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Facilities Management Earns Governor’s Award

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Receiving the Governor’s Safety Award, in the front row (l-r) were Gabe Anderson, Ed Parra, Ronnie Heard, Jack Gallizio and Richard Hernandez; Back row (l-r) are Robert Leigh, Ron Wilhelm, Dan Biles, Dave Lindmark, Greg Hayes and John Carter. Not pictured are Mark Farrell, Dana Westmoreland, Al Vaca, Kenny Allard, Mario Leon and Scott Charmack

Agroup of 17 employees from the Facilities Management Safety Response Team at CSULB received the Governor’s State Employee Safety Award for its efforts in responding to a flooded building on the campus and preventing what could have been an electrical explosion or fire.

The CSULB contingent received one of several group awards at the 26th annual Governor’s Employee Safety Awards ceremony held Aug. 18 at CSU Sacramento. The awards are presented for projects and events completed the previous calendar year.

Among those recognized were Mark Farrell and Ron Wilhelm, carpenters; Jack Gallizio, supervising carpenter; Kenny Allard, John Carter and Al Vaca, plumbers; Dana Westmoreland, supervising plumber; Gabe Anderson, Ronnie Heard and Dave Lindmark, building service engineers; Ed Parra, supervising building service engineer; Dan Biles, Greg Hayes and Mario Leon, electricians; Robert Leigh, supervising electrician; Richard Hernandez, manager of custodial services; and Scott Charmack, associate vice president, Physical Planning and Facilities Management.

As a result of heavy rain on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2005, members of the crew worked to prevent the Family and Consumer Sciences building from having a major electrical incident. The crew that responded had to identify the source of the flooding and found the drain located at the back of the adjacent VA Hospital completely clogged.  Some of the crew cleared the VA drain and others assisted in getting the area pumped out.

“If Dana Westmoreland hadn’t responded to the heavy rains in the middle of the night and called out our staff, we would have lost this building to either a major electrical explosion or fire caused by the high voltage electrical switch gear shorting out by the rising water,” said Rob Quirk, director of Facilities Management at CSULB, in his letter of nomination. 

“There was over two feet of water and mud in the building, and the electrical outlets were shooting sparks as the water covered them.”
Rob Quirk, director of Facilities Management at CSULB

Quirk also noted that the electrical staff went into the building and secured the high voltage feed to the building. They had to completely clean the switch gear so when the power was restored to the building, it wouldn’t blow up.

“It took all of these dedicated staff members working as a team in a safe and professional manner to save this building from major damage,” he concluded in his nomination. “Due to their dedication and safety training, we restored the power late that night and the building was usable for classes on Monday.”