A Facilities Team with Heart - Penn-Mar

A Facilities Team with Heart

Posted on December 1, 2023

Penn-Mar owns and manages 58 residential units and three commercial buildings, spread throughout 500 square miles in Pennsylvania and Maryland. The responsibility for managing and maintaining these $37 million in gross fixed assets falls to the Facilities Team and Fleet Management Coordinator, which also oversees the organization’s fleet of 150 vehicles.

Keeping capital projects and the day-to-day repair, replacement and maintenance services on schedule are Will Cambley, Director of Capital Projects/Physical Assets, and Facilities Supervisor Eric Williams, supported by five facilities maintenance staff and two custodians.

Will described 2023 as “an aggressive year for our team,” with the replacement of the 37,500 sq. ft. roof on the headquarters building in Freeland, Maryland, and Phase II renovations at Far Hills, which is the location of Penn-Mar’s Pennsylvania Day Learning.

The roof replacement at Penn-Mar Central has been a high priority for years. There were multiple leaks in the building, and fortunately, this year the $700,000 financing was available to replace the standard residential style shingle roof with a standing seam 40-year metal roof. 

“It was important to manage the project timeline so it wouldn’t affect operations,” said Will. “We scheduled for 45 days and completed the project in 30. It couldn’t have worked out any better. The roofing contractor was just incredible. Everything went off without a hitch.”

Working parallel to that project, the team is managing the renovation of Penn-Mar’s Far Hills building to prepare for the relocation of the organization’s programmatic and administrative teams from Glen Rock.

When Penn-Mar purchased the Far Hills Facility in 2019, they sold their Glen Rock property but leased-back office space until additional renovations could be made at the new property.

Phase II was delayed due to COVID, and according to Will, it made more sense to use that time to raise the financial resources that would be needed to continue with the project expansion.

The space is now being built-out to consolidate all PA programming, team members, and corporate training under one roof. The $3.5 million project is scheduled to be completed by December with a January move-in date.

The Facilities Team is also embarking on a 10-year community home replacement project, as some residents are aging and struggling with steps.

“We continue to identify available one-level residences and last year purchased three acceptable properties,” said Will. ‘It’s important to get ahead of the curve but the size of our portfolio can only move as fast as resources will allow. It comes down to prudent planning and making timely decisions.”

Eric Williams’ team literally “does everything” to provide facilities solutions at the current 58 residential sites, working with a $500,000 annual program budget. That can include installing hot water heaters, flooring and windows, rebuilding decks, patching holes, fixing doors, and handling basic repair and electrical work.

“Every person on my team has a huge heart,” said Eric. And that was on full display last August when they spent two weeks and countless overtime hours clearing up storm damage from a tornado affecting the safety of Penn-Mar residents and team members from Westminster to Stewartstown. “The guys did a fantastic job, sometimes working until one in the morning, to keep generators running, remove trees from rooftops and clear out debris blocking entrances to the homes.”

Most recently, the team managed to move the contents of an entire house from Shrewsbury to Red Lion, PA in just one day without interfering with any services. They duplicated everything in the new home — kitchen, living room, and four bedrooms — and managed to modify the ADA bathrooms and install wiring for the office by 2:30 p.m. that same afternoon, 

In the last fiscal year, thanks to several strategic financial decisions and the generosity of Penn-Mar donors, Will’s team had the resources to complete 100% of the defined capital projects for the first time in the 14 years he has been on the job. “This was possible because we had financial support as well as excellent planning, staffing, and day-to-day management. It was a great team effort.”

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