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Josh welcomes a very special guest, our first Dude Solutions Excellence Award Winner: Curtis Orndorff, Manager of Building Maintenance at Frederick County Public Schools. The award recognizes a client for demonstration of operations excellence, innovation in the industry and important core values such as service, collaboration, integrity and ingenuity. Curtis was selected from 31 nominees by a committee of Dudes from across the company as well as members of our Client Advisory Board.   

They talk about Curtis’ history with The Dude since 2012, his school district, work and more.  

Show Notes:  

Show Script:

Josh Peach  
Welcome to the Operate Intelligently Podcast, the podcast for all things operations.

Hello Operate Intelligently listeners. This is your host, Joshua Peach and I am really excited today to have on the podcast a longtime friend and client of The Dude, Curtis Orndorff. And Curtis is from Frederick County Public Schools which is, geez we're going to talk about history but you guys go back forever with us. And this year Curtis is the Dude Solutions Excellence Award recipient which is a pretty big deal. He's the only one to get it. And he was supposed to get it at Dude University in person and sadly we had to cancel Dude University, so we are doing it virtually on the podcast. So Curtis, welcome to the podcast. Good to see you, my friend.

Curtis Orndorff  
Thank you very much. It's a pleasure.

Josh Peach  
You know, not many people know this but the last group of people that I got to speak to and I got to see were you guys on March 10. I was boarding the plane and as I was as we're getting ready to take off, I got a text from Travis telling me that the governor had closed the schools for the remainder of the month, I think it was at that point in time. So you guys were the last ones to get me so but I've gotten to go visit you, you know a number of times and know you well, but why don't you share with the listeners a little bit about you and the history that you have with Dude Solutions.

Curtis Orndorff  
I've been with Frederick County Public Schools for 14-15 years now. It was actually a second career for me. I retired from city of Frederick, was in charge of water and sewer utilities for the entire town and met up with someone I had worked with the city of Frederick that offered me a job or offered me the interview for a job at Frederick County Public Schools. And one of the first items on my agenda from him was to look for a software solution to replace the one that we had that was working, it was a nice cheap solution. But we were having difficulties getting reliable information out of it. So we went through a process, hiring a consultant to review different products that were available. And around the end of 2011, we actually started our training with Dude Solutions for the product. And then February of 2012, we started to build our equipment and PM imports. We took what we could out of the old solution and brought it over, sent it out to the field for guys to verify the quality of the data that we had to make sure the equipment we were importing was still there. And that took us quite a while. July 13, we started a pilot steering committee, where we've got a bunch of stakeholders together to try to make this as painless as possible. They were all looking to replace the solution that we had, they found it cumbersome to work with. So they were excited to look at something new and try something new. But as most people are, they really didn't want to do something different. They were used to what they had. And it was probably towards the end of December that we went live with the pilot and actually got people online. Other than the technicians. We actually had school staff starting to putt work orders in. Unlike most places, we started out trying to get our equipment in and getting PM generated out of the solution so that we would have those pieces of equipment in there to charge time, material and labor against once we started getting the work orders come in. And then May thru July, we started bringing all the other schools on. 66 schools so it took a while to get everybody trained, up to speed and bring them all on board. So that's about 2014 when everybody was officially online up and running.

Josh Peach  
And how many staff do you have?

Curtis Orndorff  
On taking care of the software solution?

Josh Peach  
Well, your total maintenance, your M&O you know, staff that would be touching work orders and PM, guys and girls that I meet with.

Curtis Orndorff  
I've got 114 that report to me. They're split up into eight different areas, geographically because Frederick County is the largest county in the state of Maryland. So we wanted to cut down on windshield time as much as we could, break them up into geographic areas. There's also grounds crew, paint shop, lock shop, carpentry shop that report to a different manager. But I've got 114, one secretary, and two guys to take care of the software solution.

Josh Peach  
And the oldest building in the district is the building and grounds building isn't it?

Curtis Orndorff  
Yes, it is. 

Josh Peach  
And it looks like it's brand spanking new. Tell you what if you ever drive through Frederick County, stop in and check this space out. It is it is truly amazing. And it is the oldest building in the in the district. So let's talk about the award a little bit. You know what? It was a surprise to you. What do you think and what are your thoughts?

Curtis Orndorff  
It was definitely a surprise to win to contest or an event that you didn't even know that you were in running for. Kind of takes you by surprise. To be honored by Ed and the team there at Dude Solutions, that's big to me. It's really an honor.

Josh Peach  
Yeah, well it's much deserved. Well I've got a bunch of emails here, one of them that's the really kind of personifies it all. I don't know if I'm supposed to say who it's from. Dan is who it's from, so I guess I just blew that one. But, you know, Dan put this email together and sent in and said "Curtis is one of those rare dedicated individuals who personifies public service, has devoted his energies to his craft of maintenance, ensuring that our schools and kids stay safe, warm and dry, and constantly pushing the envelope of doing more with less. He is creating a legacy with his dedication and service." You're pretty widely loved in the hallowed halls of The Dude. We've got a bunch of these here, I'll make sure we get them to you. You know, you just have the kind of this way about you and what you guys do as a whole in Frederick County. I mean, you've taught us so much as we've gone through this journey with you and learned so much about how we can not just help you but help all of our clients as you know whatever we do for you we do for everyone with cloud based software. In our going through all of this with you and learning and doing all of this you know, I think I know the answer to this but I'd love to hear your feelings on you know, it's obvious you love your role there. It's obvious you love your job. It's obvious that you wake up every day with a continued vigor to be as successful as you can with you and your team. What do you love most about it? And where did it come from? And you know, what's the secret sauce to it, because you've been doing this for quite some time. So you still got it.

Curtis Orndorff  
Well, it only works if you have great people supporting you. And it only works if you have great leadership above you that support you. So it is an organization wide thing that has to happen. It is a culture. It's not a quickly bred culture. This took four or five years to get to the point that we're at. I think we were making real good progress, but I'm afraid that the things that have occurred here in the last few months may set us back some with having people working from home, people are afraid to come to work. People want to split shifts, so they only work on a week, off a week. But if it's a dedicated employees that are dedicated to providing an optimal learning environment for our staff and students, that makes it all possible and makes me look as good as I look, you know, employees committed to bettering themselves in facility management profession. It's not just about them. It's not just about us. It's about the profession in general. We'd like to share all that we can across everybody that asks what we do, how we do it. It doesn't always work for everybody, but it works for us. And if you get something that works for somebody, then you can tailor it to meet your own needs.

Josh Peach  
You know, one of the funny things I was thinking about when you dialed in, I was like, I bet I'm still going to see Curtis at the Raleigh Convention Center because he's so set on getting down there and asking us where the heck we are because we got work to do. Just because that's the type of person you are, you know, you're always wanting to get work done and your answer on that, regarding your team, you know, around you, we won't say above or below you and putting it in a in a higher or lower position. But your team, the team around you, the people that you have, is what makes it all and makes it all worth it. And you have a great team. As I've said, I've had the opportunity to speak to your team twice over the course of the last year and what you guys do down there is put such a high regard on people. And you know, the technology is there and it will do what we say it's going to do. But you put such a high regard on the people and training and making sure that they're equipped and they have the tools that they need to do their job and justify and show why they need those tools. It really is something you don't see every day you know. When you're in it and you do it like you do, it seems like commonplace like hey everybody should be doing this or everybody's got this but you have a rarity in Frederick County that is amazing and it is the people, you and the entire team you know, let's look back over the course of time, the evolution of how technology is coming into play more and more every day. What are you using, you know, what are some other best practices or what's the technology that you know, we got The Dude and what you guys are doing? Is there other technology that you guys are leveraging? Are there things that you're looking at, or the things that you're looking at for us that would make your world even better, especially with this uncertainty of the what a lot of folks are calling ater the thaw? When we all get back to school and have kids back in the buildings and all of this stuff is there, what's on your radar screen? Or what are you guys using then?

Curtis Orndorff  
Well, I guess a little bit of follow up, me being at the Raleigh Convention Center waiting for y'all to show up. Really isn't just the staff that we have at Frederick County Public Schools, it is the vendors, the suppliers that we use that are truly a part of our team also, that help us make things happen. I really am gonna miss not being at the convention center. We cover a lot of bases when were able to get there and get face to face and sit down and talk about that product, talk about what Frederick County Public Schools was doing, what we're looking to do, and find out what you all are looking at possibly doing in the future and bringing those ideas. Then put two parties together and trying to come up with something that's valuable to everyone. You know, we use the technology to try to capture a true cost of ownership of everything that we do. To be able to track time, see how well we're doing with our expenditures, and use that to try to track and monitor how we're doing with the money that we have, because we continue to get more buildings. But we typically don't get any more funding or any additional staff to take care of them. So we're constantly looking for some type of technology or something that will help to make a person be as productive as they can with what they've got. Our better building automation systems or building management systems make it easy for technicians to monitor what's going on in buildings from any one location. Our two-man building automation department is at home right now as we go through this event, but they are constantly monitoring facilities, looking for things that are wrong and reporting them to the guys that are working. So we also looked at the possibility of adding the automation for scheduling. And we're working on implementing that now. We were actually in the process of implementing AE when all this started, and we were hit with a do we move forward, do we stop? What do we do? We decided to move forward and it's working. It probably could have been better, but I think in the long run there some positives that come out of doing it during this time that made us bigger dividends than if we would have waited. Trying to use some technology to do some predictive maintenance, thermal imaging and so forth. So we're always looking for technology and how we can use that to make life easier for us and give us more information that we can use to evaluate things as we move forward.

Josh Peach  
A couple of pieces to that I want touch on. The first is the retail what the after hours, events management, the automation, were doing a class on Wednesday, hope you'll be there, on your buildings or empty and your calendar is too. And it was amazing to see the number of events that are still open from March and April, almost a million events that were never cancelled or rescheduled. So the worry point is, is if you're if you're actively doing occupancy overrides, did those happen? And if you're not tied directly into it. The other thing that we found that was a great takeaway in surveying a lot of schools is the responses have been this is one of the best times to evaluate and implement. We're seven weeks into this COVID-19. And first two, three weeks, I left you guys on March 11 I mean, we were smiling, we were optimistic. I think I even might have made some light of some things. Because, you know, there was there was nothing to really worry about. It was the 11th. March 11. You know, that night I got to Raleigh and Trump came on and said, 'Hey, Friday, there's no more flying to Europe.' Monday, everybody's in shelter in place just about in the country. And now we're in this. We went through this period of chaos and reactionary development of what do we do? How do we do it? How do we get everything clean? How do we get rid of COVID? How do we and then as we gradually got through chaos, first couple weeks now we're getting back into capture. I call it chaos to capture which is kind of capturing all of what was done the last three weeks and then start to evaluate what we're going to do for the for the next 30 years. We're seeing a lot of people that are in that boat that you're saying hey, let's pull the trigger and let's do this. We got people working from home we get you know, our trainings pretty good so remote learnin0,g remote training so glad you guys decided to pull the trigger and still move forward with it. That's a tricky time. But no, I think that you know, when I look at what I look at this year, and the challenges we face, this is one of those bright lights shining, shining bright lights for me is that you got to and that you get to receive the award. I'm sad that we're not going to be able to give it to you and present it in person. But that just gives us a reason to to see you next year. And have a follow-up, the award might be over a beer or something else. But we will have to do something in 2021 and make sure that you're there for us. Again, when you know one more time around at least here for old times sake. So congratulations, my friend. I'm honored that I got to do this podcast with you. I'm so proud of the fact that you got it and it represents, you know, not just you, but Frederick County, and all of the amazing work that you all do down there together collectively. I always said you guys are the shining stars, I give relation to you regularly actually. I did a podcast this morning and couldn't couldn't help but brag on you. So congratulations. I'm sorry we're not going to see you. But look forward to when all this stuff lifts to get down and pay you guys a visit again.

Curtis Orndorff  
I certainly hope so. And I can't wait to get to Raleigh to get with everyone. It's difficult times we're really not sure what's going to happen. And that makes it even that much more difficult. Not knowing if we're going to open in the fall, if we are what is the new normal going to look like in a classroom? Are they gonna try to maintain social distancing within a classroom? If they are, where are we going to put that extra furniture? How are we going to deal with the half that aren't in school? We're at capacity now with the schools that we have so we can't spread out and have everyone attending school. If they go that route, half of them would have to be dealt with. And you know, Skype is good. We've learned to Skype and so forth, but it's still not as good as a face to face.

Josh Peach  
Yeah, well, I mean, there's something to be said. This is the closed thing that I'm getting to people and it's really my saving grace. I try to do one of these every day just to get outside interaction. I love getting to see my family every day because before this, I was on the road 180 days a year. But the interaction, there's definitely as close as this is, it's still not close enough to the real thing. And it's interesting you say that because a lot of folks aren't even thinking about, you know, we're thinking about going from where we are today to where we were seven weeks ago. And I'm of the belief that obviously that's not going to happen overnight. And it's probably not going to happen for a long time. And it's going to be interesting. All of my events have been canceled until October. And the events that I have in the back three months of the year, you know they're talking about giving masks as a welcome in the welcome bags. Like when would you ever think about that, like when would you think about coming to a Dude University and getting your welcome bag with your brochure and your bag and your shirt and a mask. So it's just a lot of different thinking. I mean, I did a call today talking about the reality of thermometer checks, you know, temperature checks when when people walk into the building. That's a real possibility. Plexiglas welcome stations where people are going to be behind Plexiglas at the entrance of every building. That's a real possibility. Like, you know, a lot of people aren't thinking like that. And, you know, you just said something that I didn't even think about is, you know, the average classroom size, I think, is in the United States. I think public K-12 was either 27 or 29 kids. But those spaces are relatively small. So there's no way you could make them at six feet, you know, apart from each other and have an average-sized classroom, it would just be a complete disaster. So lots to think about my friend but if anybody can figure it out at you guys and in leading the way and, you know, sadly and gladly you got a couple of months of empty space. Anyways, you know, so you got at least until you guys are closed to the through through September right until September or August?

Curtis Orndorff  
Till the middle of this month, but we're waiting on an announcement probably next week as to whether it's going to be extended.

Josh Peach  
When can the students potentially come back?

Curtis Orndorff  
September.

Josh Peach  
Okay, so yeah, so you guys have some time before the before the masses really come back?

Curtis Orndorff  
I'm saying September, but they still may come back for a couple weeks through this spring semester, but well, I really can't see that happening. But yeah, we've got to be prepared for it.

Josh Peach  
Yeah. Well, congratulations, my friend. Mark your calendar if you haven't already from May 16th to the 19th, 2021 that is Dude U 2021. So a little later in the year, just about 53-54 weeks away, it'll be here before you know it. So we'll look forward to seeing you then. And really appreciate you giving us some of your time here and congratulations on being this year's award recipient. This has been an incredible honor for me.

Curtis Orndorff  
Thank you very much. It's always an honor and a pleasure to talk to you.

Josh Peach  
All right, my friend. Well, please send my love and hello to everybody, stay safe. Keep me posted with what's going on down there and The Dude is always beside you, myself included, obviously. So anything we can do to help you just give us a call.

Curtis Orndorff  
You're always their favorite. They love seeing you.

Josh Peach  
Thank you so much sir, we will talk to you soon. And that will do it for the Operate Intelligently Podcast with Curtis, the Dude Solutions Excellence Award recipient. We'll be doing the award again in 2021. You got somebody that's just an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. That's what we all are. Give us a submission, put it in this is again, this isn't something that someone self submits for themselves. This is someone reaching out and saying this person deserves it and here's why. And Curtis is a great example of someone that's deserving of it. So if you listen to this and you know someone in your organization, any market, manufacturing, local government, education, healthcare, a zoo, sporting event, any facility professional that is deserving, please send us a recommendation. We'll get the reviews going. The review steering committee starts just after this Dude University so feel free to submit it and that will do it. Have a great day and we will see you next week. Thanks for listening to the Operate Intelligently Podcast produced by Dude Solutions, you can reach us by emailing dspodcast@dudesolutions.com or check us out on the web at dudesolutions.com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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