Learn more about Carl Locus, Assistant Facilities Operations Manager of City of Durham, NC, and what a day in his work life is like.
For Carl Locus of City of Durham, the day starts early and ends late. But, that’s an all too likely story for an Assistant Facilities Operations Manager like himself.
“I’m multitasking constantly,” he admits. “I’m running from one fire to the next.”
He has been in his position for over six years and his team oversees 26 facilities, parks, the Fire Department, police buildings and much more. When he comes in at 6 or 7 AM, he’s always looking around for anything that is out of place. If he sees something like an empty box in the hallway, he takes a picture to create a work order for his team to complete later on.
Carl borrows a desk for a photo
When the technicians first get in, they go straight to their computer lab to check in on the building automation systems to see if anything is awry, overheating, too cold, etc.
Their ultimate goal in everything is to fix an issue before it happens. They know that preventing issues is much better for their time and budget than waiting for something bad to happen.
As far as work orders, requestors either call or email them in – which is why Carl’s phone seems to ringing off the hook. And perhaps why his office desk is covered with papers, scraps, notes on napkins and paper towels, blueprints, business cards, manuals, and meeting notes, yet he seems to know exactly where everything is. I’m amazed by how he goes from a conversation with several people to a phone call about an issue to picking right back up leading the conversation without missing a beat.
Carl in his element “As long as it’s streamlined. I’m looking for long-term solutions.”
He seems to be a storyteller and teacher at heart, sharing insights from everything from Darth Vader to Bernie Mac to his experience as a dad.
These are just a few of the Carl-isms we heard after spending a few hours with Carl:
“I like specifics.”
Carl seems to always be balancing the line of encouragement and servanthood with one of instruction and education, giving advice coupled with admonishment to everyone he interacts with.
His department recently did a spring clean to encourage people to get rid of extra papers and trash in their offices. That’s why there are recycling bins to pick up in various offices we visit. It’s a team effort to keep workplaces clean and functioning properly, especially for governmental organizations that don’t have a surplus of funds to help with these efforts. In fact, Carl has seen his budget get cut or minimized from what he asks for each year.
They have also implemented something called “reverse recycling” by putting a recycling bin and a small trash can in each meeting room. This allows employees to empty their own trash and recycling, cutting down on the work of the janitorial staff.
“Every individual is a sustainability person. We are the sustainability people,” Carl says as he explains that people should not only take some ownership of their trash but should also turn the lights off and help save energy in simple other ways. Additionally, they have automatic lights and LEDs in their facilities to cut down on wasted energy.
Carl's department has been using Dude Solutions’ software for more than five years and has gone through a lot of training with The Dude to get buy-in across their team with the new work order system. The maintenance team is also the reason that a handful of departments within the city are also using the software.
“The Dude has made a major difference for us,” Carl says. “Everyone can use it.”
He’s currently trying to get his team to put more notes into work orders. “Training is the most critical thing,” he says. He shows us a designed work order “card” that he can give out to people with information for how to reach their department with a request.
“With the system, we don’t have the ‘You don’t tell us what you’re doing’ complaint.” But, it’s not without its challenges. “Closing work orders is the most difficult thing.” He shares how he’s working with his team to change their practices around this.
He is always working on equipping his team to label projects in the software to help with internal KPIs. Some of the data points they are regularly looking at include on-time completion percentage, action taken, craft code and purpose code.
In the midst of the day-to-day demands, Carl always seems to be planning on ways to improve things and think through what they will need in the future. “I work on the budget all year long. My budget should be active,” he says.
He runs a weekly report on overall work orders every Tuesday to see where every job is at. He also uses the pending and overdue work orders at the team’s weekly meetings, putting them on the projector to politely call-out employees and encourage efficiency.
Speaking of always improving, he shows us a Smart Energy in Offices poster (and gives each of us a copy to take home), speaking to their partnership with Duke Energy and what the organization does to encourage efficiency.
He says he’s fighting to get the funds for a thorough facility condition assessment (or FCA) in the next few years, but he has had some success by creating his very own Facilities Operations Innovation Suite as a space within his office for the team to collaborate and brainstorm new ideas. His team uses the space weekly to go over their current work, new projects and map everything out. They just added a large glass marker board to enhance their brainstorming sessions.
A look inside the innovation suite
Carl is someone who doesn't keep something good to himself. In fact, since his department starting using the software, seven other city departments have joined suit. Carl says this makes communication more streamlined between departments and opens the door for collaboration.
They have also used the software to help plan for those who are soon to retire on their team, making sure they have the information they need to create a seamless transition as the team changes.
Whether you’re eating BBQ with Carl, discussing his love for Earth, Wind and Fire, or speaking about the strengths and weaknesses of his department, he does it all in a way that welcomes you into his world with all of its ups and downs. And he sure makes it seem like an exciting ride.