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Ice vs. Facilities? Facilities wins — not even close!

Tue, Jan 28, 2014

Around Campus

As freezing nights return, no one is more grateful that ice didn’t make an encore appearance than the Facilities team, which performed a near-miracle converting our facilities from skating rinks to safe places to work after the Dec. 6 ice storm closed UNTHSC for three days.

In sub-freezing weather, eight crew members used all possible means to beat, scrape, chop or melt ice from walkways and parking lots.

Jack Thetford breaking up ice

Jack Thetford breaking up ice.

“We used back-pack blowers, shovels, ice melt, tractors and really anything that was sturdy enough for us to break ice with,” said Seth Willmoth, Maintenance Manager. “From Sunday to Wednesday, our grounds crews worked close to 30 hours each on the ice.

Brian Jordan takes a well deserved ice-clearing break to sled downhill on his shovel.

Brian Jordan takes a well deserved ice-clearing break to sled downhill on his shovel.

Faulty equipment did not stop them. When their tractor broke down on Sunday and refused to move in reverse, Willmoth said the drivers had to do “a lot of circles in the parking lot.” More than once, he said, “we had to get the entire crew together to push it out of a corner.”

Treacherous commutes did not stop them. To ensure they were here Monday, Dec. 9, to help ready the campus for a Tuesday opening, Dean Conine, Grounds Foreman, spent Sunday night on campus, and Groundskeeper Tino Torres spent the night at his brothers’ nearby house.

Slippery footing did not stop them. “Every person in the group fell down at least once,” Willmoth said.

Facilities crews worked in sub-freezing weather to clear lots and pathways

Facilities crews worked in sub-freezing weather to clear lots and pathways.

Working with Willmoth breaking ice were:

  • Dean Conine, Grounds Foreman
  • Jason Hartley, Executive Director, Facilities Management
  • Brian Jordan, Construction Manager
  • Ignacio Rodriguez, Groundskeeper
  • Kevin Saunders, Senior Groundskeeper
  • Jack Thetford, Construction Foreman
  • Tino Torres, Groundskeeper

“Our biggest goal was to make sure people could get from one point to another safely,” Willmoth said.

Well done, team.

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7 Responses to “Ice vs. Facilities? Facilities wins — not even close!”

  1. Sandy B says:

    What a great team!

  2. Kim Brown says:

    They did a great job!.

    I came in and worked that Monday and saw all their hard work.

    I really appreciated the ice removal from in front of the buildings so that I could get to and from my car safely.

  3. Toni Allen says:

    I am so thankful for all of you who risked much to make the campus safe for the rest of us. What a great place to work!!!

  4. Anne-Marie Brun says:

    Thanks to all of you we were safe. I appreciate your hard work. Job well done!
    I hope it will not repeat it self during this winter!
    Best wishes to all for a healthy year.
    Anne-Marie

  5. Brenda Wilson says:

    Words cannot express how much I appreciate the facilities team here. They do an amazing job day in and day out. With extreme temperaturs and conditions they move from amazing to super heros. Kuddos and thanks!

  6. Jennifer Trevino says:

    Kudos to our great team!

  7. Betsy Friauf says:

    These people are truly amazing! I had an injured foot at the time, and was SO grateful that I could walk on clear paths.

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