Luis Baez - Staff Spotlight

Luis Baez, Area Manager of Facilities Services, Yale School of Medicine

Luis Baez, has had a successful career in facilities maintenance, construction, and project management. As an area manager of facilities services, he, and his team maintain all 31 buildings at the Yale School of Medicine.

Luis grew up in West Haven, Connecticut, surrounded by a large extended family of five aunts, six uncles, and numerous cousins. After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force as an airman and was honorably discharged after an injury. For the next dozen years, he worked for Mountain Development Corporation doing general maintenance work on several commercial office buildings. Wanting more management experience, Luis then took a facilities manager position with AFB Construction Management.

For five years, Luis worked in Bridgeport maintaining properties taken by eminent domain by that city to make room to build two new schools. When the projects ended, AFB offered him an opportunity to be the construction project manager for the Regional Center for the Arts in Trumbull. It was Luis’s first time managing the construction of a building from the ground up. It provided him valuable experience working with architects and contractors, reading blueprints, and understanding the why and how behind the use of building materials and processes.

Wanting to further diversify his résumé, Luis worked for the nonprofit organization Marrakech, in Woodbridge, as director of operations for their residential group homes as well as ABM Industries where he gained valuable experience managing union personnel in New Haven.

While continuing to carefully navigate his career Luis was hired by Yale University in 2014 as a building superintendent of the former Hall of Graduate Studies (now Humanities Quadrangle), Yale Law School, and Yale Health Center. After a short stint as the superintendent at Trumbull and Saybrook Colleges, he is now the area manager of facilities services at the Yale School of Medicine where he supervises 109 custodians and six superintendents. His area of responsibility covers more than 1.6 million gross square feet of space.

During a recent chat, Luis shared stories about his journey to Yale, the value of persistence, and riding his motorcycle.

What was your first job?

After high school, I worked as a car jockey for a transmission shop moving cars on and off lifts, doing road tests, and other tasks. That is where I learned to tinker with things. I didn’t see a future in it and walked into a U.S. Airforce recruiters’ office and joined.

Favorite childhood memory?

My best childhood memories are of having pizza every Friday night with my large, sometimes boisterous extended family. We used to go to Mike’s Apizza and Restaurant in West Haven⁠—delicious pizza. I continued that tradition with my wife and three sons. These days we love Pepe’s, Sally’s, and Modern Apizza in New Haven.

Favorite Yale memory?

Definitively, my best memory is when I was offered the superintendent job with the university. It took me a few years to get hired. I had applied in 2010 but lacked some experience working with a unionized team. I persisted and went out and got that experience, and then four years later, Yale recruited me, having kept my résumé on file. I went in for the interview, and as they say, the rest is history.

What are some of the challenges and rewards of working at Yale?

The biggest challenge of working at the university is managing expectations. But by the same token, the most rewarding part of my job is meeting those expectations. We have a diverse group of clients at the School of Medicine, including research laboratories, healthcare offices, and animal care units, to name a few. I’m fortunate that I work with and around some talented and intelligent people. They drive me to be a better manager and provide excellent customer service.

Do you have any advice to give someone who wants to start a career at Yale?

If you’re going to work or grow here, you must be persistent. Don’t relax once you get here; keep learning and improving. Keep your options open for new opportunities, even some you didn’t consider before, and take advantage of career or training options. Be a supportive teammate as well. I work with some incredible people who have taught me a lot—directly and indirectly.

If you weren’t working at Yale, what would you be doing?

My dream job is being a CIA agent! But I think my recent hip and knee replacement may slow me down (chuckles). So instead, I’d say living in Italy and becoming a pizza chef.

What are you watching, reading, or listening to?

I’m watching “Yellowstone” and “Ozark” on Netflix. My audible list includes “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek and “Smart but Scattered Teens” by Richard Guare, Ph.D., Peg Dawson Ed.D., and Colin Guare. I listen while walking our two Maltipoos, Maggie and Marty.

Tell us a few fun facts about yourself.

I love to tinker and fix things. I am not sure how good I am at it, but it keeps me busy. I love riding my motorcycle. When I’m on it, I forget everything—just being focused on it while riding it.