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Stewards of the built environment

March 1, 2023

Staff members discuss their roles in the care of Grounds

FM and OUBO management speaking in a classroom
Panelists at a recent event discuss the various tasks they perform to preserve and shape Grounds.

Geospatial Engineering Services and the American Institute of Architects Central Virginia chapter recently hosted a panel of speakers from Facilities Management and the Office of the University Building Official. The panel — moderated by GES Project Manager Sid Griffin — shared how their teams work to preserve and shape Grounds as well as their career paths that led them to the University.

The event — which was open to students and members of the University community — featured panelists Capital Construction & Renovations (CC&R) Associate Director for Design Services Scott Clough, CC&R Senior Project Manager Amy Eichenberger, Office of the University Building Official Ben Hays, GES Manager Jennifer Heckman, Assistant Director for Maintenance Ryan Taylor, and Office for Sustainability Director Andrea Trimble.

From implementing sustainable practices across Grounds to preserving UVA's historical buildings, each panelist detailed the ways in which, along with their team, they function as stewards of the University's built environment. All mentioned they focus on the future, considering how one decision can have an impact for years to follow.

“UVA works to build for long-term stewardship,” said Trimble, noting that current work to implement sustainable practices on Grounds aims to meet goals set in the University's 2030 sustainability plan.

Similarly, Taylor mentioned the role of the Maintenance team in preserving UVA's historical buildings, working to protect the historical nature of the buildings while allowing them to continue to be used in the future.

The panelists emphasized the multitude of paths that can lead to employment at Facilities Management as they explained their education and journey towards UVA. While most of the panel members came from backgrounds in engineering and architecture, each was drawn to their role by varying factors. Whether due to the benefits of UVA as a learning environment or the possibility to work on projects meant to leave a lasting mark, no journey mentioned was the same.

The panel concluded by noting that their roles as stewards are lasting, with each project and decision they make reshaping Grounds for years to come.

“We are stewards, but not just now,” said Hays. “We are looking to the future.”

About the author

Afia Paracha
Communications assistant student worker
UVA Facilities Management