October 17, 2021

Stuart Sullivan: Man with a Plan

When his boss John Wiltenmuth retired in January 2020 after a quarter century on the job, Stuart Sullivan thought he had a handle on pretty much anything the Mary Washington facilities department would encounter. After all, Sullivan had been with the department for four decades.

Facilities Executive Director Stuart Sullivan on his horse, Chime.

Facilities Executive Director Stuart Sullivan on his horse, Chime.

But PPE and plexiglass? Procuring protection in a pandemic? Less than six weeks after taking over as facilities executive director, Sullivan and his team had a singular focus: COVID-19.

“Finding personal protective equipment (PPE) for the whole campus when everyone in the country was buying it, ensuring we were following CDC guidelines, writing return-to-work procedures, preparing training materials for those who worked from home temporarily, setting up over 100 classrooms for social distancing, installing and maintaining 500 auto hand sanitizer stations, mounting plexiglass in all face-to-face service areas, providing procedures and supplies for community bathrooms in dorms, renegotiating contracts to help with additional COVID cleaning, performing all of the normal day-to-day work and doing it all while practicing MMDC.”

Oh – and attending weekly COVID Implementation Team and Commencement planning meetings. He and his staff also set up the bistro lights on campus and made the propane fire pits possible. Sullivan has even been known to spend weekends cutting the grass on campus.

“Well, they say timing is everything,” he added, “and in this case, John timed it perfectly! I knew there would be some adjustments for me in this position, but COVID made it even more challenging.”

 

Sullivan's own yearbook photo. He and his team have spent the last few months preparing UMW's buildings and grounds for nine in-person Commencement ceremonies, beginning today.

Sullivan’s own yearbook photo. He and his team have spent the last few months preparing UMW’s buildings and grounds for nine in-person Commencement ceremonies, beginning today.

Q: With so many demands on you, how have you persevered?
A: The fact I had been working at UMW for a long time and was familiar with processes helped me, and knowing the talent of our wonderful staff was a great benefit.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge these past 14 months?
A: Planning. I like clear directions so I can make sure the project or task is done correctly, on time, and on budget. With COVID, we may have needed to change direction on procedures at any given time.

Q: How has in-person Commencement impacted you and your staff?
A: Facilities is always busy preparing for graduation each year. Landscape and Grounds works extra hours to get the campus looking great. This year, the electrical department had to run power to the Campus Recreation Field, and the paint shop had to paint the bathroom doors. We had to power wash the parking garage, restripe the parking lot, and on and on. Our staff has been coordinating graduation with our Events colleagues for years, and we do an excellent job working together.

Q: Have you seen any silver linings in the COVID cloud?
A: People. I have asked so much of so many this past year, and the vast majority have stepped up. Their commitment to UMW and each other is truly inspiring. Our campus community is the main reason we made it through this school year. No matter how good a coach you may have, it’s about the team, and I’m blessed to have a great one.

Q: What are you looking forward to most post-pandemic?
A: A family get-together where we can hug each other. We all miss the personal connection.

Q: What do you like best about the UMW campus?
A: What’s not to like? I fell in love with Mary Washington the day I walked onto the grounds. It’s one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever seen, but the UMW community is what has kept me here all these years. So many people here have mentored and help me through the years, and I hope I have been able to give back some of that.

Q: How do you always maintain such an even keel and positive demeanor?
A: I have my bad days, but I never found complaining or sharing negativity helps anything. My favorite supervisors were positive and encouraging. I try to treat everyone the way I’d like to be treated.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: Attitude is everything. A bad one gets you nowhere, and it’s something you can change.

Ranking Highlights UMW’s Commitment to Sustainability

The University of Mary Washington’s commitment to sustainability has earned it a spot on the The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges for 2021.

The University of Mary Washington’s commitment to sustainability has earned it a spot on the The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges for 2021.

The University of Mary Washington has earned a spot on a list of the nation’s most environmentally conscious schools. The ranking appears in the 2021 edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, which profiled 416 U.S. schools demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, based on student academic offerings and career preparation, as well as campus policies, initiatives and activities.

“We strongly recommend the University of Mary Washington to students who want to study and live at a green college,” said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief.

In the last decade, the publication has seen a tremendous increase in interest in green practices, programs and offerings from prospective students and their parents, Franek noted. Two-thirds of teens and their families said they’d weigh a college’s commitment to the environment in their decision to apply to or attend a school, according to a survey by The Princeton Review of nearly 13,000 participants.

In 2009, UMW created the President’s Council on Sustainability to inform and advise the University’s leadership on how to manage resources to meet the present needs of the campus community while also reducing its environmental impact for future generations of Eagles.

Mary Washington has since undertaken many green initiatives, including participating in the international RecycleMania competition, hosting an annual Earth Day celebration and holding a “Summer Shred” event to dispose of old documents in a sustainable manner. UMW also works with local non-profit groups like Tree Fredericksburg to help replant trees in the city, and was recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a 2017 Tree Campus USA for its commitment to effective urban forest management. And the efforts don’t stop there. Read more.

UMW ‘Family Member’ Donates Needed Supplies

Robin Jones (left), contracts manager for UMW Facilities Services, with freshman Alexandra Perrault (center) and her father, Rick Perrault, CEO of Visiontech Solutions Group in Troy, Virginia. Visiontech donated $1,500 worth of PPE to Facilities Services.

Robin Jones (left), contracts manager for UMW Facilities Services, with freshman Alexandra Perrault (center) and her father, Rick Perrault, CEO of Visiontech Solutions Group in Troy, Virginia. Visiontech donated $1,500 worth of PPE to Facilities Services.

Give Robin Jones a task, and she is like a dog on a bone. Charged with finding more personal protective equipment (PPE) for Facilities Services, Jones – contracts manager for the department – reached out to all her usual vendors only to find that their prices had skyrocketed or that they were dealing with large quantities only.

Each day, working from the living room of her home near Lake Anna, Jones would plow through a list of potential vendors, only to find the door slammed shut. Discouraged, she kept at it and called the next company on her list: Visiontech Solutions Group in Troy, Virginia. Voila! Little did she know she was reaching out to kinfolk.

Company CEO Rick Perrault said he would be happy to help. After all, he said, “we are part of the UMW Eagle family.” Turns out Perrault had not only PPE but a daughter, Alexandra, a freshman at UMW. And the best news of all: He donated the supplies. He said that would be his honor and privilege.“

Jones estimates the fair market value of Visiontech’s donation would be upwards of $1,500. Most appreciated were several hundred of the elusive and expensive masks. Also included in the donation were disposable protective suits, face shields, goggles, and a few hand sanitizing items.

Jones said the donation will enable more Facilities workers to return to work on campus and be properly safeguarded.

Richard Blair: Oh, no. Snow!

On blustery days when flurries are in the forecast, students – and, yes, even faculty and staff – find themselves getting excited about a possible snow day. That’s when UMW’s new director of landscape and grounds, Richard Blair, gets to work.

[Read more…]