SITES Award Employee Recognition SITES Awards Home Page

2014 SITES Awards Winners

photo of Kevin Alexander

Kevin Alexander

Project Management & Construction Services, Construction Services


Kevin came to work on his winter break to support a short duration, fast paced renovation project when two skeleton crew members called in sick. The general contractor expressed concern about drilling into suspected asbestos-containing material. No one was available to perform abatement, so he came in to assist although he was not feeling well. Kevin understood the client’s need to have the facility open in time for spring semester. He also understood that abatement is the leading construction activity driving the schedule, especially on quick, short duration projects. He demonstrated dedication by providing regulatory-compliant service in a consistently reliable manner. Without his efforts, the project would not have been completed as planned. This is just one example of the commitment Kevin brings to his work daily.

photo of Richard Franks

Richard (Rich) Franks

Facilities Services, Facilities Operations & Maintenance


Rich recognized a need to modernize the air handler fan pressure controls when a pneumatic pressure controller needed to be replaced in Building 133 at PRC in July 2014. He designed a new apparatus to fit in the location of the old pneumatic controllers. He and a coworker removed the pneumatic input from the VFD (variable frequency drive) and ran wire for analog input. The components cost about $1,200, substantially less than the cost of two pneumatic controllers. Plus, lead time for the old controllers was three weeks; components for the new system were available "off the shelf." The VFD now runs at a steady speed and the damper does not open and close constantly. This steady state operation means less wear and tear on equipment, energy savings, and a quieter area, benefitting both clients and the maintenance department.

photo of Marcus Grimes

Marcus Grimes

Business & Financial Services, Business Services


Marcus found and implemented a solution to the FAMIS/UT Market Unit of Issue discrepancy. His solution resolved a problem of $300,000 in annual financial impact across Business & Financial Services, Facilities Services, PMCS, Utilities & Energy Management and any other campus department purchasing materials from Central Stores. This solution was at no cost to the organization; Marcus collaborated with vendors to modify their pricing process to work with the FAMIS system. He continually applies best practices and innovations to provide excellent customer service while reducing levels of inventory and spending. Marcus wasinvited to exhibit Central Stores’ methods and results at the APPA Annual Conference in July 2014.

photo of Olga Kobasic

Olga Kobasic

Facilities Services, Support Services


True to UT’s slogan, Olga Kobasic is a “come-early-stay-late” Longhorn. She stays as late as necessary to ensure her unit is ready for the next day. Her supervisor notes, “She has the perfect service-before-self, customer-service-driven mentality,” and she regularly surpasses expectations by providing excellent service. Although her primary duties involve monitoring and closing work orders, she attends every major event to help set up chairs and tables, empty trashcans, and help out wherever she can. Her ability to inspire excellence and integrity in others is recognized beyond UT; Olga was elected president of the Austin Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) in 2014.

photo of David Kruse

David Kruse

Project Management & Construction Services, Operations


During 2013-14, David offered his cost estimating skills as a value added service to any PMCS project manager in need of assistance reviewing Job Order Contracting (JOC) proposals. He did this in addition to his full-time assignments, which included coordinating the EERC moves during extremely compressed time constraints and the campus-wide emergency notification programs, among others. Many of the project managers took advantage of David’s offer. His attention to detail, mastery of the cost estimating software required by PMCS for JOC projects, and his cost effective approach to this effort saved the university and PMCS’ clients $236,499 between January and June 2014. David spent 60 hours reviewing those projects submitted to him, line by line, at an average savings of $3,941.65 per hour of his review time.

photo of Katie Mieher

Katie Mieher

Project Management & Construction Services, Operations


Since joining Procurement and Compliance in May 2013, Katie not only has worked hard to develop competency in the field of contracting, but also has had a significant impact on improving processes and training in her work group. She holds bi-weekly meetings with each of the Job Order Contracting (JOC) general contractors and shares the project updates with the entire project team. Katie took the initiative to teach her fellow contract specialists helpful tips in FAMIS and DEFINE in order to better track contractor payments and encumbrances. Katie has worked to guarantee the success of new hires in her unit by revising SOPs and templates for contracts. Easier to read SOPs and better templates have cut training and contract processing time and greatly increased productivity.

photo of Armando Ortiz

Armando Ortiz

Facilities Services, Facilities Operations & Maintenance


When the Austin area experienced a cold snap in December 2013, there were problems with equipment shutting down all over campus. Armando was asked if he could come in to assist getting the air handler units back online. Although it was his day off, within 30 minutes he was at the facilities monitoring center, responding to work that had come in and ready to provide support over the next eight hours without complaint. Thanks to his efforts, there were no major failures of equipment or ruptured lines. In April 2014, the university hosted the Civil Rights Summit. The Secret Service needed to see all of the heating and cooling equipment in the LBJ Library and Sid Richardson Hall on Saturday. The authority on the equipment in those buildings, Armando was again called to come in on his day off. Of course, this dedicated employee’s response was, “What can I do to help?”

photo of Alexander Rangel

Alexander Rangel

Facilities Services, Custodial Services


Alexander Rangel is described as professional and enthusiastic, a hard worker who is also an excellent leader. In April 2014, his area underwent a crew change with a different system of cleaning, called job carding. While helping employees follow the job cards correctly and learn the new system, he also helped them work more efficiently so that they could complete the tasks assigned to them faster. When one of his buildings was audited for compliance with OS1 standards in June 2014, Alexander assisted with numerous tasks so that the building would be compliant, including training other employees. He suggested making a test for cleaning staff that focused on work steps and tools. This test helped employees learn information they needed to know for successful audit results.

photo of James Reed

James Reed

Facilities Services, Facilities Operations & Maintenance


When Zone 4 had a major sewer line clog at GSB on July 9, 2014, they were without a plumber that day. James was asked to come from his Zone to help. He not only troubleshot the problem and came up with a plan of attack, he also came back the following day to work to make sure the job was completed. This line had clogged on several occasions, but has stayed clear since James worked on it. Supporting another zone exemplified service, as it was unconditionally provided, and Zone 4 was able to rely on his competence and honesty. Although the problem was a plumber’s worst nightmare—sewage--James’ assistance showed exemplary teamwork. His approach to solving this problem demonstrated excellent quality of work. In addition, James carried out this effort in an environmentally safe manner and took all appropriate precautions.

photo of Danny Salazar

Danny Salazar

Project Management & Construction Services, Construction Services


In December 2013, the assistant supervisor of the General Construction shop retired. Then, the supervisor had a family emergency in January 2014. While the supervisor was out, Danny assumed the duties of assistant aupervisor, in addition to his own assigments. He took the initiative to learn FAMIS and the many other aspects of the assistant supervisor position. Danny exemplified leadership in dealing with customers and keeping work orders going while the supervisor was on leave. To be successful in a supervisor or assistant supervisor role, you have to acquire all of the shared values--Service, Integrity, Teamwork, Excellence and Stewardship, and Danny accomplished that. His willingness to take on extra responsibilities demonstrates his loyalty to the university and the PMCS organization.

photo of Steve Shepardson

Steve Shepardson

Facilities Services, Facilities Operations & Maintenance


Over the last couple of years, Steve has taken special interest in our Metasis computerized air handler system. On his own, he has learned ways to make the system more energy efficient, which has resulted in saving the LBJ Library and the university much money. At the same time, he has brought operating malfunctions to the vendor’s attention, ensuring they comply with their warranty. In addition to saving energy and money for the library and university and making the air handler system run more efficiently, Steve reflects the core value of service through his unconditional efforts to best serve our customers. In pursuit of excellence, he is always working to better the building for their comfort.

Photo of team award winners

Team Award – Event & Moving Services Branch of Facilities Services


Over the last few years, Event & Moving Services (EMS) has undergone significant changes. This includes a new manager, a new supervisor, and continued downsizing of the branch, with no reduction in the amount of work being completed. The reductions in personnel have presented a challenge; however, this dedicated and extremely hardworking group of professionals has continued to accomplish a significantly greater workload than was achieved in the past, all the while continuing to meet or exceed the same level of quality service that clients have come to expect.

EMS has found ways to become more efficient, schedule more creatively, and in many instances has simply picked up the pace. Most notably, the individual contributors in this branch are learning how to work as a team to meet the common Facilities Services vision: “to be the leader in facilities management known by our clients and peers as an innovative, creative, and sustainable organization that sets the benchmark for excellence."

This team continued to make progressive and effective process improvements that benefit our department and the university as a whole, including restructuring the crews for optimum performance, providing extra/unneeded vehicles to other CPFM branches, and implementing a more rigorous inventory management program. They have also opened up regular communications with the Office of the Dean of Students so that they may more effectively support student organizations and events.

In summary – to the benefit of Facilities Services and The University – “this team” has consistently displayed a positive presence on campus, a high level of teamwork, and unmatched work ethic.