It is a bittersweet time in the Department of Campus Operations as Charles (Chuck) Cera, assistant director of Campus Operations, prepares to retire. Chuck was originally hired as the physical plant services supervisor, bringing decades of management experience with him. His first NEOMED job description included supervision of the grounds crew, our auto mechanic, and the shipping and receiving personnel. (He also inherited the unenviable key system.)
Chuck joined Campus Operations in the spring of 2012, just before the campus began three straight years of unprecedented expansion. He was quickly tasked with developing a plan to move hundreds of parking spaces to south and west portions of the campus as well as keeping all the roads and sidewalks clear of contractor’s vehicles and debris. During the period of time from 2012-2014, the campus became known as NEOMUD, as mud covered 70 percent of the campus from all the construction. Chuck dealt with this issue and many others on a daily basis in addition to some very severe winters where snow removal was extremely difficult during the construction years.
In 2015, with the retirement of Blaine Wyckoff and the promotion of Jim Rankin to director, Chuck’s management skills were not only noticed, they were now needed inside the facility. Chuck was promoted to assistant director and immediately began to streamline operations and reduce spending. He is leaving a legacy of a common-sense approach to tackling problems – problems that Campus Operations deals with on a minute-by-minute basis.
Several of Chuck’s ideas and subsequent follow-through are currently saving NEOMED over $50,000 annually. His cost-saving measures include an aggressive HVAC schedule that ramps down NEOMED’s HVAC equipment during low demand times; re-lamping much of campus lighting to LED illumination; and redirecting water supplies to cooling towers.