Clearing The Way: Spotlight on the Facilities Appearance Department
Plus, a special look behind the scenes with Facilities Appearance and our Food and Nutrition teams
By Ashley Antle
We often hear about the good work of the doctors, nurses and clinicians who care for our patients, but there is an entire team of people working behind the scenes who keep Cook Children’s open, operating and looking spectacular in freezing rain, sleet, snow or shine.
They are the people of the Facilities Appearance department, led by manager Martin Aguado. Just 11 members of this team, with help from on-site vendors Big E’s Contracting, Landscape Partners and Maria’s Cleaning Service, keep Cook Children’s entire campus pristine.
On a typical day, you’ll find them touching up paint throughout the facilities, fulfilling work order requests for repairs, assisting with construction projects and supporting the organization with their fix-it expertise.
Aguado and his team are also known for going out of their way to help pull off big and small events that showcase the medical center far and wide.
“From painting the ceilings to polishing the banisters and everything in between, Martin and his team helped prepare and transform the auditorium for our landmark press conference in January and we couldn’t have done it without them,” said Laura Van Hoosier, Cook Children’s assistant vice president of Public Relations & Communications. “They always go the extra mile with big smiles while asking, “What else can we do to help,'” she added.
When the weather turns cold, gray and icy, the Facilities Appearance department shifts from painting, landscaping and constructing to deicing walkways. We have them to thank for the clean and clear sidewalks and crosswalks all around the campus. While everyone else is warm inside, they brave the cold and wet to make sure the campus is safe for employees and visitors, and they do it all with a smile.
“The biggest challenge is maintaining clean crosswalks as vehicles continually push slush on them,” Aguado said. “For the most part, unless it snows and sleets continuously, we are able to maintain the campus clear for pedestrian traffic.”
Aguado says it takes teamwork and collaboration between departments to make it all happen.
To prepare for bad weather events, he stays connected with Environmental Services director, Kaysey Pollan, as she monitors the forecast. Together they plan for what may come, make sure they are stocked with ice melt and have their vendors standing by to assist. They also work with city officials to assure the streets leading to the hospital are passable.
In addition to Environmental Services, Aguado credits his co-workers in Plant Operations, Parking, Security and Dietary for also shifting their priorities to keep the wheels turning when the weather tries its best to bring things to a halt. He also appreciates the support of his leaders and other department heads as they, too, step in to help with calls and requests.
Without the Facilities Appearance team, employees and patients would slip and slide their way into the medical center on an icy day, and would not enjoy a beautiful, well-maintained campus, inside and out, every other day.
“I’m so proud of the effort my team puts into this work as we know we are making a difference for families, patients and staff that come in to be seen or work,” Aguado said. “Even though we are not health care professionals, it makes me happy to know we make a difference. I’m thankful for my guys that go above and beyond to be here and support our goal to keep everyone safe.”