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FM receives industry award

E&G Custodial Services team honored by APPA for innovation

UVA’s Educational & General (E&G) Custodial Services team has been honored with APPA’s Effective and Innovative Practices Award. The winning submission, “Recognizing UVA's Silent ‘Ambassadors,’” highlighted the department’s development of the first program to certify individual custodial professionals based on Green Seal’s GS-42 standard.

“The Effective & Innovative Practices Award recognizes new programs or significant restructuring to existing programs that have demonstrated improvement at the educational institution and could be readily adapted to other campuses,” said Anthony Guerrero, vice president of Member and Community Engagement for APPA.

Driven by the understanding that the dedication and hard work of UVA’s “silent ambassadors” creates environments that attract thousands of students to UVA, the program extends the reward of academic achievement to those in the custodial industry who adhere every day to important sustainability best practices, all while complying with APPA level 2 requirements.

FM employee Mary Booker receives an award from Doug Gatlin
Green Seal CEO Doug Gatlin, left, congratulates Custodial Services Worker 3 Mary Booker, one of 24 E&G Custodial Services recipients of what is thought to be the first professional certification based on the GS-42 standard

“This is a testimonial to the dedication and hard work of my team,” said E&G Custodial Services Associate Director Vibha Buckingham. “The timing of this award has created an opportunity for the department to celebrate a progressive accomplishment during trying times.”

Recognizing custodial team members with their first certification is important to the department for many reasons, including increasing self-worth; boosting levels of motivation and engagement; and connecting employees to a higher purpose.

“We are honored that our program was selected for this special award; special mostly because it represents what we have long worked toward – recognizing individuals who work hard every day to create clean, healthful and stimulating environments across Grounds,” said Buckingham. “I would also like to recognize our talented Staff Development manager, Sandra Smith, without whom this moment wouldn’t have been possible.”

Award submissions were assessed on criteria measuring institutional benefit; innovativeness, creativity and originality; portability and sustainability; management commitment and employee involvement; and documentation, analysis, customer input, and benchmarking. Projects displaying a high level of innovation and adaptability for implementation at other schools have the best chance of being favorably ranked.

“The 2020 selections demonstrate the breadth of projects that can be considered, ranging from information systems mapping programs to frontline custodial certification to leveraging intern technology expertise into simple, effective tools,” said Guerrero.

Other 2020 recipients of the Effective and Innovative Practices Award included: Purdue University, Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska at Kearney, and University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Award recipients were recognized August 3 during the 2020 APPA Virtual Facilities Summit.

About the author

Jane Centofante
Communications senior generalist
UVA Facilities Management
(434) 982-5846