I retired from New Mexico State University (NMSU) in 2019. Many people over the years made an impact on my personal growth and career, and I wish to express my gratitude. This is my APPA journey.
My first APPA-related event was a short seminar on preventive maintenance at Trinity University in the summer of 1982. Joe Estill Jr. and George Mangrem, physical plant directors at Texas A&M and the University of Texas San Antonio, respectively, taught our small class. That two directors would take time to teach the rank and file made a big impression on this new plant supervisor.
The first annual meeting of the Texas chapter of APPA (TAPPA) had been held only a few years earlier, in October 1979, and Joe Estill was elected APPA President in 1991-92. This seminar was the beginning of numerous positive APPA experiences and the first of many lessons I learned from others. MENTOR OTHERS ALWAYS
The following year, TCU physical plant staff attended an early Institute for Facilities Management in San Antonio, TX. Mo Qayoumi taught an electrical elective on overcurrent protection, showing us how to interpret breaker trip curves on an overhead projector and concluded by exclaiming, “And there you have it! A custodian can shut down the electrical substation with a floor buffer if you don’t get this right.” He became an APPA Fellow in 2010 and served as president of San José State University and California State University East Bay. Mo taught us that we had much to learn and later demonstrated how many opportunities there could be while working for a university. TECHNICAL EXPERTISE IS CRITICAL TO SUCCESS – ANY GOAL IS ACHIEVABLE WITH HARD WORK, EVEN BECOMING PRESIDENT OF A UNIVERSITY
Half a decade later, I moved to the University of North Texas, where I was encouraged to volunteer with the APPA alphabet soup. I joined the CAPPA Information and Research committee and completed the Institute for Facilities Management. Darrell Meyer at Metropolitan Community College was hosting the 2004 CAPPA Annual Conference in Kansas City and believed strongly in peer-to-peer sharing, insisting that members present all sessions. Darrell encouraged me to submit a presentation, called me periodically to check my progress, then told me to do a second one. Darrell served as APPA President from 2010-11, and my experience in Kansas City drove home the value of learning from others. LEARN FROM OTHERS – THE WHEEL HAS ALREADY BEEN INVENTED
When I was introduced to Charlie Jenkins at the Institute, I asked him about teaching (one of my few then-unfilled goals). He told me that sometimes you just need to be vocal and advance your cause, explaining that doing so led to him becoming President of APPA in 1994. Charlie planned to continue teaching leadership after retirement, but we lost him after a fatal automobile accident in 2004. Charlie’s lesson was to be my own advocate and live in the moment. BE PROACTIVE – NO ONE KNOWS HOW MUCH TIME THEY HAVE
During my involvement with DFWAPPA (the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter), Bob Casagrande and I vigorously disagreed once about some issue now lost to history, but at the annual banquet, Bob surprised me with the 2006 President’s Award. A few years later, after I expressed an interest in the consulting business, Bob took me under his wing on an organizational assessment at Montana State University. Bob demonstrated that respectful disagreement is not only possible but valuable to success. VALUE AND HONOR RESPECTFUL DISAGREEMENT
In 2008, I went to the New Mexico State University System, reaching my personal goal of becoming a chief facilities officer at a major university. This meant changing from the Central region to Rocky Mountain, and my first regional conference was in 2009 at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Viron Lynch recognized me as “new” and introduced himself. After that, he made sure I met others. I will never forget his kind welcome, and we are close friends to this day.
Because of Viron, I always look for new people at conferences now and strive to make them feel welcome. REACH OUT AND HELP OTHERS
John Morris, APPA Fellow, was the RMA President and helped me become involved in regional leadership as secretary. I admired his quiet and thoughtful leadership, and he was always inclusive. When the University of Colorado at Boulder won the Award for Excellence in 2012, John watched from the audience, allowing others to bask in the glory since he had recently moved to Northern Arizona University.
Luis Morales of the University of Texas at El Paso is another excellent example of a servant leader. Once, when a holiday flood required an all-hands after-hours response from the physical plant staff, Luis called every family personally to thank them for their sacrifice.
John and Luis are my leadership role models. TREASURE YOUR TEAM
I had heard Al Stoverink and Chris Ahoy speak about establishing the Award for Excellence as an organizational goal at their schools, Arkansas State University and Iowa State University. I wanted to follow in their footsteps at NMSU and asked them what it took to win. Both freely offered sound advice, telling me that while NMSU could win the award sooner, it would take six to eight years if we did things right – and that we should want to do things right.
Chris Ahoy served as APPA President from 2006-07, is an APPA Fellow, and NMSU won the Award for Excellence in 2016, eight years later. WORTHWHILE GOALS TAKE TIME
In 2011, the CAPPA board of directors asked me to serve as second vice president, starting me down the region’s presidential track. With essentially a “dual” regional membership, I was blessed to teach APPA Supervisor’s Toolkit in CAPPA and RMA. In 2013, Jenna Elmer and I led a class for Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. Polly Pinney, APPA President from 2009-10, took us to dinner and explained in detail how she adapted to her president’s changes as the university grew to over 50,000 students.
It was apparent that ASU and Polly were operating on a different scale than the rest of us, and I realized that I needed to become more flexible and receptive to new ideas. BE FLEXIBLE AND ADAPTABLE
In 2015, after traveling to Fayetteville, AR, for an APPA Supervisor’s Toolkit, I saw a picture of airport board member Mike Johnson, the AVC of Facilities at the University of Arkansas, in the Northwest Arkansas National Airport. I knew others in facilities that were also engaged with their community: APPA President 2015-16 Peter Strazdas was the mayor of Portage, MI, and Chuck Scott, APPA President 2016-17, was the chair of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Special Olympics. Town and gown relationships are rewarding, enhance the quality of life for all, and should be cultivated.
I returned home and began improving our partnership with the city of Las Cruces and Doña Ana County. ENGAGE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
After retirement, I kept consulting and remained active in APPA. Following a discussion at the 2021 CAPPA Annual Conference, Don Guckert, APPA Fellow and APPA President 2018-19, hired me to edit reports for the APPA Advisors program. One thing led to another. Ian Hadden and CAPPA submitted my name, and in 2022 I became an APPA Fellow, an honor I never expected. NEVER STOP BEING ACTIVE
As it does with nearly everyone, my path often crossed with Lander Medlin, once accompanying her and Lalo Gomez on a trip to Mexico to recruit Tecnológico de Monterrey. Lander’s ability to recall names and details about the people she meets is amazing and one I wanted to emulate.
Lander showed me that this is a learned skill worth developing and improving. People appreciate the effort, and it builds lasting relationships. RELATIONSHIPS ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF YOUR CAREER
As my good friend and fellow Supervisor’s Toolkit instructor Steve McClain reminds me, APPA opened doors and introduced me to many folks who have helped me along my journey. I am now a part-time consultant, have had opportunities to work for multiple universities and an agency of higher education, and served as an expert witness. I have taught APPA Supervisor’s Toolkit 37 times to nearly 1,200 students, presented over 30 times at conferences and attended many more, published three articles before this one, and completed a CFaR research project. None of this would have been possible without my engagement with APPA, and regrettably, there are many more people I admire and learned from than there was space to list here. I am thankful for them all.
Regardless of where you are on the timeline of your career, my wish is for you to get involved with APPA. As APPA President 2008-09 Bill Elvey says, when asked if you can help, never say “No.” The dividends you reap will be immense. GET ENGAGED WITH APPA
Glen Haubold is an APPA Fellow and Member Emeritus with years of service to APPA, CAPPA, and RMA. He was co-principal investigator for the APPA CFaR research project, “Facilities Budgets: Issues with Recovery and Recharge in Higher Education.” He can be reached at email@example.com.