During peak mealtimes across the UGA campus, dining commons are pushed to their limit.
Thousands of students go through the turnstiles and fill their plates with fruits, vegetables, pasta, chicken wings, pizza or sandwiches. With thousands of dirty plates, bowls, spoons and forks left over, what happens if the dishwasher suddenly stops working?
That’s when you call Eddie Faulkenberry.
Faulkenberry came to UGA in 2002, and over the past 20 years, he has worked his way up to maintenance foreman for Dining Services.
“I walked in the front door and asked for an application,” he said. “They hired me for grill cook.”
Faulkenberry worked part time as a cook, then full time in the stockroom before joining the maintenance team in 2005. He worked with maintenance for 15 years before becoming foreman of the Dining Services team.
“The guy who was here a long time ago taught me a lot,” said Faulkenberry, but he says a lot of what he does, he learned on the job. “I learn something new every day.”
No two days look the same for Faulkenberry, and he often has no idea what will come his way when he gets to work in the morning.
“You never know what you’re going to do,” he said, “and you don’t know what you’ve got to do when you get here because all kinds of things happen.” On that particular morning, Bolton Dining Commons’ power was out for a while, but Faulkenberry and his team helped get it running.
Faulkenberry, and the two other members of the maintenance team, take each day as it comes.
“We three go tackle whatever we’re called to do and whatever work orders have come in overnight,” he said. “When we go home on Friday and come in Monday, we usually have a pretty good bit of work orders to do, like fixing ovens, dishwater machines, et cetera,” he said.
In May, Faulkenberry was awarded a Finance and Administration Unsung Hero Award, a recognition for staff members who are not often publicly celebrated for exemplary work, stability and dependability for their team.
His nomination said that Faulkenberry “literally has his hand in the success of each and every Dining Services facility. … Without his knowledge and ability to repair and maintain food service equipment, Dining Services would not be able to function at the level that we do.”
Faulkenberry says the environment at UGA is part of the reason he continued to work his way up in Dining Services, and he even met his wife here on campus.
Now, they enjoy taking trips to the mountains and the beach and watching UGA football games together.