Keeping Yale’s buildings running during challenging times

February 17, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic posed many challenges for the Yale community and its building infrastructure. Mark Perez and his team have done a fantastic job and continue to do so by keeping Yale’s occupied and unoccupied buildings maintained during these strange times. A facilities equipment and plumbing manager on the medical campus, Mark has been at Yale for 13 years and manages a team of 19 plumbers and equipment mechanics. They maintain all the heating, and plumbing systems (HVAC) in 35 buildings comprised mostly of laboratory spaces.

On a weekly average, Mark and his team handle numerous work orders. Requests include routine and emergency issues as well as regular preventative maintenance. When the campus shut down last March, the work orders started to pile up. “Normally, I have six people on the day shift in each shop; for several months, I only had two. It was a challenge to juggle the work, coordinate everything and everybody. Even though there were no people in most of the buildings, the work didn’t stop. The buildings had to continue to be maintained,” said Mark.From left to right, Bob Kelley, Jason Estrom, Pat Dempsey, Art Pocevic, Mike White, Jason Cook, & Rob Molloy. Missing from the photo is Rob Girard.

At one point, there were 800 open work orders between both shops with the equipment shop bearing a good portion of the load due to filter changing “We had to prioritize what was most pressing and, in most cases, we could only handle emergencies. It was quite nerve-wracking, but I have a great team,” he continued. In addition to working on air-handlers, in mechanical rooms, and on water systems, the team was tasked with changing 700 air filters. “We purchased MERV 13 air filters, which were hard to find. They remove about 98% of airborne particles, so the buildings have fresh air circulating. After installation, the control department had to adjust the airflow for the MERV 13 filters, so it’s a total team effort,” said Mark. Rick Butler, Vinny Pucillo, Guy Jeudy, Omar Dixon, & apprentice Jason Ritter. Missing from this photo is Marc Lauzon, Dino Esposito, Ray Wilson, Rich Civitillo, & Don Ravert.

The HVAC systems run whether the buildings are occupied or not. These are, in most cases, large pieces of equipment with lots of parts. If any part of these systems malfunction or break, it could affect research and become very expensive to repair. When the university partially reopened in the summer, Mark’s team worked overtime to get those delayed work orders completed.

“I’m lucky, feel like a quarterback with a great front line. Without them, we would have gotten sacked. These guys worked hard and got it done! It was tough in the spring, and the scheduling was nuts. We had to ensure there were only so many people in a building at a time;. The managing team is close, we work together and we worked it out, amazing people,” said Mark.

Thanks to the whole team:


  • Richard Butler
  • Richard Civitillo
  • Omar Dixon
  • Dino Esposito
  • Alan Felder
  • Guy Jeudy
  • Marc Lauzon
  • Vincent Pucillo
  •  Donald Ravert
  • Ray Wilson

Equipment Mechanics

  • Jason Cook
  • Patrick Dempsey
  • Jason Estrom
  • Robert Kelley
  • Robert Girard
  • Robert Molly
  • Art Pocevic
  • Michael White