It is hard to believe that 2019 is nearly over and we are on the cusp of 2020. It seems like just a few years ago we were worried about Y2K. UCLA’s annual winter closure this year provides a few extra days to relax and recharge. I hope that you make time to breathe deeply, relax, and focus on those who matter to you most. I am grateful for all that you do to make UCLA the best that it can be and look forward to a new year filled with new opportunities for our continued success as a team.
UCLA is commonly regarded as a national leader in college dining. Executive Pastry Chef Richard Ruskell and his team of 30 baking professionals from Dining Services at Housing & Hospitality now produce all of the pastries, desserts and about 98% of the bread served in UCLA’s residential community restaurants and Plateia (the fine dining restaurant located in the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center).
Keiichi Ono is the Assistant Director for Housing Maintenance Operations and part of the Housing & Hospitality team. “Keech” has served the university for over 30 years, tirelessly employing his comprehensive knowledge of electrical and mechanical systems, carpentry, plumbing, and other skilled crafts work as both technician and lead. His career has seen to the maintenance and care of nearly the entire campus and even underneath as a tour guide of UCLA’s steam tunnels. (Photo by Enrique Rosas/UCLA)
Jack Bracken, Lab Safety Officer at Environment, Health & Safety, asks a question related to air quality during wildfire events. "During our recent spate of wildfires, I have had researchers call me to ask ‘Why does it smell strongly of smoke in my lab and building but not outside?’ when the air quality index (AQI) is listed as moderate." (Photo by Eric French/LAFD)
The Lab Portal is a service-focused program meant to reduce inefficiency encountered by academic departments and their faculty when starting, moving or closing research labs at UCLA. The program and its team members reside within the research safety division of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S). In support of their mission, they “provide services and resources to facilitate the safe and efficient transfer of space during these changes and thereby reduce delays to research activities.” (Photo by Mit Muni/UCLA)
As part of an initiative to increase bottle-filling capabilities in UCLA campus buildings, Facilities Management (FM) recently kicked off the “25 Thirsty Buildings” project. This initiative to transition from plastic water bottle usage to tap water is another step to move UCLA closer to zero waste to landfill.
UCLA’s Business Transformation Office (BTO) was formed in late 2017. Under the leadership of Executive Director, Omar Noorzai, the team has grown from a few people to over 200, and went from working out of a small office at the Wilshire Center to now occupying a 30,000 sq. ft. office space in the Oppenheimer Tower. And the team continues to grow! What's the secret behind BTO's growth?
To respond to the increasing campus demand for innovative solutions and BTO services, and to foster professional growth, Executive Director Omar Noorzai and Program Director Ming Fu regularly assign challenging work and mini-projects to everyone on the team. From ensuring access to financial data is granted with appropriate security controls in place, to running the office like a well-oiled machinery, Neetika Varma and Elizabeth Garcia-Solorzano go above and beyond to get the job done and are nothing short of an absolute pleasure to work with.
On March 20, 2018, Samantha Dawson was diagnosed with breast cancer. Soon after receiving the devastating diagnosis, she underwent two surgeries. Then, over the next eight months, she endured six sessions of chemotherapy. During these difficult months, Samantha continued to work and give her all to UCLA as an administrator at the Chancellor’s Office. For her final round of treatment, the doctor determined that a blood transfusion was required, so she ended up receiving two units of blood at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Facilities Management (FM) collaborated with the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (formerly the Office of Instructional Development) to complete several classroom refresh projects this past summer in its continuous efforts to provide quality learning environments for students and faculty. The spaces included two lecture halls and two classrooms in Bunche Hall, two lecture halls in Haines Hall, three small classrooms in Royce Hall and one classroom in Dodd Hall. All of these spaces were in need of upgrades to facilitate improved learning environments. The work included upgrading the finishes, seating, audio visual systems and lighting to improve these lecture spaces.
Housing & Hospitality’s Marketing and Communications team earned two Awards of Excellence and two honorable mentions at the 49th annual University & College Designers Association design conference, held October 12 in Portland, Oregon. Awards were given for the BruinPlate Cookbook, published in support of the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA, and for Housing’s summer hostel website.
Staff Recognition Awards
As the success of UCLA Administration and its 11 units can be attributed to its dedicated, industrious and innovative staff, it is important that we recognize and honor those across our organization who make noteworthy contributions. Read about recent award recipients and their contributions to making UCLA the best it can be.