APPA recognizes UA Facilities Management with 2013 Award for Excellence

%09Photo+courtesy+of+the+University+of+Arizona+Facility+Management

Photo courtesy of the University of Arizona Facility Management

Emily Bregger

Facilities Management received an award for its teamwork and effort to maintain the UA campus.

The UA and Texas Tech University were both awarded the 2013 Award for Excellence in August. The Association of Physical Plant Administrators’ Award for Excellence is an international evaluation of leadership in educational facilities.

Facilities Management was honored to receive this well-deserved award, said Chris Kopach, assistant vice president of Facilities Management. Keeping the campus beautiful while maintaining a tenacious team is a top goal, Kopach added.

“We want the University of Arizona to be a top research facility and a good environment for students,” Kopach said. “It is all about the staff. With great leaders, we get great employees. We are rocking as one team.”

The Award for Excellence is the highest award an institution can receive for a Facilities Management department and is designed to recognize and advance excellence in the field. The award is valid for a period of five years.

Kopach said he began the application to receive the award more than a year ago hoping to give his employees proper acknowledgment for their hard work.

“We felt several years ago that our staff was doing a great job — from our grounds, to our custodial staff, to our maintenance staff, to utilities and special events. We want to make sure everything is done right and done well,” Kopach said. “It was an eight-part process of analyzing our department, and we said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ We wanted a team effort from everybody, so we reached out to multiple departments and met on a weekly basis to get input from everyone.”

Facilities Management has been able to provide outstanding performance results along with sustainability and efficiency, according to the APPA. John Perrin, senior associate director of athletics, was one of the first to congratulate the team for its work.

“I’ve been here 34 years,” Perrin said. “I can tell you what you have here is hands [down] the best I’ve ever seen. We could absolutely not put on our events without Facilities Management.”

Facilities Management not only maintains buildings and the campus grounds, but also works to improve safety and technology. The solidarity of the university’s emergency response team is one of the best, according to Kopach.

“We even had one [emergency] last week. A thousand gallons of water flooded a building at two in the morning, and what people don’t see is our staff scrambling behind the scenes getting all the equipment back up and everything working properly,” Kopach said. “We know that we are one of the best, so why not get some recognition for it?”

One of the main reasons students come to the UA is because of the quality and aesthetic appeal of the campus, according to Kopach. Facilities Management maintains the campus while integrating sustainable energy and environmental efficiency, Kopach said.

Maintaining the environment is important to UA students.

“It’s definitely something that should be sought out more and explored more on our campus,” said Jesse Melen, a pre-business sophomore. “It is very important for all of our futures.”

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