National Award Honors FM for 'Superior Maintenance' of Campus
APPA is a national organization dedicated to promoting facilities management leadership in higher education settings. The Award for Excellence – presented to Facilities Management in August – is the highest honor an institution can receive from APPA for a facilities management department.
The award is valid for a five-year period and is based on various criteria such as leadership, customer focus and performance results.
Chris Kopach, assistant vice president of Facilities Management, said the award was the result of a team effort and a "one team" strategic approach embraced by all related units, including custodial services, grounds, trades, utilities and support services.
"The 'one team' approach and running our department as effectively and efficiently in providing quality customer service is very positive for the University," he said. "Our staff understand that we create a very positive atmosphere in the overall appearance of campus for students, families, staff and alumni."
Facilities Management consists of 550 employees who maintain more than 11 million square feet of building space and 350 acres of grounds at the UA. Kopach said that in addition to quality service on campus, the synergy between Facilities Management employees separates the UA from other universities.
"The staff of Facilities Management are very loyal and work very hard in providing services to benefit the University," he said. "We routinely discuss running our department like a business and in doing this we must be very cost efficient with all our resources. We develop plans for succession planning, use technology to enhance our ability to maintain over 11 million square feet and train our staff on the business of facilities management."
Formerly serving as Rocky Mountain region president for APPA, Kopach now serves as a representative on its board. He became a member of the organization in 2001 and adopted the theme "Managing in Difficult Times" when serving as regional president, presenting industry-relevant webinars monthly to facilities management teams in the region.
He says being involved with APPA helps him keep the UA's Facilities Management team informed of industry trends and present useful information to keep the department running efficiently.
Kopach said receiving the APPA Award for Excellence was a "great honor," since only a select few pass the review process, which consists of a 40-page written analysis of the entire Facilities Management unit followed by a three-day site inspection that includes interviews with team members and customers.
"Receiving the APPA Award for Excellence was a very proud moment for me because of the recognition of all the great work everyone within Facilities Management performs on a daily basis," he said. "To have the best facilities association in the country recognize our department for our best practices, teamwork, customer service and leadership team is a humbling experience."
Watch Facilities Management's acceptance of the APPA Award for Excellence in this video on the Facilities Management website.