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Sitzabee's Soundbites/News & Views Archive

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