New senior VP Bennett plans to streamline service requests
Issue date: 10/14/05 Section: News
Bennett, has had many years of experience in the facilities field including his 21 years in the United States Navy.
Facilities management oversees various University needs including energy management, maintenance, transportation, renovations and grounds keeping. As Bennett put it, "we're insuring the lights are on."
Bennett attended the University of New Mexico and dropped out to enlist in the Navy. However, the Navy sent him back to school for nuclear engineering as part of an officer training program. He also holds a masters degree in civil engineering from Purdue University and a professional engineering license in mechanical engineering.
As an officer in the Navy, Bennett managed a base of nearly 10 million square feet. After retiring from the Navy, he worked for the University of Delaware and West Chester University. He has many goals for the upcoming years with a focus on productivity.
One major goal is to enact a program in which individual workers will have their own personal digital assistants all on a common network - a system he has seen at work while at West Chester. The system would allow self-assignment of work, essentially allowing an individual to approach a maintenance man with a problem and have it fixed almost immediately.
Another goal is to install a work request program called Yardi, which assigns work based on need. The goal is for students to have access by winter term.
Bennett is also committed to focusing on prospective student needs. According to him, the physical appearance of a school can often be a deciding factor for incoming students.
Another growing concern is a rise in fuel prices, especially natural gas prices which some economists are quoting at upwards of a 30 percent increase. This increase will directly affect the University as it has many natural gas contracts. Bennett has already prepared three plans for the administration to review.
The University currently purchases wind power at a premium rate. When asked about the University's practice on alternative fuels he said that he was both "surprised and pleased to make that commitment."
The office employs nearly 230 people, and has an operating budget of approximately 22 million dollars. Utilities alone account for nine million dollars each year. However, they are often afforded extra money to accomplish specific projects, such as re-roofing and classroom renovations. Bennett feels this is slightly less than desirable and would like to increase spending on what he calls deferred maintenance. This would include cosmetic and mechanical restorations. The first buildings that he would approach are Stratton and Disque Halls.