Looking into Facilities Management from behind the scenes: Power outages? Weird work orders? They handle it all

Rachel Dvareckas, Herald Contributor

On a college campus, things are bound to go wrong in buildings. Whether a light bulb goes out, the air conditioner stops working or a door won’t close, Facilities Management at RWU deals with it all.

John Tameo, Director of Facilities Management, knows all about these requests, from the funniest to the oddest on campus. With a 34-year career at the university, Tameo has plenty of stories about the inner workings of this campus. 

Tameo started working at RWU shortly after graduating from the university and has worked his way up to the Director of Facilities Management. He has seen many classes of students come and go over the years, and provides an insight into his favorite part of the job.

“Watching the development of students and staff. Most of our Facilities Management interns have become leaders in their roles after they left RWU,” Tameo said.

The facilities management team takes on a lot of responsibilities, all while ensuring that the campus is operating smoothly. Tameo comments that the hardest jobs he and his staff have to deal with come during the winter. When a storm is on its way and the power goes out across campus while school is in session, it’s turns into a very busy day for the team.

Odd jobs are to be expected at a college, and the oddest for Tameo happened on North Campus. Before it was a parking garage and a part of the university campus, the area was used as a NIKE missile site, and it still contains the missile silos from when it was operational. He remembers the plans for the site.

“The college at the time wanted to explore the possibility of pumping the water out of the missile silos and creating classrooms,” Tameo says.

This, as he explains, was a really bad idea and never worked out.

Tameo said that one of the funniest situations he has found himself in is the time he had to transport the Roger Williams statue in the back of a pickup truck from Scituate to Bristol. The statue took the almost two-hour drive in the bed of the truck where those driving by him could see him. 

“Everyone kept waving to Roger as they drove by,” said Tameo. 

With the ability to submit work orders for maintenance, students tend to have pretty odd things that need fixing. From beds that are too loose, hot water that smells and doors that creak, Facilities Management tends to be busy. One RWU student recalled a time where a former roommate of hers put in an order for the team to come pull her hair out of the drain, because she didn’t want to do it herself. 

Katie Romanovicz, a current junior, mentioned an extremely odd circumstance where she thought it was necessary to put in a work order.

“I once had to put in a maintenance request when I lived in Stonewall because there was poop all over the hallway. It was so gross,” she said.

Facilities Management is an integral part of the Roger Williams community and making sure everything is operating smoothly and the buildings are maintained. Take some time to thank a member of the Facilities Management team for all the work they do behind the scenes.