May 19, 2021
When did you join UTHealth? What brought you here?
I joined the Facilities, Planning, and Engineering (FPE) department at UTHealth in March of 2010 as a digital controls technician. I was working in the industrial automation field, and attending classes at night, when a UTHealth employee shared the job posting for the controls technician at UTHealth. I was ready for a change from the industrial field and heard many positive things about working for UTHealth. After a couple of interviews, and meeting potential new peers, I was ready to join the team!
Tell me about your work history here.
I started as a digital controls technician in 2010, learning and growing in HVAC and building automation, applying my previous experience in industrial automation. In 2013, after earning two associates degrees, I was promoted to senior digital controls technician. I continued going to school in the evenings in pursuit of my Control and Instrumentation Engineering Technology (CIET) degree. I completed the CIET degree plan in fall of 2015, graduating from The University of Houston – Downtown with Magna Cum Laude honors. In 2016, I was given the opportunity to move within FPE to our Project Management department as a senior project manager. The Tuition Revenue Bond (TRB) projects were being planned and designed, and an individual knowledgeable in building infrastructure systems was needed to manage these projects. I spent the next 5 years managing the $60M allotted to the McGovern Medical School for upgrades and replacement in the major mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and finishes in the offices and corridors throughout the building. These projects are nearing completion, with an end date anticipated in FY22. In February of 2021, I accepted a director position within FPE, overseeing the campus’ Maintenance, Operations, and Contract Services. Ironically, Mark Ferguson, the previous director who had just retired, was the manager who hired me back in 2010.
What are you most proud of accomplishing?
I am most proud of the successful design, planning, and construction of the MSB TRB projects. There were countless hours of communication with school administration, meeting with internal FPE stakeholders and contractor management to successfully complete the renovations and equipment replacements on time and within budget. The tremendous support received from Dr. Nancy McNiel and Claire Brunson, along with the guidance of Wes Stewart and Julie Lucas, provided the foundation for me to succeed in these intricate and complex projects. Hurricane Harvey threw us a bit of a curve, but with one bustling week of recovery from the storm damage, the students returned, and the construction continued. I am also thankful for all of the relationships I’ve developed with everyone I’ve had the opportunity to work with. While there were certainly challenges through planning outages for the construction projects, there were always people willing to help make sure I understood their needs, so we could avoid major disruptions.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I have always liked the challenge of solving problems, whether it be the granular technical issues in automation, or fortifying infrastructure to ensure equipment operation for critical research and education. I also enjoy working with all my peers and fellow UTHealth employees who play a huge part in my work being rewarding and impactful. Without the human element, the vision and need for top performing facilities can seem a little blurry.
Why have you stayed?
The two main things that keep me here at UTHealth are the people and the career opportunities. I’ve been very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people who have encouraged me and helped me grow. I’m equally grateful to have had leadership that is supportive of growth both educationally and professionally. In my 11 years, I’ve been in three departments in FPE, which has allowed me continually expand my knowledge and influence change that is beneficial to the University’s mission and FPE’s mission.
When you are not at work, how do you spend your time?
My beautiful and patient wife of 11 years and my 2 wonderful children are my primary focus when not at work. Between my kid’s afterschool activities, we enjoy spending family time together playing games, watching movies, taking fun trips, and any activities outdoor. I enjoy cooking BBQ, playing golf, and have hobbies in carpentry and general construction. My wife is always thinking of things for me to build/fix/improve, and I secretly enjoy these tasks and the time they afford me to craft and create.