Campus News Campus Spotlight

Building services manager sets an example for her staff

Chandre Howard is a building services manager for the Facilities Management Division. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/UGA)

Chandre Howard has a passion for connecting with people

Chandre Howard sets a good example for her staff.

She started as a building services worker in University Housing, then moved to a lead position. A year later, she became a supervisor. She also spent time training building services staff and now serves as a building services manager for the Facilities Management Division.

“I like to see people elevate and grow,” she said. “I am an example that you can go from being a BSW to more if you apply yourself and want it. I can help them.”

For Howard, it’s important to show her staff that there is a strong career path in FMD, especially for those who enjoy working with customers.

“Being in FMD has been a great experience overall,” she said. “We are like family, and I try to connect with everyone I come in contact with.”

Howard, who has been with the university for 11 years, manages building services staff at several locations, including the Health Sciences Campus, the Thomas Street Art Complex, the Chicopee Complex and the Business Learning Center. She supervises five leads in those areas and oversees 58 building services workers.

“I love my team,” she said. “They’re always responsive and keep me updated on any and everything.”

Because the areas Howard covers are so spread out, she tries to spend a month at a time at one particular area. Her own experience in FMD means that she understands what her staff needs.

“I make myself available,” she said. “I want to be a support and a resource to my leads and building services workers.”

Howard stays in constant contact with her leads. They stay prepared for any situation, like weather-related damage and other emergency calls.

They’re also working on creating a better environment. Howard’s staff is piloting a waste-reduction program that includes composting and recycling at the Chicopee Complex in partnership with the Office of Sustainability. She said that her staff takes pride in their green cleaning procedures.

“Our main thing is to make sure students, faculty and staff have a healthy and clean environment,” she said.

Howard’s days often begin with administrative work, but then she’s out in the field, doing inspections and helping on site. She also attends leadership meetings and trainings, sharing that information with her leads.

Most important for Howard, though, is customer service. It’s something she emphasized during her time with University Housing—greeting people, especially students, with a friendly hello, a smile on her face, and polite attitude. The goal is for her staff to make a good first impression, not only with how the buildings look, but also with a welcoming demeanor.

“I always ask new workers how long it takes a person to form a good or bad impression. It’s seven minutes, and that impression will stick,” she said. “I think it’s best to always present yourself with good customer service.”

Perhaps the biggest lesson Howard has learned is to be adaptable. She points out that people can learn from everyone, everything and every situation. That’s why she spends time getting to know her staff.

“I learn my people. I learn what they like and what they don’t,” she said. “The benefit is that then they’ll go over and beyond if you have respect for them and they have respect for you.”

Howard hopes that she is a source of inspiration to others, particularly those who work in Building Services, saying that her experience shows that there are opportunities for growth.

“They are all hard workers,” she said. “You have to have respect for your team in order for them to do their best. Once you have respect for your people, all of the other things will fall into place.”