Underappreciated physical plant workers deserve respect

Josh Doak - Resident Director Blaine Hall

Josh Doak – Resident Director Blaine Hall

Josh Doak

A common occurrence when dealing with residence hall buildings is having things that need cleaning or breaking down. Whether it is a leaking pipe, dirty restroom, air condition not working, clogged shower or broken vacuum cleaner, there is always one department that takes care of it all [dash] the Physical Plant. The umbrella of this department includes: Department of Public Safety, mechanical maintenance (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc), carpentry, painters, facilities planning, custodial and grounds and transportation. This department could be categorized as the “one-stop shopping” for solving all maintenance and up-keep needs. It is this department that I wish to focus on.

An in-perspective article usually shares a person’s intellectual point-of-view in regard to some phenomenon they have either partaken in or witnessed. I wish to take advantage of this opportunity to dedicate this article to praising a department that doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves. These men and women of the Physical Plant are no different than any other function of this university. They provide a service that makes this place tick.

The necessity and fame of the Physical Plant could be thought of as an offensive line. Any offensive skill player (quarterbacks, running backs & receivers) knows that no play can be effective without an offensive line. They have to execute their blocks for the skill players to successfully accomplish the designed play. The same could be thought of in regard to the Physical Plant employees. Missouri Southern must have facilities and staff to educate and serve students, but unless our facilities are functioning and presentable, our ability to educate and serve students both academically and socially is seriously hindered. Hence, we need our linemen to keep this place running well.

The fame aspect of this analogy fits in that the offensive line rarely gets the credit it deserves, but gets plenty of blame if something isn’t executed properly. People sometimes overlook or take for granted the work that our Physical Plant employees do, until something isn’t fixed or taken care of. If a restroom isn’t cleaned one day, or a task not done immediately, complaining follows. I’m sure complaining is justified in some cases, but keep in mind that extenuating circumstances do happen that cause things not to run or be done like normal.

Activity and event planning typically requires the assistance of other departments to successfully manage and carry out tasks and responsibilities. Set-up and preparation for these activities almost always involves the services of our Physical Plant. Tasks such as setting up tables and chairs, hanging up banners and setting up stage platforms are a few examples of the responsibilities we depend upon its help with activity preparation These tasks are usually performed, and the activity goes well, but what I feel is not given enough credit is the service itself. The staff planning and running the events praise each other for the work done (which they should), but we sometimes fail to give the full credit the Physical Plant deserves for its contribution to the activity or event. Some may say the Physical Plant employees are only doing their job, but so are we. Before I get co-workers and other departments fuming over my comments, please understand that I’m not pointing fingers, blaming or commenting on a specific situation or department.

I’m only stating we should give credit for their contribution. This is only a small example of how the Physical Plant lends a hand.

Thank you to all the employees of the Physical Plant for your contributions to this university. In our efforts to serve students, we couldn’t do it without you. Keep up the good work.