FAS Shout Outs: Staff showcase exemplary teamwork during February 2022 freeze

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include all submissions for shout-outs received. If you have additional shout-outs, please email them to fascomm@austin.utexas.edu.

FAS employees stepped up to the plate once again to face another winter storm on the front lines. While many are grateful this year was not as severe as last year’s freeze, our teams were prepared and ready to take action at a moment’s notice.

This roundup highlights some of those stories of individuals, teams and departments demonstrating great innovation, stewardship and teamwork while setting aside personal hardships to see our university community through the weather emergency in the first week of February 2022.

FAS Shout Outs

Utilities and Energy Management (UEM) employees John Fay, Julius Oladoyin, and Tekoa Shaw worked together during freezing temperatures this month to return Combustion Turbine Generator 10’s (CTG10) Nitrous Oxide (NOx) Compliance Control System to running condition. These employees are part of UEM’s Energy Management and Optimization team, which is responsible for providing energy efficiency in campus buildings. Their ability to keep CTG10 running despite a closed campus and freezing conditions is as impressive as it is important.

Utilities and Energy Management (UEM) employees William Laubach, Gabriel Lopez, Ryan Roberts, and Kerry Tousand traveled to campus during the freeze this month to address multiple high-level recovered water calls. The calls were triggered by over-pressurization in our system that caused recovered water to back up into several buildings on campus. The heavy rain before the freeze created more recovered water than was needed at the cooling towers. These team members are part of UEM’s Mechanical Distribution team, which is responsible for ensuring the distribution of utilities to buildings on campus. Thanks to their efforts in making it to campus and performing their important repairs, UEM was able to avoid flooding in multiple buildings.

Document Solutions staff worked during the inclement weather to print and mail semi-monthly paychecks by payday.

In addition to Document Solutions, the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center was fully up and running thanks to their staff.

Landscape Services (LS) worked diligently to ensure plant life and our campus community alike were safe on campus. They cleared stairways of ice, applied ice melt to sidewalks and completed other winter-related tasks. You can see Landscape Technician, Joseph Brown, Arborist, Kai Wester and other LS staff working through freezing conditions in these photos.

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Landscape Technician Joseph Brown clearing stairs of ice.
Landscape Technician Joseph Brown clearing stairs of ice.

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Arborist Kai Wester navigating ice sidewalks to apply ice melt.
Arborist Kai Wester navigating ice sidewalks to apply ice melt.

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Supervisor Justin Hayes and Crew Leader Joan Dilley ensured campus sidewalks were safe for students and staff by applying ice melt.
Supervisor Justin Hayes and Crew Leader Joan Dilley ensured campus sidewalks were safe for students and staff by applying ice melt.

Custodial Services had to respond to a water leak in a building and were able to manage it without any injury under their careful watch.

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Custodial Services staff cleaning up a water leak.
Custodial Services staff cleaning up a water leak.

Tremendous support from departments and staff took place during this weather event; below are some of the numbers and resources provided to campus by FAS and other university departments.

Facility Services had 61 members from Facilities Operations and Maintenance, the Facilities Services Center and Landscape staff on campus throughout the freeze.

14 UTPD staff members remained on campus through the closure. Ahead of the freeze, UTPD released a public service announcement sharing safety resources available to campus community members.

One staff member from Environmental Health & Safety as well as one from Student Emergency Services also remained on campus through the closure. Many other staff continued their work at home providing as much support as possible remotely.

Weather events like February’s freeze are opportunities to show the dedication and hard work of FAS staff. Time and time again, we have been able to showcase our teamwork and stewardship to the university community in times of need.

Supervisor Justin Hayes and Crew Leader Joan Dilley ensured campus sidewalks were safe for students and staff by applying ice melt.
Feb. 21, 2022