An introduction to “FPO”

At UCM, many students know about offices like Public Safety and Housing. But very few know what “FPO” means – despite it being a vital part of campus.

Tim Castilaw, associate vice president of capital planning and facilities management, said that Facilities, Planning and Operations is the “operational unit that supports anything to do with campus infrastructure.” 

That role ranges from building maintenance, ordering supplies to treating sidewalks in wintry weather.

Nearly 200 employees work in FPO to support campus. The office includes divisions for business, building maintenance, grounds, setups, procurement and materials management, print and copy center, projects, and custodial operations.

In addition to maintaining buildings and cleaning and distributing mail, FPO has been instrumental in projects like the Elliott Student Union expansion and the work at the Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport.

Castilaw said FPO is managing the Elliott Student Union expansion project, a role which oversees keepingthe project on schedule and budget.

“We’re the point people for the project,” David Davis, director of operations for FPO, said. “There are other components involved — pay goes through procurement, any other change orders have to go through a process, any safety concerns have to be communicated with other departments.”

Castilaw said FPO also acts as a liaison between contractors and the campus on construction projects.

“[We] coordinate with the contractor and the rest of the campus on things that are going on,” he said.

In order to fulfill FPO’s goal of “[providing] a unique blend of innovation, knowledge and expertise to accomplish our broad range of services,” the office has recently begun to implement changes to increase efficiency.

“We’ve gone to an electronic work order system in that we have iPads or tech tablets for all of the technicians,” Castilaw said. “The work orders are assigned and completed on the tablet, which gives us real time data as to the status of work orders.”

Castilaw also said FPO has installed LED lighting in many buildings, increasing energy efficiency and decreasing the campus’ carbon footprint. 

FPO’s custodial operations have also started to transition to a team cleaning approach, in which a group of custodians work on cleaning a floor or building together, instead of one single person.

These approaches help FPO reach its mission.

“We’re creating a culture of continuous improvement,” Castilaw said. “We want to continually improve facility operations so that it positively impacts the campus and student life and all of the operational areas of campus that we’re continually striving to excel and make the campus experience better than it was the day before.”

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