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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Grateful client praises IPF work and workers


May 5, 2016 

Customer service, communication, teamwork and more makes for a successful project

Dan Bollman, associate vice president of Strategic Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, received a nice surprise on Monday, May 2, when he received a letter from Tom Palazzolo with the Physics-Astronomy department. But not just any letter. Palazzolo took the time to write more than two pages to Bollman, singing the praises of at least 16 Infrastructure Planning and Facilities (IPF) employees for the work they did repairing the machine shop floor in the Biomedical Physical Sciences Building. 

Bollman says the letter is indicative of strategic objectives IPF adopted and has been pursuing for less than a year, and is gratified to see new practices paying off so quickly. IPF's strategic objectives include enhancing MSU stewardship, improving the customer experience, strengthening employee development and expanding innovation and collaboration.

The text of the letter follows.

To: Dan Bollman/IPF
From: Tom Palazzolo/Physics-Astronomy Dept.
Regarding: IPF interactions 2016

Hello Dan,

The repair of the wood floor in our Machine Shop in the Biomedical Physical Sciences Building has just been completed. The repair was needed after a flood 2 years ago. It took this long to dry out the end grain pine floor.

The reason I write this letter to you is to express our complete and total happiness with the work done by the people in the IPF group. Having worked in the Physics-Astronomy Department at MSU for over 30 years, building scientific equipment for the University, I feel qualified to say a few words about how these present interactions are so much different from the interactions of “years past” with the Physical Plant. This IS BY NO MEANS meant as malice towards the people who once and still work there. This is just to let you know that from the customer-side-of-things, it is just a more satisfying interaction, one that makes you feel like “hey, these people really are treating me like a valued customer” and you can tell that something has changed there, something for the better.

The floor repair required emptying the entire Machine Shop. Removed were all the machine tools, office equipment, sink, cabinetry, etc., with the contents being professionally rigged to heated storage by Miller Truck and Storage Co. of Jackson. The floor repair/re-finish was done by Foster Specialty Floors. Then everything was rigged back in, hooked back up, new sink installed and we opened the Shop again to our customers.

As we do approximately 400 unique projects a year for our own customers, this project needed to be timed and executed so that our down time was kept to an absolute minimum. The project went very well and was completed within the planned 30 days.

Paul Coonrod was the project leader. He was fair with both our Department and the outside vendors. Paul kept in constant contact with us, made himself available at any time and represented IPF in a highly positive manner. We really appreciate the job he did.

Sue Alchin from HVAC helped us plan for the shutdown and handled some issues with fumes from the finishing process in a really responsive fashion. I know she called on James Kieselbach in Central Control to tweak some air handling things and whatever he did sure helped us here. Tony Castellano and Scott Craft helped with de-humidification and other HVAC issues and always made sure that things were under control, never leaving us to wonder how work was progressing.

Brian Atkinson from Electrical Services saved the day as the project started, getting the proper electrical power to the vendor’s floor sanders. His positive attitude and willingness to change his plans for the morning, allowed the floor work to start on time.

Matt Harper and Robert Gum from Set-Up Crew took apart, moved and re-assembled some rather heavy duty cabinetry (old, heavy duty stuff, with no instructions) without leaving a scratch. They, too, kept us informed of what was going on; this kind of communication was much appreciated.

Doug June dis-assembled the old sink and arranged to have it removed to Surplus.

Pat Curry advised us on the new stainless steel sink, giving us options and costs. Rest assured he has the safety of the MSU water supply at heart!

Bena Twitchell and Phil Bonney did a fantastic job of installing the new sink as well as the associated back-flow preventers (Bena also did some beautiful work out at the Observatory recently).

Scott Marcum from Telecommunications helped plan and execute moving the phone system from the Shop to our temporary office, then back again.

Michael Cole from Custodial Services showed a real concern for caring for this new floor (as he does the whole building).

Although not directly related to this floor repair, I also want to thank Dale Seddon for his work on modifying our heating/cooling system. He came looking for energy savings and he left with energy savings and the occupants much more comfortable!

Finally, although we have never met in person, your Operator/Dispatcher Cindy Taphouse (and any others who do that job) deserves our praise. For years she has been a fountain of knowledge, knowing who the go-to people are for whatever the daily crisis might be. When we call IPF and someone picks up the phone and gets things done…it doesn’t get any better than that.

Surely there are more than the 16 people we interacted with from IPF who helped make this project a success. These people behind the scenes should know that we thank them as well for a job well done.

Everyone here dreaded the thought of this project because we had been involved when the BPS Building was completed and the Shop moved here from the Physics/Astronomy Bldg. We worried about unexpected difficulties that would cause the schedule to slip. However, to our pleasure, the project was completed on time, with fewer problems that we had feared. It also highlighted for us just how good the IPF can be. You have a whole lot of talented, positive, customer oriented, people, please let them know what they do is greatly appreciated.

Tom Palazzolo