FCS Newsletter

FCS Good News Letter

Spring 2018 Edition

Greetings all,

I appreciate the strong attendance yesterday at our Employee of the Quarter ceremony for the third quarter of fiscal year 2018. Congratulations once again to Andy Auble, Helen Bickham and Teresa Truman for their outstanding performance! Thanks also to those who took the time to submit nominations.

I mentioned in my remarks that we have taken on a number of initiatives across the Facilities and Campus Services division. We’ve had a lot of great work across the organization. Time did not permit me to share many of our recent successes. I want to mention a few more of them, recognizing that these are just the highlights, along with some upcoming events.

In the People category:

United Way. Yours truly will be one of the co-chairs for Cornell’s 2018-2019 United Way campaign, along with Pat Wynn from SCL. If you have any good ideas for us as we plan the campaign, please pass them on!

New HR policies. Our HR shop took the lead for FCS on implementing two big initiatives: the new NY Paid Family Leave Act policy and the new Workday time tracking system. Both projects required a significant planning effort, including big training push to ensure that supervisors knew correct procedures. The rollout in both cases has been very smooth; the few issues that did pop up were addressed promptly. Kudos to our HR team!

Onboarding. We’ve also been working on improving our onboarding process for new employees, particularly those in Facilities Management. We developed a New Employee Onboarding (NEO) process that prioritizes new hires to accomplish safety trainings within the first two weeks of employment. Further, this model ensures that new, or returning temporary employees, receive up-to-date safety training in a much more timely fashion and can start their work assignment with the critical knowledge that they need to work safely.

Leadership. Leadership Enhancement and Accelerated Development (LEAD) program. We are reaching the end of our pilot of this in-house leadership development program. We’ve gotten constructive feedback from our first cohort (Andrew Germain and Jeanne Boodley-Buchanan) and the Directors/AVP’s who developed the rotational assignments. We’ll make some tweaks to the program and then roll it out for applications for the next cohort. Look for an announcement this summer. And don’t forget the “Leading Cornell” program, run out of central HR. Nominations are due 5/15.

In the Products and Services category:

Summer Work. We have a busy summer of projects lined up. The Planning Department recently coordinated with project managers across campus to compile a list of projects that will impact campus operations and/or transportation during the upcoming construction season. They have created an interactive online map of the projects to share with various members of the Cornell community. You can find the map at https://arcg.is/0r8qm0 .

Cool toys. Mary Colomaio, our ace utility mapper and geophysical data guru, recently demonstrated how a new technology – an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (a.k.a, “drone”) – can improve the safety, responsiveness, and cost of managing Cornell facilities. After a sizable chunk of stone fell from an old chimney high atop Balch Hall, crushing an AC condenser unit on the ground below, Mary (an FAA-licensed drone pilot) responded. Within hours, she and a team of trade and professional support staff were assembled at the scene, viewing a clear and sharp live video reconnaissance of the situation. Using these drone images, the team quickly assessed the extent of damage and surveyed other rooftop stonework. Although it will still be necessary for workers to use lifts or scaffolding for repairs, the drone work enabled quick, cost-effective response for determining the level of damage and scoping necessary repairs.

Ingenuity. In another example of FCS responding promptly to a facilities issue, a combined team of FE and FM personnel rapidly designed and installed a temporary boiler solution for the Vet School to provide backup for their waste treatment system. This temporary boiler trailer provided the key redundancy CVM needed, all but eliminating the risk of an untimely shutdown of vet hospital and research operations.

Finally, in the Stewardship category:

Pop-up. The Planning Department supported and mentored the student group “Design Connect” as they successfully obtained a grant for the “Eddy Gate Tactical Urbanism” project. It will be in place today and tomorrow (5/4 and 5/5); go check it out!

Star power. Cornell is the #7 Greenest University and #1 Ivy League for Sustainability in the most recent Princeton Review rankings. We’re also the top ranked Ivy in AASHE STARS, the rating system for sustainability in higher education, and the only school to receive a Gold rating 6 years in row. Well done!

Climate action. On track to meet our goal of campus carbon neutrality by 2035, Cornell has reduced emissions 33% since our baseline year of 2008, and over 50% since data tracking began in 1990. Our campus is in the Top 10 in the country for overall carbon reduction (among institutions of similar size), the top Ivy in overall reduction and top Ivy for overall renewable energy production. The 18MW Ellis Tract Community Solar Farm in Dryden is slated for construction this summer (any employee who is a NYSEG customer can subscribe to this community solar farm at truSolar.com). Cornell is a founding and leading member of the NYHELP (NY Higher Ed Large Scale Renewable Energy {LSRE} Project) consortium of 20+ NY institutions seeking to provide a cost-effective way for participating campuses to promote large-scale renewable energy generation. Lots of good work here!

Trees. Cornell recently received word that we achieved recognition as a 2017 Tree Campus USA – our 9th year in a row for this recognition. This national program recognizes universities for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff. To earn this honor, we had to meet five core standards for management of our campus urban forest including establishing a tree advisory committee, implementing a campus tree care plan, funding a campus tree planting and management program, conducting an Arbor Day celebration and sponsoring a student service-learning project.

As you can see, the FCS team continues to excel! Thanks to everyone for your outstanding dedication and professionalism. Keep up the good work!

Best wishes,


Vice President, Facilities and Campus Services