07/01/2004

A Day in the Life

Ron Sutton Prepares For the Future

Contributors: James Earl  
 

Up Close and Personal

Ron, what do you anticipate as future challenges?

The scramble for funding in the public sector is something that is not going to go away. I’m not facing anything that just about anyone else in the public and private sector isn’t facing right now – just a shortage of resources. It’s kind of old and you get tired of hearing it – but doing more with less, that’s what we’ve been faced with. With that comes prioritizing and managing your existing resources efficiently.

What is the most important thing you learned recently?

I’m reminded every day of the importance of surrounding yourself with good people – not only from a technical standpoint, but from a personal standpoint as well. I’m very fortunate here to have a good team that is able to rely on each other; that I can count on. Without good staff, there’s just no way you can continue to grow and still be effective.

What advice do you have for individuals who are new to the field?

For some of the younger people coming into the organization right now, the only thing I can recommend is that they make every effort to stay on top of the technology and to educate themselves and to use resources such as organizations like IFMA, BOMA, or USGBC.

“The variety.” It’s the answer so many facilities professionals give when asked what they like most about their job. Ron Sutton, facility operations/maintenance manager, City of Eugene, OR, is no different. His career with the City of Eugene has made versatility and determination – two character traits Sutton possesses – not only a plus, but a requirement. As the industry has evolved and the city’s resources grew tight, Sutton has kept his feet firmly planted in the present and his eyes fixated on the future.

Sutton joined the City of Eugene’s facilities management division when it was in its infancy, at a time when deferred maintenance and its effects on the city’s 100 buildings necessitated more consistent maintenance and management attention. With more than 2 million square feet to maintain and operate, Sutton and his team of 60 professionals are responsible for a multitude of building types – ranging from City Hall to swimming pools, senior centers, and fire and police stations.  “Over the years, our responsibilities have just continued to grow. What we started out doing 10 or 12 years ago seems pretty basic now,” jokes Sutton.

Recently, the city began implementing a networked electronic access control system both in new construction projects and existing buildings. “We’ve started to implement electronic access controls in all of our new buildings, and then along with that, we’ve started going back in some of the existing buildings and retrofitting with proximity card technology. When a system like that is in place, it’s fairly seamless, but just getting the system in place to start with has been a lot of upfront work [and] a lot of planning,” Sutton explains. A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), energy utility tracking software, and custodial software are also being utilized. These tools have helped Sutton and his team work more effectively and efficiently, especially with limited resources.

With a new focus on sustainable maintenance and management, the City of Eugene is paying close attention to its facilities’ impacts on Mother Nature. Landscaping with plants native to the area has become a new initiative for Sutton’s group. “That’s been one of those things that if 10 years ago, someone had said I’d be doing this, I wouldn’t have believed them,” Sutton says. The project has been as educational as it has been rewarding for the operations/maintenance staff.

Following attendance at the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA’s) annual World Workplace event, the energy analyst on Sutton’s team got an idea. Her training session on the U.S. Green Building Council’s pilot program, LEED for Existing Buildings rating system (LEED-EB), was the inspiration. “We sat down and started talking about how we might use the Existing Buildings guidelines to take a look at our maintenance and operations and evaluate what we were doing and where we [could] make improvements,” explains Sutton. The two individuals will be sharing information about this process and the results at IFMA’s World Workplace 2004 in Salt Lake City this coming October.

As a member of IFMA and an active participant in the organization’s Public Sector Council, Sutton is an advocate for the benefits of networking and continual education. “Nobody has time to reinvent the wheel every time you turn around,” he says. On a constant journey toward success, Sutton and his team are building a firm foundation for the City of Eugene’s prosperous future.

Jana J. Madsen (jana.madsen@buildingsmedia.com) is managing editor at Buildings magazine.

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com

 


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.


 
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