BTS: Facilities’ teams keep operations humming

BTS: Facilities’ teams keep operations humming

Photography: Diego Meza-Valdes

By Lorena Lopez

Photography: Diego Meza-Valdes

BTS: Facilities’ teams keep operations humming

By Lorena Lopez
The University’s campuses may have a lower head count than usual, but that doesn’t mean the teams who keep our facilities and operations running have slowed down.

While many job duties have transitioned online for faculty and staff members, teams at Facilities Operations and Planning (FOP) continue to embrace new challenges to support essential campus operations—ultimately safeguarding students, patients, employees, and the community. 

We checked in with Coral Gables campus employees from FOP to learn how projects continue to progress and how the University community is adapting.

Daily operations

Despite the lack of faculty, staff, and students bustling around campus, many FOP teams continue to monitor the complex equipment that is required to keep residential colleges, administrative offices, and dining services open. Systems such as heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning; water and wastewater pump stations; and fire and emergency alarms are among the daily operations overseen by housing manager Rafael Ruiz and mechanics Manuel Figueroa and Freddy Martinez.

Guidance in time of need

Employees from parking and transportation, a division of FOP, continue to staff all entrances on the Coral Gables campus and Gables One Tower. Though vehicular traffic has decreased significantly, Wilbert Henry, parking services officer, below, ensures that deliveries, essential employees, and those seeking additional guidance can get the direction they need.


Keeping things hot—and cold

Water pumps are among the essential systems that require constant monitoring  and on-call repairs. Above, Ruben Valdes, left, a plumber for the residential colleges, and Pedro Ramos, a residential mechanic, repair a pump to ensure that steady supplies of hot and cold water are available on demand.

Safety and quality come first

With more than 400 hand-sanitizing stations positioned throughout the Coral Gables campus and countless cleaning and sanitation products available on all campuses, the University is working to ensure health safety. Jennifer Laine, executive director for environmental health and safety, and her team continuously monitor the qualifications and quality standards of all health and safety products at the University of Miami.

Ensuring secure access for those who need it

With team members working remotely and on-campus, employees in access control work around the clock to update all entry points throughout the Coral Gables campus. Luis Penaranda, above, lead access control technician, cuts metal keys that will ultimately provide secure entry to campus locations.

Fresh and clean

The University’s residential colleges may not be as vibrant with student activity as they normally are at this time of year, but Hector Belisle, below, a painter who services student housing, continues to work at the Mahoney Residential College to make sure that rooms are kept in tip-top shape.

The Division of Facilities, Operations and Planning, under the leadership of Jessica Brumley, vice president, continues to keep our campuses operating smoothly. The departments and employees pictured highlight only a few aspects of what the division has been doing under new and evolving circumstances. In addition, employees from other areas of FOP—such as campus planning, design and construction, emergency management, real estate, environmental health and safety, clinical engineering and compliance, replacement and renewal, and space management, and many other units, departments, and divisions—continue to ensure the University of Miami provides stellar service to its students, faculty, staff, patients, and the community.

Do you have a story about a colleague who has gone above and beyond while working remotely or on campus, let us know at