also brings many changes to the access of buildings and roadways, not only around campus but also in the surrounding communities. Additionally, our maintenance efforts go into high gear as we have greater access to our facilities. I ask that you please be safe as you travel through construction areas and be aware of changes to roadways/travel, safety is always a primary concern!

On a personal note, I’ve been sneaking out with my son and hitting a few spots along Spring Creek for some fishing. It’s been great to explore the area and spend time with him. Although the high water has been a challenge we’ve managed to snag one here and there. I hope you too will take some time to enjoy the summer weather.

Cheers,

Bill

April 9, 2019 - Spring has Sprung

Hello,

It feels like Spring is finally upon us! We have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks and months, starting with Commencement, which is right around the corner. It's exciting to see how great campus looks. The transformation from winter to spring brings so much energy and really shows off all that we do for our beautiful campus. Folks always share with me how great our campus looks and all we do to keep it that way...thank you! I've been out chatting with folks and want to give a shout out to several members of the Landscape crew who are doing an awesome job.

Spring Celebration is swiftly approaching, as well. This is a great chance to celebrate all we do to keep Penn State moving. I look forward to seeing everyone there! Please be sure to chat with the leadership team and share any ideas you might have. We Are...providing excellent facilities services to Penn State!

This spring and summer also bring a very busy travel schedule as I plan to visit the various Commonwealth campuses. I was recently able to spend some time at Behrend in preparation for the Erie Hall project. While there, I enjoyed having lunch with several students who expressed how much they appreciate the work OPP does in supporting their facilities.

One final note, as someone who thoroughly enjoys the outdoors, I'm excited for trout season to kick off this weekend. I had the chance to fish this past week and it was great! If you're heading out this weekend, whether it's to fish or just enjoy the recently arrived warm weather, please remember to be safe but have fun!

Best,

Bill

Feb. 28 News & Views - Submit Your Spirit of Physical Plant Nominations

Hello,

I hope 2019 continues to treat you all well. This is a packed issue of News & Views, with segments on everything from our continued exploration of our new organizational goals to email phishing scams to a variety of upcoming activities, and much more.

I wanted to take a moment to bring your attention to a new position we are adding in OPP. In an effort to consolidate roles and responsibilities that have been traditionally spread out across numerous people within our organization, we have decided to create a full-time Facilities Coordinator position for OPP. This position will report to my office and be responsible for identifying needs, developing long range facilities plans and assisting with addressing space needs within OPP. The individual in this position will interact with almost every department within OPP, as well as external contractors and other units on campus. For more information on the job posting, visit https://psu.jobs/job/85546.

Don't forget, nominations are currently being accepted for the annual Spirit of Physical Plant Awards. Anyone can submit a nomination regardless of your position. We have a lot of fantastic work and initiatives going on across OPP with many people involved. I encourage you to take the time to recognize your outstanding colleagues with a nomination for these awards. If you know a deserving team or colleague, submit a nomination. More information can be found below. Remember to save the date of May 6, 2019 for the annual OPP Spring Celebration where these awards will be announced.

A big congratulations goes out to the first cohort of the ROAR into Supervision program. It was a great week and the team from OPP and A&BS that organized it did a great job. There was a lot of positive feedback, and I know everyone involved is looking forward to the next session and seeing the program continue to grow. Thanks to all involved at both the planning and participant level.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has stepped up during the most recent snow and ice storms over the past two weeks. These were multi-day efforts with many long hours of service. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and do not go unnoticed. Thank you for all you do!

Best,

Bill

Jan. 28 News & Views - One Month In

Hello,

It's already been a pretty exciting 2019 and I'm looking forward to all OPP is going to accomplish over the coming weeks and months.

Earlier this month, e-Builder officially launched. While there is always a learning curve with new systems, it will be exciting to see the benefits over the coming months. As we head into Phase 2, I'd like to send a big thank you to all who have helped make the launch a success and all of those who continue to work hard on Phase 2 in addition to all of your regular responsibilities.

Over the next few editions we'll be exploring OPP's new goals, one by one. Please check out the short section below covering our first goal that focuses on creating a unified and high-performing team. This is a goal everyone can get involved in and support, and I know the Senior Leadership Team is excited about all the opportunities we can pursue to make a positive impact.

This week we kicked off the inaugural session of the new ROAR Into Supervision program, which is a joint effort by OPP and A&BS to provide supervisory and leadership training to supervisors and managers in both organizations. The program is tailored to meet the unique needs of supervisors and leaders in OPP and A&BS. I look forward to seeing how this program grows in coming sessions.

As a reminder, winter is far from over. Thank you to all of those who helped dig us out and clean up the ice following last week's storm. Your dedication to the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors does not go unnoticed.

Best,

Bill

Dec. 20 News & Views - Happy Holidays

Hello,

It's hard to believe we're about to close out the calendar year. It's been a fruitful and productive year and it's exciting to look back on all we have accomplished.

Some of the projects we have completed, or that are almost complete, include the Ag Engineering Renewal, renovations to several East Halls buildings, the Recital Hall and Music I Renovation, the reopening of Shaver's Creek, the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building, Trippe Hall at Behrend, the Old Main East Stair rebuild, 101 and 112 Chambers classrooms, the Krios Microscope Room in Millennium, as well as so many others.

We've also pulled in some great awards, some of which include the Professional Grounds Management Society Green Star Honor Award, two Illuminating Engineering Society awards for Rec Hall, the "Digie Award" from Tempered Networks, and several more LEED certifications. It's always great to see the work you all do honored by external groups. You can find a complete list of awards on the OPP website.

In other news to note, there was a soft launch of e-Builder earlier this month with the full phase I launch going live on Jan. 7. We made it through the first year of WorkLion, and while there have been bumps in the road, this has been a successful transition and will only continue to get better and make things easier. We've made some organizational changes, including the combining of Campus Planning & Design and Facilities Resources & Planning into Planning, Design, & Properties. We also hosted the first annual OPP Holiday Bazaar with more than 25 vendors. Finally, we launched the a $4.7 billion Capital Plan this year. A lot of work has already begun in support of the plan, and there will be a lot more to come. It's truly an exciting time to be at Penn State!

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the upcoming retirement of Steve Maruszewski. Please make sure to stop by his office on Jan. 11 to visit. We have the day blocked off to allow everyone a chance to stop in. It's truly been an honor to work with Steve and we will all miss him greatly. I know he's excited for the new challenges he'll take on at North Texas and the opportunities he'll have to see his family more often.

Last but not least, I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! See you in 2019!

Best,

Bill

Nov. 20 News & Views - Happy Thanksgiving

Hello,

I want to start off by thanking everyone who was involved in the snow cleanup during last week's early season snowstorm. With the amount of snow and mixed precipitation we received and the timing of the storm, it was impressive to see the effort put in to get campus cleaned up and safe for all of our faculty, staff, students and visitors. I'm sure it won't be the last storm of the season, but I am pleased at how well things went and believe we are in a good position moving forward to handle whatever winter throws our way. A major shout out to the crews!

This is a good time for a reminder on how to stay up to date on campus closures. We do have a special OPP Snow Information number, but you should also sign up for PSUAlert to make sure you do not miss any important messages shared with the University community.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge all of those who participated in and supported the 1st Annual OPP Holiday Bazaar. It was fantastic to see all of the talent we have among the OPP family and extended family. I hope everyone enjoyed it and I look forward to seeing this event grow in coming years.

I hope you all get to enjoy some quality time with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday. Please remember to be safe while traveling. Weather can be unpredictable so please plan accordingly. For those of you heading into the woods on Monday, Nov. 26 and after, please be safe and make sure someone knows where you are in case of an emergency. I wish you luck and hope to find some time myself to get out there during rifle season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best,

Bill

Oct. 29 News & Views - Happy Halloween

Hello

It feels like just last week that I was writing this section for the September News & Views…wow, now we're wrapping up the month of October! We have a lot on our plates and a lot of exciting things to look forward to in the coming weeks and months. (Hockey for one). Anyway, the cold snap certainly gets us thinking about winter and of course hunting season. I’m hoping to find some time to get out in the woods but seems like I’m booked solid! Please me mindful while you’re in the woods and be safe.

Jim Crandall is our new Director of EHS. I’m really excited to welcome him and his family to the team and to extend a big thank you to Bob Segura for keeping things on track! Great job, Bob! And, welcome Jim!  

Last week at Leadership Forum, we unveiled the goals developed by the Senior Leadership Team. We feel confident the goals are strong, will promote growth and innovation, and help us in driving towards our vision of being nationally recognized. Please stay tuned for more information as we continue communications surrounding our mission, vision, values, and goals in the coming weeks. Our mission,to provide excellent facility services to Penn State, is critical to the overall mission of the University and is greatly appreciated by all of our customers and partners across campus. I’m always amazed how the physical plant touches every aspect of campus. 

As some of you have seen, I’ve been out-and-about talking to folks and I really appreciate the enthusiasm of OPP…what a great team. I had the chance to visit several of you with David Gray, our Senior Vice President for Finance and Business. He is greatly appreciative of all we do to keep this place running.  

I hope you've all had a chance or will have a chance to spend some quality time with your family. There are so many great fall festivals going on each weekend, as well as the upcoming Halloween holiday. Please have a safe and fun evening if you'll be out trick-or-treating with family and friends.

Best,

Bill

Sept. 28 News & Views - Saying Goodbye

Hello,

And just like that it's officially fall! As always there is a lot of activity around campus and a lot of work to tackle. Please know the work you do every day is of great value to the University in its pursuit of its mission and is greatly appreciated. It's always wonderful to read the many thank you notes from happy customers. Make sure to check them out below.

As you know, the senior leadership team finalized OPP's new mission and our values, which can be seen below, on the digital signage, and on our website. The next step is to finalize our organizational goals. We are well on our way there and should be ready to share those in the coming weeks. As with our mission, we hope that all employees can map their work back to our goals as we move our organization forward. Stay tuned!

Thank you in advance to all those helping before, during and after with the visit from ESPN College GameDay. Having them here is always a big deal and a great opportunity to showcase our beautiful campus and Penn State spirit.

Best,

Bill

Aug. 31 News & Views - Have a Safe and Happy Labor Day Weekend

Hello,

Wow…it’s great having school back in the swing of things. The energy from the students reminds us all of the great mission we support.  I'm thrilled to see campus looking fantastic. I know it’s been a lot of work when you consider the large number of projects we’ve been working on this summer and the challenges of all the rain. Thank you all for your hard work on every project, big and small, and for keeping our campus landscape beautiful.

I also want to extend an overdue thank you to all of those who volunteered at the Pennsylvania Special Olympics this summer. It takes an army to put that event on and each year it's a success. The athletes and their families truly appreciate all you do to allow for their moment in the spotlight. I had a chance to meet several of them and it’s truly great that we (OPP) have such a large contingent of volunteers that make it so special.  I met with the Special Olympics leadership last week and they specifically mentioned all the great work that OPP did to fix the Chace Hall boiler. It required collaboration across multiple crews including, Second Shift, Weekend, Electric PM, Area 1, Hydronics, Landscaping, Plumbing and Metal Fabrication, Utilities and it was coordinated by Bart Monahan. Thank you all for stepping up and getting this work done. You exemplify our core value of Community!!!

As you know, we migrated to Office 365 last week. This is a great opportunity for the University to be connected at a much higher level and will allow us to better collaborate and innovate with our colleagues across campus and the Commonwealth. Take some time to explore all that Office 365 offers. There may be some hiccups as migrations continue for other units across the University, but it's an exciting time and great opportunity for all. Thank you to the OPP Office 365 team for all their efforts in making OPP's transition as seamless as possible.

As we head into the three-day weekend, I want to take a moment to remind everyone to be safe and enjoy some extra time with family and friends. In addition, a big thank you to all of those who may be putting in some extra time this weekend working at the football game. And a special shout out to all those folks who work weekend and 3rd shifts (you too 2nd shift). You help us all keep this place running 24/7/365.

Best,

Bill

August 3 News & Views - Summer Days Drifting Away

Hello,

And just like that, summer is almost over. We have less than one month until our students will be back on campus, football season will be underway, and we'll be well on our way into work under the new Capital Plan.

I'd like to draw your attention to a couple things. First, for the past several months members of the Senior Leadership Team partnered with a member of the OPP Diversity & Inclusion Team to explore and learn more about basic Diversity & Inclusion topics. Now we're expanding the opportunity to explore these topics to all of OPP with monthly Lunch & Learn sessions. The first one is Aug. 3. Stay tuned for announcements for each monthly session. I hope you'll take advantage of these sessions to explore topics that will help us all effectively navigate our workplace and communities.

I also want to remind you of the upcoming Office 365 transition coming in late August. We have a great team here in OPP preparing our organization for this transition. Please stay on top of the communications coming out via email, here in News & Views and more so you are prepared when the time comes. There are a lot of tools that will aid you in moving to Office 365 so I urge you to take some time to take advantage of those to help make this move as smooth as possible.

Finally, on Monday July 30 we honored those individuals who have reached the 30- and 35-year milestones in their employment at Penn State. It was a privilege to be a part of the reception and acknowledge their time and dedicated service through the years. I'd like to again extend my thanks for all their hard work. You can find a complete list of honorees in this edition of News & Views.

This first full summer in State College has been fantastic! I hope you all have had or will have a chance to spend some quality time with your families before the fall semester begins. I am looking forward to the return of the energy the student population brings to the campus and our town. We have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks and months.

Best,

Bill

June 15 News and Views - Summer Days

Hello,

Summer is here along with OPP's busiest time of year. We have some exciting changes, challenges and projects coming our way.

In the next few weeks, we'll be completing the merger between the OPP divisions of Campus Planning & Design and Facilities, Resources & Planning. The merged group, led by Steve Watson, will be known as Planning, Design, & Properties (PDP) moving forward. I'm excited about the synergies this merger will create, and the unification will greatly assist in long-term planning for our organization. This is a great opportunity to think more broadly and address some of Penn State’s strategic long range planning issues as well as support our impending capital plan.

July kicks off the next five-year Capital Plan. As we wrap up what was a record-breaking capital plan, we prepare to embark on yet another record-breaking plan of $4.7 billion. It's been a big time investment for many people throughout the organization and the University as a whole. Within OPP it was a great unified effort among folks from across OPP to include Design & Construction, Administrative & Financial Services, Work Control, Commonwealth Campuses and Planning, Design & Properties. I guess it’s safe to say that every division in OPP is participating and impacted by the new capital plan. I really appreciate the hard work from all involved! It's important to remember this Capital Plan affects all of us and the work we do, especially as we focus on chipping away at our $1.6 billion backlog.

As you may have read, the 2017 Values & Culture results were recently released. You can read more about those results in Penn State News. What's become evident to me during the past year is that there are numerous versions of missions, visions and values across the University. Many are long and hard to remember, and even harder to connect yourself to as an employee. Earlier this year, the senior leadership team worked to simplify OPP's Mission to "Provide Excellent Facilities Services for Penn State." The next step is to tackle our Vision and Guiding Principles. I'm currently working with a team in Finance & Business on looking at how we can align our Values in F&B, as well as in OPP, to the Penn State Values of Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence, and Community. As a values based organization, our goal is to have a clear set of core values we all understand, can implement, and connect with as organizations and individuals. I look forward to sharing more on this topic in the near future.

Along with our values discussion, much of the OPP leadership has recently been through a series of Taking Action trainings centered on having candid conversations. I hear good feedback about the training and I’m excited to see how we implement the concepts across the board. Hopefully you will start to see the Candid Question boxes and questions showing up in some of your meetings.

I'm looking forward to my first full summer as a State College resident. My family and I are excited to experience 4thFest, Arts Festival, and all of the other great activities and events in the area. If you see us out and about, please don't hesitate to stop and say hello. I hope you all have a safe and wonderful summer!

Best,

Bill

May 2 News & Views - Candid Conversation

Hello there!

I'm amazed at the transformation of this campus in the last few weeks. After a very long winter, the warm spring weather has finally arrived and I need to express my appreciation for how great campus looks heading into Commencement and the busy summer ahead. 

It's hard to believe that almost a year ago this week I was here on campus interviewing for my new role as the Associate Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer here at Penn State. It was a wonderful decision and my family and I are starting to feel like this is really home. I'm also looking forward to this summer and experiencing OPP's busiest time of year. Along with the crazy busy work load that summer brings, I do plan to take a little time with family. My son and I are planning on taking a bike trip on the C&O Canal as part of our scout troop and I think my wife is really looking forward to the break.

In the coming weeks, while many on campus will be catching their breath, OPP will remain in high gear. We not only have big events to prepare for, such as the Special Olympics, 4thFest, and ArtsFest, but we are also increasing our focus on construction projects and maintenance efforts. As always, I appreciate the hard work and dedication you all show day in and day out. But don't forget to take a little time this summer to focus on family and fun while we all enjoy the nice weather.

I'd also like to extend a warm welcome to Fran Yeager who joined us this month!

Don't forget about the Spring Celebration on Monday, May 7. We have two sessions planned and I look forward to connecting with you all and celebrating another fantastic year.  


Best, 

Bill

March 5 News & Views - Getting Out of the Box

Hello there!

It's been a busy 2018 so far and I continue to learn a lot about OPP and meet more and more of you. I have had the opportunity and pleasure to get out to about 17 safety meetings with our Safety Office team. I want to thank you all for chatting and truly appreciate the candid conversation. I am looking forward to more opportunities to continue to meet with you all. Please know that we are working on following up on some of the concerns you have brought to our attention, including, for example, the traffic signal at Stadium West. More information on that can be found further down in this edition of News & Views. We'll use News & Views as one platform to follow-up on any questions or concerns, however, I do recognize not everyone may get to read them so I will find other avenues to continue sharing information.

As you may have heard, the 22nd Annual OPP Spring Celebration is set for Monday, May 7 at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Spring Celebration planning team is busy putting together another great event. This year, we are planning to present the Spirit of Physical Plant Awards at the event and I am pleased to share we're adding a new award to recognize outstanding teams of people within our organization. It's important to recognize our teams because the success of OPP is based on people working together in support of values we hold dear, such as community and respect. We hope this award will be one way to honor the great work of numerous people. For information on the team award can be found in this edition of News & Views.

One final note, coming up I'll be attending an offsite with OPP's senior leadership team to solidify our organizational goals moving forward. Following the offsite, we'll be sharing those high-level goals with all of you, as well as any other pertinent information from our meeting. Stay tuned!

Despite some unseasonably warm temperatures in the past few weeks, it looks like we're not quite out of winter yet. Stay warm and stay safe when traveling and working outside, and as always, keep up the great work! 


Best, 

Bill

Jan. 29 News & Views - Looking Forward in 2018

Hello there! 

I hope your 2018 is off to a great start! I'm looking forward to a year full of opportunities and growth here at OPP.  

Steve Maruszewski and I have been attending a number of Safety meetings lately and it's been a great chance to get out and meet more and more of you. We've received a number of suggestions and ideas to help OPP improve. Please keep those coming!

Next week, I will be hosting President Barron, University Provost Nick Jones and Director of Finance & Business David Gray for a "Bad Building Tour" to examine the facilities on campus most in need of attention. In addition, to the University Park buildings, we'll also be reviewing Commonwealth campus facilities also in need of major maintenance. The goal is to prioritize the facilities for strategic investment within the next capital plan. The investment will ultimately help alleviate the amount of reactive maintenance performed and let us focus more on preventive work.

With that said, I want to personally express my gratitude to the many OPP employees who assisted with facilities issues during the cold snap over winter break. With 44 tech service employees (704 hours) and 21 staff employees (203 hours), there are simply too many individuals to name, but please know your responsiveness, diligence and commitment to your job and the University did not go unnoticed and was greatly appreciated. You truly take to heart what it means to be a Penn Stater, and it was wonderful to experience the sense of support shown by all of you during those challenging times.   

Best, 

Bill

Dec. 21 News & Views - Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

Hello there!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Or so the lyrics of that old song go. I hope over the next two weeks you have the opportunity to spend plenty of quality time with your family and friends, catch your breath and recharge, and enjoy the magic of the holidays.

While the holidays can be a wonderful time of year, they can also prove challenging and stressful. As many of you may have heard, an employee at Penn State Beaver was a victim of domestic violence while at work. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time. With that said, please look out for one another at all times, but especially during the holidays. Please know there is help, support, and resources out there should they be needed. Do not hesitate to reach out if you need assistance or know a coworker who may need help.

Workday launched a few weeks ago with great success. As with any new program or initiative, it will continue to be a learning experience and we have a few glitches here or there. I encourage everyone to exercise patience and work with our leaders to identify any issues to get them resolved as quickly as possible. Please remember to have timecards in and approved on time.

I hope you all had a chance to enjoy our pleasant and extended fall before our first snow last week. For those that went hunting, I hope you found success. I am still unpacking and was unable to make it out this year, but am looking forward to exploring the surrounding area and getting to know the land so I can find my new favorite hunting spot and fishing hole.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! See you in 2018!   


Best, 

Bill

Nov. 1 News & Views - Workday Is Coming!

Hello there! 

So far it's been a busy fall for OPP on campus and I want to take a minute to thank you for all the hard work you're putting in for everything from the day-to-day maintenance to special events and football games! Your work does not go unnoticed and the impact our operations have is felt across the University. Things will not be slowing down as we head into November and December and get ready for the wintery weather. As a reminder, clocks go back this weekend and that means days are getting shorter and the weather colder. Please make sure you take the time to be safe by being seen, especially those working out and about around vehicles.

Workday is coming! Workday will replace ESSIC for all absence, payroll and personal information. Its use will affect all of us...staff (exempt and non-exempt), supervisors, tech service and wage-payroll employees. I've used Workday at Cornell and after the initial learning curve, I found it to be a great improvement. Although I didn't have to use it for timecards so I'm not sure what that will look like exactly, but everything else I did with Workday was very user-friendly. As a reminder, because this is a new system--please make sure you get timecards in on time. You can review more in the additional segment in News & Views and on the Workday website. Here are some high-level things to remember:

Staff Exempt Employees: Enter time off (absence) in Workday, as well as instances that would affect pay; i.e., working on a holiday. 

Staff Non-Exempt Employees: Enter both time worked (i.e., regular, overtime, shift differential hours) and time off (absence) in Workday. 

Tech-Service and Wage-Payroll Employees: Enter time worked (i.e., regular, overtime, shift differential hours) in Abacus and time off (absence) in Workday. 

As a follow-up to some conversations I've been having with folks, it's come to my attention that some folks are struggling with finding parking while trying to get their job done. I understand there is a policy (pdf) regarding service vehicle parking and OPP worked closely with Transportation Services to create it. I also understand there are a lot of people competing for not only limited service parking, but also general campus parking and this creates conflict sometimes resulting in tickets. I am working with leadership to find a way to address this issue moving forward. In the meantime, please do your best to minimize disruption (don't park someone in, stay away from reserve spots, etc.) and I will do my best to make sure common sense prevails...more to come on this. After all, we are all trying to get the job done.

Finally, I want to thank those who have participated in the University-wide Values and Culture Survey! The results will help me determine where we are meeting your expectations so we can do more of that moving forward, as well as better understand the stressors and barriers. My leadership team and I will be able to focus our resources on the most impactful issues. 

Best, 

Bill

Sept. 29 News & Views - Safety First

Sitzabee's Soundbites

It's Fall in State College and I can't believe how much time has flown by since I started here. It's been a fantastic whirlwind and I know I'm just getting started. Before you dive into the most recent edition on News & Views, I wanted to touch on a few key issues.

Safety is of key importance for all of us here in OPP. I want to remind everyone in OPP that safety is a personal responsibility, but also that my entire team and I are focused on it. You will see more information coming out through the toolbox talks I hope will help keep the safety focus out front. I care about OPP and each on of your and that means I care about you working and playing safely. Unfortunately, we've had an increase in injuries so far this year, particularly sprains and strains, which are often preventable. Please take a moment to reset your thinking about safety and pay special attention to the quarterly safety meetings focusing on this topic. I ask that you pay extra attention to the rules and regulations regarding safety attire and procedures, but more importantly make this a priority in your work day. I'll be sharing some definitive expectations around safety to help as we take a fresh look at our programs and ensure we lead the way in this area.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with crew members of Renovation Services. It was great to get to meet more of the OPP family, hear directly from you, and discuss safety on the job.

This brings me to my next topic. The first couple of months here have been incredibly busy, but I really do want to hear from you and get to meet you. If you see me out and about please don't hesitate to stop me and introduce yourself. I promise I won't bite. As the "boots on the ground," you have a unique and beneficial perspective that is very helpful so please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas. I hear a lot of folks often share their ideas, but don't ever hear any feedback so I will be looking into ways that we can get answers to your inputs...more to follow on this.

Finally, in the coming weeks you'll be invited to participate in the next University-wide Values and Culture Survey. This is a follow-up to the one conducted in 2013. It's integral we get participation from all parts of our organization to better understand the stressors and barriers so leadership can provide the resources for change and improvement. The survey will be completely confidential, and will help me and the other leaders within the University better understand our challenges so we can earnestly address the issues, concerns and challenges we all face on the job at all levels of the unit. I really want to encourage you to take the time to fill out the survey and please be honest with us so we can really understand. The survey comes out next week so stay tuned for more information.

Best, 

Bill

Aug. 21 News & Views - Teamsters Ratifies Collective Bargaining Agreement

Sitzabee's Soundbites

It's hard to believe it's been almost one month since I started here with OPP. It's been an exciting few weeks. I'm learning a lot and slowly meeting people from across the organization. Thank you all for the warm welcome you have extended.

The energy around campus is exciting with the return of the students. I'm proud of all the work OPP has accomplished this summer. Campus looks fantastic! I'm looking forward to the completion of many more projects down the line.

I wanted to take a minute to recognize the new union contract that the Teamsters Local 8 ratified on Aug. 14. A big thank you to all involved in the process of putting together a new collective bargaining agreement. A great deal of time is dedicated by all participants. I speak on behalf of all of OPP when I say we appreciate the time and effort put into reaching an agreement and look forward to working with everyone moving forward through the three years of this contract and beyond. All of us working together is integral in our efforts to support the University's mission of teaching, research and service. 

Best, 

Bill

July 24 News & Views - Welcome, Bill Sitzabee!

Maruszewski's Minutes 

It's hard to believe it's almost the end of July and we're through a significant portion of the summer months. Before we know it the students will be back on campus and a new school year will have begun.

Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for OPP. I'd like to extend a warm welcome to our new Associate Vice President Bill Sitzabee. Bill joins us after serving in a similar capacity at Cornell. I'm looking forward to working with Bill on a daily basis and am excited for the future of OPP under his leadership. If you see Bill out and about in OPP, please take a moment to welcome him to the family. Please also extend a similar welcome to all of our new employees that start each and every week.

This is another packed issue of News & Views so be sure to check out all of the announcements. As a reminder, you can always get the latest information regarding events, announcements and initiatives on the OPP intranet in between issues of News & Views

Best,
Steve

June 21 News & Views - Welcome To Summer!

Ford's Focus

It's hard to believe this is my last Ford's Focus before I retire in a few short days. I still feel like there's much to do before I head into this new and exciting chapter. 

It's truly been a privilege to work with all of you for the past 20 years. Your dedication has been inspiring and helped cement OPP as a strong organization with a bright future ahead. Keep up the great work and know that you are an integral part in why Penn State is the beautiful, innovative, and successful university that it is. 

I also want to stress the importance of a continued focus on safety. Your safety is of paramount importance, and I encourage all of you to remain dedicated in that area. If you see an opportunity to make an improvement, please share it. 

My wife and I plan to continue to reside here in the area and remain involved in the community, especially with causes near and dear to our hearts. So while I may no longer be coming to the office every day after June 30, this is not a goodbye. It's a "See you soon!" 

Finally, while it's a bit belated, I also wanted to be sure to say Happy Father's Day to all those who fill that role. I hope you had a wonderful weekend and understand the great impact of role you fill.

Best,
Ford

June 1 News & Views - A Special Ford's Focus

Ford's Focus

David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business, announced yesterday that William Sitzabee, currently the interim vice president for Infrastructure, Properties and Planning at Cornell University, has accepted the offer to be my successor. Prior to Bill's time at Cornell, he served the nation in the U.S. Air Force as an engineer, rising to the rank of Colonel. A Pennsylvania native, Bill holds a doctorate in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University.

Bill will begin full time at Penn State on July 24. To aid in the transition, Bill will be visiting OPP on June 23 and 26 so he and I can connect prior to my retirement. In addition to meeting with me, Bill will meet with OPP leadership.

I had spoken with Bill and he is very much looking forward to his arrival and getting to meet you. I know that you will welcome Bill to OPP and support him as he transitions to Penn State.

To read the official press release, please visit Penn State News

Best,
Ford

May 12 News & Views - Happy Mother's Day!

Ford's Focus

The spring semester has ended and campus has officially quieted down for the summer. However, things have really ramped up for all of us in OPP. Construction season is here and as usual our campus is as busy as ever with road closures, renovations and new construction. This is all important work and I thank you for your dedication and efforts as we take on challenging timelines through the summer.

This Sunday is Mother's Day and I wanted to be sure to take a moment to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all those in OPP who fill that role. Thank you for all you do and I hope you enjoy your special day.

Another group I wanted to recognize is our Third Shift workers. May 10 was National Third Shift Workers Day. Thank you for all you do, often in the cover of darkness, to keep Penn State in tip top shape.

Please mark your calendars for the 21st Annual Spring Celebration. It's set for June 5 at the Bryce Jordan Center. I look forward to seeing you all there!  

Best,
Ford

April 18 News & Views - April Showers Bring May Flowers

Ford's Focus

Spring time weather has arrived! It's warming up and we're seeing a lot more sun. Campus is looking greener each day and flowers are blooming.

I wanted to first acknowledge two losses in the OPP family. Carol Quigley, a custodial worker, passed away earlier this month. Please take note of the special letter provided to News & Views about Carol by her coworkers. In addition, Stephen Kleckner, a refrigeration tech, passed away on Friday, April 14. We'll have a note of remembrance for Stephen in the next edition. We've had to say goodbye far too many times in the past few years. Our thoughts and prayers are with Carol and Stephen's families and coworkers.

Next, I wanted to point out the later date for the annual OPP Spring Celebration. We've moved it to June this year. We hope you're looking forward to this always wonderful event! Hope to see you all there. More information on the event will be emailed out soon.

Please check out the rest of News & Views for various other announcements and tidbits. Don't forget to take the survey to help us continue to offer the content you're looking for most. 

Best,
Ford

March 17 News & Views - Saying Goodbye

Ford's Focus

It looks like Punxsutawney Phil was right as I watch snow blowing outside my window. Despite the almost foot of snow we received on Tuesday, spring is nearly here. I have no doubt we'll soon be seeing warm temperatures and green grass.

It is with sadness I must acknowledge the passing of another member of the OPP family. Ron Neff, a refrigeration technician, passed away earlier this month. He will be missed and our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.

I also want to draw your attention to the fundraiser started for Eric Bauman, a systems administrator in Physical Security who was in a serious cycling accident. We send our best wishes to Eric as he begins his recovery. More information on the fundraiser can be found below.

Best,
Ford

Feb. 16 News & Views - OPP Website Redesign

Ford's Focus

It's been a relatively mild winter this year, but it's not over yet.  It wouldn't be too surprising if we found ourselves facing a snow event or two in the coming weeks through March. Stay tuned as we continue our trek toward spring.

Last week we launched our redesigned website. While it is a change, it is quite an improvement over the previous site. More details regarding content and function are below. I encourage you to review the information and explore the newly redesigned site.

Best,
Ford

Jan. 20 News & Views - Cold Days Are Upon Us

Ford's Focus

It's hard to believe it's already been three weeks since we welcomed in a new year. While 2017 will undoubtedly bring change, there's much to look forward to around campus and OPP.

I would like to draw your attention to a few items in this latest edition of News & Views. First, we have another Maximo 7.6 update. Please pay close attention to the information regarding the launch date and training. Second, we are getting closer and closer to the launch of our newly redesigned website. The new site is much improved in function and design. Once an official launch date has been decided upon, it will be announced.

As usual we have a busy year ahead and will need to continue to do our best to work together to provide the best customer service we can. Thank you all for your continued hard work.

Best,
Ford

Dec. 13 News & Views - Happy Holidays

Ford's Focus

As we head into the final few weeks before the holiday break I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for all that you do here in OPP. Each year we face many challenges and changes and you all work hard to keep OPP and the University moving.

With 2017 upon us and many more changes and challenges ahead, I hope you will all continue to help us provide the best service possible for our customers. Please continue to share your thoughts, concerns and ideas on how we can improve as an organization. Your voice is an important part of the conversation.  

We have another jam-packed issue of News & Views so be sure to check out all the important announcements. I'd particularly like to draw your attention to the Maximo update and the Holiday Heat Reduction reminder.

I wish you all the best this holiday season. May you enjoy this special time with those closest to you. 

Best,
Ford