04/03/2002

A Day in the Life of Elex Sanchez

The Power of Positivity

Contributors: James Earl  
 

Up Close and Personal

Elex, what are a few of your pastimes?

The one thing I do more than anything else is cook. I was very fortunate about a year ago to be featured on one of the food network shows, Calling All Cooks. Also, I spend an inordinate amount of time with my daughter.

Do you have a favorite book?

The one I keep in my office all the time is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” [by Stephen R. Covey]. I feel very strongly about many of the principles there.

Favorite films?

The Color Purple and Mi Familia.

What is your most important tool?

My computer because of budgeting and finance. I set up a lot of spreadsheets that enable me to track expenses and trends so that I can project and forecast better.

Who are two people you’d like to meet?

Tony Blair and Colin Powell.

Ensuring the optimum environment of care in the nation’s largest pediatric hospital is no small undertaking. While Elex Sanchez doesn’t lay scalpel to skin, his responsibilities at Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital have, no doubt, played a part in the medical center’s ranking as No. 8 on U.S. News and World Reports’ “Best Hospitals of 2001” list.

Sanchez, the assistant director of outpatient services for the hospital’s engineering and environmental services, is responsible for a little more than 1.25 million square feet of space on the 3 million-square-foot campus. During the recent $345 million renovation, an additional 15 floors were added to the main hospital or West Tower, and an 880,000-square-foot, 16-story clinical care center was built to serve the hospital’s outpatient needs, opening its doors in December 2001. Renovation of the Feigin Center, an existing research facility, is currently under way. Of the four buildings that comprise the campus, Sanchez works diligently with others on his team to ensure patient and occupant safety and comfort in both the Clinical Care and Fiegin Centers.

Although Sanchez has only been in his current position for a year and a half, 15 years in the hospitality industry served as good training. Despite this, nothing could prepare him for the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history – tropical storm Allison on June 9, 2001. “We had just completed putting in flood doors that basically locked the hospital off. We were an island in the storm. The hospital never stopped functioning while hospitals around us and connected to us all evacuated,” says Sanchez. With 23 inches of rain falling in four hours, the hospital relied on the flood doors to keep water at bay and generators to keep the hospital functioning. “We were at stand-and-defend mode – meaning we will never evacuate. We have some children, some cases, that just can- not be evacuated,” he explains.

However difficult the challenge, Sanchez’s vigilance and dedication to the facilities and the children for which they were designed are unwavering. “The children are the best part of my job. We’ve designed such a great building for kids,” he explains. If facility systems are not performing properly, a lot is at stake. “Someone’s life is in your hands. Failure is not an acceptable option,” Sanchez stresses. Everything from air-conditioning to life-safety systems and medical vac must perform at peak to provide patients with the best care. Should the city workers break a water main outside, a reserve must be tapped to keep important equipment – the kind used in dialysis and other medical procedures – operational. Emergency and disaster preparedness is paramount.

The power of perseverance is one of Sanchez’s most noteworthy attributes, with straightforward honesty being a close second. “If a problem is a problem, don’t call it an opportunity. Call it what it is, so we can deal with it,” he explains. With the personal motto “Be positive,” Sanchez has tackled problems, risen to the challenge, and found solutions – all with the help of his most important resource, the human resource. Comfortable only in sharing the limelight with everyone involved, Sanchez is a true team player.

Jana J. Madsen (jana.madsen@buildings.com) is senior associate 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.

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.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
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