March 2020 News
UC Utilities Response to COVID-19
As with most everyone in the city, state, country, and world, the most important thing on our minds right now is COVID-19. This has impacted everyone at the University and the UC Utilities.
Please be assured we are all doing everything we can to insure the safety of our employees and families. These actions include working twelve hour shifts to reduce the number of days spent in the plant, with Operations working seven days on and then off for seven days. Several teammates are working from home exclusively, and some are working a reduced hours per week schedule.
In addition, we have for the most part eliminated non Utilities personnel from entering our plants, with only the most urgent of work requiring outside resources is being performed. Every individual entering our plants must sign a statement that says this individual has not been in an area declared to be a “hot zone” or has knowingly encountered an individual who is suspected to have this virus.
Our employees are staying home from work if they are sick, or feeling sick. Everyone who enters one of the plants is required to have their temperature taken to insure no one enters the building with a temperature above 100 degrees.
Utilities has procured additional soap and hand sanitizer, and is working diligently to insure that our workplace is virus free. Each individual is asked to insure to practice the behaviors recommended by the CDC to insure that passage of the virus is prevented.
We ask that all employees, their families, and anyone who does come into our buildings do everything they can to help stop the spread of this virus.
IDEA Campus Energy 2020 Utility Award
UC Utilities submission to IDEA’s Campus Energy 2020 Video Contest has won first place!
In the words of IDEA Program Manager Emily Riskalla “Your video clearly communicates the importance of your campus district energy system in providing energy efficiency, enhanced environmental protection, fuel flexibility and reliability at the University of Cincinnati.”
My thanks to all who took the time to vote for UC Utilities. The winner was selected primarily based on content, with secondary criteria coming from social media.
The broad network of support for UC is clearly demonstrated in the response we received. It is most satisfying to hear the comments of many who voted, and took the time to reach out to me through the course of voting.
We accept this award on behalf of the UC Community. It is only through the actions of everyone who calls the University Campus “home” that the comments from Emily Riskella above can be made.
My thanks for everything that has been done, and more importantly for everything that is yet to come in our efforts “to provide energy efficiency and reliable utilities at the University of Cincinnati. "
Several employee service anniversaries were recognized during the first quarter of 2020. The following Utility employees achieved the below listed service awards!
Austen Trentman – 5 Years
Dwayne Mosley – 5 Years
Carter Fields – 10 Years
Tracey Quintanilla – 10 Years
Al Wauligman – 10 Years | Joe Allen – 10 Years
Jeff Finan – 25 Years
Matt Branscum – 10 Years
All pictures show various members of the UC Utilities team receiving service awards for their dedication.
Efforts continue to communicate to vision of this group, which emphasizes the importance of “think before you act” in making sure to always “Keep Safety First”.
One of the first programs implemented to make this happen was to place Safety Idea/Recommendation Forms in each plant control room. In just the first month we had seven recommendations submitted, all received action, and four were completed as recommended! This is a great start, and we are working to keep momentum going.
UC has completed its summation of carbon emissions for the most recent fiscal year. Since 2009, Utilities has reduced its annual carbon emission by 67,000 tons, or 25%. This reduction exemplifies the University’s continued efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Please be sure to watch for this report!
There is a tremendous amount of activity underway in our campus plants. The East Plant Thermal Storage Tank (chilled water) is being inspected, with sediment and waste removed while still holding water. In the two weeks this has been occurring a significant amount of material has been removed from the bottom of this 3,000,000 gallon tank. Unfortunately, inspection has shown that there is damage to areas of the concrete floor that will need to be addressed.
Moving forward technology and sustainability wise, Utilities is in the process of implementing a digital log book. This technology “advancement” will eliminate paper log sheets going forward, and enable all of our recorded data to be managed and saved electronically, creating a “permanent” and usable record of our operations. This system is expected to be fully implemented by mid-April.
In parallel, Utilities in conjunction with A&F Financial Services has initiated the automation and digitization of our energy metering and billing processes. This work will eliminate forty plus hours of manual activity monthly, increasing accuracy and timeliness of billing, and provide both groups as well as our customer base direct electronic access to not only their billing activity but close to real time knowledge of their energy usage.
Work continues on installation of a third new, 2400 Ton capacity chiller in our East Plant. It is our expectation that this new equipment will be in operation by June 1st, unfortunately the daily changing limitations created by the COVID-19 pandemic will likely challenge that schedule significantly.
The Utilities website continues to undergo change. Please be sure to revisit regularly to catch all of the changes underway!
That wraps up for now, at least for the month of March. Please stay tuned for updates to the many exciting things happening in UC Utilities.
2019 UC Staff Excellence Award
Congratulations to Joe Allen, Debbie Hausman, and Sigmund Maley of Utilities for each being one of just one hundred individuals to be nominated for a 2019 UC Staff Excellence Award. Each of these individuals are extremely deserving of this distinctive recognition.
Congratulations to Sigmund Maley, who received a 2019 Staff Excellence Award at a ceremony in early December. Sigmund was presented his award by President Pinto, Bob Ambach, Senior Vice President for. Administration & Finance, and Dr. Kristi Nelson, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
Utilities Bearcat Award
Utilities unveiled its “Bearcat” Award following the annual Christmas lunch on December 19th. Three Utility employees were recognized for their contributions to Utilities, Facilities Management, and the University of Cincinnati. Sigmund Maley, Debbie Hausman, and Joe Allen were each awarded the initial Utilities Bearcat Award for 2019. Congratulations to these individuals on this recognition.
This award will be presented annually to the Utility employee or employees who best exhibit the following attributes in their daily work.
Utilities welcomes two new Stationary Engineer Apprentices. Nick Meyer started with Utilities at the East Utility Plant, and Chris Neale at the Central Utility Plant.
Additionally, Dani Kastor and Alex Rodriques begin work terms as Utilities Co-Ops.
The first meeting of the newly formed Utilities Safety Committee is scheduled for mid- January. The Safety Committee has been established to help insure a safe environment exists for the Utility and Campus Community. The Safety Committee will address safety issues and risks by recommending corrective actions and interventions.
The ultimate goal of this group is to bring all employees together to achieve and maintain a safe, healthful workplace. This is accomplished by eliminating workplace injuries and illnesses by involving all employees in the identification and elimination of hazards.
Members of this committee include: