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FM Innovation Day

January 31, 2023

Staff members develop projects to improve the organization

Kellen Renner-Thomas and Joe Newton presenting an idea during FM innovation day
Kellen Renner-Thomas of Capital Construction & Renovations and Joe Newton of Operations present an idea to develop an interactive map of construction projects during FM Innovation Day.

Approximately 25 Facilities Management employees recently participated in Innovation Day, an event aimed at generating ideas for improving the organization.

During the event, five teams spent the day brainstorming, designing and developing an innovative process improvement idea. Each team included representatives from Facilities Management support services teams and a representative from its operational teams. The groups were encouraged to think creatively and consider improvements to areas outside of their job description. Though all groups worked separately, two of the teams came up with the same general project idea.

“As a takeaway from this event, we hope you continue to think outside of the box during your day-to-day work, looking for creative ways to marry FM business processes with our suite of technology,” said Technology & Innovation Solutions Architect Everleigh Stokes, who organized the event.

The following projects were developed during the Nov. 1 event and some continue to be pursued by team members. Contact Everleigh Stokes at to get involved.

Hoos in that Building?

Team members: Will Schnorr of Health System Physical Plant, Emily McCafferty of Programs & Informatics, Albert Lee and Katie Goodrich of Technology & Innovation

This team developed a project to better track building occupancy based on Wi-Fi network usage. Data from UVA Information Technology Services (ITS) about the number of devices connected to certain Wi-Fi access points within a building would be used to determine approximately how many people are actually occupying certain spaces. This data could then be used to inform heating or cooling needs as well as schedules of maintenance and custodial work.

Map of FM work projects

Team members: Kellen Renner-Thomas of Capital Construction & Renovations, Joe Newton of Operations, John Jordan of Programs & Informatics, Rick Tavenner of Technology & Innovation

Team members: Ryan Taylor of Operations, Dennis Edwards of Programs & Informatics, Hunter Hodges of Finance, Joey Tombs of Technology & Innovation

Two teams came up with a similar project idea, to develop a comprehensive map outlining all active and planned FM projects around Grounds. The goal is to improve communication within the department and with outside stakeholders to ensure everyone is aware of upcoming impacts and avoid interrupted or repeated work.

In addition to large construction, small and short-term projects would also be included on the map with a detailed location of the work, project updates, financial information and past renovation work if applicable. The teams discussed examples of problems that could be addressed by this new map, including a custodial team's work to replace paper towel dispensers in bathrooms within a building that would be renovated later that same year, and a small project that was to occur in a Pavilion Garden at the same time as a series of UVA events.

New Employee Advisory Team

Team members: Paul Stevens of Energy & Utilities, Sonya Swiderski of Finance, Jennifer Watson and Jason Moore of Technology & Innovation

This project would improve onboarding at FM by recruiting existing employees to serve as advisors for new employees during their first three months on the job. The goal is to improve retention rates by helping new employees get adjusted and comfortable in their roles. Advisors would serve 2-4 new employees at a time and be a resource for questions that a new employee may not feel comfortable addressing with their immediate supervisor.

Hoos Waste

Team members: Ken Moyers of Programs & Informatics, Tracy Marcotte of Finance, Wei Sun of Technology & Innovation

This project would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of storing financial information for trash and recycling processes by incorporating one of FM's main enterprise systems: AiM. Right now, these numbers are tracked by individuals in the organization and not standardized or easily accessible to a wide audience. The project would include loading this data into AiM and then pulling it into Tableau to create a data visualization. The improved tracking of this data will help support progress toward UVA Climate Action goals and pinpointing buildings or areas for improvement.

About the author

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