Keeping it fresh

March 22, 2021

Richard Reid knows a lot about building airflow. As a Facilities Senior Controls Manager, Rich and his team maintain all the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for over 20 buildings on the Medical School campus. This includes over 130 air handlers and anything connected to them – thermostats, ductwork, and more. These systems need constant attention and regular maintenance. Throughout the year, his team of 10 does a terrific job handling all kinds of issues and emergencies. The past year, due to the COVID pandemic, their days have been much more challenging.

During regular times, this team must ensure their buildings meet certain occupancy specifications set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Many of their customers are laboratories running experiments. “We have to adjust airflows accordingly for whatever takes place in the lab spaces, which is different from the office spaces,” said Rich Reid. Many state and university specifications changed due to COVID, especially for the office spaces. Specifically, more outdoor air had to flow into the buildings more often. “We needed to make sure the air was fresh, so there was less chance of contaminants. Also, for the patient waiting and exam areas, we had to make sure there was enough air filtration within a certain amount of time, so the air in that space was clean for the next patient visit,” said Rich. 

The team responded well to these new circumstances, adjusting their routine and, in many cases having workloads triple. “I can’t say enough about my team; they rose to the challenge, were responsive, and super-efficient. We all wanted to do our part to make sure people in these buildings are safe,” said Reid. Last spring, because of COVID restrictions and social distancing guidelines, all of this work had to be done with fewer people per shift. But Rich and the team made adjustments and were able to meet the unusual demand. Now, they all look to the future and getting back to business as usual.

“We are eager for things to go back to normal. We want to see the students and staff come back into these buildings. Everyone on this team is extremely talented and takes pride in their work. Everything we take care of is critical. If anything gets out of spec at any time, it could ruin an experiment. That can’t happen. This team is ready to do battle with any issue and quickly,” said Reid.

Special thanks to the team:

  • Larry Busillo, Controls Mechanic
  • Matt Finkle, Controls Mechanic
  • Tom Frizell, Controls Mechanic
  • George Hotchkiss, Controls Mechanic
  • Genaro Labriola, Controls Mechanic
  • Walter Ruimerman, Controls Mechanic
  • Chris Scranton, Controls Mechanic
  • Rich Tufano, Controls Mechanic
  • Korrey Wallace, HVAC Trades Apprentice
  • Ken Wimler, Controls Mechanic