October 26, 2016
Facilities Management
Bill Paulus


FM at Gopher Football

Dear FM,

I had an opportunity to attend the Gopher football game on Saturday. It was Homecoming weekend, so it was great to see our last minute field goal to win the game. If you just tune in to watch on TV you may not realize all the effort that goes into supporting such a major event. Most every U-Services unit has a part to play to make sure everything runs smoothly, and I want to highlight some of the FM responsibilities.

Early in the morning, about 5 a.m., Landcare and Waste Recovery Services (WRS) are positioning signage and containers for tailgating. Color coded bags are set out for tailgaters to encourage separating waste from recycling.  A North District team of electricians, plumbers and mechanics arrives early at the stadium to begin checking fire suppression systems, getting the drinking fountains on line, putting the fire alarm panel in game day mode and responding to unanticipated issues like tripped fuses and hvac issues.

One FM employees joins the TCF Operations Command Team up near the press boxes. The FM rep fields an average of 30 - 40 calls per game that our staff respond to and resolve. The District team continually sweeps the building for potential issues. I stood next to Andy Madsen, NC Team Manager, as the flag was raised during the National Anthem. Andy pointed out Brian Zigas, NC Mechanic, who was standing alongside the flagpole. If the flag gets stuck we need to fix it immediately so it makes it to the top while the anthem is still playing; thankfully no problems this time. I did not realize this was an FM responsibility. The next time you see the flag waving at the top of the flagpole at the conclusion of the national anthem, you have one more thing to cheer about.

Landcare and WRS work together to keep the grounds and tailgating lots clean while collecting and separating recycling, compostable materials and waste.  Landcare staff monitor the grounds to pick up trash, and haul trash and recycling to the “depot”. All the waste and recycling from tailgating is sorted at a temporary depot in order to recover the compostable and recyclables.  Kudos to the students and staff who sort tailgating trash and recycling by hand to help increase our diversion rates. We strive to move toward Zero Waste at Gopher games, and around 80% of waste generated is diverted from landfills.  During a big game like homecoming, we collect as many as 45,000 aluminum cans.

Six hours after the game has ended and visitors are long gone, FM staff conclude their final sweeps and clean up. This is typical for FM support in all we do -- we show up early to make preparations, and we are the last ones to leave making sure everything is ready for tomorrow.  Though behind the scenes to our visitors, our work is vital. So thanks to all for the conscientious work and extra efforts you put in every day to provide great service to the University!

One Liners:

  • The Community Fund drive ends Monday. It’s not too late to make a contribution.
  • Direct customers to the Heating/Cooling Transition page to know status of their building.
  • Second shifters, get your flu shot on Nov. 1, 4 - 7 pm in Coffman. Walk-ins are accepted.
  • Shane Stennes, Director of Sustainability, is quoted on solar gardens in yesterday’s MN Daily:  University broadens clean energy efforts. Check it out.

Have a great week and Go Gophers!


Bill Paulus the interim AVP for FM
Bill Paulus is the interim Associate Vice President for Facilities Management. He regularly publishes memos to communicate information and issues that affect FM staff.