A Word from our Owners – Ball State University
David Shepherd – Facilities Engineer, Ball State University
David is a Facilities Engineer at Ball State University where he coordinates, designs, and oversees construction of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, including projects from small maintenance repair and replacements to large capital improvement projects and new construction.
David has over 15 years of professional experience in consulting engineering, construction and facility management. He also supports the skilled trade shops at Ball State from an engineering standpoint, overseeing training of new systems and managing all commissioning activities.
Schmidt Associates has worked with Ball State University on several large capital projects. Recently, we’ve been providing engineering services for various facility maintenance projects across campus.
How do you approach operation and maintenance for your facilities?
As far as operations go, you must look at things with the future in mind. We always try to plan for what we think is going to happen down the road. You need to make it a key point within the maintenance group that they understand how preventative maintenance is key to the longevity of the equipment and our facilities. I push that a lot with our shops – during training sessions, they need to listen and take notes. For example, you may need to use a specific kind of grease on a specific type of bearing. If they don’t get it right, that will lead to early failure of equipment.
What are the most important aspects of a project from the Operations and Maintenance perspective?
The quality of the installation from the contractors is critical from an operations and maintenance standpoint. If they don’t install equipment properly, that can lead to early failures. Getting the team trained properly is also one of the most important aspects.
While in the design phase, the most important aspect, in my opinion, is that they listen to our recommendations and follow our Ball State standards. That is what I struggle with sometimes, I need the team to realize there is a reason that we have these standards. We need them to do what we want them to do not what they think is the best. We have created these standards from past experiences.
What do you see as a future trend in higher education facilities?
I would say the one thing, from my MEP aspect, is lighting. Everything is going to LED, with more capabilities for color tuning and controls. This improves the environment as far as people’s attitudes and general health – LED is more natural and brighter when compared to dingy fluorescents.
How would you describe the process of working with Schmidt Associates on BSU housing?
The quality has been very good. It helps because the Schmidt Associates team has been working at Ball State for a long time. They understand our facilities people and our standards. It makes it easier for us when we don’t have to waste a bunch of time trying to fix mistakes because the team already understands what we want.
Another thing is they are always quick to act when an issue comes up. Ryan Benson has been a great advocate for us, he pushes back on contractors when we need him to. He has been one of the best architects I’ve worked with because he truly understands who he is working for.
The engineers have been great at picking up things I’ve commented on and recommending ways to make a system better that I didn’t think about before.
Anything else you would like to add that I might have missed?
From my standpoint, I just want everyone to understand how critical it is to maintain our equipment so we get the life expectancy out of it. Maintenance and quality installations are the two points I want to drive home!
If you have any facility operation and maintenance questions, reach out to us!